Do you know what “cotreat” means? If you have ever wondered what that means, this video is for you. In this video I explain what cotreating is and I give three examples across private practice and school-based settings where I have cotreated with occupational therapists (OTs). But let’s dig in:
Speech Pathologists and Occupational Therapists: A Team Approach to Pediatric Therapy
Speech pathologists and occupational therapists are two professionals who often work together to provide therapy for pediatric clients. Both professions have a focus on helping children reach their full potential, but they approach it from different angles.
Speech pathologists specialize in communication and swallowing disorders. They work with children to improve their speech, language, and articulation skills. They may also help children with feeding and swallowing difficulties.
Occupational therapists specialize in helping children with the skills they need to participate in everyday activities. They work on things like fine motor skills, gross motor skills, sensory processing, and visual-spatial skills.
When speech pathologists and occupational therapists work together, they can provide a more comprehensive and effective approach to therapy. For example, a child with autism may have difficulty communicating and interacting with others. A speech pathologist can help the child with their communication goals, while an occupational therapist can help the child with their fine motor skills and sensory regulation.
In another example, a child with cerebral palsy may have difficulty with fine motor skills and gross motor skills. A speech pathologist can help the child with their speech and language skills, while an occupational therapist can help the child with their activities of daily living (ADLs) such as dressing, eating, and bathing. The SLP can provide the language modeling during those processes.
There are many ways to cotreat and collaborate
Returning to the video, first I talk about cotreating in a private practice. I discuss working with a young client simultaneously with the OT while the client was on a large swing in a gross motor room of a private practice.
Then I talk about the two different ways I cotreated in two different schools. In one school I pushed into the autism room with the OT and we planned whole group lessons around cooking.
In the last school-based example, I talk about how I pushed into an intensive kindergarten class with the OT. We would use the smart board for a whole group lesson and then break up into rotating centers (one was for speech, one was for OT, and the other was a skill related to the classroom). The theme was cohesive and carried through in each center.
By working together, speech pathologists and occupational therapists can help children reach their full potential in all areas of their lives. They can help children communicate effectively, participate in activities, and live independently.
The benefits of cotreating
- A more comprehensive approach to therapy: Speech pathologists and occupational therapists can provide a more comprehensive approach to therapy by addressing the child’s communication, motor, and social-emotional needs.
- Improved outcomes: Children who receive therapy from a team of speech pathologists and occupational therapists are more likely to experience improved outcomes than children who receive therapy from a single provider.
- Increased efficiency: Speech pathologists and occupational therapists can work together to share information and resources, which can lead to increased efficiency in the delivery of therapy.
- Better communication with parents: Speech pathologists and occupational therapists can work together to communicate effectively with parents about the child’s progress and treatment plan.
If you are concerned about your child’s development, you should talk to your pediatrician about whether your child would benefit from therapy from a speech pathologist and an occupational therapist. A team approach to therapy can provide your child with the best possible chance of success.