I'll be honest, parent coaching had never been a strength for me as an SLP. I did what I did, connected with my clients, they made progress, I provided home activities and suggestions, then repeat. Well, then COVID hit. Some clients had a smooth transition to teletherapy, but for others I had to think out of the box.
I began "seeing" a new client virtually who had previously qualified for a Speech Generating Device but currently was not using it. The family felt she did not understand it and they only received training to program it not implement it. We explored other AAC options. All this time this client had no interest in interacting with me on the computer. This is where I, as an SLP of over 15 years, began providing therapy to just mom and the provider.
Scary, right?!? I had never worked JUST with a parent and not with a client. Would this work? YES! Our sessions were 100% parent coaching, asking the right questions and sharing the right information about the vocabulary, the pictures, and how to model the new system during different activities. We worked great together to fine tune images, pages, and vocabulary while I checked to make sure the information shared was understood by the family. They were rockin' it!
Fast forward to today, just two months in to therapy, and this client is taking interest in this new AAC system, beginning to request, comment, and command using AAC. Mother and provider are modeling language during more and more interactiosn each week. The client's sister saw she too could communicate with her so requested to have her own activities for modeling language. Previously sister hadn't had much interaction because of behaviors my client presented. Ah, the power of communication and connection!
Who would have thought that therapy could be provided strictly via a parent or provider and still make amazing progress? All credit goes to mom, the provider, and the family!
For the past two years I have been on a mission to educate parents that THEY are the KEYS to SUCCESS. When families carry over activities to support development, their children succeed in making progress. With this new event of 100% parent coaching, 100% parent implementation, now I really want to scream from the mountain tops that YOU PARENTS ARE ESSENTIAL IN THERAPY! You parents can do it. We are just here to help guide you but YOU make it happen:-)
`~Staci Neustadt MS CCC-SLP