When you hear “Speech Pathologist”, you don’t necessarily think of a counselor, but in fact, we do more counseling than one would think!
I remember the day in graduate school when my professor made the announcement that we would be discussing “counseling” for the day. My first thought was “I didn’t sign up to be a school psychologist?” By the end of the lecture, I understood just how important this role is in our industry.
Not having any children of my own at the time, my professor stressed the importance of language development in a child. How expectations for a child could be taken away so quickly. A mother or father’s dreams for their child, their hopes and thoughts of their future could potentially be changed with a diagnosis of a language impairment or other language disorder.
This leads back to our role in counseling. It is our job to not only be empathetic, but also to help parents better understand what their child needs. When a child receives a diagnosis, I often give parents or caregivers a lot of resources so that they can get accurate information. I often encourage them to stay away from the internet as there is a lot of false and negative information that could be harmful. I like to dedicate a session, or at least part of a session, allowing the parents or caregivers to ask questions and to voice their concerns. I also like to plot my course of action for therapy. This hopefully allows them to feel more in control and fully understand the steps ahead.
I often have to remind parents that progress may be slow and speech therapy is not always a “quick fix.” I stress the importance of generalization and give them things they can do at home to help speed progress in therapy and to make them feel a part of the team.
If you are a Speech Pathologist, make sure you are doing everything you can to counsel the parents during this process and to be their guide when needed. If you are a parent, make sure to refer to your Speech Pathologist with all of your concerns and questions. The more you know, the better you can help your child progress while making sure they are receiving all of the assistance they need and deserve!Q