Therapy is a positive and effective tool for patients of all ages. Whether identified as a need in the infant and toddler stages, as a teen or young adult, or even as a mature adult and one moving into the senior years of life, Speech, Occupational/Physical, or ABA therapy services can provide life-changing benefits.
Trained therapists are able to take the underlying philosophies and mechanics of proven treatments and adapt them to fit each patient’s individual needs as determined by their current stage of life. Understanding how some of these adaptations are managed will enable new patients to have a clearer expectation as the process begins.
Diagnosis and Evaluation
Recognizing the need for therapy services will be different between adults and children as the common signs and symptoms may vary. While children are normally identified for treatment during their growth and development; for an adult, an evaluation and diagnosis may follow an illness or injury, or become necessary due to the effects of aging.
The common signs to look for when determining the need for Speech Therapy or Occupational Therapy in both children and adults can be found in these articles.
Understanding Why They are in Therapy
Another primary difference is how a patient understands and participates in the therapy itself. A child may not know why they need to have sessions. It may be presented as extra play time or schooling. Overall, the goal is for them to feel safe, secure, and recognize that they are learning and growing through the process. Contrarily, most adults are able to comprehend the diagnosis, recognize the need, and participate in setting and reaching goals.
Naturally, parents and caregivers need to be actively involved in a child’s therapy sessions. They are an integral component in facilitating the treatments, as well as reinforcing the skills and behaviors at home. Alternatively, adults are typically independent and able to self-regulate and manage attendance, and have some personal accountability for home-based practices.
Functions of Therapy
When it comes to the actual therapy treatments themselves, the underlying issues requiring services may be similar, but the techniques and goals will be personalized based on a patient’s current life needs.
For example, children and adults may both struggle with focus and attention. Children will work on sitting still and completing simple games or puzzles in a single sitting. Adults will practice organization and planning skills, and learning how to break large tasks into smaller components.
Another example would be swallowing and feeding. Patients of all ages may need to learn, or re-learn, how to manipulate the lips, jaw and tongue to successfully swallow food. But the techniques, explanations, and practice sessions will be different between children and adults.
The bottom line is that effective therapy should be personalized. At The Speech Pathology Group and Rehab Services, we identify all relevant factors in determining a comprehensive treatment plan to address areas of concern, and this includes a patient’s age and maturity.