Your child is starting speech therapy and that comes with a lot of questions — from both you and your child. As a parent, you might be wondering how soon you’ll see results. Your child might feel a bit anxious, uncertain of what he might have to do in the session. Either way, you both are feeling unsettled by not knowing what to expect.
While the techniques used in speech therapy — along with the outcomes — vary depending on each individual’s needs, you can take some steps to inspire confidence and comfort. Are you considering speech therapy for your child? Here are some ways to manage the experience.
Explain as much as you can ahead of time
Fear and anxiety come from situations where we face an unknown outcome. This can be especially hard for children, who are still learning and figuring out the world around them. Be as transparent about speech therapy as possible, transforming it from an unknown to a known. Watch videos on YouTube that show exercises often conducted in speech therapy sessions. Explain to your child why the doctor thinks he needs speech therapy and how it might help with his vocal challenges. Most importantly, gives your child space to share how he is feeling and ask questions about the future.
Explore ways to help reduce anxiety
Taking a little extra time to help manage anxiety could help your child succeed faster in speech therapy. You can teach deep breathing techniques to help lower heart rate and blood pressure, which can ease anxious feelings. You can also talk to your doctor about trying CBD oils. Research, while anecdotal, continues to show that CBD has a positive impact on mental health, including reducing the symptoms of anxiety in children. It’s even been shown to help children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis with speech development. Talk to your doctor before exploring CBD oils as a treatment. If he or she gives the green light, consider buying CBD gummies, which have a more palatable taste for kids.
Build rapport with your child’s speech therapist
Getting your child to and from speech therapy will likely be a strain on your time. You may find yourself having to zip around trying to get to and from work, school, home, extracurriculars, and other activities. However, try as best you can to slow down and spend some time getting to know your child’s speech therapist. The more you know each other, the better you can communicate about your child’s needs, his ongoing progress and how you and your family can help at home. When you put in the effort and time to build rapport with the speech therapist, you become more involved in the healing journey your child is on.
Encourage your child’s teachers and friends to help
Your child’s best chance for speech success is to have his whole network rooting for him to succeed. Talk to his teachers about his progress in speech therapy and what exercises he is working on. Invite your child to open up to his friends, giving them the opportunity to notice and praise his progress. It truly does take a village to raise a child, so tapping into a community of support is a great way to help your child feel comfortable and confident in his hard work. When your child feels encouraged and supported by people he trusts, he might feel less stigmatized by the condition that is leading him into speech therapy.
Speech therapy can help your child move through the physical and mental challenges tied to speech issues. Speech therapy can be incredibly successful, especially when started young. Help ease your child’s anxiety by providing comfort and confidence-building support.