Therapy 101: Why some therapy sessions are better than the rest
Some of you may have read that we’ve started Nadine on an Educational Therapy program with Alpha to Omega. At the end of 2015, she had an assessment done to find out her learning difficulties, and thereafter, a special personalised program was created just for her. She has gone for 12 sessions, and it was time for a review!
Now, I must say that I’m usually not so keen for review sessions. It’s like meet the parents sessions, I always have to prepare my heart for some bad report, or something new that has arisen. And if there’s nothing new, there is really nothing new! The teachers will tell me something that I’ve already known since Day 1, and I would just feel the session is a waste of time!
BUT for this particular Review Session, I was genuinely looking forward to it! Although the classes are only once a week, Nadine has been showing more and more interest in this class. I’ve also observed her improved responsiveness to conversations and how she is more confident when she handles any school work. I wanted to know did these 12 sessions contribute to these observations. And of course, do we continue with this personalised program?
Well, spoiler alert here, we decided to continue with the program for Nadine, and we even upped it to having sessions twice a week! I decided to summarise the reasons how we arrived at this decision with 5 Reasons Why You Would Love Sending Your Child to Alpha to Omega!
Reason 1 – You Get Frequent Updates
For educational therapy sessions, the child is left alone with the therapist, and very often, parents have to guess what’s happening. Not for Alpha to Omega.
In the 12 sessions, the therapist, Sally emailed me up to 6 times to give me a report on Nadine’s progress. The report was kept simple, in layman terms (no fancy psychological or technical words!). The intent is always to inform me of what’s happening, or anything that I need to take special notice of. Here’s a sample email:
And because I receive these emails so often, I knew that the actual meet-up for review would be very fruitful. I was assured that the therapist is regularly ‘keeping tabs’ on Nadine, and her review would be accurate!
Reason 2 – Goals & Objectives are clearly defined
Remember I mentioned that Nadine’s program is personalised? I liked it that the therapist clearly listed out the key medium term and long term goals. It was specific and I was always reminded of these goals, so that we can work towards these same goals at home and in school! Her goals for this season:
- Continue to improve reading and writing fluency
- Gain confidence and improve self esteem
- Enhance vocabulary, word recognition and higher order thinking
- Promote organisation of ideas, comparative behaviours and orientation in space
- Improve auditory short term memory
- Overcome deficits with executive functions, written work and math facts
Don’t you think these goals are broken down into achievable bit size pieces? Love love love this!
Reason 3 – It’s not just about Education
When Nadine comes back from a session, she usually has a prize to show for it. Like what was stated in the email above, the therapist uses a Points system to ‘reward’ Nadine. When she hits a X number of points, she gets a prize. Using this supposedly simply method, showed me the therapist’s dedication to giving affirmation to Nadine.
I found out that these points are awarded NOT for task completion. Rather, it’s for little things like neat handwriting, or ability to understand a new concept! Over time, the therapist STOPS giving the points so freely, and the child is somewhat led to make a decision even when there’s no carrot! And it pleased me greatly when I found out that Nadine has continued working on projects, despite lesser or no points rewarded! I’m so so amazed and so so happy!
During the review, they told me Nadine used to need the points to work on a particular task, but in the last two sessions, she actually continued working on the task, despite being told there were no points awarded for it! This showed that she realised in her own accord that Nadine enjoyed the task and needed no further affirmation for her to keep working on it! Yeah!
Reason 4 – It is always about the child
During the review, the therapist highlighted many of her personal observations concerning Nadine’s learning abilities, social skills, conversational aptitudes, and even her responses to rainy days, or siblings or happenings in school. Through her sharing, I knew she cared enough to look out for Nadine, bothered to know her as a child, and not just a student in the class.
Reason 5 – Affirmation galore
I’m not sure how this is done for the other students, but for Nadine, it’s Affirmation galore. She has received countless encouragement and words of praise in the 12 sessions. Every achievement is celebrated, and noted. This does wonders to her self esteem and confidence.
But that doesn’t mean Nadine is perfect. They did pick out her weakensses, but look at how they are phrased! It’s never to put down her abilities, never to show how BAD she is compared to what’s expected of her peers, and definitely never to highlight what she should be! Some samples:
- Her greatest challenge now is to accept writing more freely
- Consistent reminders and encouragement to apply and transfer her spelling rules
- Be more confident in using oral language vocabulary and expression
It is quite an easy decision when the therapists proposed increasing the frequency of her sessions. I knew Nadine was benefiting, I knew the people at Alpha to Omega genuinely cared for her and are doing their best to help. After all, this is the 5th place we are sending Nadine to for therapy. I know it when it works! And this works!
For the Alpha to Omega’s intervention programme, the programmes offered include:
- phonics programme that is focused on reading, writing and spelling
- feuerstein instrumental enrichment (FIE) with mediated learning which is focused on improving a student’s cognitive functions
- fundamentals to sentence writing and word attack – which is aimed at improving vocabulary, comprehension and written expression
There are intensive Holiday programs available as well. You can send your child in for special intensive individual sessions or group sessions to help fully utilise this holiday period.
This June holidays, students can try out any of the two enrichment programs to help the,. They aim to provide the students with academic continuity, enhance and sharpen skills and to develop strategies to improve performance. First up: Keeping Skills Sharp (1)
This 4 week or 8 week program for kids aged 8 to 12, looks at reading, comprehension, encoding, critical thinking skills, memory retrieval, written language expression, expressive language skills, self advocacy, time management skills and executive functioning skills. When your child attends the program, you will get a review session at the end of the session wit the therapist and head of the Centre.
Next, Keeping Skills Sharp (2). Set in a similar structure as above, this is for the younger kids, aged 6 to 8. Besides helping with reading, writing and spellin, it will build a student’s phonemic awareness and word recognition.
The Holiday Programs are in a classroom setting, but if you like individual classroom setting, it is available as well!
Please give a call to the centre to find out more! These holiday programs are a great way to have a glimpse at what’s offered.
Alpha To Omega
200 Upper Thomson Road, #01-10
Thomson Imperial Court
Tel: +65 9388 0915
This is part of a series I’ve started – Therapy 101, to document Nadine’s developmental struggles and victories, and to journal my own learning experiences as she goes through hers.
Disclosure: The assessment and sessions are sponsored by Alpha to Omega. All opinions are 100% my own. I’m really looking forward to see how these sessions can help Nadine. I was impressed with the intervention programmes and would love to find out how they can help her development.