Are you overwhelmed with the cost of speech therapy? Are you tired of attending meeting after meeting at your child’s school? If so, we are here to help with some tips to make the most out of your time. These general tips can be applied to toddlers or school age children alike
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Many parents do not know their child’s specific goals. They may know the general area of need such as improving expressive language, but they don’t know the specific goals. Knowing the goals is extremely important because they can be easily practiced throughout the day.
For example, if your child is working on pronouns, you can easily bombard him or her with models of “he" and “she” throughout daily routines. At the mall, you can pick out clothes for your mother while asking your child…”what would SHE like? SHE would love this! Tell me what you think SHE wants."
Once you know the goals, get ideas from our speech therapy resources: games
This tip ties in nicely with the previous one! Once you have a handle on your child’s specific goals, learn why your child is working on those areas. This is important to keep yourself and your child motivated.
For example, if your child is working on oral grammar, it is important to know that this skill is a prerequisite for successful writing, communicating with others successfully, and reading comprehension. If your child is working on following directions, it is important to remember that this skill is necessary for learning in the classroom.
Knowing the big picture, overall goals, and plan for discharge will keep you and your child on track.
Observe speech therapy sessions if possible or schedule a meeting with your child’s speech language pathologist. Get to know your child’s specific speech cues, language learning techniques and/or any other individualized “tips” that your child's speech therapist’s uses . Once you learn them, you can implement them at home. This will create successful generalization of skills outside the therapy room.
For example, if your child is working on the sound /s/, learn what visual, verbal, and/or tactile cues works best for your child. Or, if your child is learning to say their first words, learn what techniques are most helpful to elicit them.
Once these techniques are learned, practice how to do them while your therapist observes. They may seem simple enough, but in the presence of a child, it can be overwhelming and mistakes are made.
For a review of general techniques & you like how we explain it, please read speech therapy resources: Toddler Talk
Once you have learned the home practice techniques, you are well on your way to complete the home program. This is THE MOST IMPORTANT TIP of all. If you don’t practice at home, you won’t make the most out of your time. 30 or 60 minutes of speech thearpy per week is not nearly enough to make quick progress. However, daily practice is just what the speech therapist ordered.
If your home program seems too cumbersome (worksheet after worksheet), ask for a new one. My favorite type of home programs involve games or practices that can be applied to daily tasks. Ask your speech therapist for individualized ideas!
Get educated! The internet is full of wonderful resources, but at the same time, it is full of harmful resources. There are many blogs full opinions with no research behind them.
If you find any information on the internet, make sure to double check it with a professional you trust. Being informed is necessary, but being half informed or informed with mis-information can be dangerous!