Are you curious about what exactly is happening during your child’s early intervention, speech therapy sessions? The common perception is that your SLP is simply playing with your child, but that couldn’t be further from the truth! There is continuous assessment of your child’s speech and language skills occurring, along with a myriad of techniques being implemented to elicit or create opportunities to build and exercise your child’s speech and language skills. So, if you’re prone to sitting on the sidelines during your child’s session, get on the mat, and get involved!
Here are some tips to make the most of your child’s speech therapy sessions:
1) Ask lots of questions
If you’re not sure what the therapist is doing or why they are doing something, ask! Maybe these are some things you’ve wondered about:
Why do you use a sing-song voice?
Why do you keep narrating what you’re doing?
Why do you sing songs?
Why do you keep giving two choices?
Why do you keep toys in a cabinet?
Most speech therapists have a set of goals they are targeting, and specific techniques utilized to achieve those goals. If you’ve never had a conversation about what your child’s speech-language goals are, ask about them!
2) Use the session for practice
Most speech therapy techniques are easier described than they are to actually put into practice. Who knew that talking about what your child is doing could be so difficult, but it is! It takes thought and intentionality, and loads of practice. Like any skill, it takes work and investment! Ask your therapist to set aside some time during the session to observe you implement certain techniques with your child. That way, you have a better idea of how to implement a technique when you are on your own at home.
3) Ask what to work on at home
Successful habilitation of speech and language skills is measured by generalized, or “carry-over” of skills. This means that we don’t want your child to use words when he is in the clinic, but in a variety of environments, for a variety of purposes. If your therapist doesn’t do so already, ask about one to two techniques you can try to implement at home. This could be something as simple as modeling the sign for “open” whenever you open any door at home.
We know that our parents are busier than ever in quarantine (we appreciate all the hard work that you do!). Your therapist is here to help your child, and they’re here to support you as well! There are ways to implement speech therapy techniques into your daily routine, so that the thought of practicing doesn’t have to be so overwhelming! Your speech therapist can also help you identify those routines (another great way to utilize a session)! Remember, your therapist is there to help, but your child ultimately benefits from your involvement! So get down on the mat, and let's get practicing!