Making the Most of Practicing Speech Therapy at Home
Traditionally, speech therapy sessions with children are conducted during the school day, but with growing academic demands on schools, there isn’t always enough time during the day to accomplish everything that needs to be done. While online speech therapy and telepractice has helped many children receive the time needed for speech therapy, practicing speech and language skills shouldn’t end when a session is over.
Here is some advice you can give to parents for continuing therapy work at home:
As your child’s advocate and parent, it is essential to be involved in your child’s speech therapy. You can learn how to promote your child’s speech-language skills at home with these simple tips and the guidance of your child’s speech-language pathologist.
Keys to Good Conversation
Reporters know that asking the right questions can often lead to the best stories. In a typical day, you may ask your child dozens of questions but without knowing the right questions to ask; conversations can fall flat before they even begin. In many ways, you must think like a reporter if you want to get the story from your child.
Who, what, why, and how are a reporter’s best conversation starters and they can be yours too. Avoid asking your child questions that can be easily answered with a yes or no. The goal is to draw out conversation and encourage the child to dig deeper into their language skills in order to answer the questions.
Keeping Speech Therapy Practice Fun
At home, your job isn’t to replace the job of the speech therapist, and there doesn’t need to be any structured teaching. The more fun you can put into speech therapy practice at home, the better for you and your child.
In addition to keeping practice fun, remember to keep it short. Speech therapy practice shouldn’t take over the time you spend with your child. Short sessions of five to ten minutes are often the best as there’s less possibility of your child losing interest or frustrated.
Should your child become frustrated, don’t feel compelled to press on; take a break or change the activity. Let your child choose the activity and find a fun way to reward them for a job well done. Use real life situations like a visit to the zoo or the grocery story, be a real-world opportunity to practice their speech and language skills.
Be the Family that Reads Together
Reading with your child is one of the first introductions they get to speech and language. Books with made-up words, rhymes, and interesting adventures can open up a world of possibility for your child to work on their speech and language skills. If your child is reading, encourage them to read to you or take turns reading a page or paragraph.
For children of all ages, this is a great opportunity to use your reporter skills again. Ask your child questions about what’s happening in a picture or in the story. Allow them to make guesses as to what will happen next or find a similar situation that has happened in their life to relate the story to.
As a parent, you aren’t merely an observer of your child’s therapy. Using tools your child’s speech-language pathologist gives you will help you become an active player in your child’s speech therapy. By asking questions and removing the stress of success, therapy will become a natural part of your interaction with your child.