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Appreciating Small Triumphs in Speech Therapy

03 September 2014

I've always been a fairly optimistic and goal-centered person. Within these traits, though, I am focused on the small steps that it takes to accomplish each goal-- whether it's reaching the first quarter of a five mile-long run or eating healthy three days in a row. This is partially due to the fact that it means I am that much closer to my goal, but it also is a small accomplishment in itself, as it's better than if I hadn't made any progress at all.

This thought was recently brought about by an article I read from a fitness website. Like myself, the author, who ran one of the toughest competitions in the nation (the Ironman), came to the same realization: yes, we have these general goals, but we should also celebrate the mini triumphs that lead us to the end. In fact, she states it quite eloquently: "Sure, [the 7th mile] was a small milestone compared to my ultimate goal. Sure, other people around me could go farther (and faster). I knew I still had a very long way to go, but this moment was still something to be proud of-- something to celebrate.*" It is this mindset that I think we should take to our speech therapy sessions.

Each client presents his or her own challenges. For some, their goal may be accomplished in a few sessions, while others you may end up in the same spot as where you began 10 sessions prior. It is important to not only keep our morale up but our client's as well, especially in cases where minimal progress might be made in the long-term. Rather than focusing on our client's long-term goal of achieving X task over a number of sessions, focus more on the short-term goal. Furthermore, focus on the achievements from each session. Yes, maybe the client didn't correctly identify family member's pictures 80% of the time that session... but at least she got them right 40% of the time, or she was more alert or finally identified her brother.

It can definitely be difficult at times, but if we keep this frame of mind then there will be some progress in every session-- even if it's not directly related to the goal.

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