A Parent’s Role in the Development of a Child

Parents with a special needs child are always wondering if they are doing enough to help their child grow and develop.

By taking an active role in tracking the 9 important developmental milestones for your child, identifying developmental delay and finding a therapist for your special needs child, parents are well on their way to helping your child meet developmental milestones.

The next steps after choosing a therapeutic treatment program is to be present during therapy and learn the techniques being taught in order to continue treatment at home.

Here are a few things to consider when attending treatment sessions with your child.

A special needs parent’s role

A child’s development depends immensely on the joint efforts of the child, parents and therapists. While therapists are a crucial part of therapy, parents also play an integral role as they inspire, motivate, and incorporate functions taught in therapy with daily life.

When parents learn the techniques taught in therapy and practice them with their child, it aids in a child’s overall improvement. When a parent is not involved in the child’s therapy, it might take much longer for the child to improve. Family involvement is an important aspect in any child’s development.

A physiological look into things 

A child’s brain is most malleable and formative during the early years of his life. With the appropriate methods and stimulation, neuroplasticity will allow the brain to repair or reroute damaged pathways so a child can learn or re-learn to use functions.

It is then possible to develop your child and help him become more independent. If the brain receives little stimulation, the synapses will not develop and the brain will make fewer connections. In order to create new functional pathways, a child must constantly stimulate his brain with repetitive practice.

Incorporating functions in daily life

So how can this be done? Simply attending therapy sessions for a few hours per week isn’t enough to help your child meet developmental milestones. By continuing treatment at home, you will be integrating daily functions taught in therapy with the child’s daily life.

This will have great impact on your child’s improvement as functions become automatic and the child learns that these functions are something that are required through the day as opposed to simply 2-3 hours per week. For example, if a child wants to grab a toy, instead of simply getting him the toy, use the steps taught in therapy and encourage your child to obtain it himself. That way, your child will know to use the steps learned in therapy at home.

The benefits

By continuing treatment outside of the clinic, you will help break down the barrier between the therapy room and home, allowing newly learned functions to become part of the child’s everyday life. When it has become integrated in the child’s life, he will then begin to meet his developmental milestones.

It’s important to keep in mind that the therapist acts as a coach and continuing to work at home will lead to the best results. By grasping what is taught in therapy and repeating it, your child will learn, grow, and develop.


About the author

Natan Gendelman has written 135 articles for Enabled Kids.

Natan Gendelman is licensed as a physical therapist in Russia and Israel. After moving to Canada, he was certified as a kinesiologist and osteopathy manual practitioner. Natan has more than 20 years of experience providing rehabilitation and treatment for conditions such as cerebral palsy, autism, Down syndrome, pediatric stroke and acquired brain injury. He is the founder and director of Health in Motion Rehabilitation, a Toronto-based clinic whose main objective is to teach their patients the independence necessary for success in their daily lives.

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