Parent-therapist communication is important as well as necessary. It helps both parents and therapist gain a feedback regarding child’s performance in therapy areas, generalization of skills in different situations and to assess if goals should be modified or new ones to be set. However due to time constraints, much of this information is not successfully conveyed between both parties. Therefore to help improve your parent- therapist communication, here are some pointers:
1. Write them down: Maintain a communication notebook. In this, both parent and therapist can note down the vital facts that they want to communicate to each other. Writing down also helps you to recollect key information and can be used as a reference for future needs.
2. Be precise and concise: Use the ABC style to help you write down important points. A stands for the antecedent, B for the behavior and C the consequence. Basically you will just be noting down the factors or stimulants that brought about a particular behavior or response, a brief description of the behavior along with their frequency and duration and the consequences or the measures that you took to calm down your child or the techniques they used to calm themselves.
3. Allotment of time: Schedule a 5-10 minute chat time, either at the start of the session or before the end. This gives you ample time to discuss your needs and queries. If not plan with your therapist and take an extra appointment to discuss your needs.
4. Plan your reviews: Every case is reviewed at least once in three months. Prepare and plan ahead the points that you would like to discuss or clarify with the therapist. Create a check list and carry it to your sessions to ensure that all your points have been discussed to your satisfaction.
5. Avoid distractions: Ringing phones and tired children can distract you from having an effective conversation. Therefore take care to put your phones on silent and carry a snack or juice to keep your child engaged, leaving you with a little breathing space to carry on your discussion.
Having given these pointers, we hope you have an improved quality conversation with your therapist the next time.
Sarah Mary Joseph
Sr. Occupational Therapist
Prayatna, Centre for Child Development, Cochi