What EI is (and isn’t!)
Yes, you want what’s best for your child. And if that means EI therapy, of course you’re on board. But–just admit it– you feel kind of strange welcoming a complete stranger into your house.
It doesn’t help matters that your therapist said she’d be coming at 10 AM–a time when you’re normally rinsing sippy cups while balancing your cell phone on your shoulder and watching the dog nose at leftover breakfast crumbs on the floor. Not exactly visiting hours.
The good news is that your therapist isn’t here to judge you or your housekeeping skills. S/he is here for one reason: to provide expert and professional support to help your child progress toward his/her individual goals.
As a parent and therapist, I’ve been on both sides of the fence. And my experience has taught me that the best parent-therapist relationships are forged when both sides have a realistic view of how therapy does and doesn’t work. That’s why I created the Thera-List. It’s all about knowing how therapy should work, so you can maximize that session and minimize the awkwardness.
(And just so you know: we’ve seen messes worse than yours. I can practically guarantee it. So just relaaaax.)
The NO-List (what you DON’T want your session to be):
✖ Coffee date. Conversations that involve problem-solution brainstorming, or updates about your child are alright. But keep the communication focused on helping your child.
✖ Sermon. If your therapist recommends something you’re not going to be able to manage, don’t just nod your head and pretend to go along with it. Explain the limitations that you have. Ask your therapist to come up with more realistic, actionable strategies.
✖ Babysitting. This should go without saying. Your therapist is here to support you as you support your child, not to supervise your child while you get a break (and yes, you do deserve one! But your EI session is about supporting development).
The YES-List (great sessions have lots of this going on):
✔ Communicating. You’ll be updating your therapist about developments, problems, solutions…anything new in the world of your child’s development.
✔ Brainstorming. Together, you and your therapist will come up with strategies to help your child progress.
✔ Learning. Your therapist’s experience and expertise will help you learn how to be the most supportive parent possible.
✔ Practicing. Expect your therapist to model strategies for you so that you can practice. His/ her expert feedback will give you skills & techniques you can carry over throughout your child’s day.
Keep the Thera-List in your back pocket (or at least in the back of your mind), and make the most of your session, while knowing what to expect. And don’t worry about those sippy cups–they’re not going anywhere.