Monthly Archives: September 2015

Speech Therapy: The Importance of a Voice

The Importance of a Voice

A person needs a voice to manage their life. With a voice, the person is able to have a productive life and the kind of life they want to live. A voice in which the individual has the ultimate control over, is going to allow the person to control their life. A child who has grown up with disabilities should be well acclimated to the talker and they should be able to completely direct a staff on their routines and needs throughout the day.
As speech-language pathologists and other professionals in the disabilities realm, our main concern should be on the progression of our clients’ communication skills. I become skeptical of the future of a client if I’m not observing progress after seven months of working with them. The sixth month marker tells me if the child is cognitively ‘on time’ or if they are ‘behind’ . By six months of working with the mentee, I am usually able to determine where their abilities are.
If you have a child who is significantly delayed, they may still be able to live independently if the person is able to communicate efficiently. If someone wants to make a life for themselves they must develop communication skills and have the determination to work on them, as well. The person must possess the desire of an independent life, otherwise our efforts of training them with communication skills will not be put to good use. The client must take the initiative to get a communication device which will open a plethora of opportunities for them. Speech-language pathologists and mentors have a challenging time getting a child to accomplish a goal if the mentee simply does not to make the effort.
I like to ask new mentees if they want the help I have been contracted to do with them. If the person says yes, I go over the usual confidential agreement between them and myself. I explain that I will break the confidentiality contract if they tell me that they are going to put themselves in danger.
If they say they don’t want my help, I’m not going to pursue the treatment plan.
My first few sessions with an adolescent are typically getting to know one another and creating the self determination goals and the Framing-A-Future document. Framing-A-Future or FAF is a document that the young individual creates at the junior high age and they will keep updating until their last year of high school. My colleagues and I will then make a plan for mentoring sessions out of these determination documents.
The plan from these two speech therapy programs must be client-directed with the assumption that he or she is literate. Literacy is a big component in the Self Determination program. I have my mentees write out their goals and they must communicate with me through e-mail on a regular basis. If a speech-language pathologist wants to make good use of their time with someone, they may want to create the F.A.F. document with the client, to understand where their head is in regards to their future. Everything I have mentioned in this blog is on the Bridge School website, www.bridgeschool.org, allowing people to see how we implement this program. As a mentor I am going to strongly encourage speech-language pathologists to create Self Determination documents so the two of you will have an understanding that this is a partnership between you. The mentee must understand that they are going to have a big part in this program and if they do not follow through with their part, the program may not succeed. If someone can get access to a communication device that they have full control over, they are going to have a life in which they had a big part in creating!

Until Next Time, Enjoy Your Children