Quality vs. Quantity: When Less is More
There are multiple reasons an occupational therapist chooses the frequency and duration of therapy.
In my experience, the common consensus among parents is that if their child has more sessions, they’ll see progress sooner. I’m here to tell you that that’s not always the case. More sessions doesn’t always mean faster progress, and vice versa. It’s a constant balancing act of quality vs. quantity. Here are some situations when each would be appropriate (or not).
When more is more:
- More sessions provide extra support if not getting OT at school, in home, etc.
- Helpful if child is having difficulty generalizing skills across settings
- Good for children who may benefit from group sessions with peers
- Great for building endurance/activity tolerance
When more is less:
- The child has mastered goals and skills.
- Progress has plateaued (or regressed).
- Child is easily fatigued and/or doesn’t tolerate activities for extended periods of time.
When less is more:
- With less sessions, a child has more time and opportunities to generalize at home, in the community, at school, etc.
- Child is not overwhelmed by intensity/duration of sessions.
- Slowly and gradually introduced to a new environment.
When less is less:
- Not enough repetition to acquire/develop new skills.
- Difficult to build endurance with less sessions.
In short, the goal is to find the “just right” amount for your child, which can be determined by various factors such as age, skill level, sensory needs, and endurance. Above all, the ultimate goal of OT (in any setting) is independence, and as odd as it may sound, we actually want you to not need us anymore. So with that in mind (as always), communicate and collaborate with your child’s occupational therapist to fine-tune the perfect ratio of quality vs. quantity for your unique child.