Speech Therapy Tips 1

Support your child’s speech therapy at home – Tips from a speech therapist

As a parent or guardian you are a critical part of the speech therapy team, along with your child, the speech language pathologist, your child’s pediatrician and teachers. And if your child is in speech therapy you’ve probably been assigned daily tasks to do at home to reinforce the speech therapy sessions. These home tasks are a critical part of your child’s speech therapy, and you don’t want to go too long without practice. Speech language pathologist Clare Gastineau shares the following suggestions for family members when working with their child at home:

Tips for supporting speech therapy at home

1. Short, sweet and often

Practice for short periods of time, multiple times per day. Multiple five minute sessions throughout the day are easier to fit in than a long session and less likely to result in frustration.

2. Give the gift of time

If your child has a hard time understanding directions or questions, allow several seconds for a response before repeating the direction/question.

3. Limit gesturing

Try not to use gestures/pointing the first time you give the direction/question.  By not using gestures initially, kids can practice really listening to the words rather than relying on the visual/gesture cues to follow the direction.  Make sure to give them enough time process what you’ve said.

4. Be pleasantly persistent!

Remember that your child is working on something that is hard. It will take some time to learn the new skill. Take a break or move on and try again later if your child becomes too upset.

5. Acknowledge and encourage

If you’re working on imitation or saying words, it’s OK if your child’s attempts don’t sound exactly right at first. Acknowledge and encourage their attempts. Encourage your child to look at your mouth as you say the word.

6. Engage beyond the speech therapy exercises

Engage your child in activities that provide a natural opportunity to communicate whether it’s cooking or gardening with your child or playing or reading. Keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming posts which share books and games our speech therapists suggest to encourage speech language development.

7. Adapt speech therapy exercises to your family life

Talk to your child’s speech therapist about activities that can focus around your child or family’s favorite activities. For example, you can do exercises while you cook together or in the car if you have lots of time in the car together going to one or other event.

8. Observe and question

At home, you are your child’s teacher of language and role model. If you can observe your child’s speech therapist in action take tips on how to engage with your child around speech. If you’re not sure on the purpose or how to perform an activity, ask. Sometimes a video can be a useful prompt. Your child’s speech therapist may be able to direct you to resources to help.

To access services call (520) 324-2075 or fax referral to (520) 324-6162

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