Summer is not the only when therapists have to be concerned about kids regressing. The reality is that kids have busy lives and may not remember to practice skills they have been working on outside of the school day. There are many different ways to work on this for all therapy session types. The key is starting this at the beginning of the school year and being consistent.
Importance of Communication with Home
Communication is critical in the world of education. While kids spend a lot of their day in school, they go home and need to practice between sessions. The more they are actively engaged in their therapy beyond the time spent with you, the more likely they are to hit their goals.
This means that your job as a therapist is to open up the lines of communication to those at home from the first days of the new school year. Send home a letter or email. Ask them for input about their child. Make an interest inventory for families to fill out which will assist you throughout the academic year. Ask questions about how to reach them and what is the best way to involve them in therapy skill practice at home.
Offer to send home emails on a set schedule. It doesn’t have to be weekly. Perhaps you let them know ahead of time what you will be doing for a month. Give ideas of topics to talk to their child about and what they may want to expand on. If you are working on specific exercises or movement, link them up to where they can see what their child should be doing. The more information they have at their fingertips, the more likely they are to utilize it with their child.
Keep Up on New Technology for Home Use
Be sure to stay on top of new technology being used for your specific type of therapy. While budgets may not allow for some items to be bought and used in school, some families may be able to get things. They may have insurance which will cover it or be able to get something via a grant. Keep in touch with local colleges and universities to see what they may be working on and want students to assist.
An example of this is the at Brigham Young University where students have created Benni the robot to help children with autism. The group founded Early Intervention Robotics. Their little robot goes home with children. The robot is meant to help children with social skills. They practice what they have learned in therapy sessions with Benni at their home. The robot has games that will teach kids how to play with friends. The overall goal is practicing social skills through play.
How do you communicate with families at home to keep them informed on what to practice? Have you found resources which have provided technology that may be helpful to different students at home? Please share your experiences below in the comments.