By Leslie Lindsay
The holidays are amongst us, and that just may mean a change in your routine. Or, does it?
Sure, while the days are a little shorter, and filled with fun (jam-packed–even) some of you may be thinking of giving your child a holiday break from speech therapy appointments. Don’t.
- Your child with apraxia needs frequent and intense therapy to build and practice his motor planning skills. In fact, the American Speech-language Hearing Association (ASHA) recommends it. “Frequent and intense” equates to variable ideas for parents…but generally, the more severe your child’s apraxia is, the more often and longer you need to shlep your kiddo to and from speech therapy. For example, three 30-minute sessions may be what your child needs, double-check with your SLP to see what is recommended for your child.
- Kids rely on routine. Stick to it. Sure, it’s fun to drink hot cocoa and ride in the car in PJs looking at Christmas lights once a year, but do it after your child has been to speech that day.
- “But I’m so busy/tired.” I know. It’s hard work playing Santa, and completing everything else you need to do this holiday season. But your child depends on you to get him to and from speech therapy. Plan ahead and get things done early if you have to.
- “Grandma and Grandpa are in town. He doesn’t have to go to speech [therapy] then, does he?” Um…yes. Perhaps Nana and Papa can take him to speech. Let them see what he does there, meet the SLP…afterwards, you all can grab a bite for lunch or dinner or open those gifts!
- “Out of school…out of speech [therapy]. He doesn’t need to go to speech over school break, right?” Well, it all depends on how often you go and where you go for speech therapy. Perhaps your child receives therapy at school only. Obviously, if school is closed over the break, then your child won’t be receiving the speech services he typically does while school is in session. However, if you also take your child to private speech therapy, continue to do so. Unless your speech clinic is taking some vacation time, or you have cleared it with them before hand.
- If you do decide to take your child out of speech therapy for the winter break, then be prepared to do a little extra work at home–over the holidays–and once speech therapy starts up again. There may be a loss of skills or words during that break time, which can be frustrating for you both.
- Be sure to keep a list of words/phrases, etc. that become troublesome for your kiddo. Your school and/or SLP will want to know if there is a weak spot they need to target. This is also important if you are thinking about ESY in the summer. School personnel will want to know what length of time is “too long” for your child to be away from speech services, and how quickly skills were lost in order to qualify for ESY.
The bottom line: Keep your child in speech therapy over the holiday break!