Children’s Services at UCP of Greater Cleveland is based on a whole child approach that promotes the participation of a wide range of professionals and family members to meet the needs of the child. UCP therapists working together exemplifies a true team approach to promote progress and partnerships. It is common to see “cooperation in motion” as therapists uphold common goals for the benefit of the child. For example, a speech therapist may inform the team that a child is working on particular words or sounds. The occupational and physical therapist will integrate these words and sounds into treatment sessions to generalize skills. The same holds true for occupational or physical therapy recommendations. This collaborative approach yields results, especially when combined with parental involvement. Different types of therapists working together with one child is the core of our Steps to Independence intensive therapy program, but is also carried over to traditional therapy informally. By working together, therapists at UCP place the child’s progress and needs as the focus of therapy.
Our organization also values both the input of the individual and their family. In Children’s Services, the therapists at UCP use a family-focused team approach to help each child reach their greatest potential. The family, along with the child and the therapy team work together to create individualized goals for therapy. The focus is not only what will make the child more independent, but also, as the child gets older, helps the family function in daily life. An example might be a child working with an occupational therapist on the fine motor skill of feeding themselves. Or working with a physical therapist in standing up to get out of their wheelchair or sitting down by themselves, so a family member doesn’t have to lift them. Regular therapy sessions are very important in establishing effective programming and striving toward the established goals. However, most children require daily engagement in therapeutic activities necessitating parental involvement to truly meet their goals and maintain long-term change. UCP encourages parents and caregivers to regularly be a part of therapy services to learn specific and individualized techniques to help their child. Families are also given detailed home programs so that they can practice skills at home with their child. This participation leads to a greater understanding of their child’s strengths and weaknesses and, as a result, parents effectively prepare to collaborate with other team members such as therapists, physicians and school personnel. We believe that each child’s outcomes improve with parental involvement and are supported by the team approach!
Information for this post was submitted by Laurene Sweet, UCP Physical Therapist, and edited by Tammy Willet. Laurene is pictured above with Elsie and her sister Camryn during one of their regular walks around the building.