I love helping parents and children realize that listening and spoken language can be done and we can do it together. When children become a part of my therapy sessions and when parents come to classes at school - I want them to have the feeling that anything can be accomplished and we have a starting place to build on. I teach the children how to listen, give them tools and strategies to become the best at aural capabilities in my activities and I teach the parents how to become a partner in the listening and language communicative intent. Their part? Give their children their undivided attention and become their voice for just a little bit. Their part is to become the expressive partner for just a little while. Their part is to believe their child will model themselves after them and believe they can teach their child how to speak and become the 'expressive talker'. I know in my heart that we have the best activities and can give the parents and children everything they need (as I stated before); but even more important - we can give them what they need available the whole time they are with us.
Now here comes the part my friend made me think about. What happens after they (child and parent) leave us. Have I outfitted them with all the listening and language strategies to make them successful oral/aural communication partners? Will the outside community be able to impart their communicative intent on the children and have the children follow what is going on? And the second part - will the outside community be able to understand the family? Will the outside community be able to understand where the children and parents are in their listening and language journey and will the family be able to impart that wisdom and journey to the community?
In all of this generality - I want families to understand that no matter how much fun we have and no matter how much listening and language is done within the protective confines of therapy; there is the outside community. We still have to remember individuals and independence - we also have to remember these individuals go back into a community they feel doesn't understand them. We have to give them; everyone involved; parent and child - the communication skills to advocate and believe no matter what community activity comes their way.
What families have in common the world around is that they are the place where we learn who we are and how to be that way. ~Johann Georg Zimmermannand how to show the community to understand why we are that way!