Last week, I was over at The Friendship Circle sharing 10 Ways that SLPs can Help Your Child. In that post I cover the many areas SLP’s, can address including articulation skills/speech intelligibility, expressive language skills, receptive language/listening skills, speech fluency/stuttering,voice and resonance disorders, social/pragmatic language use, use of assistive/augmentative communication, and even swallowing/feeding issues including tongue trust. We do a lot! Working on these skill sets, allows for global growth and development that is not limited to just speech, however. When a speech-language pathologist works with a child, we have the opportunity to make positive changes in a child’s life across developmental domains. We have the uniue opportunity to empower a child with the ability to communicate which opens up a whole new world for a child!
In fact, SLPs have the opportunity to provide your child with the skills he needs to be independent, which in turn allows your child to thrive in so many areas!
So today, I want to share 10 MORE ways that an SLP can help your child. 1o ways that can CHANGE your child’s life…and your own. A speech-language pathologist can work with your child and change his life by helping him/her…
1. Build Self-Confidence
When a child has the ability to communicate, to make the /r/ or /s/ sounds or has the ability to understand his peers’ body language and nonverbal communication, that child will have more self-confidence when going out into the world and thus will be able to interact more, learn more, meet new people, make more friends, and overall more opportunities will present themselves. Self confidence is simply a priceless gift that SLPs can help build for your child.
2. Make Friends
We all know how very valuable it is to form good, solid friendships with others. But in order to do this, children must have ways to communicate and be able to understand others’ language. Speech-language pathologists are constantly building skills in children that will help them make long lasting friendships no matter what developmental level they are at.
3. Be Successful in School
Whether it’s preschool, elementary school or beyond, there are so many ways speech therapy can help a child in the educational environment. A child needs to be able to listen and understand multistep directives, be able to be understood, understand nonverbal communication from peers and adults, and so on. Speech-language pathologists can target these skills and help children thrive in the classroom.
4. Have Less Melt-Downs/Tantrums
Imagine for a moment, that you were in a new place where you did not speak the language or understand it. You are hungry and thirsty and tired. You ask someone where a hotel is, but they don’t understand you. Or maybe they think they understand you and answer you, but you have no idea what they are saying! How would you feel? How do you think you would react? This is what life can be like for little ones with speech and language delays. So it is understandable that in situations where they do not understand what is happening or cannot communicate their needs they are more likely to have a tantrum or melt down. But as a child starts to gain the skills to understand what is going on around him and be able to communicate, these melt-downs start to slow down and everyone will be so much happier!
5. Play Independently
Believe it or not, the skills SLPs work on with your child can help them learn how to play more independently, which is SUCH an important skill. Both of my own children are great at playing independently or together for long periods of time, which allows me to get things done (like write this post!) SLPs work on building appropriate play and social skills in children of all ages. In toddlers, we sometimes work on teaching them the appropriate ways to play with toys and introduce new play schemes, which allow them to play on their own for longer periods of time. In older children, we may help introduce play schemes and work on the social skills needed to be able to play along with peers appropriately.
6. Clean up His/Her Toys (And other Chores)
Ok ok ok….so speech therapy may not be a cure for cleanliness…but remember that in order to follow that direction you just gave to clean up, your child needs to first understand that message. Some children have difficulty understanding prepositions, for example, which are used a lot when cleaning up. “Put the red bear in the basket” requires a child to understand the concept of “in” as well as the understanding of the words bear, red, and basket. Speech-language pathologists help children build receptive and expressive vocabulary including the very critical knowledge of basic concepts and prepositions. These are the building blocks of language and the the concepts they need to know in order to do simple shores like cleaing up his toys!
7. Learn How to Use the Potty, Brush his Teeth, and Follow Other Routines.
Again, speech therapy alone will not potty train your child or teach him how to to brush his teeth , but the skills learned in therapy can help your child understand the world around him and how routines work. For example, some children with speech and language delays have a very hard time with the sequencing of events which is a much needed skill to be able to do simple tasks independently. Sequencing is a cognitive-language skill that we work on with children in various ways. For those children who have a great deal of difficulty, we can develop visual schedules to help children learn the specific order of events for simple things like brushing teeth to more complex routines like getting dressed, making a sandwich, or cooking a meal.
8. Play Sports.
Did you know that the simple act of passing a ball back and forth takes a great deal of social/pragmtaic language knowledge? A child needs to be able to watch their partner and understand his/her nonverbal body movements to know what that person is going to do with that ball. Some children have a great deal of difficulty interpreting these non verbal cues and this is an area speech-language pathologists are targeting with children from a very young age. Yup, SLPs can even help your child learn to play soccer!
9. Tell You About Her Day
As an SLP, this is something I hear from a lot of parents. You want to know what your child did at school/day care that day. Though it is completely normal for young children to be a bit vague when answering this question (“I played!”), the stronger your child’s speech, language, listening and communication skills are, the more information your child will be able to provide you on what he did all day. This can allow for longer and more complex conversations with your child, provide bonding time, and allow you to best support your child in his learning environment.
10. Tell You He Loves You
“I love you.” Those three words are some of the sweetest words ever heard when they come out of a tiny mouth! Even more sweet are they when they come from a child who has struggled with his/her speech/language development. Whether your child tells you “I Love You” with sign language, pictures, an assisted communication device or verbally for the first time, they are all equally beautiful and rewarding. Now I want to hear, how has an SLP changed YOUR child’s life?