7 Ways to Maintain Speech Therapy Progress at Home
Speech and language development takes persistence, repetition and lots of practice. If your child has been to speech therapy, you’ve likely been given homework to complete between sessions. Making a habit of practicing and reinforcing those speech and language skills can be incredibly beneficial to your child’s success.
So many easy speech therapy activities fit seamlessly into your child’s daily routine. All you’ll need to do is make small but purposeful changes to help them maintain speech therapy progress at home.
Why Is It Important to Maintain Speech Therapy Outside of Professional Sessions?
There are many benefits of maintaining speech therapy outside of professional sessions:
There are many activities for speech therapy at home that can help maintain progress made during professional sessions. When a child meets a goal, it’s important to continue practicing what they’ve achieved. Repetition can help ensure that new skill sticks.
Practicing at home can prevent your child from regressing and losing a recently acquired skill. Making progress can help your child stay motivated to continue working on their communication.
In professional speech-language sessions, your therapist will create a treatment plan tailored to your child’s strengths and areas to improve in. Overall, these plans will include goals to help maintain structure. For instance, short-term goals might need to be met within a few months.
Several of these short-term objectives can build up to one long-term goal, which your child should achieve before completing speech therapy. Practicing these skills at home can help your child progress faster in class and graduate sooner.
Helps Transfer Skills Into Daily Routine
It’s common for children to perform differently in a structured therapy environment versus their home setting. Children might have an easier time mastering specific skills with a trained speech-language pathologist. In professional settings, they are prompted through tasks and cues when extra help is required, with the therapist reducing these cues as the child gains independence.
That said, not all skills transfer into daily life with the same accuracy. That’s why it’s helpful to practice skills at home so you can monitor your child’s progress and communicate feedback to the speech-language pathologist (SLP). The SLP can adjust the treatment plan and offer tricks to help your child apply their skills to everyday life. Research shows collaborating with your child’s SLP can provide better outcomes for their development.
7 Tips to Maintain Speech Therapy Progress at Home
Here are some ways to improve speech therapy progress at home, including tips and speech therapy activities that can make learning more enjoyable for your child:
1. Start Small
With school, work and home life, our lives are so busy these days. It’s understandable to feel overwhelmed when you need to fit one more thing in. But it doesn’t have to feel that way. Depending on how much time you and your child have, your SLP can recommend practices that fit your schedule.
Start small with easy or fun activities that fit into your everyday routines and practice in little chunks. Just a few minutes a day can go a long way. Provide motivating rewards after your child completes speech therapy activities to reinforce their good habits.
2. Practice With Speech Blubs
A fun way to maintain speech therapy progress at home is using the Speech Blubs app. The exercises are engaging, and the app is user-friendly, making it easy to incorporate the practice into your everyday routine. Each activity teaches first sounds, words and sentences so your child can learn to speak confidently and with more ease.
Professionals design the questions, and the result can tell if your child is developmentally on par with their age group. You can even send results to your email to show them to your SLP.
3. Try Oral Motor Exercises
Oral motor exercises can make enjoyable activities for speech therapy at home. These exercises help increase the range of movement in your child’s tongue, lips and jaws to help with speech and swallowing. When doing these exercises, it’s important to note any concerns or progress with your SLP.
A few oral motor exercises include:
- Making silly faces, such as sticking the tongue from side to side or making big smiles
- Blowing bubbles
- Using colorful or squiggly straws
- Licking ice cream, lollipops or popsicles
4. Play Speech and Language Development Games
Other fun games to play with your child to maintain progress include:
- Playing house: All you need to do for this activity is to let your child be the parent, and you pretend to be the child. Walk around your home and discuss each room’s furniture and items in these swapped roles.
- Watching movies: Another easy game to encourage speech and language development is watching a movie with your child and having them guess what might happen next. Discuss the characters and ask questions about each one. You might even act out a scene together or create a new ending.
- Singing songs: Singing simple songs like nursery rhymes with your child can help them learn the rhythm of speech.
5. Try Articulation Therapy Activities
Articulation games can be fun to help your child improve their ability to say words and sounds clearly. You could try many activities at home, including matching words and sounds, reading exercises or tongue twisters.
You might try an articulation scavenger hunt on days when you have good weather. Make a list of the target articulation sounds and have your child say each word while you look for them outside. You can do this fun activity indoors, as well. Select the sounds based on your child’s knowledge and the items around you.
6. Work on Expanding Vocabulary
Expanding the vocabulary is a fun way to encourage your child’s development. One study found that reading aloud to your child and encouraging storytelling could help them with vocabulary, spoken language, creativity and concepts. Pick up their favorite book or try something they’ve never read before — storytelling and reading books are fun ways to improve speech therapy progress at home.
7. Make the Most of Every Speech Therapy Opportunity
Speech practice doesn’t require fancy techniques — all you need to do is make a few additions to your daily routine. Take advantage of every speech therapy opportunity. For example, go grocery shopping together and have your child discuss different items’ sizes, shapes and weights. Discuss what you will buy, how many things you need and what you will make with the ingredients.
If you go to a restaurant, discuss the food items on the menu. Group the foods into categories, such as fruits, grains, desserts, vegetables or appetizers. Then, pick out an item and have your child decide on its category.
Contact Kids SPOT for Pediatric Speech Therapy Services Today
There are so many fun ways to improve speech therapy progress at home. Practicing their speech therapy between professional sessions can help your child maintain progress, build skills and make those skills stick. Professional speech therapy services can benefit your child in many ways, from building independence to improving vocal quality.
The compassionate, knowledgeable SLPs at Kids SPOT will create a treatment plan that fits your child’s speech therapy goals and needs. We will collaborate with you and your child every step of the way, helping you incorporate speech therapy activities into your daily routine.
To learn more or discuss your child’s treatment plan, we invite you to contact us today.