The Many Benefits of Group Speech Therapy Programs
When you first think of accessing speech therapy services, the idea of working 1:1 with a Speech Pathologist might be the first thing that comes to mind. And while we wholeheartedly recommend seeking out an initial appointment to address concerns and assess symptoms to help chart a path forward for you and your loved one, there are many benefits to accessing therapy in a group setting!
Today we’re going to explore what you can expect in a group speech therapy program (like the ones we offer at SpeechEase!) and the benefits you’ll enjoy by taking part in group therapy.
What to Expect in a Group Speech Therapy Program
Depending on where you access group speech therapy programs, the structure and delivery will look a little different. For this article, we’ll be sharing the way we approach group therapy programs at our three SpeechEase Speech Therapy clinics across Queensland.
A Focus Area
One of the key elements of any group therapy program is a clear focus area. Because we’re a Speech Pathology service, our group therapy programs centre around the different areas of our scope of practice. As an example, we offer a group therapy program called PrepEase which is designed to help little ones develop the skills they’ll need to thrive when they start Prep. Some of our other group therapy program focus areas include social communication skills (SmartEase), fussy eating habits (FussEase), and early language development (TalkEase).
Small Group Sizes
Group therapy programs work well when there are small group sizes, allowing group facilitators enough time to effectively engage all members of the group on an individual level. Here at SpeechEase, we aim to have two Speech Pathologists to four group members. In these smaller groups it’s much more comfortable for individuals to contribute to group discussions and get the support they may need with any activities along the way.
Affordable Access to Services
Group therapy programs can be an affordable way to increase the frequency of therapy, while also remaining affordable! In fact, many group-based speech therapy programs can be accessed using NDIS funding, making them even more accessible to those who may want to try something new to work towards therapy goals.
Reports and Home Practice Support
After a group therapy program comes to an end, it’s always helpful to receive some guidance on what you can do to keep progressing towards therapy goals! If you are taking part in a longer-term group therapy program (2+ weeks) you can expect to receive progress reports along the way. But most importantly, when a program finishes up, parents and caregivers should receive a final report (if not a one-on-one debrief session!) that clearly outlines further activities or strategies that can be implemented at home to build upon the gains made in the program.
Some group therapy programs are targeted more towards building knowledge and the capacity of parents and caregivers in the area their child needs support with. This type of input coupled with individual direct therapy for the child is ideal for working together to achieve progress!
The Benefits of Group Speech Therapy Programs
Group therapy programs allow you to work on skills in a natural environment
In speech therapy, we often work with our clients one on one in a largely controlled environment with set activities. While this is great for building rapport, getting into a speech therapy rhythm, and making progress towards therapy goals, incorporating group therapy can help clients to generalise the skills they’re learning in therapy and apply them in interactions with other people.
Group therapy programs can be particularly beneficial for little ones who are building their social skills like turn taking, beginning conversations, and understanding instructions that they will need to thrive in their school years and beyond.
Group therapy programs can encourage greater participation and engagement
Taking part in speech therapy activities is way more fun when you’ve got other people to bounce off of! Group therapy programs bring people together with shared goals (and who are usually around a similar age!) which often leads to greater participation and engagement in therapy. Along the way, participants may even make a new friend or two. We love the social aspect of our group therapy programs, especially when parents and caregivers are involved too!
Group therapy programs can support greater therapy outcomes
Everyone wants to see progress towards their therapy goals. Group therapy programs offer the opportunity to work on skills that will get you closer to achieving your therapy goals multiple times in one week. While seeing your Speech Pathologist for regular speech therapy 1:1 is beneficial, for some participants an intensive 1–2-week program can make a world of difference.
There are plenty more things to love about group therapy, but for now, we think the most beneficial thing to do is to research group therapy programs available near you. Here at SpeechEase, we offer group speech therapy programs in our Townsville, Mackay, and Brisbane clinics. Take a look at the different group programs offered over here.