How Long Will My Child Need Therapy?
I am starting here because it’s the million dollar question. The most honest answer is “I don’t know” but after working your child for about 4-6 weeks we will have much better idea as to how he/she is progressing and can have that conversation with you then. Some children are in and out in a matter of months and other children we see for years.
What Does A Therapy Sessions Look Like?
All therapies looks different for each child and family. At our speech-language therapy practice, each child has one dedicated therapist. We believe that the relationship is critical to your child’s success.
Length and frequency of sessions vary from child to child taking into account your child’s age, attention skills, the type and severity of disorder, and the family’s needs.
Generally speaking, shorter, more frequent sessions tend to have the most impact. Sessions longer than 30 minutes tend to lead to fatigue and decreased attention.
Our sessions are designed to reinforce what your child has mastered from his/her previous sessions and to scaffold their skills to the next level. We often start with a review of the homework and then we move into activities that target your child’s goals.
At the end, new homework is reviewed with the child and/or parent. Some therapy sessions will require the parent to be very involved and hands-on. This is especially true for little ones.
We often use the analogy of a ladder in that it’s a step by step process when teaching new skills and if you try to skip steps you might wobble and not reach the top easily. Both parents and our speech therapists are there to support the child as he/she moves up the ladder. For example, if a child is learning a new sound such as “f” we would first teach it at the syllable level, then at the initial word level, then word final, then in the middle position. From there we would move to phrases > sentences and so on. Or, if the goal for a child is to decrease gagging when presented with a novel food we might start with a picture of a given food.
As A Parent, How Do I Integrate What My Child Learns In Therapy Into Everyday Life?
At the end of every session, we will review with parents the most salient events of the therapy and share our recommendations for supporting your child throughout the week. We will often give specific “homework” for your child or your family that supports therapeutic goals. We encourage parents to play actively with their child, and to keep any ‘therapy’ activities within the context of play and good fun.
When Are Parents Expected To Participate In Their Child’s Therapy?
For children under the age of three we recommend that parents always be present in the therapy session. When your child turns three, we will determine, with you, whether being in the sessions is best for your child. After four years old, we may advocate that your child work one-to-one with the therapist to foster independence, attention, and adherence to one set of adult directions. We believe strongly that parent involvement bolsters a child’s development and we support this via parent meetings, workshops, and discussion at the end of every session. Note: We are not able to accommodate siblings in therapy sessions.
How Will I Know When My Child Is Ready To ‘Graduate’ From Therapy?
Prior to beginning services, we create meaningful and measurable goals with input from parents (and often teachers) that guide the course of therapy. We will review goals with families as part of scheduled progress meetings, typically scheduled at the 6-month mark. If further therapy is warranted we will make an appropriate recommendation at that time. In addition, parent-therapist collaboration is key to the success of the therapy and thus we are always happy to meet at more frequent intervals.