A CAREGIVER’S ROLE IN THERAPY
What’s my role in therapy? You’ve finished the evaluation and scheduled therapy, but now what? Are you a caregiver who is just getting started with therapy for your child? You may be asking yourself, "What can I do to stay involved in my kid's treatment?" Or perhaps "What role should I play in their therapy journey?". Rest assured that both questions have answers! Feeling unsure and anxious in the beginning of therapy is natural, but don't worry... your speech-language pathologist will be with you every step of the way!
Traditional Approach: Parents and caregivers carefully entrust the Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) with their child, waiting in the lobby or even monitoring through a two-way mirror while they work towards therapy goals. SLPs update caregivers on progress at end of session and give a couple strategies to practice at home.
*If you or your child are currently undergoing this type of treatment, speak with the Speech Language Pathologist about how to get more involved in therapy and what actions you can take at home for further support!
Current Approach based on Research (and the PLAY ON WORDS WAY!!): Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) employ teaching techniques and provide feedback to caregivers while they practice strategies with their children during everyday activities in a natural setting. This method of intervention, which involves play and meaningful tasks, is meant to help the child reach specific developmental goals.
When comparing parent-implemented therapy with clinician-directed therapy, research demonstrated the following results:
1. Parents have the potential to be just as successful in language intervention (including expression, understanding, vocabulary and grammar) as speech-language pathologists. 2. Parents can have an even more significant effect on a child’s language ability than speech-language pathologists when it comes to comprehending and utilizing grammar correctly. 3. Implementing therapeutic techniques into everyday activities can drastically improve language skills in children facing challenges such as Language Impairment, Autism Spectrum Disorder and Developmental Delay. Parents have experienced tremendous success when implementing these strategies!
Parent Coaching + Child Therapy = Best Practice A lot of the families we work with are surprised when therapy shifts from being centered around the child to focusing on the caregiver. While SLPs may be experts in speech and language development, you have an unparalleled understanding of your own children. That's why it is so vital that you play a role in their therapy - after all, nobody knows your little one better than you do!
Let's do the math..... There are 10,080 minutes in a week. The SLP typically gets 30-60 minutes a week with your child. That’s 10,020 minutes left in a week for caregivers to support their child!
Ways to be involved in your child’s therapy
Working together with the SLP, set objectives and identify what is most important for your child's progress.
Describe your daily routines and activities
Expand your abilities by testing out the strategies you observe SLPs using in therapy sessions
Admit where progress is made and the areas that need improvement.
Make the most of your daily routines (such as mealtime, dressing up, bathing and bed time) with your child by interacting with them.
Make sure to respond to any attempts of communication your child makes—no matter how small.
As your child's therapy progresses, it may require different tasks of you in order to ensure success. Make sure to check-in with the speech-language pathologist on a regular basis and keep updated about how best to support your little one.
How do you take an active part in your child’s therapy?