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Maximising Goals through Functional Home Programs

In order to make functional improvements, focussing on functional tasks during therapy is so important.

Here at Specialised Speech Pathology, we are so passionate about making therapy functional for Adolescents and Adults.

Speech Pathologists DO NOT JUST focus on speech clarity.

We also focus on verbal expression, thought organisation, reading, writing, auditory comprehension, social language, sequencing multi-step tasks, the list can go on...

When you stop to reflect how many of these skills you use in everyday life, we begin to realise how important Speech Pathology is in support individuals to participate in daily tasks.

Speech Pathology practice USED TO focus on the Medical model. Tasks such as; deduction puzzles, thinking about words that start with a specific sound, playing card games or thinking about synonyms to words.

When you take a step back, one may ask – Is this encouraging improvements in everyday life? Do these tasks support improvement in the real world? Is this motivating? The answer to these questions is definitely NO.

According to literature and research, using functional tasks in home practice supports therapy outcomes and assists to bridge the gap between what we do in the Speech therapy session and real life.

How can we support functional outcomes?

How can Speech Therapy ensure that the tasks we work on in the session actually translate to the real world?

Here are some of the ways this can happen:

  • We consider goals that are valued by you, such as doing the shopping, ordering from a menu, typing emails or using the ATM.

  • We incorporate functional tasks during sessions.

  • We assign home practice that supports functional tasks targeted in our sessions.

  • We consider modifications in your environment or language supports, to assist with your practice. For example, to support the activity of 'shopping', we may provide you with a shopping list containing visuals and visual prompts, to assist with thought organisation, word retrieval and planning and then practice writing a shopping list using this scaffold.

  • We track meaningful progress over time.

  • We continually receive feedback from you about how things are going at home. This supports the connection between what we do in the session together and your daily life.

True success in Speech Pathology is:

- Greater participation in everyday activities

- Greater confidence... and ...

- Greater success engaging in specific tasks that are important to our clients.

This is why functional therapy is so important and we incorporate it during therapy!


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