Have you ever been thought to your-self that “life gets in the way?” Well, you are not alone. It is normal for parents who work full time jobs to feel like the day just flies by. However, most parents do not realize the importance of making practicing speech and language at home. Practicing speech and language therapy can mean all the difference in your child’s progress. Practicing at home does not need to be a major time commitment, however, practicing for five or ten minutes every day will benefit your child more than practicing only one per week.
- Therapy becomes more effective- higher outcome
- Family feels that they are involved in their child’s success
- Family increases their knowledge about child’s development
- Family feels more confident with child’s communication abilities
- Client has a better long term support system
- Promotes carry over
Why is it important
Why is practice important? Well, the more your child is exposed to the skill, the faster he/she will catch on. When the SLP sends practice work home for the child, the parent can work together to complete work that may be challenging. This will allow the parent to understand what the child is working on and how to work on it differently at home. Homework activities provide opportunities for the child to practice his/her goals in a more natural environment with the encouragement and support from family. It is important for the parent to collaborate with the Speech-Language Pathologist that is working with the child to ensure the same cues and prompts are given at home, as they are in therapy.
Some parents may decrease the amount of home practice due to positive feedback from his/her therapist. However, even if your child has met his/her goals, the last goal of speech therapy should be carrying over that skill to other settings. It is important for parents to maintain practicing at to ensure that the child’s skill is not only mastered in the therapy room. The patient may be showing improvement in the therapy room without carrying that improvement over to other settings during everyday life such as home, school, and socializing with friends.
*The good news: home practice can be fun!
Practicing at home does not have to be a set of drills before play time. Parents can incorporate home practice while participating in activities in daily life. For an example, the parent can incorporate language, articulation, and fluency at a food store, restaurant, playground, or the pool. The main key to is to have fun!!
What can help motivate child at home:
- Providing a model: Models will help child visualize and understand the task they are being asked to do.
- Feedback: Feedback is beneficial for children to help them understand what they are doing wrong, and how to fix it.
- Reinforcement: Providing reinforcement will increase the child’s motivation and self-confidence.
- Sticker chart: A sticker chart can be used as a reward system. The parent can tell the child that he/she will receive a sticker for every time he/she practices. The parent will then set a goal for the child to have 4 stickers on the chart before the end of the week. If the child has 4 stickers, he/she will get a reward.
- Schedule: Making a schedule will allow the child to fit practice speech and language into his/her schedule. This will help them stay consistent and ensure they are practicing.
- Incorporating speech and language in daily routines: Children tend to feel most comfortable in their homes because there is less pressure. By incorporating speech and language in daily routines, parents can feel involved in their child’s progress and see faster results.
-Lauren LaGreca, M.A, CF-SLP