There are many things that you can do for your child at home to enhance communication. In fact, studies have proven that parent-led therapy will enhance the overall communication of their child. Follow along to find out more about at-home speech therapy and how you can easily incorporate activities into your daily routine to foster speech development.
What exercises are good for speech therapy at home?
Here are our top 5 tips parents can do with their children to facilitate communication skills/speech and language development in their home:
Read read read. When your toddler opens up a book, you can simply let them listen to you. This can be part of your bedtime routine and something that your child knows that they can look forward to. As they get older, point to individual pictures and label them. Keep the language your use simple. This is just one example of in-home speech therapy. You can use nursery rhymes or important themes from these books and create songs that enhance language skills.
Play games with them. Bring out their favorite floor game. Get on the floor and get the fun started. Make sure you eye level with them to hold their attention and take turns with them as they catch that fish in their favorite go-fish game or open up the pop-up toy that gets them excited to speak.
Produce narratives with your child as you are engaging in a task that involves many components. For example, when setting up the table for dinner, explain to the child what you are doing at every step from the kitchen to the table. Use those transition words as you tell the story as this can build a model for children of narrative sequence and structure. Make sure to provide descriptions of everything that you are doing to provide more language for your child, and place descriptive language on their radar. This will help them learn descriptive words, such as colors, while also having a model of how to elaborate on ideas during an oral narrative.
They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery, and it is also a great strategy to help the child who was told that they have a “speech impediment”. Make sure you have a mirror out and that your child is paying attention to the movement of your articulators so they can produce the target sounds in isolation and at the word level through your models and their imitation.
If there is a favorite app or video model from Youtube that your child can’t get enough of. You can provide speech therapy at home by using them to retell stories, construct oral narratives, practice speech sounds, use target vocabulary, take turns and so much more. If you are unsure of apps that are suitable for your child or that your child will be able to use in a speech-friendly productive way, ask the speech therapist they are working with, If they are currently not working with a speech therapist, ask their teachers.
Are these at-home speech therapy strategies enough? If not, can I self-refer my child for speech therapy?
While these strategies can support your child, if your child is experiencing a speech or language delay, it is important to either consult with your local pediatrician and/or contact a speech and language professional for a speech and language assessment. This assessment will determine if speech and language therapy is warranted at this time, or if remediation will occur on its own.
Is speech therapy covered by NHS?
NHS speech therapy is free of charge, so if you reside in the UK, contact your school staff/teacher or child’s doctor for a referral. In the US, if you qualify for speech and language therapy, the Department of Education in your state will offer coverage as well.
At-home speech therapy resources
Roberts, M., & Kaiser, A. (2011). The Effectiveness of Parent-Implemented Language Intervention: A Meta-Analysis. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 20, 180-199.