What is the Parent’s Role in Speech Therapy?
Being a parent is a big job. You’re raising your little one to be the best version of themselves, and for you, part of that may be supporting them in their Speech Therapy journey.
There are many things you can do to help your child as they progress through the stages of Speech Therapy. As professionals working with children of all ages across Queensland, we’d love to share some practical and helpful advice with you to support your child in achieving the best outcomes possible.
What is the Parent’s Role in Speech Therapy?
When your child begins seeing a Speech Pathologist for the first time, it can be a daunting experience regardless of their age. Meeting a new person, learning new skills and going to a new place can be overwhelming. The first part of the parent’s role in Speech Therapy is helping your child adjust and get comfortable in the new environment.
From there, the parent’s role in Speech Therapy evolves as you begin home practice to further your child’s progress towards their goals. Keep on reading to learn some of our best tips for parents who are beginning their Speech Therapy journey.
6 Things Parents Can Do to Help Their Child in Speech Therapy
Provide Support and Encouragement
As a parent, your most important role in your child’s Speech Therapy is providing support and encouragement. When you are driving to Speech Therapy sessions with your child, encourage them and get them excited for what’s to come! Support your child during sessions by taking an active role when needed and show your child that you’re proud of what they are achieving in the room with their Speech Pathologist.
Create and Maintain a Routine
To get the best results possible from Speech Therapy, regular appointments and home practice are key. Parents are encouraged to create and maintain routines at home that incorporate speech therapy practice activities. They may be as simple as having conversations with your child, or practicing speaking a word list aloud. It all depends on your child’s needs, but your treating Speech Pathologist will guide you on the best home practice you can do to support your child. A good general rule of thumb is to incorporate 20 minutes a day for your Speech Pathology practice into your daily routine. However this looks is better than nothing so don’t worry about it being “perfect”! One of our parents took to doing her little one’s stuttering homework while he sat on the toilet – he was also learning to be toilet trained and this was the best time they had to focus on his Speech Pathology work. Like we said – it doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to get done.
Celebrate the Wins
Along the way, your child is going to make progress and have small wins in Speech Therapy sessions. They’ll also have wins when you’re out and about, at the grocery store, or at school. When those wins come along, celebrate them! Not only does celebration and praise motivate your child to keep up with their Speech Therapy, it will also help to increase their confidence.
When it comes to Speech Therapy for kids, there are some tough days where your little one may struggle and feel frustrated with themselves and those around them. So, on the good days, celebrate with them, and remind them of how well they are doing!
Pay Attention to When Your Child Needs a Break
While we are all for encouraging consistent, frequent Speech Therapy sessions for kids, we also know that sometimes the best thing you can do for your child is to take a short therapy break. This will give your child the opportunity to put what they have learned to use in their everyday life and will make them much more motivated for the next time they see their Speech Pathologist.
Seek Outside Support When Recommended
There are many other Allied Health professionals that can be supportive in your child’s Speech Therapy journey. Your clinician may recommend seeking the support of a psychologist, occupational therapist, audiologist, or paediatrician to get the best care and outcomes possible. It’s imporant that when this outside support is recommended that it’s explored and followed through.
Look After Yourself and Your Wellbeing
It is not lost on us as Speech Pathologists how stressful and challenging it can sometimes be when you are juggling parenting, Speech Therapy appointments, school pick up and drop off, looking after your family, and looking after yourself. There’s a lot on your plate, but your health and wellbeing should be a priority too! Your child and family need you, so take care and be kind to yourself when you have had a hard week. Reach out when you need help and connect to your community for support.
Want to learn more about Speech Therapy for children? Take a look at our blog post on what you can expect from your first few Speech Therapy sessions with your child so that you are prepared and ready for the journey ahead.