Thursday, August 10, 2017

Therapy Tip: Making the Most of School Speech Therapy

Therapy Thursday is back!! This is the day that I share a tip based upon my experience as a pediatric speech-language pathologist and the mother of a child with special needs. Today's tip is important for parents who have children in speech therapy in the school:

Making the Most of Speech Therapy Sessions During the School Year

It's that time of year when school is starting back. If you have a child with an IEP who will be receiving speech therapy this school year, then you need to know how to maximize your child's therapy. Speech therapy from the school is an important part of a child's education, since the child must be exhibiting some sort of delay or problem to receive it.

Although parents are part of the IEP team and planning process, parents are often left out of the day-to-day business that actually happens to work on the fulfillment of the IEP goals. Hopefully, your child's speech-language pathologist (SLP) keeps you informed of your child's progress, current targets, and allows times for conversations. If not, here's how you can make the most of it:

1. First, update the SLP. If something significant happened this summer to your child that could impact therapy, please let your child's SLP know. If your child had teeth pulled, ear infections, ear tubes placed, a tonsillectomy, hearing evaluations, or anything else dealing with the mouth/nose/ears, then please share this information with your child's SLP. This is information the SLP would want to know.

2. Find out what your child is working on in therapy. This information should be in your child's IEP. If you have lost it, you can ask for another copy. You need to know what your child is working on, so that you can help your child at home.

3. Find out when your child will receive therapy. SLPs have different ways of scheduling sessions, but I am guessing most SLPs have a set time that your child is penciled in for every week. You can ask your child's SLP if they are receiving speech therapy on a certain day/time. If you know when your child receives therapy, then you can try to avoid scheduling appointments during days that would result in missing school/therapy. The SLP may have a very full caseload and may not be able to make up the session if your child misses school that particular day.

4. Ask for updates. I hope your child's SLP is sending 'homework' practice or other notes home periodically (at least once a quarter) to let you know what your child is currently working on in sessions. If not, you can ask the SLP for updates. If you do request updates, please keep one thing in mind. The SLP is very busy and most likely has a large number of children on her caseload. The SLP is probably unable to check in with you every week or every session. When I say, feel free to ask for updates, please be reasonable. You can ask for an update every few weeks, every month, or every quarter so that you can stay in the loop. You may offer to do this in emails, texts, or a notebook that can be passed between the two of you.

5. Reinforce speech goals during homework. There are many ways to work on a target skill in reading, spelling, or other subjects. This is especially true if your child is working on fluency for stuttering treatment or a specific speech sound (i.e. /r/). If you are unsure of how to support your child's progress at home, then ask your SLP. Reinforcement at home is key to getting your child to progress faster. If you aren't involved in your child's treatment in some small way at home, then there is a missing element that needs to be addressed.

I hope your child's speech therapy will be beneficial this year, and that you and the SLP can work together to achieve those goals. Have a great school year!

Therapy Thursday is for educational purposes only and not intended as therapeutic advice.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Evana, for this sample of Therapy Thursday.

    Yesterday I read about Fry Boy [with a side of fries that blog is called].


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