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  • Writer's pictureL Shaw

A Balanced Approach

Balanced Speech Therapy takes a balanced approach to speech, but what exactly does that mean?

Many individuals thrive when they strike a balance in life. Professional life/personal life, school time/play time, healthy foods/sweets. Balance is something we are all striving for.

When it comes to our approach to therapy, we are looking for:

· Naturalistic opportunities to practice our skills, rather than drill based

· “Homework” that doesn’t feel like work

· Understanding what is important to the client/family

· A balance between making progress and living life

Time and time again, the research tells us that FUNCTIONAL therapy is best. Rather than practicing using a menu from a hospital bed, let’s go down to the cafeteria and practice ordering there! Or, better yet, let’s go to a restaurant and practice! Instead of drilling a child to make their speech sound, read a book that incorporates their sound frequently, or use some toys that have their sound in the name to play! Balanced Speech Therapy strives to incorporate real-world scenarios into our therapy to help our clients meet their goals, as opposed to boring, drill based sessions.

Most of a person’s life is lived outside the therapy room. 45 minutes a week of speech therapy with a speech pathologist can help a person meet their goals. Yet, adding in homework and opportunities to practice during the other 10,035 minutes in a week will help someone meet their goals even faster! In the same way that speech sessions should be naturalistic, so should homework. Sitting at a table and practicing your /r/ sound 100x is not fun! By making homework fun and functional, we can meet goals and encourage carry over to real life situations.

Speech pathologists are trained experts in their field. They are not, however, experts on their clients and their families. This is where the speech therapy process really gets collaborative. What is important to the client? What is important to their family? How can the speech pathologist help them meet their goals? A balance between the SLPs knowledge and the client’s values and goals is key to making progress. This balance represents an important pillar of our philosophy.

For some conditions, intensive therapy 5 times a week for 3 hours a day can really help a client make quick progress. But for other conditions, 45 minutes twice a week works just as well. The difference is that the person receiving 15 hours of therapy a week is losing a significant amount of time that could be spent doing other equally functional activities. If we factor in the idea that the client’s family is also providing opportunities to practice the therapy goals informally, that’s A LOT of time! By implementing speech goals into everyday activities, a client can still target their goals while living their life. When a parent chooses going to the lake over sitting down and drilling sounds, they are letting their child practice their sounds in a fun environment. This balance between life and speech decreases the likelihood that speech will become overwhelming for a client.

We are all searching for balance in life. At Balanced Speech Therapy, we believe a functional approach that recognizes and values a client’s day to day life outside of the speech room only increases successful outcomes while making therapy enjoyable.

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