Monday, April 12, 2010

Speechy Monday - It's Not About Me

So I was driving back from my vacation on Speechy Sunday, so I'm going to do a "Speechy Monday" post today to make up for it.

Some of you have requested some speech ideas and tips, so I'm trying to honor that. These ideas are just general strategies that work for me, and should in no way to be taken as medical advice. If you have a child or grandchild who needs speech and language support, there is no better way to get it than in person with your very own SLP. You can find a certified SLP in your area by going here.

When I speak to classes of speech language pathology graduate students and show videos of my therapy sessions, the students are often surprised that some of the videos aren’t videos of me doing therapy—they’re videos of the client's parents doing activities with the child. I’m there, of course, and usually, I've tried the activity out with the child many times before having the parents try it, but yes, there are parts of my speech sessions that aren't all about me!

Sometimes my job as an SLP is to teach families how to teach their children. And to problem-solve about what’s hard and what’s not working once they're in the midst of a teaching session. Families know their children best and are often the best judges of what strategies will or will not work with their child. Also, since they can usually “read” their child better than I can, they can often tell when their child is getting restless or bored, and can more fluidly make changes to activities to keep the child engaged. (Whereas maybe I wouldn’t have noticed the restlessness until the child just threw the puzzle piece on the floor. ☺ ) When parents have success at teaching their child a new word, and the new word isn’t just happening because of me as the speech therapist, but because of something the parent did, the natural order of things is restored a bit for the family with a child with a disability. Parents are the ones who are supposed to help their kids best. When I can help that happen, it's really a confidence- and happiness-booster (for all of us)! And when parents get on board and realize that they are the true agents of change for their child, I usually see the child's progress jump. Which really makes me happy.

I like that it’s not all about me.

What are some ways you have empowered others to make changes (big and small) in their lives? Would you rather get all the glory for it, or be behind the scenes?

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