Make the Most of a Cancelled Therapy Session

April 26, 2024
By Andie Scibilia
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It’s that time of year again – sniffles, coughs, and cancelled appointments! We know how frustrating it can be if you need to cancel a session when your child is unwell, they don’t feel like going one week, or you have to juggle another appointment that pops up in your family’s schedule. But what if there was a way to still benefit from your therapist’s time, even if your child can’t make it to the session?

We reached out to the Kindred Community to find out how they work with their therapist when their child is unwell, or they’re unable to attend. Here are some suggestions and creative ideas on what you can ask your therapist to do the next time you have to cancel a face-to-face session:

Prepare Resources

Your therapist can create personalised resources to help your child reach their goals at home, daycare, or school. This might include visual schedules, communication boards, or step-by-step picture guides to help with daily routines or regular tasks. Therapists can also use this time to adapt learning materials from school or create new ones that target your child’s specific needs.

Create Social Stories

Social stories can help your child understand new concepts, navigate challenging situations, or prepare for upcoming events. Your therapist can create stories specifically tailored to your child based on what is happening in their life right now. This could be anything from starting a new school year to preparing for a new sibling to coping with a change in routine.

Collaborate with Other Therapists and Professionals

When everyone working with your child communicates and works together effectively, it benefits your child in a big way. Therapists, teachers, doctors, and other professionals can all share their unique skills and knowledge to better support your child’s development. When your child’s therapist uses this time for collaboration, such as sharing your child’s progress or strategies that are working in their sessions, it can lead to a more consistent approach across different settings and, ultimately, better outcomes for your child.

Write Reports and Recommendations

If your child has an NDIS plan, your therapist can use a cancelled session to get a head start on their NDIS progress reports or recommendations for your child’s next review. Or, this time could be used to feedback on important documents, from contributing to your child’s All About Me to providing input on their individual learning plan. 


Does your child need a new piece of adaptive equipment? Are you curious about a specific therapy program? Are you looking for a local community or group activity that aligns with your child’s goals? Your therapist can use this time to research options and provide you with information and recommendations.

Parent Capacity Building

Using the time for a Zoom session or phone call with your child’s therapist is a great way to grow your skills, empower you to overcome challenges and support your child’s development. From discussing how you can target a therapy goal at home to workshopping potential strategies to address something your child is struggling with. This one-on-one time with your child’s therapist could also be used to discuss new priorities or plan for transitions in your child’s life.

Goal Setting

Cancelled therapy sessions can be a great opportunity to take a step back and review your child’s progress towards their current goals. This time can be used to discuss how your child is progressing as well as any new strategies that may be needed to meet these goals or even help plan new goals for the future.

Upskills Your Child’s Support System

The more people who understand your child’s needs and how best to support them, the better! Your therapist can use this time to provide training or upskilling for anyone who supports your child in their daily life, like Therapy Assistants, Support Workers, school support staff, SLSOs, or even family members. This will help everyone work together effectively to create a positive and supportive environment for your child.

Be Proactive and Plan Ahead

Our final piece of advice is to discuss these ideas with your child’s therapists and work out potential things that can be worked on if a session is cancelled. That way, if your child is unwell and you have your hands full at home, or you are busy juggling other things, there’s a plan in place to make the most of the time.


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