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As a special needs mom, you are not a stranger to therapy goals. You bring a huge notebook to each appointment knowing you are going to walk away with 5 new tasks, and that’s just one of your child’s therapists. Overwhelm hits you like a sack of bricks. You get home and throw the notebook on the kitchen counter wishing the therapy would just do itself.
Just looking at all the tasks in the notebook makes your head spin. When you have so many goals, it is hard to get motivated and to find time to work on therapy. Here is how to plan therapy when you think you don’t have time and are overwhelmed.
First and foremost, I don’t have the time is both a myth and a limiting belief. You have 24 hours in a day. You do have time. You are sitting in overwhelm and let that keep you from working on therapy goals with your child.
No worries, we will work through what to do when you’re overwhelmed by all of the therapy goals.
Steps to Planning Therapy for Your Child with Limited Time
1. List out all of the goals each of your therapists have for your child. Note: if you keep a running list of goals and rarely cross anything out, it would be a great idea to get a fresh list going and scratch the old list. Just talk with each of your child’s therapists and get a fresh list of current things to work on with them.
2. Rate your list on a scale from 1 to 10 (or however long your list is) in order of importance/priority. 1 being most important and most likely done every single day and 10 the least important and possibly 1-2 times a week goals. If you are having trouble with this, consult with your child’s therapist. They will help you figure out which tasks are more important for their field and about how often to do each task.
3. Schedule them into your daily life when they would best suit you and your child. Pick a time that you could be the most consistent with keeping that time commitment with yourself.
- Done is better than perfect
- If you only have 15 minutes, great…… 15 minutes 5-7 times a week on therapy is better than no therapy at all.
- Fit it in the pockets of your daily life- get creative. If you have a goal (like an auditory goal for Sensory Processing Disorder) that you don’t have to do at home or stand over your child and help them with, then do it when you can.
- Examples: on the way to daycare, in the cart at the grocery store, in the line at the bank, etc.
If you have a goal that is more challenging for you and your child (takes a lot of time and you have to help them a lot with it) then do that goal when you can devote your undivided attention to them.
If you have a goal that you can do multiple ways, then change it up so your child doesn’t get bored (get therapist help here too if needed).
Examples: Tummy time doesn’t have to be the exact same way every single time. Standing doesn’t always have to be in HKAFO’s and gait trainer.
4. Evaluate and revise.
Always evaluate and revise. It is so important to realize nothing is ever set in stone. You have permission to change things. Your schedule isn’t the same every week and some seasons of life are busier than others. Adjust as you see fit.
Also, revise your tasks as your child changes. If they hate doing something (like Tummy Time), ask your therapist how to do it in another way. Sometimes children just hate it because it makes them work hard, which is understandable, but this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to change up what you’re doing.
Think about a child who refuses to potty train and you have to figure out a different method to teach them how to use the potty.
Make therapy a game for them. If you try to make therapy fun and exciting, the time will pass by so quickly, they won’t even know they were working.
Therapy can be challenging if your child has a ton of goals. It doesn't have to be though. You can succeed in therapy at home and help your child achieve their therapy goals. You might even find a way that works better for your child than the therapists. Remember practice makes perfect.
You don’t have to let perfectionism get in the way and you don’t have to block off your whole afternoon every single day to succeed at therapy. You can win at therapy, just 15 minutes at a time.