One of my favorite things to do as an SLP is brainstorm with families on how to improve their child’s and their family’s daily lives. I am a firm believer that an effective communicator is a confident communicator and that confident people are nicer and make the world a better place.
(So really… we’re saving the world here, folks.)
Speech therapy is great and sure I want you to know how to say “poP” with a strong tail sound…
but what I really want is for that little person to be able to function beautifully in their environment. (Or at least to the best of their ability.)
A goal I typically target early is a list of functional words provided by the family. I ask them to brainstorm at least 10 words that their kiddo might use on a daily basis, preferably high motivators. This may include family names, pet names, favorite foods, beloved toys, and anything else that is important to that particular child or that particular family.
If it’s important to them, it’s important to me.
I try to have the family bring in photos representing these words so they can serve as their child’s own set of personal flash cards.
I’ve used this for all sorts of ages, diagnoses, and levels of intelligibility. I find it especially important for kiddos who have phonological processes or other diagnoses that severely impact their intelligibility.
I just think to myself…
What can I start doing TODAY that could change this child’s life?
It may be being able to pronounce his own name when asked. It may be clearly stating “potty” when he needs the restroom at school. Anything functional is fair game.
It’s such a simple idea (and one I credit my CF supervisor for giving me) but it’s one I’ve used with just about every kiddo with severely impacted intelligibility that has come through my therapy room.
Do you already do this with your kiddos? I’d love to hear your thoughts and additions to this concept!