Summer session has begun! The past week has been spent learning new names, new faces, and new IEP goals! While I don’t have theme therapy plans to share this week, I do want to share three important things I have learned:
- Build rapport. This is important regardless of the population you work with. For adults, it only can take a few minutes. For children, it can take multiple sessions. The time spent building rapport is crucial to have future successful therapy sessions.
- Involve parents. I have started doing home visits for the first time in my career. It has been quite a change to go from having little contact with parents to having parents sit with me in therapy sessions! Building rapport with parents is just as important as building rapport with children. Parents need to feel that their child is working with someone knowledgeable. Most of them also want to know what they can do to help their child. Having parents right next to me has really forced me to “up” my game! I try to explain what I am working on with the child (because it often just looks like play) and encourage ways they can work on the same skills on their own. I also like to try to find out what methods parents are using for communication at home. Sometimes, if a child is nonverbal, there is no real method. It then becomes the SLP’s job to provide resources for the family.
- Ask children. I spent tons of time planning what I thought were fun, engaging activities. I didn’t touch a single one of them. During initial rapport building sessions, it became obvious to me that I needed to abandon my plans. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I asked my students what they like. The answer: games. What could be easier? This was a simple reminder to me that I don’t need to reinvent the wheel for therapy to be fun!
With week number 1 in the books, I am feeling (slightly) more confident and ready to begin week 2! How are your summer sessions shaping up?