Earlier this week I shared a story
regarding a little girl I work with in Early Intervention. If you've had a chance to read over the post, you'll see that at our previous appointment I asked the mom if it would be ok for us to venture a block away to the neighborhood playground. I explained that we would make it a family trip and all of us would walk together down the street to the park. I also explained that our county is encouraging therapists to have sessions in "natural environments" that are outside of the home from time to time. The goal is to ensure that the child is applying skills learned in the home across all environments making therapy more relevant and effective.
This mom was openly resistant to this idea last week and shared some of her fears regarding her children doing anything outside of their home. I asked that when I return this week, she rethink her decision and reinforced to her that we would all be together so that she would be participating in everything.
I am happy to report that she did in fact rethink the suggestion! When I arrived for my scheduled appointment she was waiting for me and was in the process of getting her children dressed to go outside. She was on the verge of tears during part of this preparation; however she stayed focused, loaded the kids into a double seated wagon and off we went!
What I learned during this trip was that this 27-month-old little girl has very little to no experience in this type of setting. She wasn't able to get in and out of the wagon or walk on the wood chips and was very frightened at first of the swing. She was silent the entire time. This little girl has global needs and like all children, will benefit from frequent exposure to a variety of age-appropriate activities.
Overall, I feel our session was a big success! I now have substantial data to support my previous thoughts that this child needs a PT evaluation. In addition, we spotted a local recreation center that has various activities for children of all ages within walking distance of the home, which mom was willing to "look into". Finally, a trust was created between this mom and her neighborhood and maybe even with her self. I am hoping that this week's session can serve as a springboard for many new experiences to come both during speech therapy and beyond!
A day like this is a reminder that many times in home care we are treating not only the child, but the entire family as well.