5 Reasons to Get In-Home Therapy for Your Child Alt Title: Why In-Home Therapy is Superior for Children

Does your child participate in therapy sessions in an office outside of your home? While therapy has traditionally been hosted at a therapist’s residence or office building, it’s becoming more common for professionals to visit homes. 

If you haven’t considered this option yet, here are several benefits for you and your child.

  1. Kids with autism do better with in-home therapy

Generally speaking, most kids with autism will get better results from therapy sessions at home. For example, in-home ABA therapy provided by a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst allows kids to remain in a familiar, comfortable environment. Many kids feel uncomfortable and anxious in unfamiliar environments and have a hard time opening up to strangers. It takes them time to adapt to new environments and warm up to people they’ve just met.

Having a familiar routine and knowing what to expect are critical for kids with autism. Stress and anxiety levels tend to rise when situations are unpredictable. Although receiving therapy outside the home can become a familiar routine, it will take a while to reach that point.

If you have a child with autism, getting them in-home therapy will greatly support their success because they won’t have to deal with the uncertainties that come with leaving the house for sessions with a stranger. They’ll start to get results faster this way.

  1. In-home therapy saves time

Depending on what your child needs, you might have to drive a long distance to see a therapist in their office. It’s not unheard of for parents to drive upwards of fifty miles for an appointment, but even shorter trips can be difficult to fit into a busy schedule.

If you work, your time is limited. You only have so much time on weekday evenings, and not all therapists are available on the weekends. It might only be a 30-minute drive, but it can take much longer to get ready. By the time the appointment is done, you will have spent about three or more hours.

Getting a therapist to see your child at your home means you only need to be available for the duration of the therapy session. If it’s an hour long, then you only need to carve out an hour from your day.

  1. Therapists can play with your children more

Sometimes, for younger kids, part of therapy involves playing. This can include playing with toys or role playing without any props. Sometimes play therapy requires using specific toys.

Naturally, kids will have their favorite toys and it can be difficult to get them to play with anything else. It’s not always practical to bring your child’s favorite toys to a therapy appointment, and they might not like what’s in the office. This can put a damper on playtime therapy.

When you get in-home therapy sessions, playtime won’t be restricted because of a lack of interest in the toys. The therapist can initiate play using your child’s favorite toys if that’s what it takes to get them to engage.

  1. Rescheduling is easy

Imagine having to reschedule a therapy appointment an hour’s drive away. If you need to get a babysitter or take time off work just to take your child to see their therapist, you don’t really have the option of rescheduling. Unfortunately, there’s always a possibility that you’ll need to shift around appointment times and dates.

When your child receives in-home therapy, rescheduling will be easier. You might need to take more time off work, but it won’t be excessive since you won’t need to drive anywhere. You also won’t need to worry about hiring a babysitter for your other children.

  1. Your child can go straight to bed if needed

Therapy sessions can be exhausting for some kids, and when they’re already at home, they can just crawl in bed for a nap or go to sleep for the night. You won’t have to deal with trying to get sleepy kids out of the car and into the house after a long drive home.

Is in-home therapy right for your child?

Most parents find in-home therapy to be ideal when provided by the right person. Everyone’s needs vary, so the key is to find a qualified therapist who creates rapport with your child.

If you’re worried about the cost of in-home therapy compared to visiting an office, consider the value you’re getting. You don’t have to drive anywhere, you’ll save time, and your child will be more comfortable. When you’re short on time and your child does better in familiar spaces, in-home therapy might be just what you need.

What Are the Signs of Sexual Abuse in Teens?

As the parent of the teen, one of your first fears might be that they are abused in any way, including sexually. Unfortunately, sexual abuse is a reality, and perhaps one that’s more prevalent than you might think.

There are often stories of sexual abuse that happens to both male and female teens, and the perpetrator is often someone who is trusted, such as a teacher or school official.

The CDC estimates 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls will experience sexual abuse in the U.S. before they’re 18.

If you can recognize the warning signs of abuse, you may be able to stop it before it happens or do something about it quickly if it already has.

The signs of abuse in teens can be challenging to identify, however.

The following are things to know about red flags of sexual abuse that are often seen in teens, and also more details about what you can do if you’re a parent.

Physical Symptoms

You may wonder if there are physical symptoms and the difficulty in identifying sexual abuse is that there often aren’t. If there are, your teen may hide them from you. If there are physical symptoms, a medical professional might bring them to your attention as a parent, but these tend to be things that can easily be misdiagnosed.

If there were going to be physical signs or symptoms, they might include unexplained bruising or symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases.

Behavioral Symptoms

You are more likely to start to see there’s a problem by the way your teen behaves, but again, that can be challenging because teens tend to be moody and unpredictable regardless of the circumstances.

In girls, in particular, some of the symptoms that may occur when they are a victim of sexual abuse include:

  • Eating disorders: A lot of parents don’t understand the links between an eating disorder, particularly one that seems to have developed recently, and sexual abuse. Eating disorders can include anorexia but also bulimia and binge eating. A lot of times, sexual abuse survivors will feel a sense of shame or guilt, and they may try to deal with that by punishing themselves with food-related behavior.
  • Substance misuse: When a teen starts to use drugs or alcohol, there’s a tendency to automatically think they’re doing that because their friends are or they want to have fun. What a lot of parents and even educators don’t understand is that teen substance misuse is often masking something else that’s happening, and one of the things that it could be covering is sexual abuse. Research has found significant links, particularly in females, between substance use and sexual abuse at some point in their lifetime.
  • Depression: Depression, along with other mental health conditions, including anxiety, are common signs of sexual abuse.
  • Self-harm or self-destructive behavior: If a teen is cutting or harming themselves or talks about suicide or attempts it, there may be something else happening, particularly if this behavior has just seemed to come out of nowhere.
  • Some parents may notice that their teen seems to be very sexual or have an advanced level of sexual knowledge for their age. They might not even realize they’re sharing this with their parents.

Sometimes the signs of sexual abuse can be different in males versus females. A male may become aggressive, for example, while that’s less common in females.

Boys who have been sexually abused may show signs like inappropriate sexually related behavior and physical problems like pain in the genital area.

With both boys and girls, changes in sleeping or eating habits can also be indicators that something isn’t right.

If you do see anything that you as a parent feel isn’t right, it’s important to try and talk to your teen about it because they may be honest with you.

If your teen comes to you about it, you should first and foremost tell them that you believe them and thank them for being honest.

If your teen comes to you to tell you this, rather than asking questions, just let them speak.

From there, you will need to get professionals involved.

Contacting the Authorities

If you find out, as a parent, that your teen has been sexually abused, no matter what your child says they want, you have to contact the authorities. This is important not only for your child but for other children and teens who could be victims.

You are obligated to report it, and there are safeguards in place to prevent your child from being retraumatized in a court situation.

You may also need to talk to a medical professional and also a counselor or mental health professional.

Dealing with Your Own Feelings

As a parent, your first priority will undoubtedly be helping your teen in any way possible, but eventually, you will also have to deal with your own feelings about the situation.

You may feel extreme anger, guilt, shame, or so many other emotions. It’s normal to feel this way, particularly since as a parent, you want to protect your child more than anything.

You first have to avoid showing these emotions around your teen because it’s probably going to heighten their own similar feelings.

You can talk openly and honestly with your teen, but don’t let your emotions become so outwardly escalated that you add to the stress or trauma your child is feeling.

You may benefit from participating in a support group or talking to a counselor yourself as well.

The reality is that a trauma like teenage sexual abuse can affect your child for the rest of their lives, but at the same time, their life is far from ruined, and the next steps you take can make a world of difference.

Long-term therapy and emotional support are going to be two of the best things available for your child.

Don’t pressure your teen into anything they don’t want to do, and take the process as slowly as they need it to be.