Addressing Difficult Behavior During Speech Therapy

Addressing Difficult Behavior During Speech Therapy

Speech therapists are instrumental in helping many young clients deal with the challenges speech presents. Speech does not come easily to everybody, which can lead to some frustrating circumstances. Speech therapists who work with children should address difficult behaviors before they progress.

Many speech pathology CEUs cover behavioral issues, especially considering that disruptions can lower the productivity of a therapy session. When you meet with a client only once or twice each week, each session matters. You must address challenges quickly.

Why Do Behavioral Issues Arise? 

Children may offer resistance when you are trying to help them through the difficulties of speech. Children who feel a sense of failure in the learning process are often not as motivated to attend therapy or even to be in a scenario where they focus on learning. They may feel that they will fail over and over.

Young girl with white letters appearing to come out of her mouth.

Behavioral issues in children are common, but this is especially true in a clinical setting.

When issues arise in speech therapy, you have options. This guide will show you some ways you can handle behavioral issues that arise during your sessions.

Set Realistic Expectations

Clear expectations for behavior involve establishing a visual demonstration. Your clients need to know how they can reach your expectations, which includes you providing feedback on desirable and undesirable behaviors.

The biggest goal involved with setting expectations is to be consistent. When you allow sessions to go off course sometimes, clients may become confused when you stick to your established guidelines.

Open Lines of Communication

Any new client can be a challenge when you do not yet understand his or her personality and goals. Talk to the parents and guardians of each new client you take. Understand how this child typically relates to other adults and their peers. Develop an understanding of expectations for the child’s attention span and ask how the child reacts to frustration.

When you understand the child’s reactions, you can better serve him or her as a client. You also know the expectations you establish are realistic.

Learn to De-Escalate Problems

One skill you may learn in your speech pathology CEUs is how to prevent escalation of problems. Outbursts, especially in group therapy sessions, can throw off an entire session. Outbursts can damage the relationship between a therapist and a client.

De-escalation involves being sensitive to the issues that a client faces without giving in to a tantrum or outburst. Distractions can be a great way to prevent problems from growing, and by not giving in to a client’s feelings of powerlessness, you show respect.

Young boy with a teddybear talking with a therapist.

Education can help you develop relationships with your clients so you can better understand their goals and frustrations.

Develop Positive Reinforcement

Motivation for children typically relies on positive reinforcement for a job well-done. When you use rewards for good behavior, you help build behavioral momentum. When you do this, you typically start easy or small and build up to more challenging tasks.

Take Speech Pathology CEUs

Speech-language pathology courses offer the opportunity to learn more about your career path. In your courses, you will learn how to best serve your clients, including children who may experience behavioral issues. Look at our courses to see how your practice could benefit.

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