Looking for tips on how to work with a speech therapist to best support your child’s progress in speech therapy at home? Look no more! According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, (NIH), 7.7% of children in the United States have a disorder related to voice, speech, language, or swallowing. That means there are plenty of parents wondering how to navigate speech and language disorders and how to work with speech- language pathologists (SLPs).
Guest Speaker Macey Riggs is sharing her advice on working with communication professions for your child with disabilities:
A study on the diagnosed developmental disabilities among children in the United States found that 17% of children aged 3 to 17 years had a developmental disability. Often, this condition results in a speech or language impairment and disruption. It isn’t uncommon for children with disabilities to experience language and communication delays. These challenges underpin parents’ concerns over addressing the speech impediments of their children with disabilities.
Speech impediments encompass a child’s ability to speak fluently. Parents can observe disruptions through added, omitted and substituted sounds, and in the use of gestures. Speech impediments affect how your child communicates and socializes. For example, you may notice your child struggling to answer questions or read out loud. It’s natural for parents to feel concerned over their child’s difficulty to express themselves— especially when the child’s thoughts or needs can’t be recognized immediately.
Fortunately, working with a speech therapist enables parents to implement individualized plans to promote the best outcomes for their child. Speech- language pathologists (SLPs) help parents to identify certain speech patterns and behaviors. Parents can then focus on addressing the areas their child struggles with.
Here are three helpful tips on working with communication professionals for your child with disabilities:
1. Create a Collaboration Plan.
A collaborative approach helps to address and potentially minimize problems in speech. Working as a team allows information to be shared seamlessly between speech therapists and parents. A study by Griselda Jane and Harini Tunjungsari in 2015 found that parental involvement in speech therapy is essential and that open dialogue is necessary to provide better outcomes for children with speech disorders.
Parents should be transparent about their resources such as time, support, and skills as they determine their own level of involvement in the process of co-designing a speech therapy plan for their children. This way, parents can also clarify their role or responsibilities in implementing strategies. Some parents will go as far as creating a whole sensory room for their child, while others will do their best to implement all the smaller (easier) tips from their speech therapist at home.
Speech therapists can also provide reasonable suggestions based on how much time you can allot for your child, or how much you’re willing to spend on therapies. Ultimately, targeted goals can be created based on the mutual understanding of each side’s expectations and preferences.
2. Ask Your Speech Therapist Questions.
Understandably, there will be numerous concerns you’ll want to bring forward as you form treatment plans or your child. You may also have some recommendations or preferences to share with your speech therapist as they start to work with your child. Parents should be open to consulting communication professionals about their concerns and uncertainties. Together with your child’s speech therapist, you’ll be able to create strategies to promote optimal educational outcomes for your children with disabilities. By being proactive and honest, parents can provide input on problem-solving and support strategies. Likewise, this helps speech therapists tailor their recommendations accordingly.
3. Reinforce Speech Therapy Strategies at Home.
Communication strategies can be practiced regularly if you integrate them into your home life. Parents can supplement and support their child’s speech therapy activities at home to practice their new speech skills and reduce any nervousness. Speech therapy can be a ton of fun and can be implemented in almost any activity. Next time you’re doing something fun with your family, be sure to include some speech therapy skills!
Your child’s speech-language therapist may ask you to help your child practice language skills by engaging them in conversations often. You can also model communication strategies such as using concrete language with clear and concise wording. Storytelling with visual aids like picture cards or story books can be a fun way to practice speech sounds. You can even go over assignments for school together and practice their speech goals.
Parents of children with disabilities play incredibly important roles in ensuring their kids can communicate their wants and needs effectively. Hopefully, the above tips can assist you in developing the right interventions with the help of communication professionals.
Written by Macey Riggs for teachingexceptionalthinkers.com