Parents frequently ask us: “How much time do parents work on their child’s speech and language goals at home? What are parents’ roles and responsibility in speech therapy?”
In short: Parents should work on speech therapy skills daily with their children.
It doesn’t mean you have to sit down as soon as you get home and start drilling them with flashcards and work.
Though this may seem daunting and exhausting after a long day, the more frequent your child is exposed to certain skills, means the more the skill learning carryover, which is the goal of therapy!
Your child’s therapist should be giving you “homework” and, if not, please request ideas and strategies from them.
Search for more ideas on our website:
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You should also be sitting in on therapy sessions, if your child is participating in early intervention services.
If your child only gets speech at school, please make sure you reach out to the speech pathologist frequently for updates to see if there’s anything you can do at home.
Every opportunity is a speech opportunity! This means the smallest tasks, such as brushing your teeth, can be a chance to sneak in language, directions, asking questions, and having your child elaborate on things they say.
What can you do at home?
I worked as an early intervention therapist for seven years prior to my private practice setting, and I can tell you that the children whose parents are actively involved and participate move through therapy faster and see quicker results. These parents constantly asked me for progress notes and for things they could work on at home! It may seem overwhelming, but chances are, you are already doing some of the exercises that I’m going to talk about.
Use these ideas to start working on speech at home
- Read to your child for 5-10 minutes before bed. Make sure you are pointing, having your child point to specific objects and asking questions. This reinforces their verbal output (expressive language), as well as what they are understanding (receptive language).
- Narrate your day to your child. Use simple, easy to understand language, and make sure you are modeling clear, concise speech. When you are cooking, talk about what you are doing (e.g. “mommy is stirring the soup”). When driving, you can say things like, “We just turned left.”
- Play games. Playing games is one of the most fun and interactive ways to engage in language. It works on social language, such as turn-taking, their ability to follow directions, and gives them plenty of chances to work on speech sounds.
- Get together with family and friends. This gives other people in your child’s life the opportunity to engage and talk to them. These opportunities increase the carryover of skills that you and the therapist are working to achieve, allows your child to be exposed to different words and contexts, and lets you know how easily understood their speech is to other people.
- Create a 5-minute routine with Speech Blubs. The app uses a “kids teaching kids” approach to learning. Your child can imitate their peers and gets another exciting way to model the words. Download Speech Blubs and start practicing now!
So, you are with your child far more than the therapist is, which is why parental involvement in therapy is so very important. Every time is a good time to work on speech!
Stacie Bennett has been practicing as a Speech-Language Pathologist for the past ten years. Currently, she works full-time at a vocational high school in New Jersey and have her own private practice. Feel free to contact Stacie if you have any questions!