What can I do as a parent to help my child succeed in speech therapy?
The best thing to do is incorporate what is done in therapy into your home environment. However, many parents feel like they don’t have the time to work with their child on specific activities given by your therapist.
Perhaps it is a challenge to dedicate time for articulation drills with your child. Instead, you can point out specific words used in your environment that have the targeted sounds. Produce the target sounds louder in words to point out the sound. Have your child repeat you and encourage the correct production. It is okay if they don’t produce it correctly on the first try. Reward your child for trying by simply saying “good try”. Always stay positive! Your child will be more willing to try if you reward them for their effort.
How can language skills be incorporated into my home environment?
Language encompasses many different aspects, and your child’s development goes through many stages. One important thing to remember is always stay one step ahead of your child. For example, if your child is not using words yet, have your child use sign language, imitate words, or give your child two choices to encourage spontaneous single words. Always build off of your child’s language. If your child is using two-word phrases, encourage three-word phrases by modeling three-or-more-word phrases and have your child imitate the phrases.
Older children may use many words to communicate, however, they may have a hard time processing information. With older children, it is great to explain why you do things. For example, imagine one parent has had a hard day at work and has told your child they cannot play right now. Take the opportunity to describe the parent’s body language (posture, eyes, etc.) and explain, “I don’t think she wants to play right now because she is tired. Maybe ask her later after she has time to rest.”
If another person did not respond the way your child wanted them to respond due to your child’s behavior, be sure to explain why this occurred. Help your child repair the communication if it broke down.
Carry-over of therapy skills to the home is very important. There are lots of simple ways you can incorporate your child’s specific goals into your environment without having to do a ton of work. Just ask your treating therapist for a few recommendations and new ideas!
Always remember to allow time for your child to be a child too! Everyone needs a break at times. There is such a thing as too much work! Incorporate carry-over activities based on how your child responds. If your child needs a break, allow him/her to have one!
Kelly Benson is a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist with Aspire Therapy