Dyad sessions are when we pair up two children in the same room where they have individual support from a therapist throughout the session.
Why do children need individual therapy support?
Many children find it difficult to regulate themselves, so the therapist is there to support their co-regulation while naming what they and the other child are doing to support their comprehension of what is happening in the moment.
Why can’t parents support this?
The therapists are trained to support children to become more independent and confident in interacting, playing with and communicating with other children while not relying on their parents. This is a skill they will need in childcare, kindergarten and school.
What can I expect during a session?
Initially, children’s dyad sessions can seem quite chaotic if you are a person looking in from the outside. However, during this time, children are finding their feet and themselves within the dyad.
Children may seem very withdrawn and want to sit on their parent’s lap and observe or very excited and move around all over the place. These are both ways that children explore their surroundings and therapists are trained to support children to regulate themselves and become more socially aware of the other child, then to start interacting with them.
What type of play can I expect my child to do?
Sometimes we are simply focusing on helping the child to be able to stay in the room with another child. They may engage in parallel play or solitary play while briefly looking at the other child and not engaging with them.
Over time, and with practice in individual sessions, the children will start to approach each other and then therapists support each of them to engage with the other child.
What training do therapists have supporting children in dyad sessions?
All our therapists are trained to support children’s development in dyad sessions. They also receive regular mentoring from therapists both inside and outside of the organisation. We specialise in supporting children’s social-emotional development and communication through relationships.
Our Development Through Play therapist is also an Early Childhood Educator with many years of experience working in kindergartens across South Australia and the United Kingdom.
As a multidisciplinary team, the therapists work together during dyad sessions while supporting the children individually. They share their expertise and knowledge with each other, both by formally mentoring others and informally through daily planning and discussion.
I want my child to learn to communicate and use more vocabulary. How will a dyad session help?
Children often interact and behave differently with adults than they do with other children. Children will learn to communicate and extend their vocabulary, comprehension and play skills with individually supported dyad sessions. Children learn to communicate with other children, which is a foundation skill for attending other children’s programs and education settings in the community.
The children are very different, they don’t seem to match.
We have supported many dyad sessions and will not match children who cannot learn from each other. Sometimes, it feels to the parents the children are very different, however, this is something the child may need to learn. For example, a child may need to learn to be more assertive when playing with toys or to be more compassionate. They can learn this from each other with the right support.
They may also be at different levels of play development which is usually the case in the various environments children will be attending. This is where the therapists will support the child to recognise, acknowledge, begin to comprehend and develop adaptability to work with others and their learning styles.
What is expected of parents?
Often parents sit out of dyad sessions and therapists share small video clips (with parent permission) with parents after the sessions to explain what was worked on and achieved. However, if children are very young and cannot be without a parent in the session, then we encourage parents to either sit at a visual distance or in the session but not participate in the session. Sometimes parents find it hard to sit on their hands or just observe, especially when they see their child struggling. Children often come to their parents to support their regulation, then with the proper support from the therapists, they will be able to start to grow their confidence to stand on their own two feet and stay in the room, seeking less
co-regulation from the parent and eventually even be curious enough to join in the play with the other child.
Sometimes, while children are ready to start playing in a dyad session, parents are not ready. It is important to communicate with us if you feel that dyads are not helping your child or if you feel uncomfortable.
What should I keep in mind when my child starts a dyad session?
Just trust the process and trust the therapist. Always share your concerns, but also understand this is not like child care, kindergarten or school. This is a therapeutic process where therapists have matched your child with the other child to work on skills your child may still be developing so they feel more confident when with other children in the community.
But my child never shares and he may also hit the other child. I’m worried about that.
Therapists set boundaries and are very aware of your child’s triggers and ways of communicating. They ensure everyone is safe in the dyad sessions. Naming and choosing the right equipment and material for dyad play sessions is crucial. Children will not be asked or expected to share initially because developmentally they may not be ready for this. Again, just trust the process.
What is the cost of the dyad session?
When do you know the dyad isn’t working?
What happens if the first dyad session doesn’t work?
Can you start the dyad sessions slowly?
Are dyad sessions Covid safe?
At My Therapy House®, we have COVID safe practices in place to minimise the risk of cross-infection and contamination for all our clients. We require Covid vaccination for adults, as well as for children over 5 years of age so that they are able to participate in dyad sessions safely.
Dyad sessions bring in a lot of variation and different skill-learning for children while accessing therapeutic services. It is often challenging to make a match, but when we do, we have done so for specific reasons. We hope this helps parents and caregivers understand what dyads are and what to expect from these types of therapy sessions.