Tips for Parents – How to Work with your Child’s Speech Therapist

By Brittany Lehane October 30, 2013

As an SLP, I sometimes get so focused on helping my students hit their goals that I forget to take a step back and take a look at the big picture.  The fact is, I’m only with each child for a limited number of hours every week. Parents interact far more each week than I am able to, so having an open dialogue with parents can be mutually beneficial.  I can learn more about the child’s demeanor on a given day to tailor my sessions, and I can give helpful advice to parents for at-home practice. Keeping lines of communication open allows us  to think about the child holistically and ultimately helps us deliver better therapy.

As a parent, there are a few things you can do to maximize your relationship with your child’s Speech Therapist.  Let’s dive in.

 

Communicate

This is the most important piece! Let us know what is going on in your child’s life. The communication back and forth between parents and therapists is so important, because knowing what is going on really helps us as therapists. If they have been sick that can change their behavior and impact their performance. Other life events can have a big impact on their performance in speech sessions – for example, moving. Talk about what you see at home and ask what the therapists see in school. Working in public schools many times I only see parents at the annual IEP meeting. I would love to be in contact more. Make it quick and easy – send a notebook back and forth or email. It doesn’t have to be long or time consuming but it should be consistent.

 

Observe Sessions

Come see what we do in therapy. Watching what we do can help you gain an understanding of what we actually do and what it looks like. You can get so much more out of seeing it than just listening to us describing it.

 

Ask Questions

Let us know whenever you have questions. Especially when you want to know activities for home. The carryover of skills is so important and you can help! Who cares if a child can ask for help in a therapy room if they can’t in their classroom or at home? The skills we teach need to be used in all different settings. By you working on the same skills at home, we have a much better chance of attaining this. Communication skills are not different than learning anything else. Practice makes perfect.

 

Problem Solve Together

If there are difficulties in any way at home, work with your child’s therapists to find solutions. They probably have to deal with the same issue at school. You can both gain insight about the child in different environments and work together to solve the issues. Therapists have team meetings to work together but parents can also benefit from bouncing ideas off of therapists as well.

 

Talk About Technology

Ask the therapists what kind of technology they use with your child. I use many programs on iPads that help my students communicate. These programs often take time to program for each student and parents aren’t sure how to use them, so I help parents. This is a great way to work together.

Any parents out there with helpful tips for staying in touch?  Any therapists with more advice for parents? Let us know!

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