The Role of Therapy in Speech: A Letter to Parents

Each week as your child attends their speech therapy session, he has the opportunity to enhance their skill set. While your weekly visits help your child progress his communication, each session is just a small portion of what helps your child's communication to grow. 

Your therapist spends a short amount of time each week with your child while you are a daily, constant model in his life. You may be thinking, "I don't know how to be a speech therapist, so how qualified and helpful can I really be?" The truth is, your communicative influence is more important than you realize! You as the parent are the expert on your child and are in the best position to provide language intervention as you go through your day-to-day routines. Daily activities such as grocery shopping, family dinners, and bedtime routines provide ample opportunity to enhance language and articulation skills. 

It is important to know that the involvement of family is pivotal in your child's communication development. Numerous studies have shown that when parents and speech therapists work together to help practice skills across several environments, children make significantly more progress toward their communication goals. Additional research has identified that when utilizing learned strategies from their therapist, parents are either as effective or even more effective than a speech-language pathologist. All that to say — your role sure is important! 

You may be wondering what it looks like to get involved in speech therapy so that you can help support your child's progress outside of the speech room. The best way to begin learning how to support communication at home is to participate in your child's therapy sessions. Each setting (e.g. clinic, home health, teletherapy, school) may look a bit different, so be sure to speak with your speech therapist to learn how you can be a part of your child's therapy session. By participating in therapy sessions, you will learn ways to communicate with your child, modeling techniques that are specific to your child's needs, how to enhance the skills they currently have, and how to incorporate daily language-rich activities that will make a lasting impact on your child’s communication growth.

 

Once you have learned these skills, you may begin to incorporate interventions at home. Your therapist will help you analyze your daily activities to learn about language-enriching opportunities and will teach you evidence-based techniques to incorporate into your daily activities. Whether your child is working on social skills, speech sounds, or growth of language, at-home intervention is both functional and easily incorporated into your existing schedule. Lastly, be sure to communicate any changes or challenges with your speech therapist so you can work through them together. 

Remember that your everyday interactions provide numerous opportunities to model language, learn new vocabulary, and build awareness of speech sounds. Your expertise on your child and involvement are essential components to their success as they reach their full potential! 

Author: Christina Neuweiler, MS CCC-SLP, CDP

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as professional advice. The content is based on the author's personal experiences, research, and opinions. It is always recommended to consult with a qualified professional or expert before making any decisions or taking action based on the information provided in this blog.

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