Hi again! We thought of coming up with a different blog post this time. Something that could benefit all parents, but especially those just starting out on their speech therapy journey. We love seeing our lovely clients regularly and it’s always a pleasure getting to know ‘our’ children and their families. Over the years we have noticed sometimes ‘small things’ can have a big impact on how well a child responds to their speech therapy session.
As we only see your child for a short time each week, we need to be able to make the most of your child’s speech therapy sessions, so we have compiled a list of simple things parents can do to help us get most out of your child’s speech therapy sessions:
1. Make sure your child is well-fed prior to therapy
This sounds obvious – but sometimes is overlooked … and can greatly impact a child’s attention, listening and co-operation. Children can get lethargic, non-compliant or cranky, when they are hungry (hence the new word ‘hangry’!). Ensuring they have something to eat before coming to speech therapy will get them ready to focus, respond well and have lots of fun. Just like with adults … a hungry child is not a happy child!
2. Figure out the best time for your child’s learning
Some adults are morning people while others enjoy sleeping in. Likewise, children may have such preferences too. You wouldn’t want to turn up at the clinic with your child half asleep in therapy. Many times, we have had a child fallen asleep in the car on the way to their therapy sessions. Some wake up way slower than others, and some a bit (lot!) cranky.
3. Try not arrive late or rushed
Having a rushed schedule to get to your child’s speech therapy session may not set your child in the right mood to engage for a 30-minute to 45-minute session. If you can allow time to be able to arrive relaxed this will also to help your child start off their session in a more settled way
4. Talk about the speech therapy session with your child beforehand
Preparing your child beforehand, will help them to understand what to expect and help them to settle into the session more quickly – especially when your child is new to therapy. Our clients usually get into the routine of their sessions quite quickly, but it may take some children up to 3 sessions to adjust to this new environment. Remember that the therapist is also learning what works best for your child. We also adapt our sessions as we get to know your child and discover what works best with them.
5. Sit in the sessions with your child
By and large you will get the most out of your child’s sessions if you sit in the sessions and join in with your child’s activities. You will be able to see the strategies used by your speech pathologist. We use different strategies for various purposes and sometimes a very specific way of doing an activity or supporting your child within an activity makes all the difference. When you participate in your child’s sessions this will help you to follow-up activities at home. Please note that being on your phone during the session can distract your child.
6. Provide home Follow-up
This leads me to our next point: homework. In initial consultations and our first therapy sessions, we make it a point to let parents know the importance of home follow-up. The purpose of speech therapy is to achieve the goals in a variety of settings; and, of course, the home environment is one of the most important. We see more progress when parents are able to follow up their home activities consistently. Don’t be embarrassed about speaking to your therapist if you have difficulties carrying you’re your home practice activities. There are many ways of following up activities at home (there is another blog post in that!). We are experienced at working with children and have family lives too … and we know things don’t always go according to plan. If we know that your home follow-up is a struggle, we may have some little tricks to help you along or be able to adapt what we suggest make your home practice more successful and fun for all.
7. Have open communication with your therapist
If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s session, talk with your therapist. You may have some queries about why we have (or haven’t) done something that we haven’t thought to clearly explain. We welcome questions and feedback about our work with your child (we love to talk about our work!). If we work together as a team, we can get the best results for your child.