Is your child experiencing a speech issue? Some studies indicate that it’s a common concern, but no matter how often it occurs in the general population, having your own child struggle to communicate can hurt your heart.  Thankfully, therapies are shown to be very successful, so read on for what to expect and how you can assist the process. 

Make a Good Match

There are several things to consider when choosing a speech therapist. One good starting point is to ask around for references, or do research online. Make sure potential candidates have proper credentials. Oftentimes, therapists attend online degree programs, which is fine so long as the program is properly accredited. You should find initials after a therapist’s name showing they earned a master’s degree, either MS for Master of Science or MA for Master of Art. Ask about treatment philosophy, and whether the therapist has a particular area of expertise. It’s also crucial to feel comfortable with the person who will work with your youngster, and what’s more, think about whether you feel your child will be comfortable. Feel more at ease by reviewing this infographic, which walks through the steps for selecting a speech therapist. 

Ease Anxieties

It’s natural for anyone to feel nervous when beginning something new, but children with communication issues can feel especially self-conscious. Kids don’t like to feel singled out or “different,” so it’s important to find ways to help your youngster overcome concerns. To help your child with anxiety, Hey Sigmund suggests avoiding what many of us would tend naturally to do, which is to offer words of reassurance. Saying things like “Don’t worry about it” can increase your child’s sense of something wrong, as he or she can’t get past being nervous. Instead, express that you understand why your child is nervous and that it’s a normal response.   

Older children especially might question why therapy is necessary, so be prepared for a conversation about the ways his or her quality of life will improve. Try a comparison of glasses enhancing vision so people can read signs and see across rooms. Stay upbeat when talking about therapy, and make sure your child sees it as a positive experience.

There are actions you can take to help your youngster as well. Sometimes, children might be afraid of what a therapist will do, picturing places akin to hospital settings rather than a clinic or office. Visiting provides the opportunity to see the space and set aside those fears. You can also encourage your child to participate in some mindfulness exercises to ease anxiety. 

It Isn’t Like Work

Kids can picture all kinds of things when they aren’t sure what to expect. Your child might think therapy will be like doctor visits, attending school, or any number of things. In fact, FYI Speech Therapy explains that therapy sessions resemble structured play. A toy or two, some fun activities, and things like swings and slides can all be part of a therapy session. Ideally, you should be present for the sessions and plan to perform supportive activities at home. 

What You Can Do

You’re probably wondering what type of activities you can do with your child to support a speech therapy program. It’s actually simpler than it sounds, and it doesn’t take long since there are some terrific exercises that just take five minutes a piece. For instance, if your child is working on pronouncing the “b” sound, you begin with just the basic “b…b…b.” From there, graduate to simple variations, such as “buh, bah, boh.” Work up to words and sentences, and keep things short and fun. Whatever skill you’re working on, have your kiddo do something fun while you’re at it. For example, use building blocks, play hopscotch, or blow bubbles.

When Traditional Therapy Isn’t Enough

Sometimes, children don’t respond to speech therapy the way we hope they will. In some case, supplemental or alternative therapies can help. Many doctors, researchers, and childhood development specialists recommend Pro90d as a viable option that is rooted in science and experience. Although best for older children, Pro90d may help reduce or eliminate stuttering in kids who haven’t seen results with standard speech training.

Speech therapy offers kids the opportunity for better communication and quality of life. As you begin this new adventure, keep in mind we all feel anxious about beginning something new. Find a great therapist, give your youngster tools for anxiety, take an active role, and have fun!

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Written by Jenny Wise
Specialhomeeducator.com | jenny@specialhomeeducator.com

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