What is Pairing? Advice for Pediatric Therapists

Pairing is a very important part of starting a therapy program with a child.  It helps you, as a therapist, build rapport with the child and establish a pairingrelationship.  When working with a child, one of the main things you want to do is pair yourself with fun and reinforcing items.  You want the child to find you, and the environment, exciting and pleasing.  If the child is having fun and likes being with you, then he will be more motivated to come to therapy to work and play.

6 tips to help with pairing:

  1. Play!  When you first meet a child show him the different toys, games, and activities that are available.  Allow him to play with the different items to familiarize himself. Read more

Why does my Therapist want to observe my Child at School?

There are many benefits for therapists that are permitted to observe their clients in the classroom. These observations, when schoolappropriate, are beneficial not only to the therapist, but to the teacher, family and child as well. These observations provide the therapist with additional insight into your child’s school day, as well as promote collaboration with teachers; constant and open communication within your child’s “team” (including their doctors, therapists, teacher, etc.) is vital to his/her success in reaching his or her goals.

Below are 5 reasons to why an in-school observation is important to help your child reach his or her full potential in the classroom:

  1. By observing a child in the school environment, a therapist can make recommendations and modifications specific to that child in his or her classroom environment. Important environmental factors include classroom set-up, structure, size and possible distractions (such as noise or visual distractions). For example, should the student have his or her seat located in a more optimal area? Is there something that is distracting the child, such as a certain poster?
  2. Provide realistic and practical recommendations. Without seeing the child’s classroom, it may be difficult for a therapist to provide recommendations that are feasible for each student and teacher to follow. For example, for middle school students, it would be important to know the distance from his/her locker to the homeroom class or how much time they have between classes to get from one class to another. For an elementary student, learning about the classroom “jobs” can be important for the therapist to know.
  3. Update and create treatment plans and goals for therapy. Not only can your therapist provide the classroom teacher with recommendations for their classroom, but by being able to observe a child in their own classroom environment, a therapist can appropriately update treatment plans and goals to optimize your child’s success in the classroom.
  4. Collaboration between your therapist and teacher is a very important part of the therapeutic process, especially when your child is having a difficult time within the classroom. By meeting the teacher in-person and other staff members within the building, a relationship and “team” is formed with the shared interest of helping your child succeed.
  5. Visiting a classroom provides a therapist with an opportune time to advocate for their students as well as provide information to teachers regarding their students and the challenges that the students may be facing, which can make the learning and school process difficult.

Following a school visit, therapists will provide the parent with feedback, including observations of their child’s functioning in the classroom and a list of recommendations. For more information on school observations, please consult your child’s therapist to discuss if an observation is deemed necessary and appropriate.

Co-Treating: What is it and what are the benefits for your child?

What is a Co-treatment:

Sessions conducted with 2 or more therapists from different disciplines (OT, SLP, PT, etc.) to maximize therapeutic collaboration. Co-treatments are utilized when two disciplines share complimentary or similar goals.

What are the benefits of co-treatments:

Cohesive treatment sessions and expectations across disciplines:

  • Therapists work together to create treatment plans that include goals of both disciplines. teamwork co treatingFor example, the speech therapist is working on sequencing, and the occupational therapist is working on fine motor/handwriting skills. Together they may implement a writing activity incorporating sequencing.
  • For a lot of children, it is difficult to sustain attention and an optimal arousal level needed to participate in therapy for two back to back sessions. By combining treatments, the child still receives both therapies and works towards both disciplines’ goals in a shorter amount of time.
  • This collaboration can allow for therapists to use the same strategies to encourage participation and good behavior in their individual sessions. Consistency in this area is key for a child to learn the expectations for behavior in a treatment sessions and will in the end allow for maximal benefit from therapy.

Promotes an interdisciplinary team approach:

  • An interdisciplinary team consists of various professionals from diverse fields, who work together, through combining information and resources, toward a common goal for the patient.
  • Therapists collaborate and discuss the child’s goals, treatment, and progress throughout the therapy process. Together, they consistently update plans and goals as the child grows and succeeds.
  • By working together, therapists gain a better understanding and appreciation of each other’s role in the therapeutic process.

Focuses on the “whole child”:

  • Sessions do not focus on only one area of difficulty for the child; instead it combines multiple challenging areas into one session. For example, a speech therapist and an occupational therapist work together to simultaneously treat a child with sensory processing and language difficulties through playing a language based game while incorporating sensory components (swing, movement, heavy work, etc.).
  • Therapists can work together to create treatment plans that most benefit the child.
  • Together, therapists can modify and change treatments throughout the sessions.
  • Good for generalization of skills. When a child uses a newly acquired skill with different people and in different situations, the skill will transfer into functional, everyday use.

The benefits of co-treatment are vast and endless. Together therapists can combine their expertise to learn from each other to promote their own practice and to create optimal treatment plans for the child. In order to best serve children, co-treatment should be done only when it is of benefit to the child and when the decision to do so is made collaboratively with the therapists and parents.

To find out more about co-treating options at North Shore Pediatric Therapy, contact us here:

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