What You Need to Know If Your Child is Starting Speech Therapy – Answers to 5 Common Questions
If your child is starting speech therapy at school for the first time this year there are likely a lot of questions competing for time in your head. Even though it might feel like you are alone on this journey, the good news is that you’re not the first parent to feel this and there are people there to help you and your child. Start with these common questions that parents like you might be asking.
Starting Speech Therapy at School – Answers to Parents’ Questions
1. How do I explain speech therapy to my child?
If your child is starting speech therapy at school he or she may be very curious about what to expect. Help your child understand what to expect by trying some of the following:
- Let your child know that speech therapy is a special tool. Just like some people go to exercise, cooking, or even drawing classes to improve their skills, speech therapy is a class to help communication skills.
- Ask your school if you can go with your child before or after school one day to visit the speech therapy room. Help your child feel comfortable in the setting and make sure it reassures you as a parent that it is a nurturing space in which your child can learn.
- Ask the SLP to explain to you what techniques will be used so you can talk with your child about them.
2. How do I help my anxious child feel better about starting speech therapy at school?
Anxiety about starting speech therapy is not uncommon, but there are several things you can do to help reassure and calm your child.
- Meet with your child’s SLP before the sessions start and introduce your child to him or her. Kids can be reassured when their parents know their teachers (and it will reassure you, too).
- Let your child know that other kids all over the country go to speech therapy in school. More than 1.4 million kids utilize some form of speech therapy services in schools in the United States.
- Consider using motivation charts to help your reluctant child feel motivated and even excited about speech therapy.
3. How will speech therapy in school affect my child’s other classes?
One of the worries of parents and students is that leaving the classroom to attend speech therapy will negatively affect the student because of the missed classroom time. However, there ways you can help minimize any consequences of this new schedule for your child.
- Work with your child’s school to arrange speech therapy during class times that aren’t difficult for your child to miss.
- See if your child can miss alternating classes so he or she isn’t always missing during a certain time (especially if it is a class in which your child does well or enjoys).
- Remind your child (and yourself) that speech therapy will help make all of those other subjects even easier – it is like vitamins for academics.
4. What if my child is teased for starting speech therapy in school?
While it can be heartbreaking for parents, unfortunately some children are teased in schools because of their disorders or difficulties. However, starting speech therapy can be one of the best antidotes for this because it can improve communication skills and give your child the confidence she needs. If you are worried that your child is being bullied in school, make sure you speak with your school administration right away to put an end to these behaviors.
5. How long will my child need speech therapy in school?
The length of time your child will need speech therapy will rely heavily on what type of speech disorder he has and if there are any other health or behavior concerns. Your child’s SLP should be able to provide you with a plan that outlines goals and milestones for your child’s speech development. Some children only need speech therapy for a few months, while others will benefit from more consistent speech therapy.
Keep a notebook and folder with your child’s speech therapy information. This can be a resource when you need to review your child’s goals, and it can be a great place to write down questions you want to ask your child’s SLP. Along with your child, you’ll be learning new skills and gathering new information when your child attends speech therapy in school.