Speech Therapy for Toddlers and Children
Working as an SLP with toddlers and young children can be extremely rewarding. There is a vast amount of research that shows that the earlier toddlers and young children receive therapeutic SLP interventions, the better they progress long-term.
SPEECH THERAPY QUESTIONS FOR SLPS WHO WANT TO WORK WITH TODDLERS AND CHILDREN
What are the best settings to work with toddler and children as an SLP?
We recommend doing a simple Google search for terms like “state name early intervention” as these types of programs may vary state-by-state. In addition, the home setting is often an ideal location to work with this population as children sometimes feel afraid if their primary caregiver is not around. It’s ideal if you can also involve caregivers in the process as it will help children feel comfortable and ready to learn.
What exactly does an SLP do with an infant/toddler?
As the infant mortality rate consistently decreases, the need for support and therapeutic interventions continues to grow. In very young toddlers, you can also look at other bodily functions, movement, breathing, feeding and how they interact with staff to get an idea of how to proceed with speech therapy. These types of assessments give valuable information on how the infant is doing and where the optimum support should take place for improvement, growth and development.
What are your favorite activities/toys when working with the toddlers and small children?
For infants, the use of rattles and other toys with sound help them with tracking. In addition, you can use plastic rings that they can grab and bring to their mouths. When you are working on feeding, use a variety of bottles, spoons and cups and incorporate fun games such as stacking blocks and even blowing bubbles. Anything that is enticing and encourages them to communicate and pay attention will work for this population. For the 2.5 – 3-year-old, try crayons, playdoh, books, balls and basic turn-taking games.
What other types of therapists or professionals work with this population?
Typically, a broad approach to helping children and toddlers with speech language communication issues is put in place to truly assess this vulnerable population. You may find yourself working with occupational therapists, physical therapists, dietitians, vision therapists, teachers of the deaf and hard-of-hearing, special education teachers, developmental therapists and nurses.
How do you get caregivers more involved with providing therapy in the home?
There is no better way to expand the progress of children and toddlers with speech communication problems than to involve caregivers. Discuss developmental tactics with them and make sure that they feel involved in the process. Creating a relationship where they feel empowered is key. Lastly, assign reasonable, small tasks for them to work on throughout the week that are built into daily activities. For example, singing the same song or playing a social game during bath time.
To put your SLP skills to work in a variety of settings, join the team at Club Staffing. As one of the nation’s largest employers of speech language pathologists, we can help you find the ideal job to help children of all ages. Whether you prefer pediatric, school aged children, or home health environments, our recruiters will help you find the perfect match for your skills, lifestyle and career goals.