Starting your child with a speech therapy program is a great way to help overcome difficulties with language development. However, because many children who struggle with speech can also have other struggles with sensory processing, physical development, or psychological health, it's important to prepare for the first visit so that it can be a positive experience.
Here's what you can do as a parent to help get ready for your child's very first visit to the speech therapist.
Have The Details Ready
Many things can affect speech, and your pathologist may want to explore educational and medical histories with you. As a parent, it can be helpful if you keep a journal of things like what your child eats and how often, how active they are, and how they engage with the world around them. You might also want to keep a record of screen time and the types of media your child enjoys.
Talk to Your Child About What to Expect
The first visit will focus a lot on evaluation; your speech-language therapist will want to find out what your child has already learned and where the focus of their struggles might lie. Children with speech trouble may avoid lengthy conversations, or they might be shy about meeting and speaking with new people.
Explain to your child that you are going to visit a special kind of doctor. Children often associate doctors with medical procedures like getting vaccines or tests, so be careful to explain that there are many types of doctors, and speech doctors are there to help make talking easier.
Bring Comfort Objects or Familiar Faces
If possible, try to be present for at least the first appointment. If you work full time and usually depend on child care to take children to appointments, take the day off and go yourself. Your child will feel more secure and may talk better with a familiar, close person in the room with them. You can also bring things that make your child feel more at ease. For example, some children are attached to a certain toy or blanket. Give your child time to adjust to the appointment and the different people they meet.
After the Appointment
Ask your child if they have any questions about their time at the speech therapy appointment. Write these questions down with your child to help them see that you will be going back and that their concerns matter.
For more information, contact a speech-language business in your area like Physical Therapy Institute.