The ability to process information and then respond can be impacted by sleep, stress, how active someone has been during the day, or a multitude of reasons. Children that process slower or that have difficulty finding a word they want to use coupled with outside factors may have a more challenging time taking in information. Being mindful of this within our practice can make a difference for promoting increased independence from our little ones.
I think it’s worth exploring how we can have increased mindfulness in our practice. Being someone that can be a tad slower to process information I can speak from personal experience as well as my observations over the past 20 years. We are often quick to fill in a moment of silence when a child does not respond right away. We do it with adults as well. (Pause…I would encourage persons to explore why they are so quick to jump in.)
I have had families become upset or anxious if a session isn’t “stellar” but the reality is we all deserve a break when we do not perform optimally. I look for patterns in my sessions and I encourage families to do the same. If we have a month worth of challenging sessions then we need to look at what we are doing, our own behavior, the child’s sleep, eating, pooping, (Yes, I said poop! The gut is so important to think about!) etc.
If you want the child to be independent with a skill allow time to demonstrate a response. I often hear, they can imitate the word but are not using the word spontaneously. We have to ask ourselves, are we providing that opportunity? We as clinician’s can teach an expectation within an activity with the required prompts and models. Then, fade the prompts at the child’s pace. And remember, verbal prompts are harder to fade than visual/gestural prompts.