How can you ensure speech therapy treatment is the most effective? If you are new to speech-language therapy with your child, you may be wondering how as the parent or guardian, you can help. The best way is to implement techniques that support speech-language development at home. Along with creating and sticking to a plan that your speech-language pathologist (SLP) has created, we compiled a list of ways you can practice speech therapy at home.
Break down words into smaller pieces
Starting small and working your way up to full word pronunciations is a valuable technique for practicing speech therapy at home. You can use this technique once you identify the specific sounds that your child struggles to pronounce. It’s important to work with your child’s SLP to identify the right sounds to work on for your child’s age. You can then demonstrate this sound, like the “f” sound, and have your child repeat it. Always make sure your child is watching your face as you model the sound for them. Once you have made progress at this level, you can try the sound in syllables, such as “fa,” “fo,” “fe,” etc. Once your child has mastered the sound in syllables, try some simple words, such as “fun, phone, farm, etc.”
Reading is another excellent way to help your child’s speech and language skills grow. Reading is an excellent opportunity to have your child practice using their good speech sounds. Instead of reading each word on the page, follow your child’s lead, and talk about what you see in each picture. It’s also good to remember that you can start reading with your child as soon as possible, and you should start reading with your child at birth. Reading is the best way to build early language and literacy skills and help prepare them for later academic success.
Follow your child’s lead
Following your child’s lead is a great way to work on speech and language at home. Focus on what they are looking at, playing with, or seem interested in. Use short sentences to talk about what you and your child see, hear, or feel (i.e., You want the red ball. I will get the red ball, and we can play. Should the ball go up or down? You want the ball up. Here it goes up, etc.). Talk about what you and your child are doing throughout your day while your child is near you so they can learn new words and use these new words in their vocabulary.
While practicing at home with your child, it is essential to remain calm and focus on having FUN while targeting speech and language skills at home! Showing frustration or pushing your child beyond their comfort zone can cause stress and lessen their confidence.
Praise small victories
Remember to celebrate the small wins throughout your child’s speech therapy treatments and at-home practice. This positive reinforcement can reassure your child that their efforts are worth it.
With these small techniques and activities, you can help your child progress faster in speech therapy. Just make sure to continue following the plan of your speech-language pathologist. If you have questions or are looking for more specific activities, consult a professional and work with a speech-language pathologist. Above all, stay supportive and patient as your child continues to learn and grow.