Therapists work hard to help kids learn and develop but they can't do it alone! We need to work together with families to make a real difference to kids lives. An hour or so of therapy alone can make some difference but when therapists can parents work together is when amazing things can happen. Just by coming to therapy means you're already part way there, investing your time, money and energy in your child's future, but read on to see if there are some more ways to boost your superpowers.
Here are some tips for being a superparent:
1. Superparents attend regularly. Attending regularly helps kids feel settled and keeps learning moving along. Everyone has things that come up in life, such as illnesses, but frequent missed sessions slow progress. When the space between sessions is too long kids may forget what they have learned and need to go back over skills they have learned before rather than building on those skills or moving to new ones. Try to attend regularly and if you need to miss an appointment try to reschedule if you can so the time between appointments is not too long.
2. Superparents come prepared. Before your session think about the changes your child has made. Have they learned any new skills? Have you seen them use the new skills they have been practicing in therapy sessions? Is there anything you are concerned about that you would like to discuss with your therapist? Make a list if needed and bring it to your session. Raise anything you want to discuss at the beginning of the session, rather than as you are leaving, so your therapist has time to discuss it with you fully rather than rushing.
3. Superparents share information. Superparents act as a link between home, therapy and school. They share information from therapy with teachers or carers and information from child care, preschool or school with therapists. This helps everyone work together to support their child in a consistent way.
4. Superparents are actively involved in sessions. They turn of their phones, put down their magazine and actively watch and listen to their child during their session. They may join in the activities alongside the therapist. If there is a good reason why your child works better without you in the room try to sit in for a session now and then so you can see what is happening. If your child has sessions at school, make an appointment to have a session in the holidays so you can sit in and see what's going on.
5. Superparents ask questions. They are keen to learn techniques and to find ways to support their child at home. They share clarify things when they are unsure and share their concerns. If you want to know something ask your therapist, they will be happy to help you out and if they don't know the answer straight away they can follow it up for you.
6. Superparents do home practice. 10 minutes of practice per day is means more than two extra therapy sessions per week, for free! This means your child will progress three times faster. This means better use of your time, effort and money and better outcomes for your child.
7. Superparents make use of resources. There are lots of printable resources on our website which are there to help parents support therapy with their child at home. There often great tips and articles shared on Facebook and there are literally thousands of great ideas on Pinterest all for free so why not make use of them.
8. Superparents make use of teachable moments. These are the real life opportunities to practice your child's new skills in real situations. Once you start using them you will see they are everywhere. From talking about colours while folding the washing, or sizes and shapes while putting away the shopping through to writing a birthday card to grandma or using social skills to order a drink in a cafe, the chances to practice and develop your child's skills and knowledge in real life are all around us. They help your child learn so much faster and they are usually free and fun too. Make use of them!
9. Superparents support each other. Connecting with other parents is so valuable, especially when you have a challenging child. This could be through a support group, Facebook group or just chatting to another parent in the waiting room. Connecting with another parent with similar challenges helps you both feel understood and supported.
10. Superparents are positive and realistic. We all have days where things don't go how we would like, or things don't change as quickly as we want. Superparents know that their child, their therapists and they themselves are all human, all doing the best they can. They openly accept their child as they are right now, but also continue to remain hopeful for the future. They take some time out to look after themselves and ask for help when they need it.
Are you a superparent who would like to work with us? Talking Matters provides assessment, diagnosis,therapy and support for child with a wide range of needs including developmental delays, learning and literacy challenges, speech and language delays, motor skill and sensory issues and children on the autism spectrum and their families. We are providers under the NDIA. We provide speech pathology, occupational therapy, social skills and play skills groups. We provide services in local schools and our Autism Adviser can help teachers support children who are experiencing difficulties in school. To find out more about our services and our team visit our website.
Our website has a range of downloadable information sheets, printable activities and useful links. To connect with our community of families, therapists and educators join us on Facebook, Twitter and pintrest.
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