The Important Role You Play as a Parent On Your Child’s Therapy Team.
As a parent, you know your child better than anyone.
You’ve watched them grow and change, and have been their primary support system so far in their educational journey.
But, when your child qualifies for therapy or other educational support services—you may feel like a proverbial fish out of water.
Suddenly, you find yourself in uncharted waters—without a compass or map.
How should you be involved in your child's therapy? What can you do to help them? Is it best to just relegate yourself to the background, so you don’t step on any professional toes?
You’ve got SO many questions, and are feeling overwhelmed and unsure where to turn.
If you’re feeling confused about where you fit into this new chapter of your child’s learning experience—that’s completely normal!
For many parents, your child’s experience with therapy is also your first encounter with these types of educational services.
Watching your child begin therapy can be emotional and even overwhelming.
If you’re unsure what your role is in your childs’ therapy process, this article’s for you.
In it, we’ll explore not only HOW you can support your child throughout their therapy journey, but also WHY your assistance and partnership are vital to the success of this process.
Because the truth is—there’s a LOT you can do to support your child in reaching their therapy goals. You don't need to be an expert, educator, or licensed therapist to make a meaningful difference in your child’s progress.
In fact—your involvement is essential from the very beginning of your child’s therapy experience.
Let’s start by examining how parental involvement is vital in the identification and evaluation process.
What’s the role of parents in therapeutic evaluations?
If you or one of your child’s teachers identifies them as potentially benefiting from a therapeutic evaluation of their learning skills—it can be a confusing and even upsetting time for you.
This is totally normal. But you should know—your child’s therapy team is also here to support and uplift you during this process.
Because your child’s therapy doesn’t happen TO you—it happens WITH you.
Also, let’s take the time to reframe therapy as a GOOD thing. Because it is!
If your child needs extra assistance and support, it’s awesome they’ve got people around them who are tuned in, and are working to get them the help they need—rather than letting them slip through the proverbial cracks and risk falling behind their same-aged peers.
We’ll do whatever it takes to demystify the assessment process for you, answer your questions and concerns along the way, and to involve you in the process as a core collaborator.
Because we know how important your involvement is, throughout this process. And we welcome your insight and engagement.
Your child’s educational support team relies on you to provide valuable information about your child’s likes, dislikes, needs, personality, and preferences.
You can offer us vital insight into their personal history, shine a light on any areas of strength and struggle, and provide us with crucial information about what motivates them.
All of this information is the foundation of person-centered therapy. And, the more we can understand your unique child, the better we can create a therapy plan that’s customized just for them.
You can also give us a glimpse into how your child acts at home, and in environments other than school. You can show us how they react to frustrations, and how you address and manage any challenging behaviors at home.
If a thorough educational evaluation is warranted for your child, all this information will be used in conjunction with standardized testing—with the goal of creating a holistic picture of your child as both a student and a person.
If treatment is indicated, we use all of this knowledge to craft a comprehensive, customized therapy plan to target your child’s educational needs and goals.
Before beginning treatment, we’ll take the time to review all the results of our evaluation with you, as well as present our recommendations for moving forward.
This is also a great time for you to ask questions and make sure you feel comfortable and clear about what we’ve presented and what we suggest for your child’s therapy.
We always strive to establish open lines of communication with the families we’re honored to serve—and we encourage you to ask any questions you may have.
After all—it’s completely normal to have questions and concerns. Our goal is to ensure we’re communicating clearly with you, so you understand and are on board with everything we recommend for your child’s personalized intervention plan.
Once your child’s evaluation is complete, and you’ve agreed to begin therapy—you can continue to play an important role in their progress throughout treatment.
Let’s take a look at the hows and whys of your involvement in your child’s therapy.
How parents can collaborate in their child’s therapy process
First of all, it’s important to know—there’s more than one way you can be involved in your child’s therapy.
Studies show therapist collaboration with families can (and should) take many forms. What’s important is that the structure of the collaboration fits your unique needs and situation.
Because no two children are alike—no two therapy plans are exactly the same.
What’s important is keeping open lines of communication with your child’s therapists and learning support team. We all have expertise in different areas, and we’re all an important element of your child’s educational team.
We understand modern parents are under a great deal of stress and may not have infinite time and energy to devote to your involvement in your child’s therapy. And that’s ok!
Whatever involvement you can offer will be positive fuel for your child’s outcomes in therapy.
Remember—you are your child’s first teacher. You spend the most time with them and understand them better than anyone.
Many extensive research studies have shown—parents have a significant impact on their childrens’ outcomes in therapy (this study particularly looked at parental involvement in language interventions).
Now that you know why your involvement is important to your child’s therapy progress and overall outcomes, let’s explore how you can involve yourself in their therapy.
You can support your child throughout their assessment and therapy process by—
Learning strategies to use at home with your child to support their therapy goals
Reporting progress and changes you’re seeing to your child’s therapist(s)
Providing therapists with a clear picture of your child’s personality, home life, routines, and activities
Helping with goal setting and monitoring your child’s progress
Sitting in on your child’s therapy sessions, to see firsthand what they’re working on
Practicing home carryover activities and tasks, to ensure your child’s receiving therapy across their daily environments
Loving and encouraging your child to keep them motivated and participating in therapy
We want you to feel informed and empowered, throughout your child’s time in therapy with us. The Loop team of therapists and learning specialists are always eager to involve parents and caregivers in all aspects of our process.
If you’re feeling unsure about the type of therapy recommended for your child, its purpose, and why we believe it will be beneficial—we’re here to help!
We’ve created several informative articles to help parents understand the goals of the specific types of therapy and learning support services we offer.
If you need more information about what speech and language therapists do—check out our article, all about the work of SLPs!
If you’re wondering what occupational therapists can offer school-aged children—read this piece that explains everything our outstanding OTs can do for you!
Unsure what’s involved in educational consultancy and advocacy? We’ve got you covered! Check out this article, where we do a deep dive into this important service.
Want to know if learning remediation is right for your child? Review our blog post about this vital learning support service.
Is this the first time you’ve heard about executive function coaching, and you need to know if this is a good fit for your child? Learn all about what executive function skills are and why they’re important in this article.
Maybe you’ve got questions about a specific diagnosis and are eager to learn more about an issue that may impact your family’s life.
We believe knowledge is a powerful tool in helping you make the best, most informed decisions for your child and unique family system.
The Loop team are here to offer you support and insight into conditions including—
Because we were founded and are helmed by a speech-language pathologist, The Loop takes special pride in our top quality holistic communication therapy.
We help Chicago-area students and families target important speech and language skills, including—
Social skills (including development of social scripts)
We also work closely with educators, to ensure the therapy and educational support services we provide are effectively implemented across your child’s school day.
And, we’re always available to connect with you directly, to offer you the personalized support you need to make the best decisions for your family.
If you’re uncertain where you fit into your child’s therapy and evaluation team—we’re here to support you and answer any questions you may have.
After all—we want this process to be a positive experience for everyone involved. And, we value you as a core member of your child’s therapy team.
Because we know—when we collaborate, your child will reap the rewards of our partnership.
The Loop is your hub for all things learning! We offer top quality speech, language, and occupational therapy services. And, we’re proud to provide an array of signature educational support services, including—learning remediation, educational consultancy and advocacy, and executive function coaching.
Want to stay in the loop? Catch up with us on social media @theLoopSLL, keep a close eye on our website for our latest free resources and informative blog posts, or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.