Consistency is the Keyby Ashely Sellers, Speech Language Pathologist, M.Ed., CCC-SLP on 08/14/17
Working as an SLP, I am often asked, especially by parents of newly referred patients, "What can I do at home to help my child?" This is my favorite question because it shows me that the parent is concerned and willing to help the child as necessary to learn skills taught in therapy. I also like this question because it indicates to me that the parent will help to generalize skills taught in therapy into the home or natural environment, which is the overall goal of speech therapy.
My answer to this question is simply to be consistent. Consistency refers to how frequently a task is completed or carried out as a part of one's daily routine. I view consistency as being three-fold:
- Be consistent in introducing new skills and maintaining skills previously learned.
- Make a list of skills your child needs to acquire (e.g. following directions, identifying object, naming objects)
- Set a time frame in which skills will be presented and taught (may vary according to how easily the child understands the skill presented)
- Determine the methods in which the skills will be taught (e.g. games, worksheets, flashcards)
- Check off skills as they are presented and learned; review as often as needed
- Be consistent with when skills are presented and learned.
- Will you work on the skills every day, once a week, every two weeks, on weekends?
- What time each day will the skill be presented? before breakfast, afterschool, before bedtime
- Inform your child of when this learning will take place in order for them to be prepared and ready to receive the information you are presenting.
- Be consistent with how the skills are presented.
- With the tv on or off?
- In a quiet room with one-on-one help?
- As a part of their daily routine with everyday tasks like grooming, eating, or play time?
- Will they use the computer, cut paste activities, and/ or books?
- How often will you reinforce skills learned? How will you handle making corrections?
Overall, the key to being consistent is realizing how important the development and maintenance of your child's speech and language skills are to you and their ability to effectively communicate and independently function in their natural environment. It is also realizing that as parents, guardians, and/or family members, you are the main facilitator for establishing adequate communication skills for your child. Lastly, it is important to understand that consistency means being patient, willingness to work with your child on their level, breaking hard things down into smaller pieces, and willingness to ask for the help of those around you to assist your child.
Check out this Skills Checklist to give you a jumpstart on how to work with your child in a more consistent manner.
What are your thoughts? Please feel free to comment or to contact me with any further questions or concerns.