occupational therapy

Common Mistakes Parents Make With Occupational Therapy

It’s my annual email to remind you of all the things my therapists want me to remind you of! We know you don’t usually have the opportunity to sit and chat with our therapists for hours to review things, so I took a list of the areas they feel are important to review. As a parent of 2 children with special needs, I understand so I want to help.


1. Complete your home programs.


First, the therapists want me to remind you that if they give you a recommendation or a home program to complete, please complete these things. Your therapists have spent a long time coming up with these recommendations, and they’re planning on using those skills as building blocks to accomplishing your child’s goals. When the goals aren’t accomplished, the therapist will be asking you about your compliance with the home program because it’s so critical in bridging the process. Remember, your therapists are only with your child a couple of times a week, so we need to create ways to continue progressing at home, and you need to make sure you’re doing them. If you don’t understand the home program, ask your therapist to review it for you or ask them to make a little video for you. But do make sure you’re communicating with your therapist about the home program, and how to get it done.


2. Don’t cancel treatment when your therapist is out.


Please, please, please don’t cancel treatment because your primary therapist is out! When your therapist is out they specifically select their substitute—it’s never random. The therapists can use this opportunity to have your child learn to work with someone they’re less familiar with. In the real world, when our kids go to school, their primary teacher can be out for a vacation or a doctor’s appointment, maternity leave or illness. It’s critical that our kids learn to tolerate that here because this is the best place for them to exhibit a problem. We want them to have the meltdown or the problem here, so we can work on remediating that for you. Also, as I’ve mentioned before, our kids have to learn to develop flexibility, just like we do. I know sometimes you’re not as familiar with all the clinicians here, but your kiddo knows probably 75% of our therapists because they’re interacting with them back in the treatment areas where you’re not seeing them. And sometimes the kids get excited at the idea of working with someone new!


3. Save lengthy conversations for email.


If you’re in the waiting room and you have a specific issue that you want to share with your therapist but it’s lengthy, please keep in mind a couple of things. The first is that the waiting room is not a very secure environment in which to talk about issues. There are other families around and it’s often kind of chaotic, especially after school. The second is time. Your therapist is always going to come out to talk to you about how your child is doing and how they did in treatment that day. They allow about three minutes for that transition process because their next client is waiting for them there in the waiting room. If it’s going to be a lengthy concern I recommend that you email it in so that your therapists have some time to really think about it and not have to give you an off the cuff quick answer because they’re pressed for time. We ask that you are sensitive to this because if you were the next family waiting for treatment, you wouldn’t be very happy if your therapist was engaged with someone else during your time. Also, please realize that the therapists see probably 30 kids a week, and if everyone is emailing them they’re probably spending half a day responding to emails! It’s not set up to be an ongoing chain, but to make sure that communication is happening. Also, your therapists will be more than happy to pass your emails on to other providers or copy the other providers in if you’re seeing two or three disciplines within the clinic.

Overall our therapists want to make sure that we all stay flexible and consistent. At Cutting Edge, we really strive for 110% quality and customer service. That being said, we are human and sometimes things do slip through the cracks. We do have a large volume of patients and a large volume of treaters, so if something does fall through the cracks please bring it to our attention! And please be patient with us. If something does get missed it’s never on purpose, it’s usually because we were multitasking and didn’t bring something over from Post It Note A to Post It Note B when there was a change in schedule. Often time when we’re adjusting schedules if people aren’t consistent we have a hard time making sure that communication train continues between parent and facility. It’s always better to over-communicate than to under-communicate! We are going to be the first people to apologize because we know we make mistakes. Our hearts are in the right place here. We want to be able to bless our families and our kids.

My husband Joe and I know these scenarios all too well because we’ve been there too.

Kate Lundgren

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