Actually, I'd like all their clients' homes to be the favorite, such that every therapist could look forward to every visit with every family! But I know that's not how it is in the real world, and since the only home I can influence is my own...
This "favorite place" idea of mine grew organically from the seed of wanting to get the most out of our therapy visits as possible. To me, that meant being present and engaged to try to learn all I can from the therapists' expertise; sharing what I know about Joy and what's going on with her; and coming up with my own ideas about how we can work together.
It also meant being organized, and available, and on-time for the sessions. (Occasionally I flub, but get easily forgiven because of my track record.)
Therapists respond positively to such efforts! Cordial partnerships have ended up becoming friendships, and I've ended up with even more reasons to want to make things pleasant.
I found myself taking a little extra care to keep the floors on which they work/play from getting too disgustingly grungy, and to keep the bathroom reasonably clean as well. Not that I wouldn't do that for our family (right?), but this provides an extra little kick in the pants.
Then there are the little things that make life a little sunnier. Like small gifts of produce from the garden. (Especially among our intensive-autism line therapists, these people aren't making a princely wage!) Or passing along a certain jack-o-lantern stencil to a therapist who gave me the thumbs-up about a certain sign in our yard. Or complimenting a therapist on the piano piece she played for Joy during a session, ending up with me asking to borrow the sheet music.
Most of this stuff I'm almost doing more for me and Joy than for the therapists, and I wouldn't be doing these things if I felt it was a burden or an obligation. Instead, it makes me happy -- and it makes them happy -- and happy therapists are more likely to bring that attitude through the door.
As I said before, ideally there would be no hint of competition between families. And I know that there are reasons why, say, one's bathroom might be hard to keep clean or life is just too freakin' insane to do one more extra thing. I've had stretches like that, most notably this past winter, and nobody's held it against me.
Speaking of this past winter, for Christmas last year we gave our therapists little gifts of homemade strawberry freezer jam. For some reason, thinking back on that now, it reminds me of a line from a LaVyrle Spencer romance called Morning Glory. (Yes, I do have that kind of stuff on my shelf, among the highbrow goodies. Now you know.) Anyway, the heroine is trying to hire a lawyer, during WWII when money is tight, and she brings with her a quart of honey from the farm.
"Might this be construed as bribery, do you think, Gladys?"
"Construe it any way you like, but try it on a bran muffin. It's indescribable."
Construe this any way you like!