School is often the first place that a deficit can be identified. A child struggles with a task and their teacher might suggest in-school therapy. Therapy offered through the school is typically performed by a therapist employed by the school or by a contracted therapist from an outside clinic. These sessions assist kids working on occupations that help complete school-related tasks. An occupational therapist might help a child with handwriting for example. Or, a speech therapist may assist a child in better communicating so that they can effectively participate in class. School therapy is vital to helping a child adjust in their learning environment, but it can be further enhanced by additional clinical therapy.
Clinical therapy refers to therapy outside of the school setting. Here, circumstances allow for longer sessions that can increase progress even more. Also, aside from additional time, therapists in a clinical setting are able to go beyond school-related tasks and work with the child on a more holistic range of occupations that help in all aspects of life, not just at school. In the clinic setting, foundational issues can be addressed that may be impacting a child’s participation or skills in both the school or community environments. The clinic setting, with its equipment and activities, helps with sensory processing by increasing attention span in the classroom. Kids can get the chance to work on core strength, to be able to sit upright in their chairs for longer periods of time. During clinic therapy, therapists are able to get to the root of the problem. In the school setting, a child can be provided with strategies that can help short term until increased skills are developed.
So, to answer our initial question, is one type of therapy better than the other? You might be surprised that the answer is “no”! Both types of therapy are crucial to your child’s success and offer their own unique benefits. Participating both school and clinical therapy maximizes treatment time for your child and allows time to work on increasing function at home and at school. Both are essential to most effectively achieving outcomes.