INTERDISCIPLINARY COLLABORATION

Integrated therapy refers to the integration of visual skills development activity into a child's current occupational, speech, physical or educational therapy services. Most often, this involves Our doctors making a list of visual development goals and then working with the child's therapists to find creative therapeutic activity that will simultaneously make progress toward these goals while the child also receives other specialized therapy.

For example, imagine an occupational therapist (OT) sets a goal for a patient such as:

"John will use scissors to cut paper following accurately a curved line"

This goal already involves considerable visual-motor integration skills development. Now imagine that the optometrist (OD) sets a goal for the same patient such as:

"John will improve his focus flexibility to 10 cycles per minute with a +1.50/-1.50 accommodative flipper"

If the OT and OD agree to work together collaboratively, John can make progress towards both goals when receiving his therapy services. The OD prescribes and makes available to the OT the +1.50/-1.50 accommodative flipper. While John practices cutting paper with scissors, the OT occasionally places the flipper lens in front of John’s eyes, as instructed by the doctor, to stimulate John's eye focusing. The OT can use the flipper lens in a variety of fine motor tasks as directed by the OD. When John returns for a progress visit to the OD, progress toward the visual goal is measured, and the prescription and goals are adjusted as needed.

In this integrated manner, patients can make progress toward multiple goals simultaneously. This is Integrated Therapy.

COMMON QUESTIONS:

Q: What are the advantages of integrated therapy over traditional therapy?

A: In traditional therapy approaches two separate appointments are necessary; one appointment for each discipline. This can be difficult for the family and child as it requires considerably more time and resources. What can happen, then, is the family has to choose between one therapy and the other. This can leave some key issues and goals unmet. With integrated therapy progress in multiple domains often results in better results for individual goals than if they were addressed separately.

Q: What are the disadvantages of integrated therapy over traditional therapy?

A: Integrated therapy requires collaboration between the doctor and therapist. Communication and commitment are key to its success. The therapist has to be open to adding activities and goals to their routine and actually following through with them during therapy sessions. Sometimes, it is too much to do it all and certain activities need to be prioritized, or goals adjusted. Sometimes, the visual issues are too deep to address in an integrated fashion and can only be addressed with one-on-one vision therapy. Sometimes, the therapist's goals are sufficiently different that integrated activities cannot really be completed. In this case, separate therapy sessions are necessary.

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