Parent, family, and friend involvement in speech-language and occupational therapy treatment is vital to the child’s therapeutic success. When I explain “therapy” to my families I explain that my treatment sessions are broken down into steps:
1. Identify any new events or changes reported by parents/family
2. Assess progress made
3. Address specific goals from the Plan of Care
4. Discuss therapeutic techniques used (including successes and failures)
5. Provide “homework” to encourage carryover at home
It is important that you, as a parent, understand what step you are working on…the importance…and HOW you are working on the step. Most of the homework I give does not require special time set aside, rather I prefer to give homework that can integrate into everyday activities and functioning of the family. Sometimes worksheets are given, but for the most part my “homework” is verbal. For example, if the “step” we are working on is naming colors, I ask parents to choose one color a day and name the color and the object every time you see that color (this not only addresses naming the color, but also basic expressive vocabulary, combining words, and joint attention…this addresses possibly 4 therapeutic goals in one simple activity). So, if you are driving in the car you can name…”blue sky,” “blue bird,” “blue car,” “blue truck,” “blue shirt,” or “blue flower.” This is a simple way to keep your child occupied in the car, interact with them, and address therapeutic goals.
Being proactive is most important. If you want some fresh ideas on incorporating therapeutic techniques in your everyday life talk to your therapist today.
Amy Grant, M.S., CCC-SLP