Aphasia Speech Therapy: Better Speaking
Moshe Mark Ittleman, M.S., CCC/SLP
We have been pretty busy this holiday season and am sure you know what I’m talking about! I hope you had a great Thanksgiving with lots of good things to eat, and family to visit and reconnect with.
This message is about caregiver training in the speech and language therapy process. Many of you know I have been beating the drum about this subject for a long time. Some are in full agreement, some not, and others believe they could never do what a speech therapist does at home with their loved one.
I started training caregivers and teaching them what I knew back when I had a private practice. I figured people were paying for speech therapy and wanted to see progress with their loved ones. Since it was my main way for making a living then, I made sure that I spent at least half my clinical time teaching the parent or caregiver how to do what I did.
Something very magical happened. I noticed people were improving, and their parent or caregiver was getting pretty good at stimulating speech, language and speaking clarity. The concept payed off. The people who were coming for therapy were happy with the results, and their parents or loved ones knew what to do to keep the process moving forward. And a funny thing….they kept coming for as long as speech therapy was necessary since it was fun, and progress occurred with almost every session.
Caregivers and families have been learning how to stimulate speech and language and helping their loved one speak better. To me it is the only way to do speech therapy as long as there is a loved one or caregiver at home who is willing and available. Studies have been showing that children and adults who receive intensive speech and language stimulation at home that’s fun, meaningful and appropriate for the severity of the speaking difficulty, by their parents or loved ones tended to improve speaking at a very comfortable level for everyone, where those who did not get speech stimulation throughout the day tended to have little to no improvement. Roberts and Kaiser, The Effectiveness of Parent Implemented Language Intervention: A Meta Analysis. The American Journal of Speech Language Pathology, 20, 180-199. and Evidence-Base Review of Stroke Rehabilitation, EBRSR, 2013, www.ebrsr)
This simply means that speech and language therapy done in the clinic, or outpatient center without caregiver or parental training is bound to get minimal, if any long lasting results.
In the waiting room of many out patient centers and therapy offices, one can often see the caregiver dropping off the loved one or child for therapy and then making a bee line for the grocery store or Walmart They return from shopping (here in Houston) out of breath for their 2 minute consultation with the therapist when the visit is over. The caregivers presence in the therapy room is worth so much more at this time since it is critical the caregiver be given methods to help their loved ones at home. A two minute rushed review of what was done in therapy rarely if ever suffices for adequate training. According to the research, and clinical experience this type of relationship will not get the results desired. Remember the best results include intensive home speech and language stimulation which necessitates training the caregiver or parent to do it throughout each day in daily living activities. If you are a parent or caregiver please request that you join in the session and learn to do what the therapist does. If you get a “No” or put off objection, it may be best to get one or two other opinions or find a therapist who welcomes you into the therapy office to participate.
Best to you at the holiday…Until we communicate again. Please share this with others you know, or on Facebook sites you frequent.
Moshe Mark Ittleman, M.S., CCC/SLP
Speech Language Pathologist-
Author: TheTeaching of Talking: Learn to do expert speech language stimulation techniques at home with children and adults.