We have been learning about the many benefits of private therapy and the need for one-on-one support for years. However, in recent years there has been more discussion about group speech therapy and its benefits. It can be hard to know the best form of speech therapy for yourself or your child.
The social language skills that we learn and use in everyday communication are known as pragmatic language skills. Children or adults who are shy, reserved, or have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder often struggle to develop the social skills that are required for language. Group speech therapy can build on existing speech and language skills, such as articulation, and encourage the development of pragmatic language skills.
Speech therapy sessions in a group setting can provide children with a learning environment that mimics their typical day-to-day life within various social settings such as school, extra-curricular activities, or a friend’s house. As children within the group speech therapy sessions learn from each other, they also begin to teach and encourage each other to master useful social language skills.
If you think your child would benefit from speech therapy but aren’t sure which form of therapy is right for them, we can help. Getting started with Great Speech is as simple and easy as scheduling your free introductory call today!
What is Group Speech Therapy?
Group speech therapy is a functional method of helping a child learn new skills and work towards their goals in a realistic environment. For example, if an individual is training to become a competitive swimmer, they would likely spend time weight training and going for daily runs. The true test of their skills, however, is when they get in the water and compete alongside their competitors. Group therapy uses a similar approach. While it is highly important to receive the one-on-one support that is needed to prepare for the real world, mastering and applying your goals to real-world settings and situations occurs when practicing what has been learned outside of private settings. While it is obvious that speech therapy environments with two individuals interacting, free of distractions, are significantly different from a child’s classrooms, playgroups, and social events.
Group speech therapy for children is very similar to one-on-one therapy, with the obvious difference being that it involves a number of children as opposed to just one and the speech therapist. In group therapy settings, children will be grouped together depending on their specific needs, challenges, deficits, and goals.
Combining Individual and Group Speech Therapy
In many cases, the speech-language pathologist begins with individual therapy sessions in order to effectively evaluate where a child is in terms of language and communication abilities and difficulties. This time is also used to implement a variety of skills and practices that will be necessary beyond a home environment at a later time. Often, private speech therapy is a building block towards introducing the child to a group therapy setting which allows the child and their therapist to focus on their specific needs without distractions.
When the child has achieved a level that surpasses where individual speech therapy is beneficial, the speech therapist may begin to include small group sessions to provide opportunities to practice the skills the child has learned up to that point while maintaining individual speech therapy. It is important to note that group speech therapy sometimes only consists of one other child and the speech and language pathologist. The speech therapist will be able to determine the best therapy option for each child. If you want to learn more about the different types of speech therapy we offer or to connect with one of our amazing speech therapists, schedule your free introductory call today!
What are the Benefits of Group Speech Therapy?
Some of the benefits of group therapy include:
• Extensive guidance, modeling, and support from a registered and experienced Speech-Language Pathologist to help your child achieve their communication goals
• Support and learning opportunities from peers that build confidence and independence through newly formed friendships
• A realistic social setting in which to practice peer communication
• Opportunities to practice in an environment that mimics a real-life environment (for example a classroom or a play date with friends)
• Time in which your child has opportunities to learn from and teach others
• Group therapy often comes with a lower cost
Whether group therapy targets social communication and pragmatic communication skills (such as turn-taking, staying on topic, and initiating conversations) or strengthening language skills, it offers a fun and exciting way to help children work towards their full potential. Group therapy provides your child with a supportive network and a comfortable environment in which children are able to grow and learn with and from each other.
Group Speech Therapy for Socialization
Group speech therapy is highly beneficial for targeting social communication skills. This can be especially useful for children who have not attended regular daycare or preschool and had ample opportunities to practice social norms and interactions such as taking turns, starting and maintaining conversations, and understanding rules or directions. Group speech therapy sessions not only help each child to build and master those essential social language skills as well as to employ those skills outside of a classroom setting. Children who are confident and comfortable in their interactions with adults but lack confidence when interacting with their peers and classmates can learn through group speech therapy how to form and maintain relationships as well as understand that they aren’t in their struggles to make those connections.
While almost all speech therapy treatment begins with private speech therapy sessions in order to accurately identify areas of weakness and the individual needs of the child, group therapy can be a good option for many children. If you think your child might benefit from speech therapy as they develop and master their communication skills, getting started is quick and easy. Simply contact us to schedule your free introductory call today!