Visiting the home of a speech therapy student can often be a rewarding experience, but not every speech therapist has the luxury of this arrangement. They may only interact with parents in passing when the parent comes to pick up their child, or they may only communicate with parents through other teachers and administrators at school.
Despite the fact that parents can feel inaccessible in these situations, speech therapy jobs require that therapists do everything in their power to help students reach their goals, which includes getting parents on board with their therapy program. Here are just some of the ways that therapists can reach parents and strategize on the progress of their child together, even if the therapist never has the chance to visit the home.
Start the Program Knowing the Family’s Goals and Expectations
Families will not feel that their child is making as much progress if their goals and expectations are not aligned with those of the speech therapist. To prevent this problem, speech therapists should find ways to engage with parents and discuss what they see as their child’s true challenges. They can also discuss what they would consider a breakthrough, such as a child getting through multiple sentences without a stutter.
By having these goals in mind, a therapist can better structure their approach to fit these actual situations. In some instances, the therapist can use the goal as a baseline to manage expectations. For example, the therapist might say: “We made some real progress with vowel pronunciation today, which should help your child work on avoiding stutters by preparing for the hard consonant ahead.”
When parents are able to have a direct impact in mind, they can feel more actively involved in the outcome of their child’s therapy.
Connect the Best Way for the Family
Many speech therapists prefer communicating in person or through email, but not every family works best in these mediums. Therapists should therefore find out how to best accommodate families and work in their preferred method of communication. Maybe they prefer phone calls to discuss weekly progress. Maybe a quick chat on pickup is preferred to a lengthier appointment.
When working within family’s needs, also take into account communication barriers. Many speech therapy students live in households where English is a second language, so having a text message may be preferable to a voicemail since they can more deliberately translate. They may also want to have a family member translate to better facilitate the conversation.
Show Documentation of Success
Pulling out your smartphone during a session could disrupt its flow sometimes, but other times snapping a photo or a video of a breakthrough can help families share in the success. Demonstrating proof of progress can also motivate both students and families alike.
If you do not have the chance to capture these moments, you should still prioritize filling the family in on positive progress so that the student can carry these accomplishments home with them.
Speech Therapy Jobs Mean You Work With What You Have
Not every parent will engage with you enthusiastically or even seem that interested in their child’s communication, but how they act in front of you is only part of the story. They may still be aware of the importance of positive outcomes even if they don’t communicate it openly.
Regardless, speech therapists need to focus on the outcome for the child, which means they cannot let things like uninvolved parents hold them back.
If you are ready to make a difference in a child’s life, you can look for amazing speech therapy jobs in your preferred market by submitting your application today.