Our job as therapists is to trigger the child’s/adolescent’s internal learning capacity for a new skill. We guide them through the Motor Learning Process in which they first get to know the skill, practice it, make mistakes, practice again until it becomes an automatic skill. So, REPETITION is one basic element of the learning process.
How many repetitions a child/adolescent with physical challenges need to learn a skill? As much as a typical child takes, but even more.
Intensive therapy dose is the way through which we can achieve this extent of repetition to speed up acquisition of an expected skill/task/activity/goal.
How intensive it should be? Intensive therapy blocks/bursts range between 2 weeks to 8 weeks in average, with 3 to 5 sessions per week. While the duration of each session varying between kids and professionals. After which, there is either a lower dose of therapy on a long term, or a pause of therapy depending on the individual’s condition.
When do We Prescribe Intensive Therapy Bursts/Blocks?
- After surgeries (post-surgical rehabilitation).
- After Botulinum toxin (Botox) injection.
- After serial casting.
- When the child/adolescent is about to achieve a specific skill and requires a push to consolidate/master the skill or to take it over in daily practice.
- After having a new assistive device, splint, equipment that requires training to master its use.
- Children/youth or families who cannot cope with long term therapies.
- In addition to many other situations that depend on the individual need of each child/adolescent.
Who Should you Seek for Advice?
Your rehabilitation team including the Physical therapist, Occupational therapist or Speech and Language therapist; as intensives are not limited only to physical therapy.
Also, the pediatric orthopedic surgeon, the neurologist, or the neurosurgeon can recommend such a therapy approach.