The Importance of Finding the Right Support for Your Child's Development

Part 2: speech therapist


For a parent, there is nothing more important than making sure that all of your child’s needs are met in the very best way possible.   This includes making sure that you have the right support in place, but more importantly choosing the right professional for your child


As soon as my son was diagnosed with hypermobility and hypotonia (low muscle tone), we were advised by his paediatrician to consult a paediatric physiotherapist.  This was the most obvious course of action at the time – our concerns were that he was delayed in sitting up independently, was not able to crawl and was not walking.   


Whilst his physical development quickly progressed with the support of a physiotherapist, it became clear that he was also speech delayed – his low muscle tone was a reason for this.  I was advised to speak to a speech therapist. 


My son’s paediatrician recommended a speech therapist, whom she had worked with previously.  I spoke to the speech therapist soon after and arranged to meet her, to discuss how she could help my son.  My immediate concern, having spoken to her, was that she was not prepared to travel to nursery or to our home to carry out therapy sessions – she insisted that we go to her clinic.   I knew that my son would most likely need to be in an environment that he was comfortable in, if speech therapy was to work for him.  Despite this, and considering how highly the speech therapist had been recommended, I made the decision to ‘give it a go’.  All I wanted was to help my son. 


My son and I went to the speech therapist’s clinic, where she was to assess him and then tell me how she could help him.  My son, who at the time was not confident in unknown environments, cried when we entered her office and clung to me throughout the majority of the session.  She had lots of toys there, which she wanted to see him play with – he simply did not want to do so. 


I initially tried to convince myself that he would soon get used to her clinic and would become comfortable in that environment.  What concerned me more though, was her approach – it was one that I had not heard of before.  She explained that she would not be the one directly supporting my son; she would sit back, observe and teach me how to play with him and how to encourage him to speak.  Whilst I did not doubt that she was very good at her job (I knew from my son’s paediatrician that she had helped a number of children in similar situations), I knew that this was not the right approach for my son – or for me!   He needed someone to spend time with him and make him feel comfortable and I needed someone to take control and actively work with him, to help him thrive. 


I decided to make further enquiries with other speech therapists, and I am so glad I did!   The lady I spoke to after had been recommended by my son’s nursery.  As soon as I spoke to her, I knew that she was the right speech therapist for my son – she was personable, enthusiastic, knowledgeable and was very keen to get to know my son and understand his needs.   She also fully appreciated the need to carry out sessions in an environment that my son was comfortable in. 


My son quickly grew extremely fond of his new speech therapist.   She spends time with him, meets him at his level and teaches him lots of different things, by making sessions so much fun.   He has progressed hugely since she has been involved, and it has now reached a point where he enjoys his sessions so much that he doesn’t want her to leave!


I cannot emphasise enough how glad I am that I properly considered my son’s needs and circumstances when appointing a speech therapist for him.   I know my son and, as with any parent, all I want is the best for him.  This does not mean just getting the correct type of support, it means finding the right professional for my son – one that adopts an approach that will work for him and for me, and one that he has formed a beautiful bond with.  I am so proud of the progress he has made!


I am not a medical professional and am not providing medical advice in this blog.  This blog sets out my experiences and opinions as a mother and should not be taken as or substituted for medical advice.  Always speak to a medical professional in respect of any concerns you might have with regard to a medical condition.