Home Activities for Speech
Home practice is a vital part of improving your child’s speech sound production. Whether your child is just beginning speech or nearing the completion of therapy, there is always something you can do at home to help. Below are some suggestions, just remember to have fun and be supportive!
1. When your child is just beginning speech or is learning a new target sound I will often send home worksheets labeled "speech homework" with words and/or sentences to practice that have already been worked on in therapy. I typically send home no more than 1 sheet per week. Ideally it is best to practice the targets daily (5-10 minutes at most). To make practicing more enjoyable, try incorporating various activities that are of interest to your child, such as saying a target before taking a turn at a board game, shooting a basket, rolling/throwing a ball, etc.
You may need to model the words for your child and provide assistance at first (If needed I will write suggestions of things for you to try at home to help elicit correct productions). When you feel your child is producing the targets with greater independence, please sign and return the homework so I may reward your child for his/her efforts.
2. When your child has mastered his/her sounds in target words/phrases/sentences and is now at the level of learning to generalize sounds to conversational speech there are several things you can do:
-Ask your child to read aloud (5-10 minutes) while you listen for correct sound production. Let them know that it is alright to make a mistake, but just as important to try to self-monitor and correct an error when it occurs to avoid confusing the listener. If they have difficulty doing this, then keep a list of the words that are misarticulated and when they are finished reading have them practice the words on the list several times.
-Set aside time each day for speech monitoring. Tell your child that you will be listening for clear speech during that time. When the time has elapsed have your child rate his/her speech 1-10 with 10 being perfect. Compare your child's rating with the rating you would give. If your child has difficulty recognizing errors, give examples of words that were mispronounced (keep a list if necessary) and have your child practice when finished, try not to interrupt and correct your child during the conversation.
-Allow your child to make telephone calls to order pizza, talk to grandma, answer the phone, etc. Remind them to focus on using clear speech. This is also a good opportunity to work on proper phone etiquette.
Home Activities for Language
Home practice is a vital part of improving your child’s language skills. We all lead very busy lives, but by incorporating more language and your child of course into your daily activities, not only will you be improving your child’s skills, but also have the added benefit of more quality time spent together. Below are some suggestions, please choose those that work best for your family and modify as needed.
1 Read books: Visit the library or use books you have at home already. Take turns reading or shadow read, ask questions throughout the story (don’t just wait until the end), predict what will happen next, have your child try to retell the story, maybe add to or change the ending, etc.
2. Play car games: While driving in the car use it as a mini-school and take turns being the teacher. To help with phonemic awareness skills: play rhyming games (e.g., Which word doesn’t rhyme: cat, cow, hat); think of words that contain certain sounds (e.g., I’m thinking of word that starts with the “b” sound and you can throw it, or I’m thinking of a word that has the “o” sound in the middle and you put ice cream on it, etc.); practice blending sounds to create words (e.g., b-u-s). To help with expressive language: name items in a category (e.g., Let’s name as many fruits as we can on the way to the grocery store today), play “I Spy” by describing objects; create a silly story by taking turns adding sentences, etc.; just spend time talking.
3. Get cooking: Have your child help you in the kitchen (as appropriate). Following recipes is great for practicing such skills as direction following, learning math/science concepts, and describing (e.g., discuss the way the food items/utensils look, feel, smell, taste, sound).
4. Who’s the boss: Take turns with your child giving directions for everyday activities. By taking turns it will give him/her a chance to practice both following and giving specific directions. Keep the directions specific and no more than 3-steps at a time, and encourage your child to do the same (e.g., Put your empty glass in the kitchen sink, go put on a pair of socks and meet me at the front door).
5. Arts and Crafts: If this is something both you and your child enjoy, craft projects are another great way to improve direction following skills, concept knowledge (e.g., through, beside, around, few, between, straight, half, etc.) and vocabulary/describing skills.
6. Game night: Turn off the television and devote time to playing games. Games in and of themselves are great for practicing skills such as: counting, turn-taking, direction following, and many are geared to teaching other specific skills. You can also incorporate skills your child is learning in therapy while playing the game (e.g., before her turn she has to answer a wh- question, create a sentence, tell which object doesn’t belong with the others, discuss how two items are similar/different, tell the plural form of a noun, etc.). Your child and you will enjoy the time spent together talking, interacting, and having fun!
7. Play clue games: Give the clue and the child guesses the item. Then let your child give the clue and you try to guess the item.
8. Story teller: Tell stories about sets of toys such as dolls, trucks, dinosaurs. Model the ideas for your child and ask them to add to the story. Make up a new ending each time or retell familiar stories.
9. Be a scientist: Observe nature or animals and keep a log and/or draw pictures of your observations. Then try to name and classify the items if possible.
10. Create a schedule: Spend some time in the morning discussing the day. If your child wants she can write down the schedule you discuss. Be sure to use order words (e.g., first, second, next, last, before, after, etc.). In the evening have your child review the day’s events, trying to recall the correct sequence and compare it to your intended “daily schedule”.
11. Quality time: Spend time together listening and talking to each other. Talk about different feelings that a person may have in different situations. Discuss alternative ways to handle new or challenging situations, then role play or practice these.