It’s never pleasant to approach the idea of child speech therapy for the first time, though is nonetheless a reality thousands of concerned parents face every month in the UK. Generally speaking, most childhood speech problems can be treated with relative ease and alleviated altogether if picked up on early enough. When a problem is suspected, it’s of the utmost importance to bring it to the attention of a professional immediately in order to begin building an appropriate treatment package.
What’s interesting however is that even when a genuine problem has been noted and brought to the attention of a therapist, there’s still a great deal any parent can do to help the treatment process along. Child speech and language therapy sessions essentially serve as the foundations upon which long and short-term treatment will be based – much of which happens at home. And while this might sound like a rather steep responsibility for any parent with no experience in childhood speech disorders, the majority comes down to little more than common sense.
First and foremost, it’s pretty obvious to say that the more you know about any given subject, the better equipped you are to approach it in the right way. In this instance therefore, it’s in the best interests of both the parent and the child in question to stock up on as much literature as possible regarding the condition itself in order to study up on the basics at least.
The heart of the matter may be highly complex and scientific, but will in thousands of pamphlets and manuals have been broken down to a much simpler level. And not only can a greater knowledge of the condition help with the child’s development, it may also bring much-needed comfort.
The very worst thing you can do is get the child into the care of a professional speech therapist and then simply assume that’s the end of things. It really isn’t, as more often than not you’ll find that the therapist does little more than establish and set in motion a plan of action which will involve you, the parent, more than anyone else. After all, the hour or two the therapist spends with the child each week can’t compare with the 24/7 contact you have with your own child. Expect and be willing to get involved in a big way.
Questions Are Never Stupid
The only stupid question is the important one you never asked – a golden rule for any parent to follow. In this instance, a speech therapist will not be under the impression that you already know all there is to know about the subject and will therefore do their very best to communicate all of the most important elements to you. However, there may be something on your mind that’s missed out for one reason or another, in which case it’s up to you to ask for the sake of you and your child alike.
Keep a Diary
If, for example, you visit your child’s speech therapist once every week, there’s no way you’re going to be able to remember all the important things your child says and doesn’t say from one day to the next. Sometimes, what doesn’t come across as important to you could be of pivotal importance for the speech therapist responsible for your child’s treatment program. As such, it’s a good idea to keep a day to day journal of their speech, activities and general communication – it could hold the key to their future progress.
Use the Web
While it’s true to say that medical information accessed on the web should be digested with a large pinch of salt, there’s much to be said for the forums and other communities populated by those with shared concerns. Use the web to read articles, seek similar stories and perhaps reach out to others facing exactly the same concerns for both reassurance and advice. If nothing else, it’s always comforting to know that despite how it feels, you’re not alone in your worries.
Last but not least, never forget that when it comes to both speech development and general progress in a child’s grasp of language, no two cases are ever the same. Yes, you read that most stammers can be improved in X number of months, but these kinds of figures are only ever to be interpreted as guidelines only. All children are different and so are their speeds of development – you need never worry until your speech therapist suggests otherwise.