No Big Deal! Talking To Your Child About Therapy

When you decide your child needs to see a speech, occupational, or physical therapist or it has been recommended by your doctor, your child may experience some anxiety or want to know more about what he or she will do at this appointment and why do they need to go?

  • Explain to your child that when they are sick or do not feel good they go to the doctor for help and to feel better.  Along the same lines, a parent might explain that a sports coach helps provide tips and practice to get better at the sport the child plays.  A therapist is much like a coach that will help the child improve in area(s) where they experience some difficulty. You can explain that sometimes kids have difficulty with their talking, walking, eating, or handwriting.  When children have these types of troubles they can see person called a “therapist.”
  • Tell your child that the therapist they will see is like a new special teacher friend that will help them with the areas of difficulty they might be experiencing (talking, walking, eating, writing, etc.)
  • What is a therapist?  The therapists are people who have gone to school with specialized training for speech, physical, or occupational therapy.  Therapists are helpers!
  • It maybe comforting to explain some things the therapist may ask them to do when they are visiting for the first time.  The new therapist may ask the child to do some things like run, jump, name pictures in a book, draw, talk, eat/drink, follow directions, or point to pictures. The therapist may also spend some time talking with parents about what kinds of difficulties the child is experiencing.
  • Children might wonder what they will do when they visit a therapist when they are scheduled for regular therapy appointments.  A parent can explain to their child that the therapists do their work by playing games and planning fun activities to work on things that may be a little difficult for the kids to do by themselves.  Therapists often plan therapy activities based on the child’s interests.   
  • The clinic or office where the therapist works is a safe place with lots of fun things to do.  There are toys and games that will be used during therapy.  It may look like a doctor’s office, but it will be fun!  There are no needles or shots.
  • For older kids, be sure your child knows that they can choose to tell their friends that they go to therapy or they can decide not to share this information.  Who they tell, and if they tell, is their decision.  
  • If a child needs help, explain to them that working with a therapist is the right thing to do to make their problems better.  You might say “No one is perfect.  We all have strengths and things we need extra help with.  You will get to have fun while getting even better at talking, writing, walking, etc.” Getting help is no big deal and can be lots of fun!
References: an article from Therapeutic Partners 

The Therapy S.P.O.T. – Speech, Physical, and Occupational Therapy ©Jason Hurst Photography 2014-2015 ©Jason Hurst Photography 2014-2015

Our multidisciplinary therapy center was established in 2007, and is committed to providing quality therapy services in a fun, family and child centered environment. We provide pediatric speech, feeding, physical, and occupational therapy as well as adult speech and swallowing therapy.  Our therapists have unique and specialized skills and training, and we strive to pair our patients with the therapists who will best meet their specific needs.  You can learn more about our services at  Questions or concerns?  Call us at (912) 681-7768 for a free consultation.