This is the process of making treatment decisions that integrate the most reputable research, the professional expertise of the clinician, and the specific characteristics that make each child different and special. We use four main principles that guide our relationship-based model.
1. Focusing on the family dynamic- We utilize the family beliefs and values to help strengthen and enhance the child’s growth because the child’s family is what will provide the constant framework throughout their development.
2. Developmental appropriateness- We meet the child where they are currently functioning and provide a natural environment with real and authentic learning opportunities and experiences. We believe this provides the foundation for successful and meaningful communication.
3. Collaboration- We are only one element in your family’s life and enjoy collaboration with your child’s team (e.g. family, school, and other providers) to better provide a comprehensive and coordinated treatment. This results in better outcomes.
4. Evidence based treatment- Utilizing treatments that are supported by the most recent research available while considering our professional judgment and expertise.
An example of a technique we utilize frequently is a relationship-based therapy of which there are now many different models and forms. All are dynamic and all center on how to achieve therapy goals while increasing trust and social skills with your child. This involves integrating learning opportunities within a natural environment. We begin by following the child’s lead and naturally creating opportunities that correspond to your child’s goals. We respond to the child’s body language, gestures, and cues to help us respond, recognize and interpret how they are feeling and what they are thinking. We implement playful interactions and set up opportunities for children to initiate and express themselves. This may be done with movement, or building something together, or playing a game. A relationship model extends to working with families and each other.
Examples of nuances that are inherent in this model include being mindful of our output, making sure we don’t flood the children with too much information and remaining balance between the child and the clinician. Many think of a speech therapist as the one who talks to help others talk. While it may sound counter intuitive, often less talking and more responding, supporting and creating opportunities to encourage the child to communicate is more beneficial. These principles help to generalize skills outside of the clinic and encourage the children to develop typical interactions and communication while they stay motivated. This is one example. Depending on the goal areas for your child (e.g., articulation, language, stuttering, social communication), the techniques may be different.