For approximately 1.2 million Australians, communicating successfully is a challenge, and can often inhibit involvement in many aspects of community life. It is for this reason that growing confidence in communication skills is key to breaking down certain barriers and ensuring that everyone can participate in social, economic, educational and recreational activities within their community.
Speech Pathology Week falls in August each year, and the topic this year is: Communicating with Confidence. A Growing Understanding is a supporter of Speech Pathology Australia’s call for greater understanding of communication disabilities, and we are dedicated to working with families to grow confidence across a variety of language and communication abilities.
But growing confidence is not just relegated to the work we do with children in their therapy sessions. It is about building understanding within the community, and arming parents, carers, and educators with the right skills to support a child’s development in a variety of contexts.
Growing Confidence with Fun Therapy
Confidence allows children to experience so much more of life. If your child is confident, they are more likely to explore new situations or environments, take risks, make new friends, and of course, talk with people. It is in these experiences that they can grow. But without confidence, your child may become withdrawn, and shy away from tasks or situations where they feel they just can’t do it.
We often see children with communication and language difficulties avoid tasks and opportunities that may expose their challenge. This obviously impacts the overall success of therapy. If a child avoids a task for fear of failure, then they will not reach a point where they feel as though they have achieved. It is in the sense of achievement that many children will find confidence. So, it is our job as speech pathologists to establish key strategies within therapy sessions that ensure each child stays motivated, and achieves their goals in a fun environment.
In a previous blog called Fun in Therapy and the Importance of Play, we discussed the various strategies we implement to put the ‘fun’ in every session, with one of the most important being the celebration of small wins. By celebrating each small win throughout a therapy session, the children feel accomplished, they feel happy and this, in turn, breads confidence and encourages success. Without these small, but significant acknowledgments, the children would have little to look forward to, and it would be all about the work.
But building confidence is a two-way street, just like a conversation. While a child can work on their goals, and feel as though they are achieving, this alone will not grow a community of confident communicators. We need to grow the confidence of family members and educators, so they too can encourage children to participate in all aspects of their life.
Growing Your Confidence
Research suggests that children learn to communicate best during everyday interactions with the important adults in their lives. It is because of this that we believe parent involvement is essential when it comes to achieving communication confidence. By providing speech pathology services that are anchored in what we call the Three E’s of Family Growth – Engagement, Encouragement and Empowerment; we can ensure that you have the skills and confidence to support your child’s growth.
In addition to parent implemented intervention programs, we also work closely with educators to ensure they have the confidence to encourage children to engage and participate in preschool and school settings. Without information and guidance on what communication tools are available, and strategies to support a child with communication difficulties; the school setting can easily become a place where a child will hold themselves back from reaching their full potential.
To avoid disengagement and exclusion, we arm those within both educational and home settings with the tools, advice and skills, that can help grow confidence in the delivery of activities and support programs for all children.
Growing Community Confidence and Understanding
As our name suggests, we are all about growing understanding – the understanding of children, parents, educators and the wider community. It is this understanding that can form the foundation on which confidence can grow.
If we all have a greater understanding of communication challenges, and how we can support children developing important communication and language skills; we can build inclusive communities where our children feel confident in their abilities.