Over the last several years, there has been a movement in the field to train parents of children who have not developed speech normally, and caregivers and family members of those with speech loss due to stroke, aphasia and other adult neurological problems. Studies are showing children and adults learn to communicate at home during everyday activities with parents and loved ones.
Parents and loved ones have much more time and vested interest to interact in a meaningful way. They know their loved one best and are the primary people who stimulate language and speaking if they are familiar with expert methods and committed to speaking improvement.
Megan Roberts and Ann Kaiser reviewed 18 studies which evaluated parent-implemented intervention offered to parents of children with speech and language difficulties. Studies showed that parents and caregivers can be taught how to promote better communication and that children and adults improve as a result.
What the studies reveal:
Parents and caregivers successfully learned the strategies and used them when interacting with their child/adult.
Parents had a positive effect on their child’s communication development
Parents/caregivers were just as effective at helping their child/loved one as speech-
language pathologists were. In reality they were more effective than speech-language pathologists when working on the comprehension of language and grammar at home.
The benefits of parent and caregiver training
Children/adults with a variety of speech and language difficulties made good progress when the parents/caregivers were trained to help them.
This confirms that parents and caregivers should be partners with speech-language pathologists in the therapy process if available.
Children or adults may still need guidance by a trained speech language pathologist professional as their speech and language improves.
(Reference: Roberts, M., &Kaiser, A. (2011). The Effectiveness of Parent-Implemented Language Intervention: A Meta-Analysis. American Journal of Speech Language Pathology, 20, 180-199.)
EBRSR: Evidence-Based Review of Stroke Rehabilitation
Katherine Salter, PhD (cand.), Robert Teasell MD, Norine Foley MSc, and Laura Allen MSc
Their Research concluded these Key Points:
- Language therapy is most effective in treating aphasia when provided intensely. (at home throughout the day.)
- Less intensive aphasia therapy over a long period of time does not provide a statistically significant benefit. (Like what is done in an office or clinic a few times a week)
- Trained volunteers can provide an effective adjunct to speech-language pathologist’s treatment.
- Intensive speech and language therapy (stimulation) may be associated with improved language function for individuals with global aphasia.
But here’s the most startling fact of all
- Speech therapy is costly to have a therapist stimulate the speech and language of your loved one on a once, twice or three times per week basis. (including travel, gas, time away from home, etc.)
- Therapy visits are becoming restricted by insurance and Medicare guidelines, so it would be vital for the speech pathologist to train the caregiver in home speech and language stimulation methods.
There are some caregivers who have no access to skilled care once their visits have been discontinued. The Teaching of Talking Method could be the perfect skill-set for the caregiver to learn, and affords countless hours of opportunities for the stimulation of speech and language at home long after formalize speech therapy ends.