Centre Based Therapy VS Home Based Therapy
If you had to decide whether to enrol your child in a centre based therapy program or start a home-based program, what would you choose? As a therapist, I had the opportunity to run home-based therapy for 6 years and later opened my own centre in Woodbridge Ontario, running it for 6 years; and counting.
If I had to choose, I would most likely pick centre-based therapy because it resembles school. Our end goal is to transition children from an ABA program into school.
At our centre, we provide one-on-one therapy, circle time, in-door recess activities, music class and art. A home-base program would simply not be able to give those learning opportunities to kids. Children get the opportunity to interact with other children which is so crucial to their social skills and development. Although children may be attending school and could socialize there, they do not have the one-on-one support to guide them during those interactions. At the centre, we use video modelling and create opportunities for the children to interact with each other, something they would not get in school.
Children with autism need to work with a variety of therapists so that they can generalize their skills. At Autism Therapy and Training, children work with at least 3 different therapists and rotate every 30 minutes to an hour. This is not only good for generalization of skills but also just getting a change of scenery. Working with one therapist for 3 hours can get somewhat boring for the child, even with the most creative ones. Switching it up spices things up for both the child and therapist.
The other important factor to consider is the supervision of therapists. In a home-based program, therapists may get supervised once a week for about two hours. Is that really enough? What if the therapist was running the program incorrectly for the week, wouldn’t that be a waste of time and learning for your child. At our centre, the supervisors are always steps away. If a therapist is unsure, has questions or needs support, we are there for both the therapist and the child.
A centre-based program is more like school; the noise, the kids, the groups, lunch routines and other elements that are not found in the home. Supervision and quality are higher in these programs for the most part. This doesn’t mean you don’t do your homework on a centre in your area. I can’t say that all centres provide quality therapy, but for the ones that do and are setup as I have described, you’ll be happy with your choice!
Once again, this is just my perspective and experience in the field. I hope that you can find a quality program to help your child down the road of success.