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  • Sam Skaaland MS CCC-SLP

The Impact of Self-Confidence on Progress in Speech Therapy

When a child is learning a new skill, caregivers, teachers and other professionals often consider what will be most impactful to help develop that new skill.  As a speech-language pathologist, I often work to create engaging activities and I focus on consistently providing praise for efforts and results.  One aspect of skill development that is sometimes overlooked is how self-confidence affects children’s motivation to learn and their persistence in completing difficult goals and tasks.  Here are three tips for promoting a child’s self-confidence in learning new skills.

  1. Encourage effort, and small victories.  Difficult tasks can be overwhelming, especially when a child hasn’t had many experiences in overcoming challenging tasks and experiences.  We can support their ability to persist by celebrating small steps towards a new skill, even when it seems like there is a long way to go to complete a goal.  Providing positive feedback when a child tries something new can be extremely motivating and helpful, even when they are not yet using the skill we are working towards. 

  2. Start by practicing the new skill in familiar situations.  When a child begins to learn a new skill, it can be tempting to try and help the child master that skill as quickly as possible. When it comes to learning a new skill, it can be challenging to use it consistently in unfamiliar places or situations.  By focusing on practicing the skill with familiar people and in calm situations first, we can help promote confidence in that area.

  3. Demonstrate persistence and positive self-talk.  As adults, we often take for granted our skills in persisting through tasks and the skills that we use to do so.  We can highlight and model these skills by speaking positively about our own efforts, even when we fail.  We can make simple positive statements when faced with uncomfortable or challenging tasks like “I can do it” or “I tried my best”.

There are many ways that we can support a child’s self-confidence in their ability to make change and learn new skills.  By encouraging small steps towards progress and reframing what success looks like, we can help to make acquiring new skills seem less daunting. When we encourage effort and positive self-talk, we can help foster self-confidence and growth.

Sam Skaaland MS. CCC-SLP



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