Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Perceptions on Pediatric Group Therapy Sessions

A recent study examined administrators, therapists and parents perceptions on the use of pediatric group therapy.  Interviews and focus groups were conducted with 13 administrators, 19 therapists and 5 parents of children with special needs.  The results indicated the following:
  • adminstrators perceived groups to help with accessibility to services
  • increased effort on the part of the therapist to conduct groups
  • therapists expressed doubts about service quality in groups
  • therapists reported benefits of social participation
  • in general parents were supportive of group sessions
What are your thoughts on group therapy sessions?  Based on my experience, I have found them to be very beneficial.  The children can learn motor skills by watching peers, interacting with peers and modeling for peers.  Additional benefits are the ability to practice turn taking and self regulation skills in a group setting.  Although in the school systems, the biggest issue was not preparing for the group session but finding space to conduct a group session.

If you need ideas for group therapy sessions check out 25 Instant Sensory Motor Group Activities and Sensory Motor Group Activities A to Z.

Reference: Chantal Camden, Sylvie T√©treault, Bonnie Swaine. Increasing the Use of Group Interventions in a Pediatric Rehabilitation Program: Perceptions of Administrators, Therapists, and Parents. Physical & Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics May 2012, Vol. 32, No. 2: 120–135.


Christopher Alterio said...

It was an interesting article - with the driving forces toward the group models related to overall problems with accessibility and reducing wait lists for services. In that sense the administrators liked groups because they solved an 'accessibility' problem.

My practice used to provide services to an integrated preschool program that made a similar administrative move to groups so that all preschoolers were seen in a 5:1 context. It worked fine for children with relatively mild difficulties who benefited from generic structured activities and exposure to developmental tasks but that model does very little to nothing for children who have more severe disabilities. As mentioned in the article, the biggest problem is with decreased individual contact with families and lack of individually tailored intervention strategies for carryover. Parents and therapists dislike forced grouping models, and I don't blame them. Now we see that a population of those families seek private therapy outside of the school context because of dissatisfaction with forced grouping models.

In general I feel more comfortable when group contexts are chosen with specific therapeutic intent, and not because of a need to solve a service delivery or contextual problem with staffing or resources.

Your Therapy Source Inc said...

I agree that group settings should be chosen with a therapeutic benefit in mind. I have run physical therapy group sessions with moderately to severely involved children. Usually they were seen at least 1x individually and 1x in a group. I would push into the classroom. The teachers loved it. They got to see first hand group motor activities that could be done with the class. In addition, with movement came along opportunities to communicate and socialize. OT would run group activities such as cooking or other life skills, and again there was great carry over because teachers could see how it could be done with the group of children in their classroom.

I certainly don't agree with children being put in group sessions just to reduce wait lists.

Thanks for the comment.

Anonymous said...

really informative post about therapy...keep sharing!

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