Summer is coming–and depending on where you live (and your child’s school calendar), it may feel like it’s already here! As a parent or caregiver, you’re probably hoping to take advantage of a slower pace and some fun plans with family.
With more relaxed schedules, shifts in your family’s daily routine, and maybe even day camps or a vacation planned, some families consider stopping speech therapy during the summer. And if your child is receiving speech therapy in school, those services are likely put on pause. But there are many reasons to keep up with speech therapy during the summer months and avoid interrupting your child’s care. Let’s explore four of them together.
Reason #1: Prevent progress from stalling–or backsliding
Through speech therapy, your child has likely made good progress toward their communication goals. In addition, they’ve likely formed a strong relationship with their speech therapist. Building trust with a speech therapist and getting into a comfortable therapy routine can take some time.
If you take a break from speech therapy, not only will your child’s progress halt, but there’s a very real risk they’ll backslide from what they’ve achieved. Speech therapists take data at each session to measure a child’s percentage of accuracy toward their goal targets. It’s quite common to see a decrease in this percentage of accuracy after a break from therapy. So if you stop speech therapy during the summer, your child is at risk for regressing and losing some of the gains they’ve made.
Your child has worked so hard to reach where they are. Your speech therapist doesn’t want them to lose that!
Reason #2: Make the most of your investment
Apart from your child’s investment in speech therapy, take a minute to think about yours. You’ve likely invested your own time, not to mention finances, in your child’s sessions each week. Continued treatment–which leads to faster progress–helps you make the most of that investment.
Think about it like this: Let’s say your child was meeting their speech goals with 70% accuracy. Summer comes, and you choose to take a break. Perhaps your child backslides a bit and returns to therapy meeting their goal with 45% accuracy. The speech therapist will likely need to spend several weeks getting your child back up to their previous accuracy level. Essentially, you’re paying for a portion of speech therapy twice.
Reason #3: Help your child finish speech therapy faster
It can be tempting to take a vacation from speech therapy, but keep the end goal of therapy in mind: graduation. If you’re able to consistently attend sessions without any significant breaks, graduation day will come much more quickly! Children will keep up with the momentum of their progress and meet their goals sooner.
Reason #4: Keep your current speech therapist and appointment time
When a child pauses speech therapy, their appointment day and time can’t be saved for them. It’s likely that when you resume services, your appointment slot will be booked with another client. You may have to switch to another speech therapist as well.
If you have a convenient appointment time and your child has connected well with their speech therapist, don’t risk losing that! The time your child has spent forming a relationship with their therapist is valuable–not just to your child, but to the speech therapist, as well. After months working together, your speech therapist knows your child’s personality, their learning style, and how to keep them engaged. They understand your child and your family on a personal level.
How to fit in speech therapy this summer
In this day and age, speech therapy can be flexible. Summer is the perfect time to take advantage of teletherapy, also known as online speech therapy.
Teletherapy isn’t limited to typical school hours; many speech therapists offer late afternoon, evening, and weekend appointment times. And one of the biggest conveniences of online speech therapy is that it can be done virtually anywhere. Whether you’re at a hotel, Grandma’s house, or even a rest stop during a road trip, as long as you have your phone, laptop, and an internet connection, you’re good to go!
Of course, sessions may take a little extra planning around your summer schedule. But the time you invest in your child’s progress will be worth it. And if there’s a week when you just can’t make a session, talk with your speech therapist about rescheduling.
What if your child receives speech therapy at school?
If your child receives speech therapy at school, those services may stop during the summer. Many parents and caregivers choose to continue speech therapy on their own to help their child keep progressing. Plus, this gives caregivers a valuable chance to attend sessions and see how therapy works in real time.
Online speech therapy can be an easy way to bridge the summertime gap, and it’s often quite affordable. In-person speech therapy practices have many expenses that aren’t directly related to your care. There’s the price of renting a space, paying for utilities, and other operational costs. As with any business, these costs are often passed down to the consumer. Generally, online speech therapy will cost less than an in-person practice–even though you receive the same level of quality care and treatment.
How to set up speech therapy while traveling
If you’re planning to attend online speech therapy while traveling this summer, follow these tips to make it as simple as possible.
- Make sure to pack the device that you typically use for speech therapy, such as your laptop. Don’t forget your device’s charger. Bring it along and have it on hand during the session.
- Test the internet and log on to Zoom (or whichever platform you use) before the session to make sure everything’s working as it should.
- If you’ll be at a friend’s or family member’s house, let them know ahead of time that you’ll need a quiet space for your child to attend their session.
- Plan the day’s outings around the time needed for speech therapy. If you’re doing an activity before the session, give yourself some wiggle time so you don’t cut it too close.
- If your child is in vacation mode and seems hesitant to log on, schedule something fun to do after the session. This can help provide some motivation.
Continuing speech therapy during the summer is the best thing you can do for your child’s care and progress. Avoiding regression and a longer time to graduation, while continuing your relationship with your speech therapist, is worth it in the long run. While it’s understandable to be tempted by a “summer break,” when you see your child reach their communication goals, you’ll know you made the right decision!