Introducing a Child to Speech Therapy
When a child begins speech therapy – whether at school, a private office, or in a virtual setting – it can be intimidating for both the parent and the child. Letting your child undergo testing and treatment for which you will generally not be present is unnerving. For the child, it is scary to lose the security of their parent or familiar classroom setting. It can help to explain the situation to the child before their first session.
How do I explain speech therapy?
Children go to speech therapy to learn and practice new skills. It’s very similar to going to a music class to play instruments, art class to learn to draw, or math class to learn how numbers work together. Speech therapy for kids helps children build their communication skills.
Parents may want to make an appointment with the speech pathologist so they can accurately describe the person their child will be working with, the environment the sessions will take place, and some of the methods the child can expect.
What do I do if my child is anxious?
Explain to the child that it is perfectly normal to be anxious about new situations. Remind them of times they have been anxious before starting a new activity, such as the beginning of the school year. Offer to go with your child to introduce them to the therapist. This gives the child a safe way to become acclimated to the new person before being expected to work with them independently. Finally, reassure the child that many children go to speech therapy every day in schools and private practices throughout the country.
How will speech therapy affect the child’s school or free time?
If the child is attending their speech therapy sessions in a school setting, they will have to miss some class time to do so. Many parents worry this will negatively impact the child’s instructional time. Children tend to be more worried about missing time with their friends. There are a few ways to address these concerns.
Alternating Sessions for Speech Therapy
If the child will be attending sessions during school hours, request that the time for the sessions be alternated so that they are not missing time from one class exclusively. This ensures they do not get behind in that class and that they do not feel they are missing time with the friends in that class. Remind your child that speech therapy will help make all of his or her classes easier. Any time they spend away from an academic class will ultimately help facilitate greater achievement in that class as communication skills increase.
After School Speech Therapy Sessions
If the child will be attending sessions after school, attempt to schedule them at times that will not interfere with preferred activities. If the child is in extracurricular activities, make an effort to schedule times that do not remove them from those activities as it can lead to resentment of the time spent in session. You can also make the sessions more enjoyable by planning a special treat or activity after the session.
Speech Therapy is Often Enjoyable
Most children end up enjoying the time they spend with their speech pathologist. They are not judged or criticized for their speech difficulties and a great deal of speech therapy feels more like play. The most difficult part of helping a child become acclimated to speech therapy is simply the initial hurdle of getting started. Once they begin, many look forward to their sessions.
Get your child started with our virtual speech language pathology services by clicking here.