At Well Said Clinic, we believe the following attributes are worth considering when looking for a Speech pathologist to meet your child’s needs.
- They are compassionate
A good speech pathologist really cares for their clients. They see a child as special and unique, not just another name on a long list of names. They spend time developing strategies and activities that engage and motivate the child.
A good speech pathologist sees the child’s family as team members who help and play a vital role in the process, not just someone who brings a child to each session and pays the bill. They will listen to you to find out what you think works and what doesn’t.
They won’t tell you how it is to be… ‘You need to come every week’, ‘You need to come three times a week’, ‘You need to increase to 1 hour sessions.’ They will try to be as flexible as possible to find an appointment time and frequency that works for you.
- They are adaptable
A good speech pathologist is able to adapt quickly. If an activity isn’t working they will tweak it to better suit your child. Of course it takes time initially for the therapist to work out how hard or far your child can be ‘pushed’, and when they need to stop and take a step back. Some children need a gentle, nurturing style to help them bring out their best, whereas others need a bit more ‘tough love’ if you will.
Some confident children like trying more difficult things, whereas others are very hesitant to try something they don’t think they will succeed at. A good speech pathologist will engage your child and be mindful of his/her personality and needs. They will adapt and make changes quickly to ensure that your child is working at the right level in order to make progress.
- They collaborate
A speech pathologist may be an ‘expert’ when it comes to communication development and disorders, but parents are the experts when it comes to the children. A good speech pathologist knows this and therefore views your relationship as a partnership.
They will share their knowledge and experience with you, and ask you about your thoughts and concerns to ensure that you’re both on the same page. They will also be happy to work with teachers or other health professionals currently involved, to best support your child.
They will have you present in sessions. They’ll give you ‘homework’ to help your child transfer what they have achieved in the therapy session into a more natural/realistic environment.
- They keep learning
Speech pathology is a field that is constantly changing. It is crucial that speech pathologists are actively involved in ongoing learning or professional development which may support or challenge current practices and treatment approaches, as well as introduce new ideas and concepts. Speech Pathology Australia have a program where they monitor members’ professional development each year.
Speech pathologists who meet the yearly requirements by attending approved conferences, workshops, seminars or completed online courses etc, are then permitted to use the initials CPSP (Certified Practising Speech Pathologist).
Other factors that contribute to making a ‘great’ speech pathologist include:
- being patient and kind, as well as firm;
- having excellent communication skills;
- persevering when things are not going as expected;
- advocating for their clients when barriers arise;
Above all, they must love and be passionate about their job and working with children!