Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) by Physiotherapists and Occupational therapists about COPCA®
- What are the aims of the COPCA® programme?
1. To empower families to have the autonomy to stimulate their child by means of everyday activities and make decisions appropriate for their child to support his/her development.
2. To support both the development of their child’s mobility and also the general development of their child so that the child can take part as fully as possible in everyday life.
- How does COPCA® differ from traditional infant therapies?
COPCA® is aimed at the whole family and, whenever possible, carried out in the home surroundings of the family. The parents are integrated as active and equal partners in the therapy process. They carry out routine, everyday activities in the home that stimulate the development of their child, while being guided and supported by a therapist in the role of a COPCA® coach. The children are stimulated to motor behavior that is self-produced, explorative and varied through trial-and-error experiences that support motor learning. Hands-on techniques are applied only minimally and only to children who are severely impaired. These techniques are avoided for all other children.
- Do health insurance companies pay for COPCA®?
Yes, when prescribed by a doctor COPCA® treatments are paid for by the health insurance companies in Switzerland.
- Why home treatment?
We know today that motor learning results from a child’s active exploration of its real-world environment and that enriched surroundings are the optimal environment for early intervention. We also know that a significant percentage of infants who require early intervention have been through a stressful time and that stress at this early stage of life can have a negative effect on infants’ development. Home therapy reduces stress for the child and the parents and consequently contributes significantly to supporting the child and the well-being of the family.
- Why is COPCA® conducted within the context of everyday routines?
The efficacy of therapies that support development always is dependent on the frequency of the therapy. When family members put the pro-developmental principles into practice integrated into daily activities, a high dose of therapy is achieved.
- Can COPCA® also be offered in the clinical setting?
The two components of COPCA®, family-centered practice and the principles of motor learning can, in principle, also be applied in a clinical setting. However, in order to optimally capacitate family members to promote their child’s learning autonomously, it is necessary for COPCA® coaching to take place in the home environment of the family.
- Why is COPCA® therapy long-lasting?
Parents who have learned from COPCA® therapy to support their child’s development autonomously by means of normal everyday activities, continue to apply these development principles after the end of the early intervention sessions, which results in the sustainable, positive COPCA® effect on the development of the child.
- What is the role of the therapist in the COPCA® programme?
Therapists are called coaches in the COPCA® programme. This, in turn, defines their role, as they coach family members. Coaching comprises an exchange of information between the family members and the coach. In addition, coaching involves: observation of the interaction between family members and the child, sharing these observations, asking questions, listening, offering suggestions, reflecting on the situation and giving feedback. As development experts, the COPCA® coaches also perform regular development assessments of the child.
- Why don’t the therapists perform the therapy on the COPCA® programme?
If you perform the therapy with the child, the family members generally take on the role of observer. It is far more difficult in this role to learn the principles of development stimulation and to apply them at home than it is when parents play an active role in the interaction with their child.
- Why does COPCA® focus on the whole family rather than primarily the child?
We know today that a child develops best in the setting of a supportive family in which the needs of all family members are considered. It is therefore important that you understand the needs, wishes and goals of the family members in order as COPCA® coach to help support the development of the child optimally.
- What do parents value most about COPCA®?
A study looked at the experiences of Swiss mothers whose children had received COPCA® therapy. It showed that mothers really appreciate the COPCA® programme. They were particularly enthusiastic about the therapy taking place in the home environment. They valued the support from the coach and the fact that they were involved as an active partner whose needs and goals were taken into account.
- How can I become a COPCA® coach?
ZHAW’s Institute of Physiotherapy offers COPCA® as a continuing education course. This comprises 2 x 3 contact days spread over 8 months and two individual coaching sessions in a practical phase between the contact days. You can find more information on the continuing education course here.