Teletherapy sessions is more than a feasible solution for the near future - it’s a win-win!
These past couple of months have probably been the most stressful of our adult lives. By now, the sting of this new reality is subtle, and you’ve probably gotten into a new rhythm, a new schedule and a new norm. There are endless stressors (financial, emotional, social…) that we can identify, however I’m going to present a different narrative.
These past couple of months of staying in place have awarded parents the opportunity to be present for their children in a way that would have otherwise been impossible.
I’ve worked with many families, to coach them in strategies/activities/schedules to help them push through each day with their children.
Those are the same parents who’ve I’ve coached for the past several years. However, NOW they aren’t busy with work, travel, transport, entertaining, vacation and recreation… just to name a few. Now it’s all about filling time at home, until the end of the day, repeat.
Thus, parents are searching for fun, therapeutic and educational ways to play with their children. All studies indicate that the greatest progress is achieved when parent’s carryover, and expand on, the exercises and activities that are done during therapy sessions.
The best progress is achieved when parents understand the goal of an activity and why the therapist is suggesting a specific activity, in order for the parent to simulate the activity and imbed it into their child’s daily routine. In technical terms, which some may appreciate, parents are executing trials of blocked practice.
‘Practice makes perfect is not just a cliché’.
Blocked practice is described as practicing the same skill over and over again, which uses the same neuromotor pathways, which makes the connections between brain and body faster and smoother. Blocked practice is a great way to teach a new skill or to improve the quality of movement during a familiar skill.
My job has not changed, the way that I execute it has. During teletherapy visits, I observe the child’s movements, I analyze what muscles are working, which ones are not, and I recommend an activity that incorporates motor, cognition and communication.
The goal-oriented tasks are always a game or a fun activity that promotes independence, a better quality of life, or to gain a functional skill. Because the parents are executing this, the parent also becomes a participant in active learning, which both empowers them and is most beneficial for the child because most parents will revisit that task at a later date. We have all gotten more creative in using household items to create interactive and fun therapy sessions.
So, while this period of time is full of unknowns, I know that this can be a time of learning and fun and even progress! We’re all in this together is not just a cliché’, its reality.
Parents and physiotherapist working together have always been integral for a child’s success, now more than ever. To the parents out there, I recognize that this is far from easy, but I want to thank you for making a tremendous difference in your child’s life right now. Regardless of what’s keeping you up at night, every parent’s dream of doing everything we can for our children, is still being fulfilled!
This period of togetherness has given many parents to participate in therapy sessions and actually implement the carryover that the children need to learn and progress.
Dr. Sharon Galitzer, PT, DScPT, MS, CIMI
Pediatric Physical Therapist