Occupational Therapy Helping Children’s Director and Senior Clinician, Lisa Hughes, shares some of the key benefits of group programmes she’s observed during her two decades of working with children.

Have you ever wondered whether your child would benefit from group Occupational Therapy sessions, in addition to their one-on-ones?

Many parents enrol their children in group sessions during the school holidays because they know it can help their child develop specific skills and maintain the progress they’ve been making during the term. Plus, it can also make the holidays less stressful by providing kids who struggle without routine with some engagement and structure during the break.

What’s more, children consistently enjoy doing Occupational Therapy in a group setting. Over the many years we’ve been running group programmes, parents tell us again and again that their children can’t wait to come back to the group the next day to see the friends they have made and to have more fun!

But those are only a few of the many benefits of group sessions. So here are the top benefits of group Occupational Therapy programmes (including some you may not have known about):

  1. Boost your child’s self-esteem
    Children with developmental delays can sometimes feel like they’re the odd ones out and not realise children of all ages and stages see an OT.
    In a group setting, kids find it reassuring that they’re not the only ones getting some additional help, which can boost their self-esteem.
  2. Increased self-motivation
    Unlike one-on-ones, group programmes can encourage your child to accelerate their own development. It’s thanks to the children indirectly motivating each other, as they all like to be seen to be making an effort and achieving at the same rate as their peers. This helps explain why some children make significant progress during group sessions.
  3. Improved social skills
    Group therapy helps develop children’s social skills with other kids their age — rather than just the adults they interact with. In particular, group programmes can help develop their listening, turn-taking, conversing, eye contact and empathising skills.
  4. New friends
    Group sessions have an inclusive format that encourage children to share and explore their ideas together and are ideal for making new friends — particularly if they normally struggle in a social setting.Many children also benefit from expanding their social circle outside of their class with people they may see again — whether that’s in the playground, your local area or at the next holiday group. In fact, many children form such strong bonds that they have playdates with their new friends after their group finishes.
  5. Turbocharged progress
    It can be a struggle to find the time and energy for Occupational Therapy during the term. So focusing on Occupational Therapy during the holidays, when kids typically have more energy, can help accelerate their progress.
  6. Save money
    Group programmes also provide a more economical option during the holiday as costs are spread over a number of families. It allows more families and children to benefit from the Occupational Therapist’s expertise and leaves more money for other activities.

Occupational Therapy Helping Children runs holiday groups during the school holidays, covering social skills, handwriting and school readiness. You can find out more about our upcoming holiday groups and register your child here.

If you have any questions about which group is best suited to your child’s goals and abilities, please ask your child’s Occupational Therapist or get in contact with our team. Additionally, individual Occupational Therapy sessions continue to be offered throughout the holidays for children and adolescents of all ages and stages.