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3 Tips for Staying Motivated with Therapy

For 7-year-old Bobby, speech therapy had been something he had had for as long as he could remember. His Mum, Connie, had first taken him for an appointment when he was 2, and his apraxia of speech meant that therapy was needed over a long period of time.

During those 5 years Bobby had made a lot of progress, however he still needed therapy to improve his speech clarity. Sometimes he would get bored of therapy sessions and wish he could just stay with his friends. For children like Bobby, keeping therapy ‘fresh’ and recognising the signs that motivation is waning can be very important. Here are 3 things that helped Bobby to stay motivated for therapy. This also helped Connie, his teaching assistant and his therapy team.

Motivation is a key element in therapy success, so having your ‘go to’ strategies to hand can be a really helpful addition to your therapy toolbox.

Tip 1 – Make it Personal

Bobby absolutely loved superheroes and football. So as he moved through the different stages with his speech, sessions would centre around those interests.

When we were working on ‘s’ blends we used Spider-Man as our therapy friend.

When we moved on to multi-syllabic words, we found famous footballers with names like Da Silva, Adebayor or Ivanovic.

Connie and Bobby’s teacher would also get involved, so that we could include the names of people in Bobby’s family or at school to make things really relevant to Bobby, and not just a generic programme.

Tip 2 – Get Creative

The next thing we would do is to Include variety into Bobby’s sessions. Some children like the predictability and repetition of doing the same activities each session, but many others need variety to stay engaged, so don’t be afraid to mix it up.

For example, if the same set of words takes a long time to master, we will introduce a new game or toy to play alongside, we might use different pictures, or share a book that contains the focus sounds.

There are also apps that can be used as another way to practise the same speech goals but in a different way.

It is important to also think outside the box in terms of where or when to carry out therapy, e.g. why not head outside or have therapy at the park? For home practice, vary the location – in the car or in the bath, so it isn’t always sitting at a table like ‘work. Bobby likes to rotate activities to keep it fresh, so we bring out different activities every couple of months.

Finally, it’s also ok to have a rest or a break, then carry on.

Tip 3 – Make it Rewarding

Our third tool in the motivation toolbox is to make sure therapy is rewarding. This might mean an incentive such as stickers, toys or sweets.

Bobby likes to work on speech for a short time then earn a reward, but other children may prefer to play a favourite game as they practice. Where possible, therapy is planned at times that don’t clash with something they would prefer to be doing; ideally, it will happen when they would otherwise have to do something they don’t like so much.

Can they choose a friend to join in?

How do they ‘win’ by having therapy?

When Bobby feels involved in deciding what the reward is going to be he engages best. We show and remind him with visuals so he knows he is not missing out. In addition, it is important to ensure that therapy sessions are supportive and nurturing so he doesn’t get anxious when he struggles with sounds or words. Starting and finishing with easily achievable tasks keeps his confidence high.

By implementing these strategies, Bobby is able to stay motivated during speech therapy sessions over time, creating a supportive and positive environment for his speech to develop.

Check out our current speech therapy services and meet the team who enjoy the challenge of providing motivating therapy here.

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