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 our last blog post, The Importance of Parental Involvement in Speech Therapy, we talked about the growing clinical consensus that speech and language outcomes are better when parents and guardians are more involved in therapy.
At Expressable, we are passionate about the role parents and guardians can play in the speech therapy outcomes of their children. That's why we spend a lot time looking for opportunities to better structure our therapy model to foster their involvement. In our experience, online speech therapy presents many unique opportunities that make parent participation easier and more convenient.
Here are the top four reasons why delivering therapy online can make it easier for parents to be involved in their child's speech & language goals
Therapy at home on a parent’s schedule
Traditionally, home-based speech-language pathologists (SLPs) have a significant advantage over therapists in a clinic or school-based settings when it comes to engaging parents. These settings make it challenging for SLPs to stay in sync with parents when they 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, SLPs find more opportunities to engage with parents and educate them on how they can help promote speech and language goals throughout the week.
Parents who choose online speech therapy can also visit with their SLP from the comfort of their home. This medium also offers a couple conveniences that aren’t usually available with traditional home-based therapy. For example, the additional flexibility afforded by online providers can make it easier for parents to schedule therapy at a time when they are more likely to be available after traditional work hours - giving them time to fully participate in their child’s therapy.
And finally, many parents find that hosting an SLP in their home - or anyone for that matter - can be a burden when there's a lot on their plate. It's definitely a relief when all you have to do to receive great therapy is hop on a web conference.
Parent-focused therapy model
Online pediatric therapy inherently requires a parent or guardian to participate, especially with younger children. We wouldn’t expect the average toddler to have the proficiency to login to a computer and boot up a web conference!
This characteristic opens up an opportunity to reimagine the speech therapy model. At Expressable, our therapists focus on supervising parent/child interactions so they can coach parents on how they can best help their child meet their individual speech and language goals on a daily basis.
After each session, parents walk away with a new set of skills they can confidently use in conversations with their child throughout the week.
Integration with daily life
This last point is important. It’s difficult for children to make progress on their goals if they are practicing just a couple hours a week during sessions with their SLP. As discussed in our previous blog in this series, studies show that children progress faster when you integrate speech exercises, corrections, queues, and support into their daily life and routine.
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 contexts and situations they are most likely to need it.
Context isn’t only important to children, it’s important to parents as well. Skills and exercises learned in a clinic setting can sometimes be hard to replicate at home, where there are different people, books, toys, and a multitude of other factors.
The fact that our clients are at home when they receive therapy with Expressable makes it so much easier for SLPs 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! .
Speech resources you can’t misplace
SLPs often share resources and home programs with parents to help support practice at home. Yet, when these resources are paper-based, they are easy to misplace in your purse, the back of your car, or amongst all the snail mail we all still receive for some reason.
At Expressable, we’ve found that it's much easier for parents to stay on top of the resources we provide them when they are shared digitally. In 2020, 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?
Speech therapy with Expressable is just like traditional therapy, but sessions are administered online with modern video conferencing software that our clients can access from the convenience of their home. Expressable can offer incredible therapy at a fraction of the price because our therapists focus on serving families instead of dealing with long commutes, administrative tasks, and the burden of insurance overhead.