How to Do Speech Therapy at Home: Help Parents Help Their Children
SPEECH THERAPY ACTIVITIES AT HOME
We all know that parents and caregivers want the most for their children, but sometimes the parents of children with speech disorders need extra help in determining what types of speech therapy activities are best at home.
As Speech-Language Pathologists, it is our job to help parents understand the importance of practicing speech therapy at home. Remember, you’re in a perfect position to empower them by giving them the tools they need to supplement in-school treatment with activities that can be completed on weekends, in the evenings or during bonding times as a family.
Preparing a list of speech therapy ideas and offering suggestions will not only help parents and caregivers take ownership of their child’s progress at home, it will also help you show progress in the classroom.
Create A Speech Language “Home Activities” Library
To ensure that you are ready to help parents with speech therapy activities at home, make sure you have a shortlist of ideas to provide. Begin by collecting suggestions from therapy-related Internet sites/blogs or have them incorporate games to supplement home practice.
You can also ask parents to consult with you on the types of things that the family does at home to further incorporate new speech-based activities into the family’s routine. Keep in mind that each student is growing and learning at a different pace, so you don’t want to overwhelm the parents or the child.
Choose A Suitable Speech Therapy Activity
Providing home-based speech therapy activities geared for the child’s level of functioning is the ideal approach. Keep them quick, easy and fun and make sure to provide monolingual families with suggestions in both English and the family’s first language (whenever possible).
- Keep it Short with Speech Articulation
Remind caregivers that by practicing only 5 minutes per day they can help their child develop target sounds more quickly. Suggesting a shorter period of practice will help caregivers see that small daily sessions can easily fit into an already busy schedule.
Bonus Activity Idea: Make a coloring sheet of something the child enjoys. Tell the caregiver to take turns with the child, saying the target sound/syllable/word/phrase/sentence out loud for a specified number of repetitions per turn. Then, have the child choose one item to color, continuing until the page is complete.
- Make it Fun with Language
Suggest ideas for speech therapy at home that correspond with daily activities. How about talking about movies or TV shows that the family enjoys together. Incorporate who, why, how, when question words and ask the child to describe the smell of the foods they ate for dinner, or it’s texture, color and shape.
Other suggestions include caregivers asking their child to tell them one thing they did at school that day using descriptive vocabulary. Talk about recess, lunch or the lessons they learned. Incorporate their friends into the conversation by asking them to describe their friends, the clothes they were wearing or ask how much fun they had together.
Many caregivers appreciate suggestions that help them practice their child’s Speech/Language goals at home. Providing printed ideas for caregivers at an IEP meeting is just one way to empower them to extend learning after school hours.
After completing your section of the IEP discussion, hand the parents a shortlist of home activity suggestions written simply and without professional jargon. Remember to help parents and caregivers by making speech therapy activities easy and not overly difficult to practice. Soon, they’ll be helping their child learn and grow their speech skills without even thinking about it.
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