Get the Skills You Need Now to Grow Your Child’s Social Communication Skills
Did you know that research has shown that trained parents can significantly improve their children’s skills in language, play, and social interaction? Parent mediated instruction is an evidenced-based practice that is used as part of early intervention programs for children showing language and social delays. The path to get help is often confusing and unclear leading parents down a maze of options. Many times, parents have concerns about their child’s development and are told by well meaning people to “wait and see.” This approach does nothing to alleviate parent worries and delays intervention. Or, the process to just get an evaluation is daunting and time consuming. And, that’s not even considering that in the current Co-Vid situation clinics and schools have been closed or offering online learning opportunities. For worried parents, these delays feel endless as valuable time is being wasted in getting their child the help they need.
The wonderful thing about early intervention is that it is a win-win! If a child is just a “late bloomer,” then starting intervention will speed up the gap sooner. But, if the child will eventually be diagnosed with a speech delay, language impairment, autism, or something else, then early intervention gets services going as quickly as possible. Early intervention is so amazing because the timing of when interventions occur is when the child’s brain is most malleable. From birth to around 5 years old the brain is developing and making pathways and connections very quickly. This is the prime time to provide as many learning opportunities as possible.
Early intervention can look like outside therapy, special education services or preschool, and also parent training programs. So, you might be thinking, “I’m not a child development expert… what do I know about teaching my kid to talk?” Parents are their kids first and best teachers. With a few proven strategies and techniques you can absolutely enrich your child’s communication skills. And, the more learning opportunities the better the outcome! So instead of the child only working on speech with the speech therapist once a week they can get a whole lot more intervention if they also work on speech throughout their normal routines every day. If you are thinking that this sounds like a lot of work, the really great news for busy parents is that these strategies can be built into your normal family routines. And, from a learning perspective, it actually makes perfect sense to practice the skill in the place that you want your child to use it. So, practicing having your child asking for their snuggly teddy bear at night before bed is a whole lot more practical than teaching that at preschool where that situation would never come up. Plus if Teddy is the child’s favorite thing in the world than they will be highly motivated to use communication skills to get it!
May 19, 2020
By: Megan Cox, BCBA, LBA, NCSP