Speech and Language Pathology (SLP) is an emerging profession here in Bangkok. Even though there is a growing demand for this service as more parents come to understand its value, obtaining SLP here is not always simple. This post outlines where you can access SLP in Bangkok, some challenges associated with this, and reasons why you are the best person to help your child.
Where You Can Obtain SLP For Your Child
During recent years, some schools began outsourcing SLP services. This involves a Speech and Language Therapist travelling to schools regularly (as I currently do). At present, only very few schools in Bangkok have a full-time therapist on staff. However, it is exciting that some international schools are planning to expand their Special Education Needs Program and employ full-time therapists to meet the recently growing demand.
2. Private Centres
You can also obtain SLP services for your child in private child development centres (as where I am currently employed). These centres are often comprised of a multi-disciplinary team consisting of Occupational Therapists, Psychologists, Physiotherapists, Social Workers and other professionals as well as Speech and Language Therapists.
Some of the larger hospitals in Bangkok have SLP services which you can access for your child in their pediatric ward.
Challenges Associated with Obtaining SLP
“We just moved here and are trying to establish ourselves, we can’t afford this right now…” (anonymous parent).
In Bangkok, SLP is a private service which is not funded by the government. It is also quite expensive relative to the earnings in Thai Baht.
“We couldn’t find a therapist for three years because of where we live…when we finally found one, they went abroad to continue their studies” (anonymous parent).
The number of therapists does not meet the growing demand for SLP here in Bangkok; with availability being a particularly issue for families living on the outskirts of Bangkok. Moreover, at present, there is only one SLP university course (a Masters Program) which is being taught in English here in Bangkok.
“I wish someone would have told me that my child has a problem earlier…” (anonymous parent).
As SLP is quite a new profession here in Bangkok, there is a need for much greater awareness in the community for identifying children presenting with red flags. Also, parents are often unaware of how GREAT their impact on their child’s speech and language development can be. This is the primary reason why I chose to start this blog.
Why You Are The Best Person To Help Your Child
1. You Are There - At The Right Place & The Right Time
Practice is most effective when a child is alert, motivated and attentive. Though, therapists only see a snapshot of your child's ability during a specific time of the day. They also usually see your child outside of their natural environment, even though the ultimate goal of therapy is to generalise skills to daily environments. However, you have the opportunity to select the optimal practice time for your child during the day and to practice in their daily environment.
2. Your Recognition Counts Most
I use a range of rewards to maintain a child’s cooperation and motivation during therapy sessions. Though, I have noticed that when a parent is in the room, the child is usually no longer concerned with rewards, but only with their parent's recognition and praise. This type of intrinsic motivation, that only you can give your child, is far more effective than anything tangible.
3. You Can Help Consistently
Scientific evidence has demonstrated that therapy itself is not nearly as effective in improving a child’s speech and language skills when compared to therapy with consistent home practice. It is unrealistic for most parents to take their child to therapy five days per week due to financial and time constraints. However, you see your child every day, and so, each day is an opportunity for home practice! Consistency will result in better and quicker outcomes for your child.
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The Expat Speechie
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