Parents, roll up your sleeves and be prepared to get involved with speech therapy. Your role is an integral part of making a difference in your child’s progress.
It’s true. Parent involvement can make the difference between progress and no change.
What that involvement looks like is different for each child. For some it may be more intensive and include a role in the therapy sessions. For others, it may be helping with homework and home practice. It may include making changes to the home environment to help set your child up for success.
Parents have an immeasurable influence upon their children. Parents also have an intuitive knowledge of their children. Your understanding and knowledge is unlike anyone else who interacts with your child. Parents are not always able to delineate exactly what the problem is but generally know when something is amiss. That piece is invaluable helping your child along in therapy
This is one of the benefits of being in private practice, in my opinion. I worked with parents of my students when I was in schools but my contact was far less due to the nature of how services were delivered. Now I generally see parents every session. And, I love it!
Part of my role as a speech-language pathologist working with children is to educate parents and I enjoy doing so. I want to help parents understand what’s happening or not happening, as the case may be, so you may make the most informed decision possible. I’m a parent after all and this is how I expect providers to interact with me about my children. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Why are parents so important to making progress in speech therapy?
- First, it may sound obvious, but generally parents are around their children more than anyone else. This alone has gigantic implications! Parents can model sounds and language skills throughout natural day-to-day routines, which promotes carryover of skills from therapy time into other areas of life. Generalization is the ultimate goal.
- Secondly, children learn indirectly from their parents and families. This starts at birth and continues well into early adulthood. They learn how to react to unexpected news or how help care for a grandparent. The drawback is that the learning includes the good, the bad and the ugly habits. The positive, however, is that parents have the power to instill change–changes from bad habits to good, changes in attitude, changes in speech/language production, etc.
- Yet another reason, parents determine the tone for speech therapy. Parents who follow through on recommendations/homework and make the appointments a priority send the message to their child that therapy is important. It can have the opposite impact as well–those who cancel frequently and lack follow-through are sending a different message, which often impacts a child’s performance during therapy sessions and limits carryover of skills.
- Next, children want to please their parents and make them proud. When a child experiences that ‘lightbulb moment’ of understanding and being able to execute a skill they’ve been working on, there is no better person to show off to than a parent.
While it doesn’t look the same for every child or every parent, involvement is important. Part of the process in speech therapy is figuring out what works well for your family–not just the child.
Speech With Sara LLC offers comprehensive evaluation services for speech-sound disorders, orofacial myofunctional impairments (tongue thrusts, orthodontic relapse, weak lip closure, etc.), receptive/expressive language and literacy development & remediation.
Have questions about your child’s speech and language development, contact Speech With Sara LLC, 313-815-7916 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.