Speech Therapy Progress: What to Expect?
Speech Therapy Progress: What to Expect?
When your child began speech therapy, the speech-language pathologist (SLP) would have explained an individualized treatment plan for your child. You would also have been told that you would be receiving periodic progress reports in verbal or written form. The purpose of providing speech therapy is to improve your child’s communication skills. And the most efficient way to track their progress is by conducting periodic reviews. This is required mainly because it helps the speech therapist to note which goals have been achieved and which have not. That is why documenting the progress is not just important, it is required.
Before starting the treatment plan, the SLP sets goals that would be achieved in the upcoming months. The SLP will ensure that all the goals are specific to the client and personalized for the child’s requirements. The goal should also address the approximate time by which they will be achieved along with the skills being improved. The SLP will categorize the goals into long-term goals and short-term goals.
Long Term Goals
Long-term goals the goals that you set for a long period of time. These can be like annual goals. For example, a long-term goal would be, “Hannah will use two-word utterances for functional communication for 7/10 trials with prompts”. This goal is generic and various other smaller goals can be used from these goals.
Short Term Goals
Short-term goals are basically long-term goals that are broken down into smaller goals. These goals, as the name suggests are achievable in lesser time durations, usually 1-2 months. Once these goals are met, the SLP will change or modify these short-term goals. An example of the short term from the above long-term goal would be, “Hannah will use two-word utterances to communicate with her mother at the breakfast table for 7/10 trials with prompts”. Another example would be “Hannah will use two-word utterances with her class teacher for 5/10 trials with prompts.”
For the best progress, your SLP will always set SMART goals. When you set these goals, it is easier to monitor the progress.
So, to summarize, the long-term goals will probably not change for the whole year or even longer, but the short-term goals will change based on the progress that is achieved by your child.
Setting new goals
While evaluating the progress, if the goals are achieved, your child’s SLP will assign new goals for your child for the upcoming time period. If your child has not met some of the goals, the SLP will continue with those goals for some more time and add some new goals too. Setting these goals is very important as speech therapy is always goal-focused.
Factors affecting progress in speech therapy
It is important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all therapy approach. All the therapy activities are unique and developed as per your child’s requirements. Just as every child’s therapy plan is different, so is the progress. And this progress depends on numerous factors as listed below:
- Age of the child: The earlier you identify and intervene in a speech or language difficulty, the better the prognosis will be.
- Severity of the speech difficulty: A child with mild speech difficulty may have better progress in comparison to a child with severe speech difficulties. However, speech therapy must be continued regardless, to ensure maximum communication development and independence.
- Associated medical conditions: Children with multiple disabilities may often have slower progress compared to children with fewer disabilities.
- Frequency of speech therapy sessions: The frequency depends on the type of speech & language difficulty. An SLP might suggest more frequent sessions for a child with a severe language difficulty while less frequent sessions for a child with mild speech difficulties in order for the therapy sessions to be effective and achieve progress. You can always talk to your child’s SLP regarding the optimum treatment hours per week for your child.
- Type of Speech/Language difficulty: Children who have articulation difficulties may require lesser time to progress compared to children with language difficulties.
- Home training: Speech therapy sessions alone cannot help with the progress. Your child’s SLP would have given some activities to be done at home. The progress would depend a lot on the quality and time invested in home training rather than the duration or frequency of the speech therapy sessions.
As seen above there are various factors that would determine the progress of your child. Expect to receive progress reports with the details of the specific steps that your child is making toward reaching their goals. As said earlier, each child is different and they progress differently. If you have any concerns with your child’s progress, consult with their SLP and talk with them. Consult with us to start your speech therapy today!!