Home Exercise Programs (HEP)
What the HEP is it?
HEP stands for Home Exercise Program. Essentially, this includes the strategies, activities, and/or exercises a therapist recommends you complete at home between therapy sessions. This could include everything from how to respond to a tantrum, specific handwriting tasks, speech sounds to practice, or stretches to complete.
Why is it so important?
Therapists typically see your child for 30-60minutes each week for regularly scheduled sessions. During this time, your child is likely learning new skills and practicing new strategies that they can take with them outside the clinic to better function throughout their day. We would love to teach something once and have your child master it, but we all know it doesn’t usually work like that. Practice makes progress, and the more practice your child can get, the more progress they will make. Carrying over the HEP recommendations as often as possible throughout the week provides your child more opportunities to develop, practice, learn, and grow. It may take some effort to implement the HEP, but once your child masters a new skill you will see both their life improve and your role as caregiver get just a little bit easier.
What’s my role as a parent?
Talk to your child’s therapist each week to learn not only what they are doing in therapy sessions, but why they are doing it. Communicate if you need more ideas, are feeling overwhelmed, or are seeing success at home with the therapeutic strategies in place.
A great goal is implementing the HEP once a day for 10-20 minutes, but even a few times per week is beneficial! Take it as an opportunity to have some special one-on-one fun with your child, or even get the whole family involved. Children learn best through play, so remember to keep it cheerful and not a chore. Remember you and your child’s therapist are on the same team, working together to support your child’s development.