When we think of therapy, we tend to envision something traditional; a study-like room with deep chairs or a sofa where a person sits having a one-on-one discussion with a therapist holding a yellow notepad. While that traditional form of talk therapy is still an option, today there are so many more possibilities for complementary therapies compared to a decade or two ago.
We’ve all heard about alternative therapeutic methods that others have tried and weren’t quite sure what to think about them. It can be difficult to sift through the latest techniques and know what information has any proven validity to it and what simply does not (especially with the Internet at our fingertips). It’s important to keep in mind that some people make a living by selling an idea. If it sounds too good to be true, makes a lot of lofty promises without any substance behind its claims, or makes a request for payment before fully explaining how the intervention works, it’s good to check with other sources before getting your child involved in a complementary therapy.
Types of Therapeutic Interventions
While we aren’t able to provide you with a comprehensive list of all of the therapeutic interventions that are available in this tip sheet (there are simply too many!), the following list provides you with some options for your consideration.
Sensory Integration Therapy: Sensory Integration Therapy is a type of occupational therapy that focuses on the way the brain processes sensation, interprets it, and sends messages to various parts of the body on how to respond. When there’s a snag in this process, a therapist can work with you and the child to develop a sensory integration plan (sometimes referred to as a “sensory diet”). As a parent, you may have spotted an odd reaction or physical sensitivity (or insensitivity) here or there, without an explanation. The sensory integration plan guides parents and teachers on how to respond or provide soothing activities. Sensory toys and tools are often used to provide tactile feedback to the brain (think texture, vibration, sticky, squishy, pressure, etc.).
Music Therapy: Music therapy can be in the form of listening to, moving to, creating, playing, or singing music. It’s something parents can encourage at home, and you can also enlist the services of a certified music therapist for a more structured and individualized plan of therapy. Music can elevate a child’s mood, promote a sense of inner strength and spirituality, reduce stress and depression, sharpen the brain, and assist with medical recovery. Encouraging the child to learn an instrument or write music can give her a positive outlet to express herself. It can even help you gauge where she is emotionally, as you look for clues in the messages of her favorite songs or lyrics she has written.