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Integrating iLs into holiday festivities

🕑 6 minutes read
Posted October 19, 2017

The holidays can increase stress and put everyone in the family on edge. Get ahead of holiday stress with a schedule and plan to make iLs a priority in the time off from school and work.

Check out the ideas and quotes below to make this holiday season successful for your clients!


Which clients can benefit from extra sessions?

Many clients can fit in more therapy visits during the holiday season, and they are looking for activities and ways to stay productive, active and busy during this time.

Know their insurance coverage

A lot of insurance carriers only cover 30 therapy visits. So by this time of the year, many clients will be paying for visits out of pocket. Or, they may have unused visits available.

  • Work with your clients to find a therapy plan that will meet their therapeutic and budget goals.
  • If you have an in-clinic insurance expert, schedule a time for your client to meet with them.
  • Solo practitioners need to know their clients’ insurance plans or be able to refer their clients to an insurance expert who can help formulate a plan.
  • Some states, like Florida, offer scholarships (like the Gardiner scholarship) to help cover the costs for families. In fact, if you know of similar scholarships to help your clients fund their therapy, please let us know.

Many of my clients will be running out of insurance visits long before October. So we work with them to figure out options to meet their goals. – Cindy Dawkins, OTR



Talk with your clients about this time of year.

Get their holiday plans and schedules. See if you can work iLs completion in to use their festive celebrations as a reward or opportunity to use the new skills they will learn through therapy.

Dillen HartleyThis requires more than a 5-minute chat in the waiting room. You’ll want to schedule a meeting with your clients to discuss what is realistic for them and for you to achieve. – Dillen Hartley, OT, Owner of Advanced Therapy Solutions




Focus on one or two goals you can achieve within the holiday season, or at least identify a skill set to maintain to avoid losing ground.

During the school year, most goals are academic. For holiday festivities, you can work more with clients on social goals.

  • How to get along with siblings.
  • Ways to share with others.

Be transparent about expectations and give a target end date to therapy.

  • How many times a week will your client need to come into the clinic, and is there any therapy you can recommend at home?
  • If your client is going out of town and is traveling a lot, how can they maintain therapeutic gains while away, and what can they expect when they return?

Programs You Should Consider

Therapy Intensives

Are there clients who can go from 2-3 Focus Series sessions a week to 3-5 sessions per week? Perhaps your practice is big enough to offer five straight days of intensive therapy for clients.Or, they can incorporate iLs at home.


Some clients want to address specific items before they go on family vacation. Discuss schedules and ways to target improvements in vacation travel challenges.

Keep it fun and productive

Many iLs Associates offer one-week sessions focusing on a specific activity. The idea is to keep it fun, and these activities work great after 20 minutes of iLs Playbook activities:

  • Exercise programs for addressing balance and coordination issues
  • Handwriting programs specific to the needs of each clients’ abilities
  • Lego programs to encourage social communication and problem solving skills

Dillen HartleyI buy a really fancy Lego® piece and do a social skills group, and my clients come in and do an engaging Lego activity. – Dillen Hartley, OT, Owner of Advanced Therapy Solutions





Improve results with therapy at home

Clients have plans this time of the year and are going to take off for vacation. When they are gone for weeks at a time, iLs therapy has to step back a few sessions. The iLs Home Program is a way for your clients to continue therapy when they aren’t able to get into the clinic.

Ideas for using the Home Program after doing 20 minutes of iLs Playbook activities:

  • While on play dates, work on social behaviors
  • Riding bikes or playing in the yard
  • Have their favorite sitter over to play during the hour

Clients may also use holidays as an opportunity to have multiple family members use the iLs Home Program.

I’m encouraging the families to do the iLs Home Program sessions at the same time they’re doing the clinic-based sessions so they can get through the entire iLs program without interruption. – Cindy Dawkins, OTR





Important Ways iLs Tools Can Help

iLs Home Program Rental

Safe & Sound Protocol (SSP)

Follow Up

What were you able to accomplish this holiday season?

  • Use the Measure of Foundational Abilities (MFA) to illustrate progress with your clients.
  • Have a face-to-face meeting with your client and their family to give them an opportunity to show off their new skills.
  • Let family members know what changes they may see, and which behaviors they should encourage at home.

In many ways, going from work or school schedule to holiday season can be easier transition than going from holiday season back to structured schedule. Schedule time to discuss plans for the time when schedules become more rigorous.

Meet with your staff and clients to figure out which programs worked for you this season and which ones to build and improve upon next year.

Let us know what you think!

We love hearing from you, so please tell us what your plans are this holiday season and how you plan on using iLs with your clients.

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