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Is group speech and language therapy beneficial?

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Is group speech and language therapy beneficial?

Is it wise to choose group therapy for your child? Will your child get the most out of a group therapy session, in terms of attention provided other children will be around?

Although there are numerous benefits to private one-on-one therapy and often children will need individual support, group therapy is a functional way of helping your child learn new skills and practice new goals in a realistic setting that will help them generalize the newly learned skills more easily.

For example, if you are planning to run a marathon you can engage in strength training and run on the treadmill but the true test is when you get on the road to race alongside your competitors. Group therapy works in the exact same way. It is important to get the one-on-one support you need to prepare yourself for the real world but mastering and transferring your skills to the real world takes place when you practice what you have learned in an environment that simulates the real world. We can all agree that therapy rooms with two people (a child and a clinician), that are free of distractions are very different than a child’s classroom, a play group, a movie theatre, a playground, the grocery store, or a birthday party.

What can group therapy offer?

• Just like one-on-one therapy, group therapy will still offer modelling, support and guidance from a registered Speech Language Pathologist to help your child reach their goals and true potential

• Practice in a setting that impersonates a realistic environment that the child will encounter in his everyday life (a classroom, a play date with friends)

• The development of social skills and peer communication within a realistic social setting

• Support from peers and building of confidence through newfound skills

• A supportive network where children can grow by teaching and learning from each other

• Cost efficiency

Whether group therapy is targeting social pragmatic skills (i.e., communication skills, self-regulation, social thinking) or building language skills (i.e., teaching new vocabulary, improving listening skills, refining syntactic skills etc) it is a fun interactive way to help children reach their full potential.

Written by: Dr. Marianna Christodoulou Devledian, Speech-Language Pathologist, MCD Beyond Speech Ltd.

References:Rosenthal, W.S. (2004). Group therapy is better than individual therapy: With special attention to stuttering. SIG 2 Perspectives on Neurophysiology and Neurogenic Speech and Language Disorders, Vol. 14, 3-8.

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