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Parent Child Interaction Therapy


If your toddler’s speech and language skills are a little bit behind in comparison to others the same age, a Speech and Language Therapist may suggest an approach called Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT).

What is PCIT?

Traditionally, parents attending a speech and language therapy appointment with their child would often just simply observe the session rather than getting too heavily involved. However, as a parent, nobody knows your child as well as you do. Nobody spends as much time with them as you do and nobody knows their daily routine as well as you do.

When early years children have a difficulty with their speech and/or language skills, as parents, we often over compensate for this by doing the talking for them, pre-empting what they want and by asking lots of questions to encourage them to talk. However, this can put them under pressure and reduce your child’s opportunities to communicate – something which they vitally need when they have a speech and/or language delay.

PCIT involves coaching and teaching you strategies to help support your child’s communication development. As a parent/carer, you have many more opportunities to communicate with your child in everyday life and during daily routines than a speech and language therapist does. The strategies taught during PCIT can therefore, be carried over in to these situations which helps you to support your child’s communication in an environment which is meaningful to them.

The structure of PCIT sessions.

At the start of the PCIT sessions, the speech and language therapist may wish to video you simply playing with your child. Afterwards, you might sit down and watch the interaction back together. This allows you to be involved in the analysis of the interaction rather than being just being told what sort of things are working and what could be improved. It also allows you to see how your interaction can affect your child’s communication and responses. You might even spot things you missed at the time!!
After watching the video, you might choose just one strategy to work on. This could involve reducing questions or using the right level of language for your child. These strategies can be practised during ‘special time’. This involves spending just 5 minutes a day simply playing with your child and using some of the strategies. This helps to build the parent-child relationship and allows you time to relax and just play whilst being able to practise some of the strategies. The speech and language therapist will ask you how you’ve been getting on each week and how you have found ‘special time’. Once you’ve mastered one strategy, you might choose another to practise!

Why is PCIT beneficial?

PCIT can help to:

– Improve your interaction with your child.
– Develop your child’s speech and language skills.
– Develop your child’s attention and listening skills.
– Develop your child’s social interaction skills e.g. using more eye contact.

If you have any questions or would like any more information on PCIT or our services please call us on: 0115981 9978

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