Parent Coaching for Promoting Language for Autistic Children
Children who are diagnosed on the autism spectrum require special attention and care that children without developmental delay usually do not need. These needs range from occupational therapy, behavioral therapy, psychological and sometimes, psychiatric therapy, as well as speech and language therapy. Parents who have read on autism, strive to understand what this disorder is all about. However, for those who are not familiar, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder affecting a child’s social communication skills and also involves the display of restricted repetitive behavior. Each child who is diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum may have various needs as well as abilities. Some children with autism are high functioning, meaning they excel well in academics and display less problematic issues, while others may be a bit more severe, requiring special assistance for many daily activities.
It is very common for children with autism to be brought to a speech-language therapist for assistance in social communication. As the urgency and importance of early intervention continue to be understood by many in the field, parents are being highly encouraged to seek treatment as soon as delays and deficits are shown. Not only are parents being told to bring their children in for early intervention, but speech and language pathologists are coaching parents to be involved in fostering language development with their children.
How Does Parent Coaching Work?
You may ask “What is parent coaching and how is it done?”. The very first thing to know about parent coaching for speech development is that it is a fairly new approach. In times past, parents had very little interaction and involvement in the work being done with their child by the therapist. Coaching now involves the parent engaging in teletherapy with the speech pathologist to probe various strategies useful in enabling their child to meet intervention targets and goals. In this process, videos of how to interact with their child are given, along with unique instruction for each child’s needs. Observations are done in person periodically to see how the parents are coping, and feedback is always given.
This may sound daunting at first, however, if carefully understood, it will become more natural and comfortable.
The process of coaching involves the following:
- Observing the child and parent interacting in natural settings to understand dynamics at work
- Probing the parents to create strategies that will foster language development with their children
- Boosting and increasing parent confidence. This is particularly important as in time past, parents believed intervention work belonged only to a professional. Coaching teaches parents that for effective intervention and change in their child, they are partners with the therapist and not merely observers.
- Reflection and Refinement. Parents will initially have nuances to refine when implementing strategies to foster language development with their children. The therapist will assist the parent in identifying what works, what doesn’t, and what needs to be adjusted. This is a guided experience with the professional always being available to ensure best practices are being adhered to.
Many therapists are now coaching parents. If you are seeking speech therapy in Vancouver (SLP in Vancouver), feel free to contact Vancouver Speech Therapy.
Vancouver Speech Therapy
At Vancouver Speech Therapy, the aim is to encourage parents to be a part of their child’s therapeutic process to receive optimal results. Parents are not mere observers of their child’s therapy, rather, they should continue what has been started in the therapist’s office to ensure change is realized.
Sometimes parents are intimidated because they feel it’s a lot to add to their busy everyday schedules and implementing strategies is just too much. At Vancouver Speech Therapy, we recognize the busy lives of parents as they balance work and family care so we strive to create realistic weekly goals for parents to work on. One small step at a time can make a big difference in the long run. A little really does go a long way.