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How to: Help Your Child Overcome Plateaus and Ruts

Does it seem like your child is in a rut? Are they suddenly struggling with completing tasks? Learning new tasks? Or overcoming challenges? Meeting new milestones? Changing a few simple things about your daily routine and outlook can make a big difference in helping your child succeed. 

First, consider the importance of being in a relationship that is centered on trust. When children feel they can trust their parent, caregiver, therapist or teacher, they are likely to be more comfortable and confident in themselves and what they are trying to accomplish.

Your child may be experiencing pressures that you don’t even realize are there. Pressure can come from both positive and negative sources. Many view pressure as negative, such as being punished for the inability to complete a task (ex. If you do not put your toys away, you will not be allowed to watch tv before bed.) Positive pressures, like working to accomplish 10 correct responses by the end of an activity in order to receive a reward, can also influence the way a child is performing. Although they are working towards something they want, there is still pressure on them to do it correctly or else they will not get it. If your child feels pressure to complete a task, they may not be performing to the best of their abilities.

Take a moment and think about if you were asked to do something new, would you feel most confident doing it with someone watching you the whole time or timing how long it takes you to complete? Or would you prefer to be in a relaxed and familiar environment where you feel comfortable and not afraid to make mistakes?

By providing a pressure free or lower pressure environment, we can better promote trust and confidence we want children to have when attempting new and challenging tasks!

As a parent or caregiver of a child, it is important to take into consideration a variety of factors that may be affecting your child’s performance at any given moment. First and foremost, it is not often that a child is ‘choosing’ to have a bad day. Rather, they may be acting or feeling different due to varying factors in their lives.

In order for a child to be able to effectively complete a task – including communication – their systems must be balanced. Yes, each person is made up of a set of systems that are influenced by several factors. When viewing the body as a set of systems, it can be challenging for some children to find a steady balance of their physical, mental, and social-emotional systems, as they may be affected by both internal and external influences. Consider all of these systems as a set of interconnected rubber bands, when one is stretched out, the others move with it and will too stretch out to a certain degree. Natural occurrences such as growth spurts or other typical parts of development may interrupt what appears to be a period of growth, this is okay. It is not uncommon for children to show progression in one area and appear to be digressing in another area for a period of time. When considered as a set of moving systems, as one of these areas, or rubberbands begins to expand, we see an adverse effect in another area to allow expansion to happen.

Consider factors such as the weather, lack of sleep, illness, exhaustion from a long day at school, or being away for vacation. All of these factors can impact a child in different ways, whether it be feeling tired, congested, or out of their normal routine.

Take a moment and consider how you feel when these factors vary in your own life. If you are feeling sick with a cold or you just returned from a week long vacation, it may be more challenging to focus on the task you are doing or to even find the motivation to complete it.

Children may be feeling the same way when they are asked to complete a task. Your child may not be in a balanced place physically, emotionally, or mentally in order to be successful in that moment.  When our bodies experience variations in our normal routines, it takes time to re-adjust. If you notice your child is having trouble completing a task they previously did, don’t stress, it is likely that they are adjusting to the changes that they are experiencing.

In order for children to be successful, it is important that they have support, which can be provided in a variety of ways. Being there for your child, providing them with positive and encouraging words, or even just letting them know you are there to help them if they need it. You can provide a supportive and loving environment by taking time to ask your child what they learned at school and encourage communication. If your child is not able to use words to communicate yet, be sure to incorporate them in whatever you are doing, allow them to play a role in choosing what they want to drink or what book they want to read. Even just talking to your children about what you see around you so they know you are present with them.

Remember, you are the best support system your child can have! Doing simple things like keeping a positive outlook, considering pressures your child may be feeling and praising your child’s attempts and accomplishments can lead to increased success! If you begin to experience frustration, take a moment to consider why your child may be having a difficult time and what you may be able to change to best support your child while they work through challenges.

 Written by LLA Therapy Speech Therapist, Katie George

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Patient Reviews

LLA Therapy

Patient Reviews

Crystal Scheibe

Great place, glad we found them. Been going to Medina over 2 months now and he loves Lauryn and Kyler. Wish they had more ABA therapy places available... live in Wooster and long drive everyday.

Karrie Swan LaRock

My 11 year old son has dyslexia and has made noticeable gains in working At LLA THERAPY. Katie is strong in her approach toward him and also keeps him comfortable enough to perform well. We will continue visiting both the Fairlawn and Hudson offices and recommend them highly.

Ron Monroe

My 9 year old just completed about 9 months of weekly speech sessions (due to his stuttering) with Matt Hagge at LLA and we are thrilled with the experience and results. What I thought might be a negative (what kid really wants to go to speech class?) was made very positive by Matt, and my son never hesitated or complained when we talked about class. He really enjoyed it and really took what Matt taught him to heart. His speech has been greatly improved and we definitely recommend LLA. Thank you so much!

Heather Dougherty-Pantoja

My son’s Occupational Therapist, Jess, is an amazing OT! She gives practical tips on working with my son at home and school!

Terri Apgar

I cannot say enough good things about LLA Therapy. My daughter was a client of Teal Simmons’ for approximately 2 years and was just released from speech therapy! She was diagnosed with Apraxia in 2015 and worked with Teal twice a week. Through Teal’s application of PROMPT therapy, my daughter had age-appropriate speech after one year. All of the staff we interacted with at LLA were absolutely wonderful. They really care about what they do and making sure your child achieves their goals.

Kelli Geisler Davisson

LLA Therapy has been an excellent experience for my son as well as my family! My son always asks, "When can I go see Ms. Jeannine again, is it Monday??" He has also made huge gains in only 5 months! I would highly recommend LLA and have already shared my experience with friends looking for services!

Victoria Hansford-Price

We are so grateful for our Speech Therapist Ms.Teal. We have seen a great improvement with our sons confidence and communication abilities since we have started "Prompt" therapy. What we love the most about LLA and Ms. Teal is that Kohl feels comfortable and relaxed which has played a critical role in his progress. Thank you Ms. Teal for all you have done.

Laura Lee Hogsett

They have helped in numerous ways. Speech, OT and behavioral. I've had numerous compliments on my son's progress thanks in very large part to LLA. I would recommend LLA before I recommend our local children's hospitals, though they are good, they don't have the staff that LLA does.

Amy Furukawa

We had a great experience with Matt Hagge at LLA! Our Middle School age son was becoming very conscious of his voice, which is nasal due to a cleft palate. Matt helped him to better form his sounds and project his voice in a way that makes the unavoidable nasality less noticeable.Our son is more confident and outgoing & even took on a speaking role in the church play. Matt has the perfect personality to relate with our son, and we would recommend him to anyone needing speech therapy services!

Jessica Havalotti

LLA Therapy has been an excellent experience for our daughter. I would highly recommend LLA. Miss Grace was so amazing and I can't believe how quickly our daughter showed improvement. Thank you!
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