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  • Writer's picturekatieSLT

Indirect or direct? That is the question...

What is indirect therapy? Therapy not delivered by a qualified therapist is pointless, right? Indirect speech and language therapy or occupational therapy is any form of therapy that is not directly delivered to the child or individual with the difficulty in therapy sessions with the therapist. Pointless? Well, indirect therapy is a method of therapy that is extremely useful in itself. Indirect therapy can be delivered by an assistant, or learning mentor that is a regular communicator with the child with difficulties.

Simply put, the speech and language or occupational therapist will train others, so that they are highly competent in supporting the child’s needs, without the requirement for the therapist to directly work with the child in every session.

Indirect therapy can provide those with the child for the most time per day with the skillset to help them develop their speech and language without the direct input of the speech and language therapist. Indirect therapy has many benefits, including:

  • The child will receive input in more of their communities e.g. school, clinic, home, etc.

  • The assistant is able to provide a therapy rich environment for the child.

  • Increased therapy per week. An assistant will normally see a child more frequently than a therapist can.

Studies have looked into the outcomes of indirect therapy vs. direct therapy. Results have shown that the effectiveness of indirect therapy, delivered by a well trained assistant is comparable to specialist direct therapy delivered by a speech and language or occupational therapist.

However, direct therapy is still important and should not be forgotten or replaced by indirect therapy in every situation. Obviously, for assessment a qualified therapist is necessary. Also, there are some children that need specialist input as not every difficulty can be improved by indirect input alone.

Indirect therapy is most effective when direct therapy is being delivered alongside it and/or it is monitored and reviewed frequently. The child will then receive all types of input as frequently as possible to help increase their progress. Therapy assistants and learning mentors are an extremely valuable part of a therapy team.

If you would like to know more about different therapy options for your child or would like to join our team as an assistant or learning mentor to deliver indirect therapy, do not hesitate to contact us:

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