How Online Speech Therapy Encourages Parent InvolvementLeanne Sherred, M.S., CCC-SLP
This is the second article in a five-part series exploring the importance of parental involvement in meeting your child’s speech and language therapy goals.
In a previous article, The Importance of Parental Involvement in Speech Therapy, we talked about the growing clinical consensus that speech and language outcomes are better when caregivers are more involved in therapy.
At Expressable, we are passionate about the role parents and caregivers can play in the speech therapy outcomes of their children. That's why we're always looking for opportunities to better structure our therapy model to foster their involvement. In our experience, online speech therapy makes parent participation easier and more convenient in several ways.
Here are the top four ways online speech therapy can make it easier for caregivers to be involved in their child's speech and language goals.
1 Convenient speech therapy at home, on your family's schedule
Home-based speech-language pathologists, or speech therapists, have a significant advantage over therapists in a clinic or school when it comes to engaging parents. These settings make it challenging for speech therapists to stay in sync with parents. They may only catch them in the clinic lobby after a session or during an annual IEP (Individualized Education Program) meeting at school. When therapy is delivered at home, speech therapists have more opportunities to talk with parents and show them how they can help promote speech and language goals throughout the week.
Families who choose online speech therapy can visit with their speech therapist from the comfort of their home. Online speech therapy also offers other conveniences that aren’t usually available with traditional home-based therapy. For example, the additional flexibility afforded by online providers means caregivers can schedule therapy at a time when they're more likely to be available, so they can fully participate in their child’s therapy.
And finally, many caregivers find that hosting a speech therapist--or anyone, for that matter--in their home can be a burden. It's a relief when all you have to do to receive great therapy is hop on a computer.
2 Parent-focused speech therapy model that gets results
Online speech therapy for children requires a caregiver to participate, especially with younger children. We wouldn’t expect a toddler to be able to log in to a computer and boot up a web conference--or sit still and pay attention to a screen for 30 minutes!
This opens up an opportunity to reimagine the speech therapy model. At Expressable, our speech therapists focus on guiding parent/child interactions. That way they can coach parents on how to best help their child meet their speech and language goals every day, during their regular routines.
After each session, caregivers walk away with a new set of skills they can confidently use in conversations with their child throughout the week.
3 Bringing speech therapy practice into everyday life
It’s difficult for children to make progress if they're practicing just a few times a week during sessions with their speech therapist. Studies show that children progress faster when you integrate speech exercises, corrections, cues, and support into their daily life and routines.
Receiving therapy at home is impactful because context is important. It’s easier to learn how to play basketball on a basketball court than it would be on a soccer field. Speech is no different. You can make progress in an unfamiliar environment, but it's often easier in a familiar environment. You want your child to learn speech and language in the situations they are most likely to need it.
Context isn’t only important to children, it’s important to caregivers as well. Skills and exercises learned in a clinic setting can sometimes be hard to repeat at home, where there are different people, books, toys, and many other factors.
The fact that clients are at home when they receive online therapy makes it easier for speech therapists to coach parents on how to work on their child’s speech goals in a context that’s familiar and repeatable. The line between therapy and daily life starts to blur, which is exactly how it should be. That’s how you make progress!
4 Speech resources you can’t misplace
Speech therapists often share resources and home exercises with caregivers to help support practice at home. Yet, when these resources are paper-based, they're easy to misplace in your bag, the back of your car, or among all the snail mail we receive.
At Expressable, we’ve found that it's much easier for parents to stay on top of these important resources when they're shared digitally. These days, we tend to keep better track of our electronic devices than we do pieces of paper. All of our resources are accessible from any device with an internet connection and access to a browser.
How can Expressable help?
Teletherapy is similar to traditional therapy in many ways, but sessions are given online with video conferencing software that our clients can access from the convenience of their home. Expressable can offer incredible speech therapy at a lower price because our therapists focus on serving families instead of dealing with long commutes and administrative tasks.
Find out if Expressable is right for you. Schedule a free consultation with one of our licensed speech therapists.