“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.” – Arthur Ashe
Can I do speech therapy at home?
Absolutely! When considering speech therapy, you may only imagine working with a trained professional – which is highly recommended – but a single session per week can only do so much. To achieve the greatest results, it’s also important to do your homework; just like anything else, the results you achieve are directly related to the quality of work you put forth. The most effective SLPs will teach you exercises that you can do between sessions designed to enhance the progress that has already been made. When integrating these activities into your daily routine, they’ll become second nature. Below you will find some quick tips to get you started!
Talk. Talk. Talk.
Learning can be complicated, but in this case the key is repetition. Sooner or later, your brain begins to pick up on the pattern or process. The memories build up like bricks in a house, as you construct your new skill. Some people do this quickly, others slowly. The same is true for speech.
Engaging in frequent conversation is perhaps the easiest method for integrating speech therapy at home. In-person communication is the most effective way to learn, so turn off the TV and tell a story and ask questions to improve comprehension and communication. Ask your child questions about what’s happening in the story. Who is the brave knight? Where does the big bad monster live? Doing so will help boost their imagination as well as their language. But try to avoid Yes and No questions. Keep things open-ended: the aim is to get them talking and thinking. Or if they’re not in the story-telling mood, have a chat about their day? Or their favorite book or show. The conversation should be natural, as you encourage your child to express their ideas openly.
Focus on Fundamentals
You don’t start learning to walk by running a marathon. Nor do we learn to speak by giving a keynote speech or reading the works of Shakespeare. We don’t even start with a paragraph. Instead, we break speech down to its building blocks and then head out from there. As the saying goes, a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.
The building blocks of speech are speech sounds or phonemes. Practicing these will create a foundation of good speech. They are also vital in later life, as there is a crucial connection between speech and early literacy. This can have effects that ripple across a lifetime.
But how to practice speech sounds in an engaging way? Repetitive games are an easy way to practice sounds repeatedly. Play a hopscotch game and have your child repeat the sound before each hop, skip, or jump. Place blocks into a tower, saying the sound with each block. How many blocks can they place before the tower comes tumbling down? Or hold a funny pose and say the sound as many times as they can before they fall over. Once they’ve mastered their sounds, do the same thing with sentences. As before the key is repetition and practice. Keeping it fun just makes the whole exercise easier.
Reading out Loud
SLPs cannot stress the importance of reading books to your child (or to yourself) enough! Reading cultivates comprehension, expression, vocabulary, memory, and knowledge. Reading can be fun! Don’t dictate how the reading occurs, let your child read in his own way, talk about and describe the pictures, or even act out what is happening in the story. Parents can help by using a variety of descriptive words when talking about the book, highlighting important words, asking additional questions about the story, and explaining anything not understood.
By reading, you are creating connections between all the skills they’ve been practicing. The speech sounds are connected to the words on the page. These, in turn, are connected to the story and conversation. The help and guidance of a professional therapist will help improve the results of any home speech therapy. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss any problems and get you the help you need. We’re only an email or phone call away!