As a school-based speech therapist, the work you do with students not only makes a difference in their academic success but also their overall quality of life as well. Speech therapy can improve social interactions, cognitive skills, and self-esteem. To provide the best care possible, it’s helpful to partner with parents.
Parents can play a vital role in reinforcing therapy. Their involvement can make a difference in how fast your students meet their goals. Parent involvement can also affect student motivation.
Point Parents in the Right Direction
Parents may be eager to help their child, but don’t also know what to do. A parent may not have the same expertise that a licensed speech therapist has. But they do offer a perspective and understanding of their child that a therapist does not. With the proper direction and support, parents can be a great asset.
You can’t partner with parents if they are out of the loop. Make sure you keep parents up to speed on goals their child is working on. School-based speech therapists should routinely update parents on the progress their child is making and suggest ways they can continue to work with their child at home.
Encouraging parental involvement does not only help the child, but it is also beneficial for the parent. Taking an active role in therapy can help prevent feelings of helplessness that can occur when caring for a child with challenges.
Reinforcing Therapy at Home
One of the great things about parents reinforcing speech therapy at home is special equipment is often not needed. Everyday activities, such as reading to a child, can help. Consider putting a list together of age-appropriate books that can enhance articulation skills.
Even something as simple as having children talk in front of a mirror can be useful. Some children with speech problems don’t move their mouth adequately to make the correct sounds. Talking in front of a mirror allows a child to see how their mouth moves when they are making certain sounds.
Fortunately, there are also several tools parents can use at home to reinforce therapy goals. For instance, flash cards can be a great way to help work on speech issues. When it comes to speech therapy, technology can also be a great resource.
Provide a list of useful apps and online resources for parents to use at home. Many apps are free and can help parents work with their children on communications skills at home.
Suggest ideas for parents to build confidence in their child. The importance of confidence should not be underestimated when it comes to helping children reach their therapy goals. Parents can play a big part in building self-esteem. For example, participating in certain activities that a child enjoys, such as sports or music lessons, can help a child feel good about themselves.
It’s also helpful to discuss realistic, measurable goals. Talk to parents about setting measurable goals so they can see the progress their child is making. Realizing their child is meeting their goals can be an emotional boost for everyone involved.