Tips for explaining phonological therapy to parents and teachers

Have you ever tried to explain the type of phonological intervention that you will be doing to a parent, teacher, or in an IEP meeting, and you just know that no one understands you?

Terms like ‘minimal pairs’, ‘contrast’, ‘cycles’, and ‘phonology’ are hard to understand, and the last thing you want to do is overwhelm and confuse parents, but gosh, our speech terms are tricky.

Here are some quick tips for explaining your phonology therapy to parents and teachers:

Demonstrate the therapy, and talk through what you will be doing and why. “Every time there is a word with the ‘g’ sound in it, Jackson replaces it with the ‘d’ sound. You might have heard him say “I dot” when he means to say “I got”? In speech therapy, I am going to be showing Jackson cards with word pairs like this. I have go-dough, gate-date, and guy-dye (show parent the cards). We will teach Jackson that he needs to use his ‘g’ sound in words; otherwise, it doesn’t make sense and sounds like the ‘d’ word.  

Use your phone to film part of the teachable moments in therapy to show and discuss with parents. I obtain written and verbal consent to film in my sessions because it can really help to highlight something important such as how to give feedback, explain what I want the child to do, or show that their child is getting it! Even if my parents are in the session, I’ll ask them, “can I take a quick video so that you can do this at home?”  

Keep explaining the therapy elements instead of ‘doing therapy’. Do you know how with early intervention, we teach parents to self-talk what they are doing? You might like to adapt it for your phonological intervention sessions too. You can say things like, “Okay Dad; we’re going to practice those word pairs now so that Lila can practice making them sound different” or “Alright Grandma, I’m going to ask Leroy to listen to the following words before we practice saying them”.

Provide follow-up information for parents to read. You might DO an excellent job explaining cycles therapy or multiple oppositions… but we both know it’s still hard to understand! Providing written information like these one-page handouts (linked below) can help to consolidate your verbal discussion. We want parents to feel confident in us, and that is hard when they don’t understand what we are doing and why. 

IN THE SHOP

If you need supplemental handouts to help explain your speech therapy intervention, look at Phonology Interventions: Handouts for Parents & Teachers in the Adventures in Speech Pathology store.

Download these Handouts now.

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Hi, I'm Rebecca.
I encourage SLPs to feel more confident treating speech sound disorders, and make faster progress with their students.

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