Being a teenager is tough enough with kids trying desperately to fit in and get accepted by their peers. Throw in a speech problem and it only makes life all the more difficult. The feeling of embarrassment over having to go to speech therapy can impact some teenagers’ overall self-esteem. As a parent, you can do what you can to support your teenager as they go through speech therapy.
Working with your speech-language therapist (SLP) can help you as the parent to better understand how you can supplement the lessons at home. A great start would be to take away your child’s nervousness and the stigma of adults going to speech therapy by signing them up for online speech therapy classes that they can take from the safe environment of their home.
Here are several other ways you can support your teenager as they go through speech therapy.
Practice Language Skills by Having Conversations at Home
The first way to support your teenager as they go through speech therapy is engage in any kind of conversation. Encourage them to talk about their day’s activities over dinner. Put away your cell phone, turn off the TV, and give them your complete attention. Ask questions and avoid the urge to tell your child what to do. Or try to be overprotective by reacting to the challenges they face. Just listen and be there.
Car rides to and from school or activities are other good times to have conversations. Talk about current events and discuss sports, politics, or any topic that interests your child. It’s the perfect way to develop a bigger vocabulary, improved pronunciation, and create a better understanding of word usage.
Find the Time to Help with Schoolwork
Teenagers dealing with speech and language issues often struggle with academics and fall behind in class. They may have trouble making sense of what is being taught in class and don’t understand the teacher’s instructions. Incorrect homework assignments and falling grades are only a few of the signs that your child has trouble with language skills.
Find the time to help with lessons at home by reading the material with them, preferably before it is taught in class. Go over assignments and discuss the instructions in detail before your child starts working on them. This will allow you to help your tennager as they go through speech therapy.
Study with your teen, and you’ll definitely learn some new things too. Homework can become fun if you’re quizzing each other, working as a team or indulging in some friendly competition. There are apps and tools to support your joint studies–see whether parent or child can achieve the best score on an AP world history practice test.
Understand the Reasons for Speech Issues
Speech issues like stuttering are a huge challenge for many kids, and it is not unusual for teens to get teased in school. Educate yourself about what causes stuttering and get your child checked for possible brain abnormalities that may cause the condition. You will be better equipped to get the right treatment. Often, genetics or environmental factors could also be the causes.
Like, for instance, significant life changes like moving to an unfamiliar place, a new school, parents divorcing or separating, a new sibling, or the death of a close family member. Encourage your child to talk about their fears, insecurities, and feelings. Consult an experienced SLP and explore the treatment options. Chances are that counseling helps in correcting the problem.
For some kids, speech therapy needs to be combined with other treatments. This could include medical or behavioral healthcare. Cognitive behavioral therapy and speech therapy can be a powerful combination, and both types of therapists will know how to support each other’s efforts.
By understanding the cause of speech issues it is going to better allow you to help your teenager as they go through speech therapy.
Follow the Speech Therapist’s Recommendations
Keep in mind that speech therapy is a partnership with parents and therapists working together to resolve issues. Follow directions like allowing the child to do the therapy activities at their pace and balance them with academics. Teach responsibility by letting the child show up for the therapy sessions on schedule without being asked. Break up goals into smaller achievable components, and celebrate every milestone. You could even try small gifts like pizza from their favorite takeout or ice cream.
Teenagers are painfully conscious of the speech and language issues they go through, and they need all the help and support you can offer. Reaching out and getting through to a sullen teen is tough, but as all parents know, it is critical to keep working on them. Even if they don’t show their appreciation now, your teen feels the love that you offer.
Following the recommendations from your speech therapist is they best way to support your teenager as they go through speech therpay.
For other information regarding teenagers health see the following articles.