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The Ins and Outs of Early Intervention

Abandoning Ship

Published September 18, 2015 9:11 AM by jasna cowan

What if a child just isn't making the progress you would like to see no matter what toys or activities you plan for.

I hear that a lot from therapists: "This child just stumps me" and "He just isn't progressing."

I say "time to abandon ship."

In order for us to clean our slate and avoid becoming so frustrated that we actually do not look forward to working with that child, it's time to simplify. I have noticed that while I chase the goal stated in the paperwork sometimes it just isn't the right one for the client and it just causes frustration on both of our parts. One solution is to back up and simplify.

Starting with goals that are going to set you and the client up for more success is the direction to head to. If instead of an expressive language goal that is hard to obtain maybe changing the goals to something more reachable for the client to obtain. How about a receptive language goal? Or, how about playing with some turn taking so some of the foundational skills so the harder-to-obtain goals can be fostered.

SEE ALSO Thinking Language Environment 

I always start with a goal that will not even be stated in the child's record or file, i.e., being the child's best friend. I want a child to come to me excited and happy because they know that I am there to play and to assist them to be better communicators. I get rid of my agenda and I go with the flow and incorporate the goals as I go along. To do this it's important to know when to abandon ship. When we are stuck to that goal that just isn't improving and we are starting to become tired or frustrated, just let it go and adjust. Bring it back to the basics and become the child's play partner.

Doing this will allow you to see the deficits the child is having in communication that would be better targets to be addressed. When things get frustrating like the old saying goes, "go back to the drawing board!

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