I have the privilege of working in homes so parents of preschoolers can watch their child’s speech therapy sessions and carry over techniques to further progress. Sometimes they will sit down with us or often, they are “busy” close by but I know they are listening. It takes some time for them to understand what to say to encourage language growth as well as how and when to say it. I am used to modeling words or phrases, pausing and requiring a response that I can shape before reinforcing the child. But parents have to change their behavior, typically, as they realize they have been “talking for their child” or giving them what they want, without requiring some verbal request.
Last week, as I was wrapping up my session, I realized Mom was talking to her preschooler, modeling the words she wanted to use, pausing and encouraging her and she was less frustrated, using verbalizations for her needs more often. It was gratifying to see this change, knowing that now Mom was the therapist in my absence!
As I walked to the front door to leave, Mom said to her daughter, “Say hi to Frank!” and her daughter said, “Hi.” It was a great example of how preschool speech therapy should never end, but be carried out throughout the day.