I have been told, more often than not, that I am the child’s favorite therapist. I am not going to lie that I love the compliment, but I am shocked at how often I hear this.
Am I the most knowledgeable therapist? Probably not, I am still ‘fresh’ as it as, with only 5 years of experience as a licensed SLP. I hope to continue to learn and expand my knowledge.
Am I the most creative? I love creating silly games, but I am no artist.
Then, what is it?
It all comes down to ATTITUDE!
When I work with the kids on my caseload, I have developed certain beliefs that make our sessions not only fun, but incredibly educational.
1. I believe that the child is doing the best he or she can in that moment.
Even if the child is pouting and crossing their arms. Even if the child is throwing their toys around the room. I believe that the child is serving a purpose to help himself. Maybe he feels anxious from having someone watch him. Or maybe the child feels dumb and does not want to practice saying a target word. He is not being bad; he is just learning.
2. I believe that if the session did not go well, it was ME and not the child.
The old ‘it’s me not you’ saying is actually true in this scenario. If a child threw their toys everywhere, I must not have set the environment up right. Children respond better to consistency, less distractions, educating at a level that is ‘just right’, and lots of flexibility.
3. I believe that the child WILL learn everything I want him to learn.
No ands, ifs, or buts. I believe that with persistence, support, flexibility, and encouragement, the child will succeed at any goal we have. Maybe it won’t be today; that is fine. But children (or people in general) can ALWAYS learn, and it does not help us to put restrictions on what we think they can learn.
4. I believe that saying “it’s ok” is the most powerful thing you can ever say.
If the child get’s the answer wrong. It’s ok. If the child doesn’t want to do something right now, you can say, “It’s ok that you feel this way”. Depending on your schedule or rules, you may not be able to comply with their request. Always validate their feelings. Perhaps discuss other solutions for next time, so that you can both have more fun!