We hear it all the time from parents that CHAT is different, that CHAT SLPs really take the time to get to know their clients and tailor therapy to each child. Building rapport and establishing trusting relationships is key to the therapeutic process. When CHAT SLPs work to earn the trust of their students, that correlates to more willingness for the student to put forth effort, to show up, and to succeed.
Each child CHAT sees has their own struggles, interests, and obstacles. Getting through to each unique student requires patience, thoughtfulness, and creativity. One particularly hard case to crack was Tony.
Tony was an eighth-grade student with selective mutism. People with selective mutism struggle to speak outwardly and comfortably in certain social settings, while communicating more easily in one or more other settings.
When Tony would come to his speech therapy sessions, it was hard to get him to engage. After many sessions with Tony and learning how his mind works, his CHAT SLP thought he might enjoy the game of chess.
The CHAT SLP knew nothing of the game. Nor did Tony. But together, they were able to navigate the rules and strategy. The CHAT SLP even bought him his own chess board. Slowly, Tony began to break his silence.
Today, Tony is a chess fanatic. He practices every chance he gets and reads many articles about the game. He initiates games with his teacher and uses chess as a tool to engage other students. And he leaps at the chance to teach others about the game, even if it is through one-word verbalizations or gestures.
CHAT is proud of our SLPs who make the extra effort to build a relationship with their students. We believe this is the most important factor in a child seeing advances in their therapy journey. The CHAT difference is seeing the whole child and meeting them where they are to build the confidence and self-advocacy they need to meet their goals in life.