Four struggles parents face when out and about with children with speech, language, and communication difficulties
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Four struggles parents face when out and about with children with speech, language, and communication difficulties

A man and a woman hug a young girl at a table
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You (as parents) often describe yourselves as being under constant pressure and stress when looking after your children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). You may find going out to do the simplest of tasks a challenge. And you will try to avoid social situations out of fear and anxiety. One of the most important factors to you is having like-minded people who understand your position as a parent with a young person with additional needs. Let’s look at some of the challenges you face and how I can support you and your family.

1. Challenging behaviour and going out to the shops

When your child displays challenging behaviour and won’t go into a shop without buying a toy that they insist on having, it can be tough on your family. You see people around you staring as you try to manage the situation. They do not understand the pressures you face, or that the simplest of tasks are a huge challenge.

I can support you by giving strategies to use when out and about. I know that using visuals is important for your child. They may not understand or take in language when they are in a heightened state of anxiety or feeling overwhelmed. You could print pictures of the places you’re going to and put them on an easily accessible chain. Then you could use that chain when out and about at the shops. You may want to introduce a visual timetable at home. That way your child or young person understands where they are going. This may lessen their anxiety and subsequent behaviour.

2. Your child is not able to communicate their needs to an unfamiliar communication partner

When your child has difficulty communicating to an unfamiliar person it can be hard to manage. You feel yourself explaining your situation repeatedly. I can provide your child with individualised strategies or communication aids which support your child to communicate with both familiar and unfamiliar communication partners. We’ll work together to find which communication methods work in different situations and how your child will use these to help their independence.

3. Being overwhelmed

Your child or young person may easily be overwhelmed which may contribute to behaviour changes. I’ll work with your family to understand what the behaviour means, looking at what happened before and what happened afterwards. We’ll not only look at the behaviour but at the environment as well. This can inform how you can support your child or young person in the future, to reduce sensory stimuli (if needed) and for them to feel emotionally regulated.

4. People avoid engaging with you

One of the hardest things as a parent is for others to avoid you. You see them crossing the street because they don’t know what to say to you. All you want is them to accept you, to maintain your identity as a person and not as a SEND parent. I can support you emotionally. I can give you advice on local support networks where you can find other parents in a similar situation.

We know the stresses that being a parent with a child with SEND comes with. Please know I am always here to support you, to find solutions so that when you’re next out and about. Your experience will be a little easier and you’ll feel less isolated.

Improve your child’s communication, confidence, reduce overwhelm and feel supported here.


Find a speech and language therapist for your child in London. Are you concerned about your child’s speech, feeding or communication skills and don’t know where to turn? Please contact me and we can discuss how I can help you or visit my services page.

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