An Auditory Verbal Therapist wears many hats: insurance company negotiator, toy cleaner, language sample transcriber, amateur children’s literature critic… and sometimes an actual funny hat or two in a game of dress up. And though I think I look spectacular in a princess tiara, my two favorite roles, the ones I’m most honored to have, are those of Guide and Coach to the families who honor me by allowing me to be a part of their child’s team.
Guiding and Coaching are the heart and soul of Auditory Verbal Therapy. In fact, they’re the words that introduce the majority of the Principles of Auditory Verbal Therapy. What does Guiding and Coaching mean to me?
Walks in front of you, but lets you in on her thought process along the way.
In a session, the therapist may outline the plan, but her thoughts and the reasons for her decisions should be made clear to the family.
After a really good tour of a city, you leave feeling you know not only the big landmarks but also the nooks and crannies, the special “locals only” spots that your guide has discovered through years of experience.
Therapy is a chance for parents to learn the big concepts in speech, language, and listening development as well as tiny tips and tricks the therapist can share to help make the path a bit smoother.
A skilled guide reads the tour group and tailors the tour to their interests.
Each family comes to our therapy with a unique set of experiences, culture, history, motivation, and goals. If we have the same standard “tour” that we give to everyone, we miss a chance to provide what families really need, not just what we think they should want or know.
A guide can point you to further places to explore, further resources.
The therapist can serve as connector — to community supports, to financial aid, to other families of children with hearing loss. We don’t have to “lead” those portions of the tour, but we should know what is available so that we can pass that information along to the families we serve.
A guide listens and welcomes questions.
A good tour isn’t a monologue with the tour guide droning on and on. It’s a conversation, which requires just as much listening as talking on our parts.
Watches you as you perform and gives helpful hints and tips.
We don’t need to dictate what families do. We can enhance what is already happening in ways that promote speech, language, and listening development.
A coach holds the big-picture view in her head as you, the players, work to get through the game.
Families may be taking things one step at a time. Therapists support them today while understanding the long game of communication milestones and educational options.
A coach knows when the players need a time out or a shift in strategy.
Sometimes families get tired. Sometimes things are working. A good coach knows not to continue down an unsuccessful path, and has a variety of strategies to shake things up and help the “team” to get out of a rut.
A coach is always behind her players, one hundred percent.
Win or lose, a coach cannot lose faith in her team. A coach knows that one loss or one setback does not define who her players are as people.
A coach knows that your success is her success, and she wants you to be a champion.
Families, I want you to succeed — on your terms — for yourselves and for your children. I know you can.