2024: 10 Resolutions from
Occupational & Speech Therapists
Rogers Bridge » 2024: 10 Resolutions from Occupational & Speech Therapists
With the new year comes New Year’s resolutions. Resolutions are a great way to establish new and positive routines that help to improve life. These goals may vary from personal to professional. Common resolutions include spending more time with family, exercising, and eating healthier. But what about setting resolutions that have a positive impact on your child and helps to encourage good development?
These are not your typical “resolutions,” but as a pediatric therapist, I find that I typically give similar advice to parents that are just starting therapy. In honor of the New Year, I have compiled a list of advice and strategies that are frequently provided to parents during the first few therapy sessions.
1. Less Electronics
The electronics that we are the most concerned with are the TV, phone, and tablet. This includes limiting educational programs. While educational programs teach pre-academic skills, your toddler needs to focus on learning how to make their wants and needs known. For example: communicating hunger, thirst, being hurt, what they want to do, or where they want to go.
2. Let Your Child Help
Allow your child to help with routines around the house. Participating in chores and daily activities will improve your child’s ability to follow directions while learning vocabulary and creating independence.
3. Provide an Opportunity for Communication
It’s easy to just hand over the item the child wants. As a parent, you learn to predict your child’s needs. Instead of just handing the item over, get your child to point, vocalize, or use a word to communicate their want. Better yet, put their favorite items just out of reach or in a hard to open container. This creates an opportunity for the child to communicate what they want or that they need help.
4. Give Choices
In addition to providing an opportunity for communication, you can provide your child with choices. By giving a choice, you provide an opportunity for your child to produce a new word. This helps the child learn the word associated with an item. They will be more likely to ask for it by name the next time they want it.
5. Model Language
Modeling language throughout the day helps to teach your child new vocabulary. Talk to your child about what you are doing or what they are doing. If your child is unable to point, vocalize, or use words to communicate a want or need, model the correct language before providing them with their want.
6. Get Down on Your Child’s Level and Play
While children need to learn to play independently, playing with others teaches important skills like turn-taking, following directions, learning new vocabulary words, and communicating thoughts and ideas. Playing with your child means you are actively participating in taking turns, talking to your child, and using language. To foster the best play, you need to be on your child’s level and be an active participant. It’s easy to hand your child items but that does not encourage turn-taking. Be sure to take your fair share of turns.
7. Do Not Be Afraid to Ask Questions
Ask your doctor or your therapist questions. Grab a notebook and write down the questions that you have thought of before your appointment. Take the notebook to your doctor’s appointment or email the questions to your therapist. Most parents usually forget what questions they have once they are in the doctor’s office or therapy office. Some doctor’s appointments and therapy sessions give a lot of information, and it can be hard to process everything. Write down responses so that you can review the information later.
8. Take Time for Yourself
It is easy to immerse yourself in the life of a child, especially if that child has any special needs that require frequent doctor visits or therapy sessions. In order to be the best for your child, you need to take time for yourself. This is true for any parent but especially true for a parent of a child with special needs.
9. Limit Yes/No Questions
Have you ever had to ask 100 yes or no questions to figure out what your child wants? Do you want an apple? Do you want the ball? It gets exhausting for you and for your child. While these questions can be a good way to figure out what a child wants when you are unsure, it’s also an easy answer. Yes or no questions are considered close ended. Meaning it only requires a one-word response. When we get in the habit of only asking yes or no questions, it can limit the ability to specifically state what a child wants. If your child is not able to state a specific need start with modeling language and providing opportunities for communication.
10. Don't Wait
Common advice from friends, family, and some professionals will be, “wait and see.” While some children can “catch up” without intervention, others do not. For the children that will not catch up on their own, waiting to see what happens places them further behind. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development states that it takes four times as long to intervene in fourth grade than if a child received intervention in late kindergarten. There is no reason to “wait and see,” as there are many ways to get an evaluation. Georgia’s early intervention program, Babies Can’t Wait, provides free evaluations from birth to three years old. After a child is three, the public school system will evaluate children if there are concerns that would impact academic performance. Many insurance plans cover the cost of an evaluation as well.
If you are concerned that your child is not developing age-appropriate skills, give us a call. We offer free phone consultations to determine if a therapy evaluation is needed for your child.
"Jessie is such a loving and caring therapist. Her passion for helping her patients and families show every visit. She is open to what works for each patient while being effective and productive. She is responsive and able to adapt to her patient's moods. Speech therapy has never been my son's favorite, and he has been to known to be a bit difficult, but it never slowed Jessie down. She was always so loving and made the sessions fun for him. I would recommend her to anyone looking for a great therapist." – Belinda