The Role Of Patience In Speech Therapy

Jack1Realizing your child has a developmental issue that may require speech therapy can be a difficult experience. Just my presence on the scene means a family is no longer alone and that a professional has arrived to help. I often feel the concerns which led to the call for help as I walk in the door

One of the first questions I’m asked is the length of time it will take till everything is ok.  As a therapist my role is to assure those concerned I am clinically competent with respect to their child’s issue and that over time things will improve – the key phrase is “over time”.

The dictionary defines patience as:

“The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.”

When discussing speech therapy programs with families, I liked discussing not getting frustrated, or discouraged by the events of the present. The acquisition of speech and language is a an evolving process. It entails both the formation of cognitive, neurological, and  physiological processes. For a word to be said, all the above processes (which by the way are invisible) have to act and coordinate in a manner they may have never done before. Given this multifaceted nature of speech, one of the most important elements for its acquisition s patience.

The Good News – Speech Therapy Works

The good news is things no matter how dire the current moment, things almost always improve.  How do I know that?  It’s lesson the people I’ve helped over the years have taught me. It’s something a two year with a developmental language delay who at three could say at best five words and today speaks volumes.  The child classified within the autism spectrum, who six months later is off the spectrum. The little girl with Cerebral Palsy mastery over sign language. It’s the success stories of these individuals and the many many others who have collectively taught me the role of patience.

Not every case is cut and dry and as a therapist I offered a forecast for how things may turn out, but I didn’t always know exact moment when the tide would turn.

So does patience automatically appear when told your child has a language or speech delay? No… simply knowing its importance may not make the process any easier. It’s reasonable to want solutions to come about quicker. The attribute of patience is having the vision to understand and see the accomplishments your child makes over the course of their speech therapy program. It’s pushing aside the worry of the moment in favor of a developing confidence that things will be better than what’s happening in a particular moment. The ability to appreciate and see the little steps a child takes toward a therapy goal.

Patience is an attribute that comes to being over time. It’s a bedrock of the therapy process.

 

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