Part of the value of the therapy is that I get the parents involved. I want the fastest progress possible and I know that if I can get the parents on board, talking and using the techniques I do with their child, that we will see improvement and the parents will see their investment of time too!
When I was at 2 1/2 year-old Luke’s house the other day, Dad hadn’t left for work yet. Mom is wonderfully invested in her child’s therapy and gives me an in depth report on Luke’s progress from my last visit. She is my able assistant. She sat down at the table where we were working, looked at her ongoing list of words that Luke is saying and declared to her husband, “You added to my list!” Yes, he had added the new words that he heard Luke say that weren’t on the list. Hooray for Dad–he is listening and attending to Luke’s progress too.
When parents are cued into new words that their child is saying, they can reinforce them by using them and giving their child opportunities to use them. Often when I leave a session, I give parents several words to reinforce–ones where their child mastered a new sound, placement of a sound like ending sounds, or a word to help him make his wants and need known such as “I want.” The practice between sessions is essential to solidify words, sounds, concepts or grammar.
Make sure parents are part of the process from the beginning of your work with their child. I expect parents to be a part of their child’s progress and therefore they are.