As the saying goes, two heads are better than one, and this sentiment also holds true for creating a therapeutic preschool program. A typical preschool program is constructed with children who follow a typical development in mind, whereas a therapeutic preschool program is designed to provide extra support to children with developmental delays. A therapeutic preschool program can also benefit children who follow a typical development path.
How do therapeutic preschool programs use a multidisciplinary approach?
A therapeutic preschool program may have a very diverse group of learners, and each of those children has unique needs. As a result, a therapeutic preschool might incorporate many different modalities, including applied behavior analysis (ABA therapy), feeding therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy.
By offering a wide range of services, children are able to receive the most comprehensive care possible. Also, if a child is experiencing delays in multiple areas of their development, they are able to receive multiple services in one program. A multidisciplinary staff is also able to collaborate on treatment plans. This is a great advantage for children! Why?
ABA therapists, feeding therapists, occupational therapists, and speech therapists all receive different training to provide their respective services. As a result, professionals in each of these fields will approach treatment in a unique way. Creating a multidisciplinary team also allows therapists to seek advice and brainstorm with one another. For example, a speech therapist who works in a therapeutic preschool program may collaborate with an ABA therapist on the team if they are working with a child on the autism spectrum. In early childhood development, it is important for children to receive additional support in any areas where they are struggling, and a multidisciplinary team is able to address multiple concerns.
So what services do each of these fields specialize in?
An ABA therapist will work with children to build positive developmental skills (e.g. communication and social skills). ABA is an evidence-based method for intervention, so this is widely used for children for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other developmental delays. ABA therapists are especially focused on the function of behavior for children.
A feeding therapist also works with children with autism or sensory processing issues. If a child is a “problem feeder” or experiences extreme aversions, a feeding therapist can work with strategies to help the child with eating.
An occupational therapist (OT) will work with children to develop skills that they need to perform daily occupations (or activities). This might include motor skills or proprioception.
A speech-language pathologist (SLP) will work with children on speech and language development, which also affects communication and social skills.
A therapeutic preschool program may have a team of individuals from each of these fields, in order to provide the most comprehensive care possible. Contact CST Academy by clicking the purple button below or call 773-620-7800 to learn more about the range of services we provide for children in Chicago!