The importance of at home therapy

The benefits of professional speech therapy for children with autism have been studied and published accordingly, as well as Applied Behavior Analysis. Occupational therapy still requires further study before it joins that list. My personal experience with my son has shown me the benefits of all three. We take him once a week to the professionals and he gets a little therapy at school as well, but if that were all we did, I do not believe Logan would be progressing as quickly or as thoroughly as he is. I attend therapy with my son in part to observe and to learn how the professionals are helping him so I can continue with it at home.

When you learn a language, there is a technique called immersion, where you surround yourself with nothing but that language for a time. Having no alternative, you will learn the language, in time well enough to almost sound native. I see Logan’s therapy much the same way – total immersion for the greater benefit of the process.

I can turn almost everything we do on a daily basis into something that will work with his therapies, work towards reaching our current goal. Our speech therapist gives us suggestions for home activities, I’ve found more online, and I’ve come up with some on my own past that. The best part about it is that, most times, his therapies are fun, like games. Playing pretend with his little figures, learning to use and expand his imagination – it all ties into the strides he is making. You can take every game and turn it so that it becomes a part of your at home therapy, even if said game is the reward the child gets for doing the work you ask him to do.

One of Logan’s favorite parts of the day is our Work Time, and I encourage that as best I can because I think the immersion is helping, that pushing him to speak, pushing him to ask and answer questions, is helping him to make progress and to understand. It takes time, it takes work, and there are days when it seems too much for all involved, but it’s worth it. At least, for my son it has been.

As I write this, he is writing words on his chalkboard, pleased as punch to be doing so and not expecting any reward but a new piece of chalk when he breaks the one he’s currently using. It thrills me to watch him to this, to know he wants to do it, knowing that even six months ago, he had a difficult time holding the chalk correctly.

It is possible that Logan would be progressing just as well working only at school and therapy, but I truly doubt it. And he loves to work with me here at home. Immersion can be difficult – it takes time, it takes patience – but my opinion is that it is indeed worth it.


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