My Mantras as an Early Interventionist

A little while ago I wrote a post about the parent-therapist relationship called ‘I Don’t Like My Child’s Speech Therapist‘ which focused on what parents can do on their end to improve the working relationship with their child’s therapist.

Around the same time, I was asked by Heidi at Pediastaff to do a guest post for their website which is dedicated to speech therapists and occupational therapists. Right away it was clear to me that this guest post would be my opportunity to discuss the other side of the issue. It would be a chance to think through what therapists can do to improve their working relationship with families and daycare providers. It would be a chance to examine my own practice and clinical values.

After a great deal of reflection, here’s what I came up with (and even though it’s geared towards therapists, I’d love to hear what parents think about what I wrote)….

As early interventionists we know all about providing family-centered services. We know that having a child’s family involved and contributing to his treatment plan makes for better outcomes. We know that real changes in the environment, however minor, are real to that child’s trajectory of development and that these are the years to make those changes. We know that we are the ones in the trenches with hands out in comfort as families grieve and hands raised in cheer as they celebrate. We know what our job is, but do we reflect that in our actions everyday?

I know that we don’t have caseloads full of the ready and willing parents, teachers, and daycare providers. It’s real life and we can get hopeless, agitated, and in a rut.

I know, all too well, how easy it can be to ignore the difficult parent and focus in on my target (the child) to get what I need to get done (speech therapy), rather than ask the tough questions of that mother to find out what’s on her heart. I also know too many times I’ve pulled a child into another room to do my session because the daycare providers made it difficult to work in the room with their cleaning and conversations. I know how I can get annoyed with all of the people surrounding a child who aren’t doing what they need to do, according to me. Read more…

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