This advice-column-style blog for SLPs was authored by Pam Marshalla from 2006 to 2015, the archives of which can be explored here. Use the extensive keywords list found in the right-hand column (on mobile: at the bottom of the page) to browse specific topics, or use the search feature to locate specific words or phrases throughout the entire blog.
Q: Do you think that clients really can improve when parents never attend therapy as is common in the public schools?
The notion that children only can improve when parents are involved is a modern idea that runs counter to the way therapy has been practiced throughout the past century.
In 38 years I rarely have involved parents all the time. I have parents watch parts of therapy when they are around, and I give them encouraging information about how the child is doing. Some parents ask enough questions to let me know that they want to help, and to those I give advice. But others I specifically tell to let their child do the work on his own, and others I never meet even once.
I found for myself that children actually do much better when parents are out of the room. This applies equally to toddlers and teenagers. Toddlers never interact with us as well when mommy is sitting right there, and older children rarely open up all the way when a parent is overseeing the work too closely.
When we work in the public schools, we tend to say, “Oh rats! This child would do so much better if the parents were here.”
When we work in private practice, we tend to say, “Oh rats! This child would do much better if I only could get the parents out of here!”