Raising a child with a speech disorder, such as stuttering, can be overwhelming. Your pediatrician or family doctor may have already referred you to a Speech- Language Pathologist to help with your child’s speech issue. Fortunately, there are plenty of speech therapists out there today. However, you should understand that not all of them can work with a child who stutters.
If you’re searching for the right therapist for your child, then here are some helpful tips to help you find the right one:
Ensure Proper Training and Expertise
Speech-Language Pathologists have different specializations. There are speech therapists that work specifically with children who stutter, and these are the therapists you should be working with. When you are looking for a therapist for your child, it’s essential to ask about their training and expertise. You may find that some highly qualified speech therapists, despite their expertise, don’t provide therapy for stuttering.
Learn about Their Therapy Approach
When you find a therapist that provides stuttering therapy, prod further by asking about their philosophy on the therapy and how the specific therapy approach fits for your child.
Stuttering therapy can take many forms. Therapists will need to develop individualized therapy based on the needs of each case instead of implementing a formulaic approach. You should have a clear idea of the specific method that will be used with your child, as you will have insight into whether the method is likely to work for your child or not.
Understand Your Role
Parents and other family members must actively participate in the therapy of the child. However, you need to understand your role. A parent must be in consistent contact with the therapist. Additionally, the therapist must be able to collaborate with other people in the child’s life such as their siblings, teachers, grandparents, etc. Stuttering can vary across settings and contexts. It may happen more or less with certain communication partners, so often therapy must include those people and settings.
A good speech therapist will provide parents with strategies to help their children at home. He or she will also provide support for other family members who express confusion about the child’s stuttering and how they can talk about it openly. Especially when children are young, modifying the speaking environment can be a powerful strategy. Changing how family members talk to the child, and to each other, can make a difference on stuttering.
Know What to Expect
It is common for parents to have myriad questions regarding stuttering therapy. That is why it’s essential to ask the therapist about what you should expect before the start of the treatment. It is also essential to discuss any issues or how to monitor progress with your therapist after each session.
A good speech therapist must also provide you with details on the frequency of the therapy sessions that your child needs. He or she should be able to provide you with specific goals and how the progress will be measured.
Keep in mind that your therapist can’t say how long your child will be in therapy, because it is impossible to tell. The length of therapy will depend significantly on your child’s unique and individual profile, along with the compliance with the therapy plan (let’s face it, in these COVID-19 days, a lot of our routines and productivity are out the window temporarily!)
Finding the right speech therapist for your child requires some front-end work, but when you find the right one, everything will be worth it in the end. As parents, you need to work closely with your speech therapist for the best results. Finding someone that takes the time to explain what you can expect, answer your questions, and works to form a relationship with you and your child is essential. Part of the difficulty in stuttering is the child’s own emotional reaction to their speaking challenge; so, finding a Speech-Pathologist that has warmth, empathy and compassion built-in to their speech therapy approach is very important.
We are a part of a network of speech-language experts when it comes to helping children in Alberta. Contact us today to get your child enrolled in speech therapy.