This is Part 2 of a 2-part series on how parents can get more involved in a course of therapy, to get better outcomes at no extra cost. For why parental involvement works in the first place, read Part 1 here.
So, you want to be a change maker in your child’s therapy process. First, well done you! Stepping up and being willing to take this on is an important step. It is all too easy to defer to the therapist, the one with the degree in X, Y, or Z. But by taking this step, you are raising the level of support provided to your child throughout this process.
1) Watch how the therapist interacts with your child
So, how do we actually go about “getting involved”? The first step is to watch a session with your child. And by watch, I mean watch! Put your phone away, get down on the floor with your child and the therapist, and actively watch the way the therapist interacts with your child. Who is doing most of the talking? Are they guiding your child with hand-over-hand movements? How do they react to your child’s words or actions?
In Hong Kong particularly, it can be a challenge for parents to find time in their schedules to go along to extra activities like this. But even doing it once or twice will give you a much better understanding of the way the therapist is working with your child, and how you can work with them in turn.
2) Ask how to reinforce therapy at home
The next step is to ask the therapist how you can reinforce the practice at home. And you may be surprised at how simple their answers are! Reinforcing therapy does not mean that you will be needing to sit for hours on end following a rigorous schedule. More often than not, it is small changes which can be easily adapted into daily routines (such as feeding or bath time) which can support your child.
3) Communicate progress or setbacks to the therapist
Finally, YOU are the voice of experience when it comes to your child. Communicate with the therapist! Tell them what you are noticing at home, any progress or even the occasional setback. This will help to inform their practice and understand whether what they are working on in the clinic room is translating into the real world for your little one.
So there you have it! Three steps towards providing your child with a more rounded and supportive therapy experience. Go on, parents. Be the change makers.
Not sure why this is worth the effort in the first place?
Revisit Part 1 on why parental involvement has such potential on the impact on therapy.
About the author
Imogen Dean is a Speech-language Pathologist at IntegrateHK. She has experience working with children and teenagers in both school and clinic settings, addressing issues related to speech production, language development, social skills, fluency, feeding, and voice. Imogen is also certified in the Hanen Centre’s ‘It Takes Two to Talk’ program, for parents of late talking children.