There are many benefits for therapists that are permitted to observe their clients in the classroom. These observations, when appropriate, 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:
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.