Parent Involvement...

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Parent Involvement in Speech Therapy

Therapists provide the keys needed to unlock your child’s potential, but parents are in the best position to turn those keys. At Carlin Speech, we put caretakers and family at the heart of every single treatment program.

The Importance of Parent Involvement in Therapy

In the past, parents were passive observers of child therapy. But research shows that parents’ active participation in their child’s speech therapy or occupational therapy makes an incredible difference. Active familial involvement in therapy significantly improves the speed and quality of success, and often proves beneficial in helping parents understand their special-needs children better than ever before.

The best possible way for children to learn is through everyday activities. Therapy is a specialized environment, but home is where a young child’s life really plays out. Practicing therapy lessons at home can work wonders:

  • At-home tasks are more meaningful to the child because they involve important parts of daily life, like dinner time and bath time.
  • Daily practice in a comfortable environment makes therapy lessons more likely to “stick.”
  • The reinforcement provided at home can speed up a child’s overall progress because milestones can occur between sessions.
  • At home, parents are more likely to uncover new motivators and new challenges that are valuable to the treatment plan’s evolution.

We love our young patients and do everything we can for them, but family support is irreplaceable in any child’s journey to health, happiness and good communication.

At-Home Tips for Parents

A practical way of thinking about your child’s therapist is to view them as a helper, rather than a fixer. They’re experts in their field, but not necessarily miracle workers. Therapists are there to guide patients down the right pathways, but they only get to see the child for an hour or two a week. Parents have meaningful interactions with their children every day. It takes a little planning, but these everyday interactions can be aligned with the goals set by your therapist.

Some rules of thumb when working on therapy at-home:

Fast-paced conversations and fast-paced environments aren’t ideal for child development. Take frequent breathers in your day, simplify your vocabulary and allow communication to take as long as it needs to take. Patience helps children blossom.

When you come in for a session, talk about successes and setbacks you’ve had at home. Good communication helps ensure consistency between what happens inside our office and what happens at home.

Story-time is fantastic for speech and language development, and interactive books help with fine motor skills. Find books your child responds the most to, and switch up the routine. Practice pronouncing key words while looking at one another face-to-face, take the time to explore pictures and pop-ups while discussing them out loud, and allow your child to make up their own version of the story as you go.

  • Development of motor skills requires many repetitions, which is much easier to achieve through everyday exercises at home. With your therapist, make a list of motor habits your child needs to form and the exercises required to form them. These habits are your goals.

Communication should be rewarding for both you and your child. Try not to ask a question more than two or three times, and don’t feel like you have to correct every speech mistake. Impatience and over-correction can frustrate and isolate children.

Scheduling an evaluation is the first step to helping your child.

Contact us today to learn how our therapists at Carlin Speech can help.