The first step in looking for speech therapy at home is to identify the type of speech problem your child has. This may involve consulting with a speech-language pathologist (SLP) or speech therapist, who can provide a correct diagnosis based on their training, knowledge, experience, and tools.
Once you have a diagnosis, begin practicing speech therapy exercises at home. Online resources and apps can be helpful tools for parents who are engaging in speech therapy with their children.
Nevertheless, here are the free 15+ tips to help you make the most of your at-home speech therapy sessions:
- Establish a routine.
- Keep it fun.
- Be patient.
- Focus on specific goals.
- Use visual aids.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat.
- Provide positive reinforcement.
- Involve the whole family.
- Take breaks.
- Seek professional help if needed.
- Model correct speech.
- Use natural settings.
- Use positive language.
- Use technology.
- Be flexible.
- Follow your child’s lead.
- Emphasize communication.
Table of Contents
- 1 Establish a routine
- 2 Keep it fun
- 3 Be patient
- 4 Focus on specific goals
- 5 Use visual aids
- 6 Repeat, repeat, repeat
- 7 Provide positive reinforcement
- 8 Involve the whole family
- 9 Take breaks
- 10 Model correct speech
- 11 Use natural settings
- 12 Use positive language
- 13 Use technology
- 14 Be flexible
- 15 Follow your child’s lead
- 16 Emphasize communication
Establish a routine
One of the main reasons that at-home speech therapy may fail is due to a lack of consistency in the therapy sessions. Without a routine, making significant progress in your child’s speech and language development can be challenging.
By setting aside a specific time every day for speech therapy sessions with your child, you can establish a routine that will help to keep everyone on track and focused on the therapy goals. Make sure the designated time is convenient for you and your child, and try to stick to the routine as much as possible.
Consistency is very important when it comes to making progress in speech therapy, so it’s essential to make this a priority in your at-home therapy plan.
Keep it fun
If the therapy sessions are boring or feel like a chore, your child may lose interest and become resistant to participating. To prevent that from happening, it’s essential to make the sessions enjoyable for your child.
Incorporating games, songs, and toys can be a great way to keep your child engaged and motivated. By making the sessions interactive and playful, your child is more likely to participate actively and make progress in their speech and language development.
Remember that children learn best when they’re having fun, so try to keep the therapy sessions light-hearted and enjoyable to ensure that your child remains engaged and motivated throughout the process.
Progress in speech and language development can be slow, and it may take time for your child to master specific skills or overcome certain obstacles. If you become impatient or frustrated with your child, it can create a hostile atmosphere during the therapy sessions and hinder progress.
Instead, it’s essential to remain patient and encouraging throughout the process. Celebrate when your child progresses on a specific skill or can say a word more clearly.
Focus on specific goals
Without specific goals, making progress and knowing what areas to focus on during your home sessions can be challenging. That’s why working with a speech therapist to identify specific speech goals for your child and create a plan to target those areas during your at-home therapy sessions is essential.
By focusing on particular goals, you can track progress and adjust the therapy plan as needed to ensure that your child is making steady progress in their speech and language development.
Use visual aids
Children who struggle to understand or practice new sounds and words may become disinterested or frustrated during the therapy sessions. To prevent this, it’s essential to incorporate visual aids into your at-home therapy plan.
Pictures, flashcards, and other visual aids can help your child better understand and practice new sounds and words, increasing their engagement and promoting better outcomes in their speech and language development. Additionally, visual aids can benefit children who are visual learners or struggle with verbal communication.
Repeat, repeat, repeat
Improving speech skills takes time and practice; without regular repetition, it can be challenging for children to master new sounds and words. To promote better outcomes in speech and language development, it’s essential to encourage your child to practice new sounds and words regularly, both during therapy sessions and throughout the day.
Repetition is vital to building and strengthening neural pathways in the brain, which are necessary for developing fluent and accurate speech skills.
Provide positive reinforcement
Children thrive on positive reinforcement and encouragement. When they feel discouraged or unmotivated, it can be challenging for them to progress in their speech and language development. Hence, providing regular positive reinforcement and praise for your child’s efforts and progress is essential.
Celebrate and reward your child with a special treat or activity when they reach a milestone. Positive reinforcement can help build your child’s confidence and motivation, increasing their engagement and promoting better outcomes in their speech and language development.
Involve the whole family
Siblings and family members can play an active role in practicing new sounds and words with your child, playing language-based games, or engaging in other speech-related activities.
This involvement can help to make therapy sessions more enjoyable and engaging for your child, as well as provide additional opportunities for them to practice their speaking skills in a natural and supportive environment.
Continuing to push your child when they are tired or frustrated can lead to resistance, negative associations with therapy, and slower progress in the long run. It’s essential to be flexible and responsive to your child’s needs and to recognize when a break is needed.
During the break, your child can engage in a preferred activity, rest, or participate in a calming activity such as deep breathing or stretching. When you return to the training, try to approach it with a positive and encouraging attitude and remind your child of the progress they have made so far.
Model correct speech
Modeling correct speech for your child is crucial to helping them improve their speech. By speaking clearly and slowly, you can provide a clear and accurate model for your child to imitate. It’s essential to focus on correct pronunciation, intonation, and rhythm when speaking to your child.
Use simple and direct language, and repeat words and phrases as needed to help your child understand and remember them. You can also encourage your child to imitate your speech sounds and practice saying words and phrases out loud.
Use natural settings
Another reason why at-home speech therapy may fail is that children may not see the relevance of the skills they are learning in therapy to their everyday lives. One way to address this is to incorporate speech therapy into natural settings that are already part of your child’s daily routine, such as mealtime, bath time, and playtime.
For example, you can encourage your child to practice saying the names of different foods, describe their taste and texture, and ask for more or less of a particular food item. With this technique, you can help your child see the relevance of the skills they are learning and reinforce their progress in a fun and practical way.
Use positive language
Using negative language or criticism can be counterproductive and may lead to a lack of motivation and self-esteem in your child. Therefore, using positive, encouraging language to motivate and support your child during speech therapy sessions is essential.
For instance, rather than correcting your child’s mistakes, rephrase what they said correctly. You can also use positive reinforcement by praising your child for their efforts and progress, even if they make mistakes.
Instead of saying, “No, that’s wrong,” try saying something like, “Great job! Let’s try it again and see if we can make the sound even better.”
There are many apps and online resources available that are specifically designed to support speech therapy at home. For instance, speech therapy apps like Articulation Station can provide interactive games and activities that can make speech therapy sessions more engaging for children.
Additionally, online resources like videos, audio recordings, and worksheets can give a variety of speech therapy exercises that parents and children can practice together at home.
If a particular approach or activity isn’t working, be willing to try something new or modify your approach. Your speech therapist can help you develop a variety of strategies and activities to use during speech therapy sessions, and it’s essential to be open to feedback and suggestions from them.
Follow your child’s lead
Children may feel more motivated and willing to participate when they feel their interests are being considered. When parents fail to follow their child’s lead during therapy sessions, children may become disinterested or disengaged, and progress may suffer.
The ultimate goal of speech therapy is effective communication and helping your child express themselves in a way that they are understood by others. By emphasizing communication over perfect speech, parents can reduce the pressure on their children and allow them to progress at their own pace.
Written by: Sittie Ashia Said
Edited and Medically Reviewed by: Dr. Juhairah Magarang-Said