The Benefits of Co-Treatment For Special Needs Kids
Today we want to talk to you about the benefits of co-treatments.
Why We Recommend Co-Treatments
We recommend co-treatments to many of our clients at Cutting Edge because they maximize therapy time, they facilitate generalization, and they also improve the treatment outcomes between disciplines.
How We Determine If Your Child Will Be a Good Candidate
When we determine whether your child would be a good fit for co-treatment sessions we look at a few different things. Usually, we get a good idea about whether your child will be a good candidate for this type of treatment from your initial evaluation. First we look at your child’s activity tolerance: can they sustain multiple therapies back to back? Do they need to have a schedule that’s a little more condensed so that we can maximize their potential, and then build up to doing single treatments as well?
We also look at their overall levels of attention and engagement. Do they need a little bit more help staying engaged during the activity? Do they need one person to work on one skill while someone else addresses another skill, instead of having one person cover all of it?
We also look at whether or not they have a high sensory need. We can pair a PT with an OT or a speech therapist to make sure their sensory needs are addressed while the other disciplines are getting the maximum potential from that treatment session.
Pairing Language With Motor Skills
Another thing we look at is whether your kiddo has some difficulty pairing language with specific motor skills. These kids can really benefit from co-treatment. We get a pretty good idea in testing if the child is having difficulty even understanding what we’re asking them to do. Beyond whether or not they can do the skill, can they understand what kind of movement we’re asking them to do? Can they pair the words with the motion?
Occupational and Physical Therapy Co-Treat Example
Here are some examples of how co-treatment can work. We currently have one client, a young man, who comes in for OT and PT sessions. Some of the things we work on are functional activities of daily living (ADLs). An OT will work on lower body dressing, for instance, while the PT works on functional strength, transfers, and getting him to move from sitting to standing. We might also have him work in our ADL kitchen, where he will have to put something high up in a cabinet. The PT will work on weight shifts and navigating the environment safely, while the OT works on visual scanning and functional participation in the home.
Speech and Physical Therapy Co-Treat Example
We have another client, a young boy who does speech/PT co-treatments. We do a lot of sports-related activities with him. For instance, we’ll play a baseball game or a football game. One of our speech therapists will help him to understand the different concepts such as where or when to kick, or overhand and underhand throwing—spatial concepts. Together we can work on both the motor skills and understanding all the commands so that he can participate in age-appropriate motor skills.
Speech and Occupational Therapy Co-Treat Example
One client comes in for speech/OT co-treatments a couple of times a week. During this session, the speech therapist will work on the child’s functional communication and his ability to make requests, especially for his sensory needs. He may need head squeezes or hand squeezes, some of that deep pressure input, and we help him learn to ask for that. We also help him learn to make requests for activities in the gym that help with his sensory regulation. He has some articulation needs, so the speech therapist can work on those needs while an OT works on the fine motor skills related to handwriting. We also do a lot of turn-taking games, in which an OT will work on turn-taking, emotional regulation and fine-motor skills while the speech therapist works on peer engagement, sportsmanship, attention to the activity and following directions.
How Long We Co-Treat
We don’t necessarily have to co-treat for the entire session, so we also do a lot of partial co-treatments, perhaps for 15 or 30 minutes a session. It’s really very individualized based on your child’s needs.
Your Next Step
If you think your child might be a good candidate for co-treatment or if you’d like more information, please talk to your child’s therapist. We can determine if this is something that would be appropriate for your child. And as always, feel free to call us with any questions!