Parents in Practice: Do's and Don'ts
This week, I was inspired by a podcast the Autism Science Foundation released on the role of parents in interventions and therapies. As I have said in previous posts, parents are an integral part of the therapeutic experience. I see your child for one hour a week; you see them all the time. You are 99% of their life and the more you learn to help them grow, the quicker their skills will develop!
As you embark on this journey of special education, IEPs, therapy sessions, assessments… you are likely to become overwhelmed. Though I have been working in the field for a decade, most parents are new to this and don’t know where to draw the line when participating in therapy with their child. I am lucky to work with some of the most amazing parents and families I have ever met and they do an excellent job of dancing this line.
If you are curious how to be the best parent interventionist in session, here are some simple Do’s and Don’t’s!
Do – Ask the therapist if they want you to be a part of the session with your child
Don’t – Assume you are not wanted or needed if the therapist says no
Do – Provide verbal and visual prompting as needed
Don’t – Complete the task for your child
Do – Ask questions about how a specific intervention is benefiting your child
Don’t – Worry about offending the therapist, we love sharing our knowledge with you
Do – Encourage your child to try their best in session
Don’t – Correct your child if they are doing something wrong; allow the therapist to make adjustments
Do – Implement strategies used in session in the home
Don’t – Do anything you are not comfortable with; consult your therapist as needed
Do – Give your child time, everyone’s processing speed is different
Don’t – Assume your child can’t do the task at hand, your therapist may be introducing something new to push them to the next level
Do – Get involved, this is a positive experience for you to share together
Don’t – Feel like a “helicopter parent”
I love working with parents in my sessions and showing them the many ways music therapy can benefit their child. Being involved in your child’s growth and development is not being a “helicopter parent”. Parents who engage in the session and really take the therapeutic strategies home with them are usually the most successful. Ask questions, participate, and just remember to make sure your involvement does not interfere with the therapeutic process.