Speech Therapy for Children: The Heart of the Matter

DanielAs a professional devoted to improving speech and language skills in children with communication disorders, I believe that a true marker of success has been the interpersonal connection established with each child. Unique and special client–clinician relationships, created at the moment of meeting, are nurtured with successive treatment sessions. The process of developing and maintaining such relationships is both an art and a science, and is closely aligned with the "USE Model", created by Deborah Hayden, founder of PROMPT® therapy. Components of the social application framework for PROMPT are based on the following principles:

  • Understanding the child’s strengths and weaknesses across all areas of development (physical, cognitive and social)
  • Learning about the child’s social, cultural and physical environment
  • Using diagnostic information is ways that support learning
  • Analyzing the child’s ability to focus attention and engage in reciprocal tasks
  • Providing just the right style and intensity of interaction
  • Providing activities for interaction that are relevant and motivating to the child
  • Setting boundaries within the learning environment that are clear, defined and supportive
  • Developing trust: The child who trusts the clinician and looks forward to therapy is the child who will maximize his potential most quickly.

There are many successful treatment methods available to professionals providing speech therapy for children; and, in my opinion, they are only as effective as the clinician’s underlying ability to engage each child with communication disorders in a meaningful and motivating way. Styles of interaction and choices of materials used in PROMPT therapy are often critical to the development of engagement and ultimate success of the treatment. When language input to children is provided as part of a meaningful interpersonal context, the dynamics of motor, cognitive and social learning take on new meaning.

At Donna Lederman, SLP, PC, the "heart of the matter" includes support for parents and respect for their concerns about their children’s development of functional communication skills. Parents are an integral part of the therapeutic process, and effective speech therapy for children means taking the time and making the effort to share information on many levels. To this end, I have found it helpful not only to counsel parents on a one–one basis after each treatment session, but also to provide workshops on topics such as assessment and treatment of children with communication disorders. Our PROMPT therapy workshops have focused on:

  • Acquainting parents with the nature and manifestations of childhood motor speech disorders
  • Explaining how PROMPT works to build motor speech as well as language and social interaction skills
  • Describing many ways in which parents and other professionals can contribute to success in treatment
  • Providing information about available resources to support motor learning at home

In conclusion, my overwhelming commitment is to opening my heart as well as my mind to each family I meet, and sharing information and strategies to the greatest extent possible. Each child is special, and each child I work with contributes my increased awareness of the importance of relationship as well as technique in the treatment process. The end result is the child’s heightened participation in the therapeutic process, increased communication ability and the integration of newly learned skills into dynamic interactions with significant others.

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Speech Therapy for Children: The Heart of the Matter

Donna Lederman, Speech-Language Pathologist, P.C.
Call Today: Nassau: 516.746.2090  |  Suffolk: 631.486.6916