As a parent we are continuously asking ourselves, "What areas of development should I be looking at"? "What skills should my child be developing or demonstrating at this age?" Are these skills age appropriate?" How do these skills compare to other children's skills of the same age?" "Is my child advanced in some areas?
There are several areas to look at when considering age appropriate development; Social- emotional, physical and speech and language development. When considering Speech and language skills, understanding and expressing wants and needs should be considered and observed. There are many aspects to each area and at times it can all be confusing and difficult to know all of the answers.
There are several people to reach out to that can provide accurate and invaluable information. After speaking to your child's Pediatrician, teacher and/or caretaker, you may want to have your child evaluated to determine if their skills are age appropriate. After seeking out a licensed professional in the areas of concern, an initial appointment would then assess what type of evaluation would be appropriate. After completion of evaluations, a written report will be reviewed and discussed with the parents or caregivers, and therapy or other appropriate recommendations determined.
If therapy is indicated, either in your home or at an outside facility, knowing the treatment plan and how you can promote carryover of skills taught in therapy is the key! After leaving therapy, these learned skills need to be practiced in as many situations for carryover to occur.
As a licensed and practicing Speech Language Pathologist working in the field for over 30 years, I've experienced the importance of providing parents with the opportunity to consistently observe, becoming an ongoing active participant in their child's therapy sessions. Leading to successful outcomes, parents gain insight and hands on knowledge of their child's goals with a step by step approach towards achieving these goals.
Parents are then provided with therapy materials/tools to be used at home, similar to what was utilized and observed during therapy sessions. Some invaluable tools that I encourage and incorporate during each session are:
1. Have a notebook for the parent to take notes during therapy sessions,
2. Parents become an active participant providing therapy during the session, or at watching how the therapist interacts with you and your child,
3. Have open communication from one session to the next with your child's therapist to receive ongoing feedback. Communication either by phone, emailing,
video chatting/face timing when providing and implementing learned strategies is advantageous.
5. Have your child's therapist forward their reports to your child's doctors (pediatrician....) and get reports and feedback these from these professional as well.
6. Talk to your child's teacher and involve them in carryover of all strategies and techniques that the therapist is using during therapy sessions.
7. Have a communication book to keep handy while at home, sending to school, after school programs, so you have a record of your child's successes and challenges during the week. This is helpful when reporting back to therapists, teachers and your child's doctors.
Always remember that open communication improves and promotes optimal carryover of therapy techniques. This is the ultimate goal of any therapy received and involvement through the above methods will yield beneficial results for your child.
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