Parent coaching is undoubtedly the most crucial component of auditory verbal therapy. It is key for successful listening and spoken language outcomes. But how do you, as the teacher or therapist, help in facilitating carryover of goals and strategies?
First and foremost, approach the session with the mindset of preparing the parent for the other 167 hours in the week. As outlined in this post, helping the parent/ caregiver identify ways to work on the goals before they even leave the session gives them confidence In their ideas as well as accountability. Utilizing a parent note sheet can help relieve the parent's burden of trying to remember everything that was talked about in the session. It gives the parent a tangible reminder of what goals and activities they can do at home.
Especially in the weeks and months leading up to and following the diagnoses, parents of children with hearing loss are soaking up so much new information from many different professionals that are working with the child. A parent note sheet might not be all that's needed to them learn how to facilitate speech, language, and listening at home. Start by teaching small, tangible pieces of information. Each week, you could teach one strategy, such as the sabotage. Providing information in another format (other than verbally) is another way to ensure understanding. You could send the parent a video clip of part of the session or link to a helpful website, or provide a handout for them to read later. An added benefit of supplementing your in-session coaching is that the parent can more easily share the information with other family members who did not attend the therapy session.
For a child with a new hearing aid or cochlear implant that is resistant to wearing it, you might need to spend time simply counseling the parent on how to increase use of the technology. The Med-El blog and the National Deaf Children's Society give some great ideas to share with parents. This printable sticker chart might also be helpful to provide. You could even ask the child to bring their sticker chart to sessions and provide a reward for sufficient wear of the device.
Another way to ensure that parents have easy and simple ways to target goal areas is to provide them with an activity. Ask them what toys the child is currently into, and help identify a goal to practice with that specific toy. You could also lend a therapy toy (if you feel comfortable) or make an extra copy of an activity that you used in the session so the child can go home and “teach” another family member the same activity.
For example, this coloring page helps the parent remember what the Ling 6 sounds are and to practice them. It also provides a simple coloring activity that can be used at home with little to no materials or prep. You could make your own or (if you're an email subscriber) use this one!
There are also tons of great websites and digital activities that you can share with families. Rather than giving the name of a site or the link during the session, email or text the information the day after the session to serve as a reminder. If digital activities are appropriate for the child, assign Boom Cards! With just a couple of mouse clicks, you’ve assigned an engaging activity the parent can do with their child at home or on the go using their computer, tablet, or phone. This activity helps practice play audiometry to prepare them for their next hearing test.
This activity can be used to practice detection and imitation of early sound/object associations that are often targeted with young children with hearing loss.
Going digital with practice of the Ling 6 sounds can also be helpful for on-the-go families. This FREE activity helps parents, therapists, and teachers work on detection of the Ling Six sounds from any device. Its interactive activities keep kids actively engaged, too!
An experience book is a great way to facilitate language around real, meaningful events for the child and family. This Google Slides experience book can be digitally shared with family and other professionals for quick and seamless updating. It can then be used at school or in speech therapy to build the child's language around those happenings.
There are endless ways that teachers and therapists can support parents in generalizing goals at home. Of course not all parents will require the same amount of support, and some methods may work better than others for different parents. But empowering the parent to be an active participant in and outside of the session is a top priority in auditory-verbal therapy.