If your child needs speech-language therapy, the goal of a speech-language pathologist (SLP) is to make significant and positive impacts on the child’s communications skills. But while professional treatment is critical, it is not the only factor in helping ensure speech therapy success. Parents play an important part. Here are seven ways parents can ensure they are doing everything they can to get the best speech-language results for their child:
1. Observe your child’s sessions. If there is no easy way to do this without being intrusive, ask the SLP to record the session for you to view.
2. Communicate and learn from the therapist. Ask your SLP to provide specific suggestions to establish a strong – and fun – home program.
3. Share what your child loves with your SLP. These would be lists of favorite foods, drinks, toys, activities, people and pets’ names, characters and places. This will help the SLP develop a requesting or commenting vocabulary to help your child communicate their most desired items and activities. SLPs also use the child’s favorites as “reinforcements” after they have provided a requested behavior.
4. Practice through play. Practicing your child’s target goals outside of therapy sessions allows for generalization in their everyday environment. For example, if your child is working on the target word banana: Give your child one piece at a time, encouraging them to say banana or their best approximation of the word (ba, nana, ba-nana) each time they want another bite. Find books that include bananas and ask your child to label them each time they appear on the page.
5. Ask for help. If your child is struggling to perform any of the goals or tasks at home, have your therapist assist you with hands-on techniques and methods.
6. Provide feedback. Share your child’s performance at home with the therapist, so they know how your child is progressing with targeted goals outside of their sessions.
7. Stay in touch and request feedback. Be your child’s advocate. Communicate your questions and concerns with their SLP to ensure success. Ask questions when challenges and concerns arise.’
Brought to you by Kaufman Children’s Center. Visit kidspeech.com for more information on their speech, language, sensory, motor and social connection services.