As speech-language pathologists, we understand the invaluable role that parents play in supporting their child’s communication development. Effective parent communication in speech therapy can significantly enhance a child’s progress. By fostering open lines of communication, we can work together as a team, ensuring consistency and maximizing the impact of therapy. In this blog post, let’s explore three practical and user-friendly methods for boosting parent communication. There is even a FREE communication log to download.
Why is Parental Communication Important in Speech Therapy?
First, let’s discuss why parental communication is so important in speech therapy. It’s all about keeping the lines open between SLPs and parents. When parents are in the loop, we can make sure that what we do in therapy aligns with what happens at home. That way, the child gets consistent support and practice. Plus, parents can reinforce and use the strategies we teach in everyday situations. We work together to set goals that make sense for the child and their family.
Speech and language challenges can be tough, so being there for parents and answering their questions also goes a long way for emotional support. Ultimately, involving parents in the speech therapy process boosts progress, helps students generalize their skills and creates a supportive environment for their communication development.
1. Communication Log in a Folder
The first and probably easiest way to keep the lines of communication between home and school open is by creating a simple communication log in a folder. This physical folder acts as a centralized hub for important updates, progress reports and notes. Here’s how you can implement it effectively:
- Choose a format: You can opt for a printed log or a digital version, depending on your preference and the convenience for parents. Digital options like shared Google Drive folders or communication apps can ensure real-time updates and seamless access.
- Set a routine: Encourage parents to review the folder regularly, ensuring they stay informed about their child’s therapy goals, progress and upcoming activities. Establishing a routine for checking and updating the log will help maintain consistency and avoid any missed communication. Make sure they know what day your student has speech and always update them on their child’s progress on that day of the week so it becomes routine for them to check the folder then.
- Encourage feedback: Provide parents with an opportunity to share their observations, questions, or concerns through the log. Active participation and two-way communication can strengthen the therapeutic process. Here is the parent communication log that I always used in the school setting. You can download it for FREE.
2. Send Home Boom Cards
Next, incorporating technology into parent communication can be a game-changer. Boom Cards, which are digital interactive activities, offer an engaging way to involve parents and reinforce therapy at home. Here’s how to make the most of this:
- Select relevant activities: Choose Boom Cards that align with the child’s goals and the concepts covered during therapy sessions. Ensure the activities are user-friendly and appropriate for independent practice at home. You can check out TONS of different Boom Card options for speech therapy HERE.
- Share instructions: Clearly outline how parents can access and use the Boom Cards. Provide step-by-step instructions and any necessary login information to eliminate any potential barriers.
- Track progress: Boom Cards often come with built-in progress tracking features. Encourage parents to monitor their child’s performance and share feedback or questions regarding specific activities. This way, you can gain insights into the child’s engagement and identify areas that require further attention.
3. Provide Parent Handouts
Informational handouts can be a powerful tool for empowering parents with knowledge and strategies to support their child’s communication skills. Here’s how you can create effective parent handouts:
- Simplify complex concepts: Break down technical jargon and therapy-specific information into easily understandable language. Focus on practical tips, strategies, and activities that parents can incorporate into their daily routines.
- Offer visual aids: Visuals such as diagrams, charts, or illustrations can enhance understanding and make the handouts more engaging. Use them to illustrate key concepts or demonstrate specific techniques. For example, this More Than a Box: Learning Through Play Parent Handout gives ten handouts that are language-focused play ideas using all different kinds of household items such as boxes, cups and plates. (There is also a Spanish version of this handout if you have any ELL students) Check out how to help coach parents in speech therapy to teach them how to use household items.
- Regular updates: As therapy progresses or new topics are introduced, provide parents with updated handouts to keep them informed and involved in their child’s speech and language development.
Parent Communication in Speech Therapy is Essential
Building strong communication channels with parents is an essential aspect of the roles of SLPs. By implementing a communication log in a folder, sending home Boom Cards, and providing parent handouts, speech therapists can enhance collaboration and facilitate continuous support for students. Remember, effective communication is the key to unlocking a child’s full potential, and by working hand in hand with parents, you can make a lasting impact on their speech and language journey.
How do you provide effective parent communication in speech therapy?
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