7 Green Flags to Look for when Shopping for a Pediatric Therapy Provider
As a parent, you want to provide your child with all the support they need to learn, grow, build their independence, and participate in activities that are meaningful to them. For children with neurodiversity or developmental challenges such as autism, ADHD, or sensory processing disorder, you’ll want to find therapeutic care that supports your child’s unique strengths and needs.
With a wide array of therapies, providers, and interventions, it can be hard to figure out which provider is the best for your child. Below are some promising signs or “green flags” to look out for when shopping for a pediatric therapy provider.
1. Multidisciplinary Care
Does the provider offer multiple types of therapy and a variety of treatments, or just one? With multidisciplinary clinics that offer occupational, speech, behavior, physical, feeding, and other therapies, there are numerous benefits for you and your child including:
Wholistic Support and Treatment – Your child will get a variety of therapeutic interventions and individualized treatment goals from experts that bring a unique perspective and expertise to the team.
Collaboration Between Disciplines – Seek out providers that foster interdisciplinary collaboration and promote staff growth and development. While each therapist is educated and trained in their specific discipline, it’s important to continuously learn from fellow therapists with different perspectives, stay on top of emerging evidence-based practices, and new research.
Coordination of Care – If a provider only offers a few types of therapy, but your child needs additional treatment, you’ll have to worry about coordinating schedules, getting your child to and from the different clinics, and keeping the various therapists informed about their progress with other therapists. By offering a variety of treatment under one roof, multidisciplinary providers make it easy for your child to get the care they deserve.
2. Data Driven Treatment
Does the provider utilize evidence-based practices and collect data to inform their therapeutic interventions? By tracking client progress towards their unique goals, data driven therapists can ensure your child is progressing, or adjust their interventions as needed to promote development. They will readily show you their results, with objective data points and subjective observations. If a therapist only provides subjective observation summaries, you could be missing important data to support progress and funding.
3. Fostering Independence & Skill Building
Do the therapists take a positive, strength-based approach that focuses on your child’s skills and abilities, or do they focus on deficits? Rhetoric is important, and a child should never be made to feel deficient. Each child has unique strengths and abilities that should be celebrated by their therapists, and therapists should be focused on building relationships with each child to promote growth in learning in ways that are fun for them.
Are therapeutic interventions aimed at building your child’s independence and helping them generalize skills across environments, or is it narrowly focused on completing specific tasks with individual providers? To build independence, children need to be given the opportunity to take the skills they learn in therapy and apply them to contexts outside of the clinic. Your provider should prioritize building your child’s autonomy and independence.
4. Administrative Support
Does the administrative team provide detailed insurance verification and complimentary insurance billing, claims, and disputes for you? If not, you could face unexpected bills or may have to grapple with the insurance company on your own. Navigating insurance can be very challenging, even for the most experienced biller, but having an in-house team that helps your family navigate these nuances is important so you can focus on what’s most important, your child.
5. Therapist Leadership
Is the company’s leadership comprised of therapists? It’s important to make sure that your providers are led by trained therapists that can make informed decisions on how to provide the highest quality of care for your child. Therapists are trained to be client-centered and to build trusting and empathetic relationships, so when a company is led by therapists you can trust that they’ll take a similar approach to running their business.
6. Welcoming & Communicative Culture
How does it feel when you’re at the clinic and interacting with the staff? Do you feel welcome? Are the staff interacting with each other and greeting you? Trust your gut and get a sense of the overall vibes of the clinic.
It’s also important to learn how therapists will communicate with you and your family. Do they have procedures in place to notify you of your child’s progress in therapy? Do they have regularly scheduled progress meetings to ensure your child is reaching their goals? You’ll want to find a provider that keeps you fully informed and is as invested in your child’s growth and learning as you are.
7. Diversity & Advocacy
Are the staff and leadership diverse? Higher education and the costs of grad school are especially prohibitive for individuals from systemically oppressed communities, and you’ll want to find a provider that prioritizes diversity and encourages diverse perspectives in their culture.
It’s also vital to find a provider that is dedicated to supporting and celebrating neurodiversity and advocates for the autonomy and independence of neurodiverse individuals. Children should be celebrated for who they are, and never made to feel unaccepted or pressured to appear neurotypical.
Starting the process of finding therapy for your child can feel overwhelming and isolating, but it’s important to remember that you are not alone and there are providers ready to help. There are trained and knowledgeable therapists out there whose passion is to support you and your family and help your child progress towards their goals. Look for providers that exhibit these green flags and are as invested in your child’s growth as you are!
As you’ve probably guessed, these green flags are all present at Eyas Landing, Blue Bird Day, and Merlin Day Academy. Our multidisciplinary team of supportive and empathetic therapists are here to provide your child with the care they deserve, promote their growth and learning, and promote their independence to set them up for success!