Tips for getting therapy to work like ’magic’ with your kids

Magic

Our fast and busy world

In our fast and busy world, time is of the essence and we are short of it. We seek the fastest easiest possible solutions to life’s challenges. Amongst all the joys and raising children are many challenges. What happens if you find yourself in ‘therapy’ with your precious little person, for their developing upper airway and or communication challenge? Hopefully you have found a savvy, experienced, kind and creative speech pathologist to help you.

There are many times families referred to Well Spoken who are expecting that the Well Spoken speech pathologist will wave the magic wand so to speak, and ‘fix’ the problems at hand, that would after all be the fastest way to resolve the problem wouldn’t it? If only we had such a wand or even a band-aid that we could provide and then the issue would magically resolve or heal itself.

Human behaviour and development simply does not work that way. So at Well Spoken, we go to considerable lengths to help families understand the process, the way we know that will create a solution that works, provide age matched tools and resources to assist you with home practice. We are your cheer-squad. It’s our job to set you up for success.

What is success in therapy?

When it comes to speech, eating, breathing, or other upper airway functions, our goals are that your child will be able to use ‘new skills’ in everyday life, without having to think about them, yes the skills will become automatic. There are 4 phases of therapy to go through to get to this point. We start with foundations; this simply means that your child develops awareness and control in exercises that are done in the clinic and at home. This is the first of the 4 stages of therapy and a very important one but they are just exercises and it is really just the beginning. From foundations, we keep working until that skill is fully integrated into everyday life, and for that, we need way more than just exercises. The process takes time, just as it would to learn a musical instrument or become a good gymnast.

We can talk about great therapy in terms of ingredients and the method, yes a cake making analogy!

Ingredients for great therapy program

Ingredients provided by your speech pathologist

  • Thorough assessment and understanding of the underlying problem
  • Detailed therapy plan
  • Show you how to do therapy with your child
  • Advise on resources and tools to assist with home practice
  • Monitor progress
  • Your speech pathologist is your cheer squad

Ingredients provided by you, the family

  • Intrinsic Motivation, a 10/10 desire for improvement
  • Understand
      • the big ‘why’, what will happen if we don’t do this program now
      • that your speech pathologist will give you a therapy plan but you are the person that implements it
      • the nature of the problem and ask questions to clarify if you are unsure
      • that changing patterns and behaviours takes time and is not an over-night fix
      • that consistent daily practice ‘a little everyday’ will lead to success
  • You are your child’s cheer squad, to be proud and encourage every step of the way

3 Top Tips for therapy to work like magic

So you really want to support your little person along the way, what are the ‘magic’ tips for helping this to happen?

Fun is a prime element, ensuring sessions feel like play and using music to elevate the happiness emotion. Play and music are 2 key things that help the brain to learn faster. Not only that, showing your little person that therapy is not a chore but fun and that you are super proud using positive words and instructions rather than negatives or criticisms will have your little person reminding you and asking you ‘when is the next homework session’.

 

Having the whole family doing the program can motivate your little person to do more repetitions and do it ‘better than you’, a little healthy rivalry might we say. The rivalry is best set up between you the parents and your little person. Let them know they are better than you, and how proud you are.

We know that therapy takes time to progress through all 4 essential stages of therapy to success and we want to support you to build your own skills and independence with our programs. So, we will often recommend 4 weekly sessions to ‘get therapy rolling’, then we ask you to keep practice going for another 4-6 weeks at home before starting another round of 4 sessions. In this way we are helping you to build an independent daily practice habit and integrate the therapy into your daily life. We want you to find the perfect balance in your daily practice, keeping practice sessions short sharp shiny but doing it everyday. At Well Spoken is we say ‘Chip away a little everyday’. When we see this working kids make good progress and everyone is happy.

I hope some of these ingredients and tips help you to understand the process of change and how we can help you to get therapy to work like ‘magic’ for you and your little person.

Sharon Moore

Author, speaker, sleep health advocate and speech pathologist

I'm Sharon Moore, author, speaker, sleep health advocate and speech pathologist at Well Spoken Upper Airway & Communication Solutions. I've seen more than 40,000 families over 4 decades of clinical work and I’ve seen first-hand how upper airway issues impact both health and happiness. The ripple effects span across family, school, community and society, and left untreated can last a life-time. I believe that great treatment transforms lives, the earlier the better and that everyone has a right to be happy, healthy and heard. I've worked in medical settings in Australia and London and currently run Well Spoken clinic in Canberra treating patients of all ages referred by medical and dental specialists for disorders of function of the upper airway that impact breathing, eating and communication.

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