It never fails. So many children will talk to strangers whenever they’re not supposed to, but the second they see a doctor or speech therapist… quiet as a mouse! Or they’re running all over the office. Or refuse to answer questions. If it can go wrong, I’m sure it’s happened in speech therapy a time or two!
Don’t worry though, as early intervention speech therapists, we get it. It’s a new place, a new person, and personally, I don’t expect to be hearing your child at their absolute best when they come to see me. They don’t want to talk to me, they want to talk to you!
Chances are, you are your child’s favourite person to talk to because you can guess what they mean by “wuh-buh-ah” and know that they love to talk about cars, puppies, or dinosaurs. You know when their attention is spent and what will motivate them to keep going.
Most importantly, you are more interested in them than any other human on the planet. Even for us adults, it is much more fun and rewarding to talk to people who love and understand us, and we’re more likely to be invested in the conversations. No surprise, this is true for our little people as well!
You spend so much time talking to your little one, it only makes sense you would also be able to provide more speech therapy than a therapist too! Even if you are only doing 10 minutes a day, it’s already more than they would get from a typical weekly appointment with their speech-language pathologist (SLP).
But here’s the catch: A crucial added step to make at-home therapy as effective as time in the clinic, is parent coaching from an SLP.
With the help of an SLP, you can learn how to talk to your child so they are more likely to understand and use your words themselves! Some examples of techniques include:
Waiting. Sometimes all they need is more time.
Using a picture or action to make meaning clear.
I know it can seem hard to be a parent, teacher, nurse, chef, driver, and on and on for your child. But with help, these strategies can easily be added into what you are already doing, rather than adding one more hat for you to wear. They also do not require the purchase of any new fancy tools or toys, just you and your child!
The best part of learning these techniques, is that you will have the ability to teach your child new words and help them with talking any time! It will give you the skills to know how to talk to your child so they WANT to answer, and help them to begin making friends, talking to relatives, and getting ready for a classroom. You will know how to guess the words your child wants to say, and the best way to help them get it out!
These skills have also been shown to increase bonding between parents and children, and reduce frustration from misunderstandings. Who doesn’t want less frustration, and less tantrums?! These are benefits that just will not happen at home when children are only getting therapy from their SLP.
Parents, speech and language can seem complicated but it is absolutely something you can become involved in with just a little SLP guidance! If you want to know more and be equipped with tips, tricks, and ideas subscribe below!