An intervention is considered a good “contextual fit” when the elements of the intervention match the values, needs, skills, and resources available for all involved. As with many areas of life, the definition of a “good fit” is subjective. An intervention that looks great on paper is only a fit if the people implementing, receiving, and supporting it decide that it’s beneficial and sustainable. There is no single formula for success. It is clear, however, that a good contextual fit improves the quality of the intervention and produces better outcomes.

Motivation is key to sustainable success. You want to find achievable, age-appropriate goals your child is interested in reaching. Your child will benefit most from interventions that suit their personality, respect their wishes, and reflect their interests. The ideal fit considers your family’s culture and traditions and uses age-appropriate presentations and familiar language. Interventions must be aligned with goals that are important to your family. Try to stay open-minded and patient as you work through a mutual understanding of priorities with your therapist. It is helpful to establish expectations for sharing information freely and frequently, which will help you stay on the same page over time as needs and solutions evolve.

When there is a strong contextual fit, the adults implementing the intervention have the necessary skills and resources for sustained adoption and ongoing support. An effective plan will be a proper fit in all settings and every aspect of the child’s life. Parents should feel empowered to follow the plan when the therapist isn’t present. The plan should fit during the school day as well as it does at home. If one party doesn’t buy into the plan or lacks the confidence or ability to implement the plan, the intervention is not going to produce the desired outcomes. A key risk of not having a good contextual fit is that the learned skills cannot be applied in all settings and circumstances.

A good contextual fit ensures the interventions are aligned to your priorities and values. At KNR, we value your feedback and view you as a powerful contributor to your child’s therapy. You must understand how goals are derived and approach the partnership with a flexible mindset, ready to springboard off the knowledge you already have, to go beyond what you currently know. At KNR, we take pride in our experience and expertise, but families are the experts on their kids. With teamwork, we can design the best fit for each child, which results in a better intervention, better implementation, and better outcomes.