Speech Therapy Goals And Why They Are Important

Speech Therapy Goals And Why They Are Important

There can be very few aspects of our lives that would not be enhanced by setting goals that we then seek to achieve, and for those who work in support of children’s language development, setting speech therapy goals for children that they are treating can play a crucial role. Setting goals allows them, the child’s parents, and others who have the child’s best interests at heart, to strive for and assess the child’s progression.

Anyone reading this who has set goals in the past, whether personal, for their education, for their career, or for a business they own, will be familiar with how to set goals properly. This will involve making goals specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. In other words, they follow the tried and trusted SMART goals method.

As for speech therapy goals, many speech therapists will indeed follow the SMART goal formula, however, each speech pathologist can also use their own goal setting methodology. The crucial test is whether the goals being set are working and helping children’s speech and language development, rather than the specific goal-setting process which is used.

Speech Therapy Goals – What Are They?

In truth, speech therapy goals are exactly what you think they might be. They are goals set for individuals, usually children, for their journey towards overcoming any speech and language difficulties they have. Each child will be assessed and based on that assessment is how their speech therapy goals will be created.

As with any other type of goal, speech therapy goals can either be long term or short term goals, with an additional sub-class of goals within speech therapy called session goals. Here is a brief explanation of each.

Session Goals: Some might term these ‘micro goals’ as they are tiny goals that the child will be set at each session they have with their speech pathologist. These are seen as the micro building blocks that form the foundations for the more significant goals that follow.

Short Term Goals: Short term speech therapy goals are often used to break down the longer-term goals and should seem highly achievable to the child and their parents. Time frames for short term goals can be anything from a week or so to three months and are regarded as the stepping stones toward long term goals.

Long Term Goals: There may be fewer of these goals than the short-term goals, however, the significance of them when they are achieved cannot be understated. These are the goals that, when achieved, can mean that a child has completely overcome one, several, or all speech and language development problems they had, and ultimately are no longer in need of speech therapy.

Importance Of Speech Therapy Goals

There are several reasons why speech therapy goals are important to not just the child in question, but also to their parents and their speech therapy team, including their speech pathologist.

Establishing Speech Therapy Treatment Programs: By establishing speech therapy goals from the outset having assessed the child, the speech pathologist is more able to determine the best approach to take and plan an individual treatment program that is best suited to that child.

Tracking Progress: By knowing what speech therapy goals are being aimed for, the speech pathologist is more able to measure the child’s progress and thereafter take better decisions as to amending treatment or adjusting what therapies are being used.

Working With A Common Purpose: Everyone who is supporting the child’s progress, including parents, teachers, as well as the speech pathologist, will all be working towards the same goals and thus the child’s treatment will always be congruent regardless of who is with them at any given time.

Meeting The Child’s Needs: As parents know what their child’s speech therapy goals are, and with them being with the child more than any others, those parents can better understand how to support their child, know how well they are progressing, and are more able to provide feedback to the child’s speech pathologist.