After her stroke, your mom works regularly with her speech therapy aide. It’s not certain that she will ever regain full speech, but the more she can say to others, the better it is for her mental health and mood.
When you’re with your mom, you want to encourage her to practice the exercises her speech therapist assigns her for “homework.” But, you don’t want to push too hard and frustrate her.
What are the best ways to help her with her speech therapy exercises?
Try to Put Yourself in Her Shoes
Before you get started, consider your mom’s feelings. Imagine what it’s like to be used to doing everything by yourself and having that change overnight. Put yourself in her shoes and think about the things you would and wouldn’t want people saying to you or doing for you.
Repetition Is Important
Your mom needs to be encouraged to repeat her exercises several times a day. The more she works at it, the easier it gets. If she does well, reward her for her accomplishments. If she struggles, offer encouragement.
Work with her speech therapist to have a daily routine for her to follow. When it’s time to do an exercise, try to make it fun as she repeats each exercise over and over. If the exercise is moving her tongue from side to side, you could have a dab of fruit puree for the corner of her mouth that she moves her tongue to lick off.
Be Patient and Encourage Patience
Be patient with your mom. She is having a tough time with her exercises, and it increases her agitation. Move to something else and then circle back to it later. Don’t criticize if she quits easily. Wait until she’s less irritated or frustrated and try again. Keep everything positive to improve her mood.
End All Practice Sessions on a Positive Note
When your mom has completed all of her daily tasks. Reward her in some way. You could go for a walk in her favorite park or put on her favorite show. She might have a snack she loves that you reserve for the days she gets through all of her exercises.
Make Sure She Attends All of Her Appointments
Most importantly, make sure your mom attends all of her appointments with her speech therapy team. If she’s sick and cannot make an appointment, see if a virtual visit is possible. If not, reschedule it as soon as you can.
If you need to work with other family members to ensure someone is there to drive her to an appointment or let the speech therapist in, make sure you do that. Support should be a family event, when possible, and not something you’re doing on your own.
Speech therapy is most effective when your mom does everything her speech therapist advises. Work with her to make sure she’s practicing regularly and talk to her therapist for additional tips on how to best help your mom.
If you or a loved one are considering Speech Therapy Services in Oakland PA, please call and talk to the caring staff at Extended Family Care of Pittsburgh at (412) 693-6009. We will answer all of your questions.
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