A home-based therapy program requires the parents, family, friends or carers become the primary therapists. It is possible for these people to take on this role, or should therapy only be carried out by properly trained therapists?
Numerous studies have indicated that parent-completed reports are a reliable and valid tool for measuring childhood milestones in the early childhood years. Recent literature also demonstrates the important role of caregivers in the recovery process following traumatic brain injury, and the inclusion of the family as active providers in the treatment plan. It would be safe to assume that same would apply to congenital brain injury.
No matter how well trained a therapist may be, there is one advantage that parents will always possess. They are family, and are usually keen to be involved in the therapy. Furthermore, they know and understand the person better than anyone else and best know how to motivate and encourage, important ingredients of a successful therapy program. If the therapist shows the parents how to carry out the therapy program, the talents of those involved would be utilized to the fullest - the therapist would devise and update the therapy, and this would then be administered by the parents and their support network in a safe and familiar environment for the child or adult.
Since a therapy program needs to be done as intensively as possible, parents who choose to do so are in the best position to spend the time that is required with their child. It would be uneconomical for a therapist to spend all her time with one patient, and virtually impossible in an institutional setting for a child to receive the amount of individual care required. Home-based therapy should not be compulsory. For some, this would be impossible or impractical. However, there are parents who are in a position to become more involved, and for these parents a home-based treatment program is a viable option.
The importance of a structured therapy program
It seems to be human nature that most people work better if everything is well structured and highly organized. It is a rare person who can work to maximum output without some sort of external control. Parents have sometimes commented that they are not told exactly what should be done with their child each day at home. They are shown treatment techniques, but the instructions regarding the required repetition of the exercise are sometimes vague. They may be told to do the exercises when both they and their child are in the mood, or to fit them in between all the other things that need to be done around the house. But they are not always told exactly when they should be done, or how many times they should be repeated.
Thus, without a specific timetable, it is difficult to carry out a well organised and structured therapy program. There are always other things that need their attention. Since no one stresses to them the importance of constant repetition, the therapy is sometimes performed in a spasmodic way. Although the parents often feel that this is not right, they find it difficult to correct their ways since they have no clear guidelines to follow.
The home-based therapy program offered by Neuro-Developmental Therapy Programs clearly shows parents what they are required to do. The therapy program is well set out, and organized in such a way that the parents have a specific timetable to follow. Of course, there will be days when, for whatever reason, it will not be possible to carry out the full quota of what is required, but at least it will be clear what should be attempted each therapy day.