In an intervention programme, a therapist may see your child twice, or even thrice a week, spending a few hours with them each time. Some parents may think that that is sufficient. In this article, we will be looking into the benefits for the child when parents are actively involved in an intervention program and why parents play such a pivotal role in the way a child responses to any program.
As therapists are trained to give specific responses to help a child learn appropriate behaviours, the child is usually able to adjust to the feedback accordingly. However, when the session is over, the child may receive inconsistent feedback or untimely ones from their parents, understandably so as they may be frustrated by a lack of receptivity to repeated instructions or the appearance of other undesirable behaviour. While this is understandable, it may cause them to unlearn the appropriate behaviours they have managed to just get the hang of during the session. On the other hand, when a parent’s feedback is in line with that of the therapists, in other words, consistent with theirs, appropriate behaviours of the child that we hope to increase will be reinforced instead of fading away after a session is over. In fact, a study by St. Catherine University, Minnesota has shown that parents’ involvement significantly increase developmental skills and progress of a child in an early intervention programme.