You are the parent. You know your child BEST.
I may be trained in my profession but you are trained in everything related to your child.
The fact is every child is different and you know your child better than any professional with letters following their name ever will, even if they spend 20 hours a week with your child. You may have professionals who know your child well, but you still know them best and don’t let anyone ever make you feel otherwise!
So why do I say this?
First, as a speech therapist I pride myself on our customer service and getting to know the child and family. That said, when I leave your child’s session it becomes your job to continue to work on your child’s goals throughout the week. Whether I am there one hour, five hours or more each week, you are there the rest of the time. Additionally, it is also important to practice skills across different people so that your child will learn to use these skills with everyone that they encounter as they grow up. So it’s a good thing to have both of us working together with your little one.
Second, you have the most REAL and NATURAL environments to practice developing your child’s skills. Sorry to put the work on you but children learn best in their natural environment. Play is child’s work and that happens at home, in play dates, on the playground, in preschool and in daycare. These are the environments where they will learn the most. This is why I treat children in their home or preschool setting.
Third, you know what your child likes, loves and hates. Using what they like and love to teach them new things will always take them much further than playing the game or toy the therapist has on hand…that your child is totally uninterested in! This is why I ask parents for this information so we can make sure to peak their interest from the start. BUT, this can change from week to week and without you, I would never know this!
So as the parent what can you do?
- Teach your child in their natural play environment. Where do they play? What are their favorite toys? Use these to teach them new words or skills.
- Follow your gut. If you cannot get a professional to work with your child because they are putting you off, telling you to wait, putting you on a waitlist, or maybe they are just too expensive…take it upon yourself to get started! Work with them at home! If you have questions about where to start, jump over to our facebook page and ask!
- Set some goals. Again follow your gut. What is your child not doing? What would you like for them to be doing? Set a few goals and start small. For example, if your goal is to help them talk, focus on 2-5 words this week.
- Find ways to work your child’s goals for your child into what you already do every day. It will feel like such a big burden if you have to take 5-10 minutes out of your already busy day to work on a goal you’ve set for your child. So what if you could build it in to what you are already doing? Great news, YOU CAN! If your child isn’t talking much and you want to work on vocabulary, label everything you see as you drive down the street or as you make dinner. Hey, you have to do these things anyways and your child happens to be right next to you, so why not?
I know it can be scary and lonely as you start this journey but we are here to support you and help you get started, cheering you on every step of the way!
Here’s to you and your little sprout!