Home Speech Practice: How critical is it for your child’s success?
Do you want to make the most of your child’s speech therapy sessions? Then visiting a speech-language therapist once or twice a week in an office setting may not be your best bet. Speech and language development takes practice, persistence, and repetition. The reinforcement of speech and language skills is incredibly important for your child's progress. It can help them achieve their communication goals and ultimately bid farewell to speech therapy.
Like any other skill, speech and language learning cannot be mastered if you only practice it 30-60 minutes a week. A little bit of practice every day, reinforces these skills at home and can improve results. Home practice promotes the growth of speech and language goals.
Best of all, it's not that hard! Speech practice at home doesn't require a long time commitment, or any of the fancy materials and techniques. It may simply include making small changes to one’s everyday interactions. In this article, we're going to talk about why home speech practice is important, and provide some tips on how to make the most of speech therapy with home speech practice.
Benefits of home speech practice
In a home setting, children can relax and focus on what they are learning. When speech therapy skills are practiced in this natural and safe environment they are more likely to stick with the child for a longer time period.
This is also why online therapy is more effective in producing favorable results for speech-language therapy. Working with a therapist in the comfort of their own homes can also boost the child’s confidence and enhance learning.
Use of everyday objects
Speech language therapy practice at home uses objects and toys your child frequently sees and uses throughout their day to day routines. The child might feel more comfortable and less intimidated when things from their surroundings are used to teach new skills.
Presence of a parent improves outcomes
Learning a new skill can be intimidating for a child. However practicing these skills with a familiar face of a parent or a caregiver might make acquiring a new skill less stressful for the child.
Proponents of tele-therapy also suggest that unlike in person sessions, online sessions allow parents, caregivers, and siblings to participate in the therapeutic process. This puts the child at ease. In addition to that, parents can observe the therapist at work and learn techniques to support their child at home.
Speech-language therapists recognize that consistency is key when building new skills in speech-language development. When any person, a child or adult, meets a goal with their SLT, it's important to maintain the progress they've already achieved and repetition at home can help ensure that the new skills 'stick' with the child.
Time between sessions with no practice, might lead to regression. This means that your child could lose a previously acquired speech or language skill. Practice at home helps to prevent this from happening.
Skill Carry- Over
Skills learnt during sessions are not always carried over into the real-world with the same level of accuracy. That is because the environment of the session can never simulate the non-therapy, everyday environment. That's why it's essential to practice these skills outside of therapy and in one’s natural environment to ensure that the skills learned are carried over to the home environment.
Therefore the use of tele-therapy enhances the chances of skill carry over by many folds. Since the therapy and non-therapy environments are the same for the child, skills learnt during the session are easily applied in the post-session situations.
Tips for Home Speech Therapy Practice
At Valeo we believe in the powerful combination of online speech therapy and parental support. When these two factors are combined, your child’s potential becomes limitless. As a parent it is important to understand that your child will benefit the most from speech therapy if they keep practicing at home the skills that they have learned in the session. There are plenty of fun and engaging activities that the entire family can enjoy together to help your little one’s speech and language development. Here are a number of fantastic tips and activities to get the most out of speech therapy!
- Parent-led therapy
With the increasing amount of games, activities and other resources available online, you can easily work on the speech-language skills of your children at home. You can also ask your SLT to provide you with some worksheets and activities that you can work through at your own pace at home with your child. Start working on skills that the child has recently mastered (for reinforcement). If the child seems ready for a new skill, move to games, worksheets and activities for these newer skills. You can find vocabulary building and speech sound activities in Valeo’s resources.
- Make learning interesting with videos
If you are working with a child on a particular skill, a video with instructions or demonstrations of how to do it can also help. You can find parenting strategies and resources online that might be useful for families. In addition to Valeo’s very own youtube channel you can follow peachie speechie for practicing speech sounds, Walkie talkie for speech therapy related activities or teach me to talk to help toddlers and young preschoolers with language delays.
- Stay updated with weekly newsletter/blog subscriptions
Get access to weekly subscriptions of newsletters, blogs or resources for children and parents of special needs children. With these weekly subscriptions you can get access to fun activities that will boost your child's speech, language and communication skills. You can follow these blogs to keep updated: speechroomnews, mommy speech therapy, a perfect blend and play on words.
- The Power of Play
Play is such an integral part of a child’s development as it affects several areas of growth such as social skills, communication development, cognition, problem solving and reasoning skills etc. Play enables children to practice the language skills they have learnt and build on their expanding vocabulary. So While they are playing with toys and games, take the time to sit with them and use modeling and pretend play to practice skills learned in the sessions.
- Model interactions
Parents are a child’s first teacher and serve as a primary role model for them. Multiple studies have shown that the quality of interaction with parents plays a formative role in a child’s early learning. The way parents or caretakers converse with their children is one of the strongest predictors of their child’s speech-language development. Your daily interactions with your child are absolutely important to their growth. Make sure to talk clearly, appropriately and converse the way you want them to interact.
- Active Listening
As a parent, it can be very easy to get caught up in the hoopla of the day and not have a full conversation with your child. Try to show them that you are an active listener by asking them questions that relate to the conversation they are having with you. Interrupting the child and expecting quicker replies may make the child anxious. Let them work it out without any pressure. On the other hand don't be too focused or the child may become uncomfortable. Try to keep the conversation natural and don't add pressure by demanding perfection.
- Read, Read, and Read
Reading is crucial for speech-language development. Introduce your child to books from very early on. A consistent habit of reading improves vocabulary by a lot. Using books with colorful visuals and dynamic creatures attracts children to develop a reading habit. At bedtime do dramatic readings of books with your child to keep them interested in reading.
Allow the child to pick out a favorite story that they love repeating. This repetition will aid vocabulary learning skills of the child. Try pre- and post-reading explanations and activities to make it easy for your child to understand and make sense of whatever they have read.
- Sing Along
Children love to sing and allowing them to sing (Parent and SLT approved) songs or rhymes can encourage them to learn new words, practice active listening and memory, and improve their ability to express themselves verbally.
If you want to make the most of your speech therapy sessions and want to opt for online speech therapy, consider us. At Valeo we offer speech therapy online from UK’s highly qualified therapists. If you would like to learn more, or discuss your child’s specific needs, and how you can play a role in their speech and language development please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for a quick consultation call.