I field the calls from panicked new parents all the time: “We need therapy every day of the week!” Parents of older children who are still struggling ask, “Would adding another therapy help him overcome this difficulty?” Parents who have toured various school options tell me, “This one will have her at school five days a week 8AM to 5PM, it must be the best!” What is going on here?!?
Parents, in their desire to do right by their children with hearing loss, often buy into the myth that if one hour of therapy a week is good, then two hours must be better, three hours triple the benefit, and so on. It’s a perfectly reasonable assumption, but any professional who leads you down this road probably has the bottom line in mind more than your family’s success. Why?
Parent coaching is at the heart of listening and spoken language therapy. If the therapist does her job right, the family should leave the weekly session feeling comfortable with auditory verbal strategies and confident in their ability to carry them out throughout the week. Overscheduling therapy or educational services leads to parents who abdicate the responsibility for their child’s development and children who are burnt out and not effective learners. Children’s brains need time to rest, grow, play, explore, and absorb new information. Parents need guidance to implement therapy strategies in the home, so therapy doesn’t become an even that happens “Wednesdays 2-3PM” but rather a lifelong experience of listening, learning, and enjoying together.
2 thoughts on “Too Much Is Never Enough: How Much Therapy Do You Need?”
Children with disabilities in addition to hearing loss may need a more intensive therapy schedule. My daughter has autism as well as hearing loss and we saw a big improvement in her language skills (as well as other skills) when we got funding approval for 20 hours/week of Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy. As always, each child is different and those with greater challenges may indeed need daily therapy.
Yes — each child and family situation needs to be considered individually, and some types of therapy, like ABA, are designed to be more intensive in terms of contact hours than AVT. I’m glad you’ve found the right combination for your family!