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Re-Post: Therapy Bill of Rights

Ben's private physical therapist attended an intensive three-day workshop presented by Barbara Hypes, physical therapist and author of Heads Up on Hypotonia.  After hearing raving reviews and seeing the results of new techniques used on Ben, I wanted to contact Ms. Hypes myself.  

After exchanging emails and information with me, Barbara looked at this site and added her thoughts to the Bill of Rights list, originally posted on November 24, 2009. With her permission, her additions are listed in blue.

Therapy Bill of Rights 
As a therapist, I will, understand that the most important thing I do is EDUCATE.  In addition, to the best of my ability I will provide the following service during my time with your child:
  1. Arrive on time.
  2. Call if I will be late or unable to make the appointment.
  3. Plan ahead for the session – have a schedule of activities, exercises and games.
  4. Ask questions about what motivates your child and what might upset your child.
  5. Be flexible – a child may not be up to the set plan that day.
  6. Be honest with parents if I think my expertise and skill set may not match the needs of your child.
  7. Speak up if I believe I am just not the right fit for this child for whatever reason.
  8. Never threaten your child with the possibility that you will have to leave if he does not listen or cooperate.  (I feel this is important because I hear therapists make this threat and it is a misdirected form of frustration that needs to be eliminated in my opinion.)
  9. Since home carryover is so critical for each child’s overall success I will work to involve each family in therapy sessions respecting their level of comfort and directing the interaction to promote the best outcomes for their child.
  10. Provide a summary of the outcomes, progress, challenges etc. at the end of each session.  NOTE, time must be provided in the session for this to occur so that I don’t have to be late for the next appointment, miss my break or miss my lunch.  (Therapists don’t consistently communicate a summary of useful information to the family about what happens in therapy.) 
As the parents of this child, we understand that what we do at home during the 23 hours no therapy is occurring is profoundly important.  We will, to our best ability, provide the following during our working relationship:
  1. Arrive on time or be home for the appointment.
  2. Stay at home during the session if it is an in-home appointment or be in the waiting room at the end of the office appointment.
  3. Be honest with our expectations.
  4. Have a room or area ready for the therapy session, if it is at home.
  5. Make sure our child is ready for the session, i.e. eaten, been to the bathroom.
  6. Cancel the appointment if we will not be available. Call if we will be late.
  7. Be honest with the therapist if we feel it is not a good fit for our child for whatever reason.
  8. Be honest if we think that the therapist’s expertise and skill set do not match the needs of the child.
  9. Keep interruptions to a minimum during the session, i.e. siblings, checking in on my child.
  10. If staying in the session is in the best interest of my child’s success, I will assist in therapy to the best of my abilities.  (Even if you are not involved in the therapy session, stay in the area and try to eavesdrop on what is being done to learn how to do some home carryover. Therapy is a time to learn directly from an expert, it is not a time to go shopping.)
  11. Decide the level of involvement I feel I can have during therapy session to allow my child to reach the best outcomes.  (We often feel like we don’t have enough arms to do everything we are trying to do.  Therapists that cover my caseload often comment they have never worked with such informed and involved families.)
  12. Communicate what I can and can’t do to assist.
  13. Provide a quick summary of what might be happening in my child’s world before each session and how that might affect the session.
  14. Not keep secrets about the specialists I am seeing even if I think the therapist might not agree with the approach of that specialist.
  15. Communicate my concerns or frustrations regarding therapy issues.  

Ideally, this would be handed out to both parties, discussed and signed at the first session. I would recommend that a time is set for review – one month for the first time and then every 6 months.

If you have other items for the Therapy Bill of Rights to add, please feel free to send a comment!


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