We encourage individuals in consistent contact with a client to be a part of a client’s therapy efforts. We record sessions so we can share examples of how to practice, produce, or consider speech objectives with these stakeholders. So, who should be considered a stakeholder for a child or young adult? Here are 6 folks that can make a big difference as partners in speech therapy.
No real shocker, here. Like learning to play the piano, kids need to practice. In speech therapy, there is often work to practice. But what you practice when and in what environment matters. A good speech therapist will always be able to describe what to address and why. And it never means parents should nag. But communication requires someone to communicate with.
Lots of kids attend after-school care, a babysitter’s, daycare, or grandmas before Mom and Dad get home from work. These are folks who have lots of contact with kiddos in their care and even if it’s just a few routine phrases or helping with homework, including them in discussions of how to help can pay big dividends.
Stakeholders don’t always have to be grown-ups. Kids that feel safe and secure with a best friend can invite them online to learn what they’re working on. Best friends can be a good sounding board and a safe place to practice, often with much laughter involved.
Kids spend most of their school-age lives with teachers. And as teachers are often frontline witnesses to children struggling, they’re often some of the best folks to help a student in need. They may be in a great position to offer reminders, subtle cues, and direct feedback when a child’s communication skills are on display in class.
Kids have tutors, OT appointments, after-school coaches, and others that are actively involved in the world of childhood. Consider an adult that already has a close relationship with a child. It might be last year’s teacher that host lunch in their classroom on rainy days. It might be the janitor that says Hello every morning and lets them help collect recycling. It might be an Occupational Therapist they work with on motor skills who could easily include some speech targets in their lessons.
There are many healthcare providers involved in a child’s life — the orthodontist, the pediatrician, the dentist, the allergist, and so on. While a child may not be interacting with these folks often enough to make them a regular part of the home practice routine, imagine the power of one of them asking how speech is going at your next visit with them. When kids know that everyone in their world is invested in their progress, it makes a big difference in the ultimate success of therapy.