Working with bilingual parents is an absolute joy. They bring a unique perspective and enrich the therapy process in so many ways. However, one of the biggest hurdles I’ve faced over the years, as a speech therapist, is the lack of information available for parents, especially in Spanish. This often leads to meetings that feel rushed (I mean they all do lately…) and leave parents feeling overwhelmed and confused. In an effort to bridge this gap and facilitate understanding, I have created a packet of handouts that explain the complexities of bilingual speech therapy.
Advantages of Handouts
1. Parent Review
One of the biggest advantages of these handouts is that parents can take them home and review them at their own pace. This allows them to absorb the information gradually and revisit it whenever they need or want to. This handout set is not intended to be sent home all at once. Instead of bombarding parents with all the information in one go, we can carefully select the pages most relevant to each meeting and give those pieces to parents. For example, suppose a family is struggling to understand the referral process, language dominance, and their child’s expressive language delay. In that case, we can provide them with the specific pages that address these concerns.
2. Addressing Feelings of Guilt
It is not uncommon for parents to blame themselves when their child experiences speech impairments. As SLPs, we need to address these feelings head-on and provide reassurance that it is not anyone’s fault. In one of the handouts, I have specifically addressed the causes of speech impairments and the associated feelings of guilt that parents may experience. By acknowledging and addressing these emotions, we can create a supportive environment that promotes understanding and healing.
3. Use Parent-Friendly Terminology
Speech therapy jargon can be overwhelming and difficult to understand, especially for individuals without a background in the field. To ensure that the handouts are accessible to all parents, I have used parent-friendly terms to describe the various aspects of speech therapy. By doing so, we can help alleviate some of the confusion and anxiety that parents may feel when discussing their child’s communication difficulties.
The following topics are included in my bilingual speech therapy handouts
- What is school-based speech therapy?
- Speech therapy/Language Therapy
- The Referral Process
- The Eligibility Process
- Speech and Language Evaluation
- Bilingual Language Evaluation
- Determining language dominance
- Causes of speech impairment & parent guilt
- Speech Sound Disorders
- Oral Language Comprehension
- Oral Expression
- Social Language
The Three Versions
To cater to the diverse needs of bilingual families, I have created three versions of the handouts – a Spanish-only PDF, an English-only PDF, and a bilingual PDF. The bilingual version is designed for quick back-to-back printing, with each page alternating between Spanish and English. This makes it convenient for both the SLP and the parent to navigate through the information seamlessly.
Bilingual speech therapy is a complex field and it is our responsibility as speech therapists to ensure that parents have access to the information they need to support their child’s development. By using these handouts in their preferred language, we can empower parents to actively participate in their child’s therapy process. Let us embrace the power of effective communication and bring peace to parents, students, and ourselves!
Read more about it in this other blog post: Bilingual Speech Therapy Handouts