The new school year is underway, and children are adjusting to new routines, parents are meeting new teachers, and backpacks are filling with homework. Children are also starting in-school therapies again, often as stipulated through either an individualized education plan (IEP) or a 504 plan. Some children took the summer off from therapy, and others supplemented by participating in clinic-based therapies. With so many extracurricular activities, parents may wonder if their children need both school and clinic therapies. It is a decision based on a variety of factors, including, but not limited to, severity of disorder, insurance coverage, scheduling, and therapeutic minutes received at school. There are numerous benefits for children attending both in-school and clinic-based therapies. See below for the top five reasons.
5 benefits to doing both in-clinic and in-school therapy:
- Increased frequency: Children attending multiple therapies per week benefit from having increased frequency of services. They are being exposed to more direct therapy, as provided in both school and clinic. Children are able to target goals more often, and they tend to make greater gains in a shorter period of time.
- More personalized, individual approach: Children receiving clinic-based therapy are often in a one-on-one session, targeting a child’s specific needs. Children in school often participate in groups, targeting both their own goals as well as the goals of peers. Both types have benefits, as an individual session is tailored specifically to a child’s needs, while an in-school group session often targets goals as well as crucial peer interaction.
- Generalization across environments: As children make gains toward goals, clinicians often look to see how well skills translate, or generalize, across environments. For example, if children have mastered a skill in the clinic, the question will be how well they are able to reproduce the skill at home. Having children attend therapy in two environments can aid in their generalization.
- Collaborating therapists: Oftentimes, clinic-based therapists will reach out to their client’s in-school therapist to collaborate. This allows both therapists to be aware of a child’s goals, while keeping apprised of progress, as well as ongoing areas of need. Collaborating between professionals can ensure best practice and that a child is receiving the best possible care.
- Targeting variety of goals: Therapists in schools are often limited to goals that can be tied to specific academic needs. School therapists are bound by goals that may be impacting a child academically, and they are not always able to look at the entire scope of a child’s need. Clinic-based therapists are able to target on more functional goals, ensuring that all areas of need are addressed. Working on all areas of need together can help children reach their goals and maximize progress.
If parents have specific questions about how their child could benefit from both in-school and clinic-based therapies, their child’s therapists can help highlight advantages. Therapists often welcome collaboration, and in doing so, children receive the best care.