August 12th, 2020

// Vancouver Speech Therapy Introduces Parent Coaching Services to Support Children with Autism

Vancouver Speech Therapy Introduces Parent Coaching Services to Support Children with Autism

VANCOUVER, BC, Aug. 12, 2020 /CNW/ - Navigating an autism diagnosis can be challenging. It comes with various emotions for the family involved.  These can be sadness, disappointment, fear, confusion and desperation. Vancouver Speech Therapy recognizes these challenges and has introduced personalized parent coaching services to support families who have children with Autism in remote or local settings. Evidence has shown parental involvement is heavily encouraged and recommended, in order for a child to reach their optimal language capacity.  

When seeking speech therapy in Vancouver, and seeing a speech pathologist, a very recommended and evidence-based approach is for parents to be coached. They can be coached on how to continue and carry therapeutic intervention into a natural home setting, the grocery store or even a doctors office. Not only can they be coached on continuing intervention, but they can also be coached on how to encourage and increase usage of Augmentative and Alternative Communication technology (AAC).

When parents are coached on AAC, research showed that the language acquisition of non-verbal or low frequency performers increases. The objective of using AAC is to have children on the spectrum become increasingly verbal and have a means to communicate with others. This can be done through use of the Picture Exchange System, (PECS), Communication Boards or apps on digital platforms such as iPads and Tablets. Verbal children learn to speak through the exposure of verbal language that constantly surrounds them. Similarly. children who use AAC should be exposed to AAC as much as possible to learn how to use it themselves. Parental involvement out of the therapist's office with these apparatuses is key to seeing effectiveness in any intervention, studies show. Parents can be coached in person or online, by a speech therapist on how to effectively implement strategies aimed at encouraging AAC use.

Many parents who may at first be shy to assume the role of interventionist outside of the therapist's office will be guided on how to interact with their child for therapy purposes. At Vancouver Speech Therapy, they will be taught on the strategies that can be subtly used to encourage communication between themselves and their non-verbal child. Simple strategies such as keeping preferred foods out of reach deliberately to prompt their child to request these items has been shown to be an evidence-based approach to increase greater communication. If the child cannot verbally request the object, they may be able to point to a picture of the item on their device. 

AAC has been used to help many non-verbal children begin communicating with their family and others who may come into contact with them on a regular basis. It by itself is an evidence-based approach used by many language and speech pathologists to facilitate better social communication development. Parent coaching ensures that the child receives enough reinforcement and opportunity to practice what is being taught in order to achieve a target.

When choosing an AAC platform, consult the child's speech and language pathologist who can assess the child to give accurate advice.

Vancouver Speech Therapy believes in the core board as a good low-tech starter device. Unlike PECS children can initiate many other communicative functions, more than just requesting. With the core board, children can work on labelling, commenting, answering and asking questions very early in their AAC journey. Children typically have a lot more to say than just requesting for what they want. The core board is a great starter approach that easily transitions to using an app on an iPad for more efficient communication. 

Parent coaching may seem daunting at first, especially for those who have never had any experience in a teaching role. The therapist is on your side and willing to guide families through this process. This will benefit a child immensely in the long run. 

Vancouver Speech Therapy specializes in these parents coaching services and are a great choice for families all across BC as they introduce tele-therapy for families in remote settings. 

Happy coaching!

SOURCE Vancouver Speech Therapy


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