4 Things SLPs Should Never Say!

We talk a lot, but there are some things that SLPs should never say! I’m joining The Frenzied SLPs in this linky to offer some advice!
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When receiving an initial diagnosis on their speech/language delayed child, parents are very naturally concerned and want to have a picture of what is involved. Frequently, they will ask questions to find out what their child is capable of achieving and how long it will take.
Tip 1: When asked to make prognostic predictions, don’t use any definitive statements that include words like never, must, will be able, or won’t be able.

Our field is full of professional jargon that we went to school for many years to be able to understand and use. In the school environment, however, most of our communication is with parents and educators who don’t have this background knowledge.
Tip 2: Don’t use specialized terms in meetings with educators and parents if they won’t understand them!

When you are discussing test results with parents of older students who are severely disordered and have been in therapy for a while, there is no need slam home how disordered their child is.  By this point in time, parents have come to realize the size of the problem on their own, to whatever extent they are capable of facing it at the time.  If their viewpoint seems somewhat unrealistic to you, remember it is our job to present the student’s current skills as we see it, not to convince parents of their ‘erroneous’ viewpoint. Perhaps this hopeful attitude or the unrealistic expectations are what is enabling the parents to get up every day and keep trying!

Tip 3: Don’t use age level scores when reporting test results for older, severely impaired students. These students are not really functioning just like a child 5-10 years younger, anyway, so the score is meaningless.

It is all too easy to start to compare what a student is like in a structured academic day with professional staff to the stories the parent shares of daily life, to the parents’ detriment. It is not easy to raise any child, with special needs just complicating it more. Also, it isn’t possible to structure home environments  like a planned school day. Even if parents had the training, the environment is different, the students are tired at the end of the day and probably not at their best,  there usually aren’t enough hands to go around and there is too much to get done at the end of a school day.
Tip 4: Don’t use the word ‘should’ when offering suggestions to parents about how to help their child achieve greater skill or carryover in their speech/language goals. This also implies that parents don’t know what they are doing, or that they are doing it incorrectly.

Do my ideas have you intrigued? Annoyed?  In two weeks, I will be sharing some tips for what to say instead in each of these situations. For more ideas, be sure to link back to The Frenzied SLPs!  Thanks to Doyle Speech Works, Sparklle SLPand All Y'all Need for hosting this month! What do you think that SLPs should never say?


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