How to Incorporate Speech Therapy into Your Child’s Day
Oct 24 2018
Parents play a critical role in their child’s speech development–even if their child is seeing a speech therapist. A speech-language pathologist, or “speech therapist,” can help your child overcome communication challenges, but it’s the work that’s done at home that truly makes a difference.
If your child is seeing a speech therapist, there are a number of ways you can incorporate speech therapy into your child’s day continue to nurture their language development.
Working with a Speech Therapist
The first step to incorporating speech therapy into your child’s day is to work closely with their speech therapist, who will provide at-home exercises, and advise on best practices for ensuring consistent improvement. A speech therapist will also
- Set language development goals;
- Design daily speech-building activities;
- Develop progress reports; and
- Determine next steps.
At Home Exercises
A speech therapist will provide a series of progressive exercises you can do with your child at home. These activities can be done at bathtime, during meal preparation, on fun field trips, and more. Establish a routine that incorporates both play time and a time for doing the exercises, and be sure to reinforce good speaking and communication habits with positive feedback. In addition to performing at-home exercises, it’s also important to encourage your child to speak and express themselves as often as possible. Here are some ways you can engender meaningful communication with your child throughout the day:
- Ask open-ended questions: Ask your child questions that will help them use their vocabulary to describe objects and express their feelings. Avoid questions that can be answered with “yes” or “no,” but instead, ask them to describe what they see, what they are feeling, or what they are experiencing.
- Stay informed about what they’re learning in school: If your child is attending school, ask them about what they learned in class – explore the topics together and ask them questions about what they think and how they feel about what they are learning.
- Read together and ask questions about the story: Story time as an excellent opportunity to encourage communication. Ask your child what they like about the story, what they think is happening or is going to happen next. Asking questions like these also helps improve the child’s cognitive function, reasoning, memory, and problem solving skills.
- Listen: When your child is speaking, be sure to listen. Avoid firing off multiple questions, and allow your child to finish their stream of thought. Be patient if they have trouble finding words or articulating them.