Parenting role for child with extra needs
As a parent, you have stepped into a role that is like no other. You have significant influence on the developmental path that your child takes. This can be a daunting task for anyone, particularly if you have been told that your child has extra needs to be considered in order to help them thrive. This could be:
- hearing impairment
- communication delay, or
- diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders (ASD)
Being in this role, it can be easy to forget how you already contribute in so many ways to your child’s learning through regular family activities.
Family activities that encourage learning
In the world of intervention, we recognise family activities as ‘naturalistic learning opportunities’. This means using what you, as a family do, as THE activity for you to use strategies to influence your child’s ability to learn new skills.
This, along with being ‘family centred’ and ‘collaborating’ (having a close working relationship between the therapist and family), has been identified in research as principles for achieving outcomes in intervention.
Simply put, these principles acknowledge that your presence in your child’s everyday moments matter! We cannot do this without you.
Within your family, you are present in naturally occurring activities that encourage learning, like:
- bath times
- meal times
- getting into the car, and
- visiting friends and family members
Growing your child’s skill
All these activities are opportunities for your child to grow in multiple skills at one time. This could include:
- social skills
- communication skills
- physical skills
- problem solving skills and more.
Regularly repeating these activities helps them to strengthen the skills they are learning.
During bath time Adam has learnt how to put his arms up to help in getting his shirt on. He now also understands the instructions you give him like, ‘get your towel’ and will communicate with you that he wants more bubbles in the bath by pointing to the bubbles and saying ‘mmmm’ (which to him means ‘more’). In future bath times, Adam may learn how to pull his shirt over his head or even say the full word ‘more’!
This highlights the progression of learning that is possible within a daily routine. Here, Adam is learning and can learn, to effectively participate in an activity that is meaningful in his life.
Spokle believes in the importance of the shared moments between you and your child – these are powerful tools for your child’s learning! With this in mind, we have crafted our program to involve activities that typically occur within the daily lives of families. These activities also introduce specific strategies you can use to support your child’s communication development.
TIPS to support your child’s development through daily activities
Spend some time today reflecting on how you are supporting your child’s development through daily activities. Here are some helpful tips on how to do this.
Choose a daily activity
Choose a daily activity that you participate in with your child. This is a great opportunity to intentionally focus on how you contribute to your child’s learning.
Notice how your child takes part in that activity (“Stop-Look-Listen”). These are all the skills your child is learning and growing in.
Consider what you do to ‘Acknowledge’ your child’s participation in this activity. How does this helps them take a step to developing a certain skill? These are the strategies that you are using.