You are your child's first teacher.

Is Parental Involvement in Children's Speech Therapy Important?

by Brooke Julia

Once upon a time a parent would take his young child to a speech therapist and sit quietly watching. When the session was over, the therapist might give the parent a little homework and send him on his way. But times have changed. Parents aren't willing to sit in the background any longer, and both speech therapists and parents now realize the importance of a parent's role in his child's progress. In fact, not only is your guidance helpful, it's totally necessary!

1. You Know Your Child

Who knows your little tyke the way you do? Speech therapists have spent plenty of time in school learning how to uproot problems with speech and replace them with proper enunciation and understanding. Yet, book knowledge can't replace a parent's intuitive connection with his child. You know your child's temperament, you recognize his moods and you understand the way he thinks and learns. You also know when a temper tantrum is looming near and how to side-step it! So by working together with the therapist, the two of you can come with a plan that's perfectly tailored to your little one.

2. All-Day Learning

Another advantage you have over a therapist is the amount of time you and your little one spend together. The therapist has perhaps an hour or two a few times a week to teach your child how to pronounce words and how to think her way through simple sentences. You, as the parent, have much more time with your child. Every normal occurrence is an opportunity for you to teach your child. Forget about speech therapy being all about a desk and a chair; you can turn bath time and trips to the grocery store into therapy. What's more, you can both enjoy it!

3. Conversations With Those Who Matter

The speech therapist's ultimate goal is to help your child improve her language skills so she can speak fluently with those who matter the most to her. And who is that? Her immediate family -- her father, mother, brothers, sisters and grandparents. When she's with her therapist, she's certainly gaining valuable knowledge, but when she's chattering away with you, she's able to put that new knowledge into practice.

4. Surrounded by Comfort

Isn't there something about the clinical feeling of the doctor's or therapist's office that makes many people a little uncomfortable? Your young child might be feeling uneasy in those surroundings, too. That's why learning at home is ideal -- she's surrounded by comfort and familiarity. It's a perfect time for her to test the tools she's learning from the therapist. She knows you love her and she isn't worried about being embarrassed over a mistake or two.

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