At Occupational Therapy Helping Children, our OTs work collaboratively with families, schools and allied health professionals. Working collaboratively means that the treatment is not just about the child but about the whole ecosystem of the child. For us, it is essential to understand the family dynamics and the environment around the child to ensure they will progress towards their goals.
We encourage parents and carers to participate in our sessions actively. Engaged participation in treatment sessions increases the learning opportunities for the parents and their children, helping the parents feel more confident to create further developmental opportunities throughout the day. During the sessions, we build capacity, and between the sessions, the parents are encouraged to implement the strategies learnt in their routine.
It’s also crucial that the parents have one-on-one time with the therapists to share strategies, build capacity and empower them. Our OTs help them identify and work toward their goals using the Coach Approach. The Coach Approach is used to support parents in identifying their priorities and inspire them to maximise their potential to help their children achieve their goals. It is a collaborative, problem-solving approach capitalising on families’ knowledge of their home situation. After all, parents are the experts, so it makes sense to capitalise on their understanding of their child, strengths, resources, and ideas to ensure the therapy options are suitable for their home.
Although we encourage parents to participate in our session, we understand that life can be busy and that things do not always go in the ways we plan. So, we know that not all parents will be ready to engage at the expected level; therefore, we constantly adapt our intervention according to the parents’ decision of how much they want to be involved over the therapy course.
We are all different and have different learning styles, so our OTs try to identify the parents’ learning styles to ensure they understand what they are learning, why they are learning, and how they can implement the learning in their lives. For example, some people prefer learning through practical tasks and very little theory. Others like handouts and something to study after the sessions. Others want to watch their OT doing it before getting their hands on it, and others want to follow plans and learn techniques. If you already know your learning style, please tell your OT your preference so that they can coach you in a way that is most appropriate for you. Otherwise, you can ask your OT to help you identify your learning style to foster your learning in therapy.
To work collaboratively, we need to have parents’ feedback. We are here to listen to parents so we can learn from them as much as they learn from us. So, if you’re a client, please make sure you make the invisible visible and give your Occupational Therapist feedback on which improvements can be made and what is working well or what is not working.
The OTs on our team are all experienced with parent coaching and working collaboratively with families, schools and other health allied professionals. If you feel it would be helpful to set up some parent coaching sessions with one of our Occupational Therapists or if you want to book a school visit or a health allied team meeting, please get in touch.