By Denise Dahl, PT
When your EI therapist arrives to work with you and your child, do you feel like you have to keep your other children occupied away from the session? Do your other children want your attention as soon as they feel you are giving all of it to one child?
Early Intervention believes in being part of your daily routines. Early Intervention is a family training program, so it’s beneficial to work with the whole gang in order to get an idea of the family dynamics to better help you, the parent, know how to use the information and strategies you learn from your therapist. You can include your other children during many of your daily routines like play time, meal time, and travel time. Here are some ideas that might help you include siblings into the activity:
-have an older brother or sister show or “teach” the child how to do a skill as children often like to imitate their peers or do what they do
-take turns during an activity, make it fun or more understandable by using a timer so young children can “see” the time or “hear” the timer go off
-practice with a sibling while the therapist models an activity with your child, then switch and let the therapist do the task with the sibling and let the parent practice with the child
-include all the children in a group activity, make it a game and encourage cooperation versus competition (Simon Says, obstacle courses)
-encourage or allow your therapist to include all of your children in conversation when they are in your home
Remember to praise and acknowledge all children and their efforts. Praise the child helping, the child doing a task, and the child waiting. Hopefully these ideas will make it easier for you to include your family in your daily routines that address and help your child receiving early intervention.