A Systematic Approach to Coaching Parents

Sincy Paul, MS, CCC-SLP | Speech-Language Pathologist
October 22, 2019

When working with the pediatric population, the parents or caregivers are sometimes overlooked as a key partner in the child’s development.

Many times when early interventionists (EI) start working with young children, the focus of the session is centered on the child and as the sessions continue the caregivers sit at a distance observing the session.

Although it is customary for therapists to share ideas and concerns with the caregivers, teaching the parents to use the techniques is a critical component that needs to be intentionally addressed in the therapy session.

In “Coaching Parents to Use Naturalistic language and Communication Strategies”, Yusuf Akamoglu and Laurie Dinnebeil share a systematic way to coach parents to use naturalistic language.  The systematic process uses specific coaching strategies which include the following:

First, the EI identifies the parent’s priorities and concerns regarding their child’s development. Then, the EI creates an environment that is supportive for both the parent and the child by discussing specific strategies that the parents could use.

The next step is observation. The EI observes the parents interact with their child and then the family observes the EI using specific strategies with the child. The parents and the EI discuss the strategies used after the observation.

After that, the EI allows the parents to practice the strategies in the presence of the EI. The EI also provides specific and consistent feedback to the parent’s use of techniques.  It is also crucial for parents to reflect and evaluate the use of the strategies outside of the therapy session.

Using this systematic approach to coach parents not only helps the child develop new skills, but it also provides the parent insight on how to best talk and work with their child. Equipping parents in this manner will provide a positive, lasting impact for many years.

If you are interested in finding out more, please contact us to make an appointment.

Akamoglu, Yusuf, and Laurie Dinnebeil. “Coaching Parents to Use Naturalistic Language and Communication Strategies.” Young Exceptional Children, Mar. 2017,

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