Hello everyone! It’s nice you dropped by once again and warm welcome to the new readers of HeadStart for Life’s Beyond Therapy! We’ve been delighted to share stories and suggestions about our students to all of you. Now, we’d like to give our appreciation to our dearest parents who work hard ensuring that the language and communication learning goes on beyond the sessions.
First of all, we would like to thank the parents for entrusting us with your child’s learning. Likewise, we would also like to show our appreciation on your efforts in teaching and helping your children. A child’s progress isn’t only his/her journey but a journey along with the teachers, therapists and of course, the parents. Thus, it is our pleasure to share some recounts of events we personally witnessed and stories we’ve heard that truly highlight the dedication and love of parents.
There are parents who guide their child’s narrative skills by helping them write the events that have transpired. For those who are not yet at the writing stage, parents captured photographs. They were happy to let the child decorate their journals/notebook with stickers, crayons, paint, etc! As they recall the events, they also guide the child in describing what they see (adjectives), using past verb forms (did, ate, made, etc.) and stating time concepts (yesterday, today, tomorrow, before, after, etc.) Some children are even eager to draw their experiences!
Aside from supporting their academics, we’ve heard parents allotting time to do something fun and bond with their children. Cycling, swimming and playing at the playground are some fun examples! Should they have more time, parents also travel as a family and spend quality time enjoying each other’s company. During these opportunities, they let their child express their wants (e.g. food to order) and comment on their activities (e.g. I am swimming!). Upon returning to sessions, parents are even eager to share stories and show lovely photographs/videos.
We are always delighted to hear parents sharing what books their children enjoy reading or listening to. In addition to guiding their children in their night routines (e.g. brushing teeth, washing up, changing into pajamas), they also spend time enjoying a book together. It’s their chance to be animated and add color to the stories by using rich language such as nouns, verbs and adjectives. Parents with children learning to read have shared how they would take turns in reading lines/dialogues within the book. And at the end of it, they get to share night hugs and kisses too!
Each child has their way of communicating. Some may be very talkative, while others may use gestures and there are those who may use facial expressions to relay what they feel or think. There are also children who may open up through pictures. We’ve experienced preparing a communication booklet with parents wherein we decide on the functional words to print, laminate and include in the booklet. But the biggest role they’ve shown is how to apply it at home. It may not be successful immediately but the parents patiently persevered. This works by letting a child point or hand simple illustrations of basic objects and actions to obtain the actual item/event. For example, he/she hands the picture of a cookie to mom/dad before he/she gets one.
In addition to flourishing academics, parents have recognized their child’s talents by encouraging their art, music and sport skills through enrolling them in some classes. It has been our pleasure to watch the performance or videos of our children acting or dancing. A parent once invited us to the child’s choir concert! It’s heart-warming to see a child’s delight upon feeling the love and pride of his/her parents. This encourages bonding communication such as nonverbal behaviours of smiling, hugging along with words of appreciation “Good work!”, “We’re so happy!”, “You worked so well!”
Sometimes, we organize home visits to see how our students generalize the skills from sessions. It’s encouraging to see how parents would make necessary changes at home such as allotting a study corner, segregating toys and integrating playtime. Some examples on how communication flourishes at home include requesting for assistance in reaching something, asking for food, expressing toilet needs and taking turns in a game.
As some children may find it easier to go about home routines with visuals, we’ve visited homes with printed/drawn routine/day schedule. For example, a board is mounted on the wall indicating the time and activity to be accomplished. Some families would even include their child in creating the visual home schedule as seen by the cute doodles and stickers plastered! Aside from creating a structure, this helps the family in creating organization and planning.
These are just some of the many stories and events we could remember. Parents have shown more loving and supportive ways on continuously developing their child’s communication. As we advocate for our parents to join our speech therapy sessions to teach them on how to continue the skill/s at home, we also learn a lot from parents. We are educated and inspired from the stories they share and the pictures/videos they show. Here’s our big applause and warm smiles to our dearest parents. We look forward to working together in helping a child’s communication skills. If you have other stories to share, we’d be grateful to receive them!