This is my speech therapy help page so you can ENJOY your child and work on speech and language skills at the same time.
My wonderful online communities and the parents with whom I work with have opened my eyes and broke my heart a little....
A common concern I noticed: Parents get so stressed out over their child’s speech and language delay that they don't enjoy their child AS MUCH as they should. I hope this page eases some of that stress.
Top secret information. My job is awesome since I get to PLAY all day. Now, as a parent of a child who needs speech therapy, you get to play all day long too! Enjoy!
Don’t worry about the dishes, vacuuming the rugs, or cleaning the bathroom. There is no time today for chores. Sorry! Instead, have fun, laugh, and PLAY with your child... all day.
Play is the recommended and BEST way to help your child meet his or her speech and language goals.
Example: Get out the bubbles and practice the /p/ sound by saying “pop” (articulation). Play princess and find everything a princess needs (categories). Go on a walk and name everything that grows (language/function/category). Play, laugh, be silly, get dirty. What is more fun than that?!
Okay, this isn't realistic. You can't really play all day. Maybe, you WANT to get the house organized so you can breathe? Then, DON'T PLAY all day! Take a day off. Get your child involved in the cleaning (some kids find it fun when young). Have your child help organize socks and work on colors.
As described above, you DON’T have to change anything about your day.
If you are doing endless drills and worksheets with your child, STOP. This isn't the best strategy.
The best speech therapy help you can do is to embed speech and language goals into your daily routines.
For example, if you are working on building vocabulary, practice saying “eat” during meals. Let’s say you are working on /b/. Say “ball” as you play catch. Are you working on following directions? Have fun going on a scavenger hunt as you find those missing shoes.
What if your child isn't saying all the sounds or words exactly right all the time...who cares? He or she is listening and learning. A speech and language delay is not a problem you can fix in one months time.
It's a FUN marathon, not a sprint.
You are providing a fun, language-rich environment and creating lots of language learning opportunities.
Check with your speech therapist for ideas for your child's specific goals.
Speech and language skills are VERY important to learn since reading, writing, academics, and social skills all depend on them.
However, think of it as a skill that needs practice. Some kids need extra practice playing the piano, doing math calculations, driving, walking, listening, learning vocabulary, saying sounds, etc...
For speech and language, some kids need more practice than others.
Your child is smart and awesome! Having a speech or language delay does not change that.
When you are worried, remind yourself of all the great things about your child. Make a list and read it daily! Do this for yourself too... you are a great parent!
This is hard to do, but I HIGHLY recommend it.
DO NOT COMPARE your child to any other child including your other children, your child’s friends, or other children in speech therapy.
Every child is unique and learns at their own rate. Comparing children only leads to frustration, and it isn't helpful or healthy.
If a child has a speech or language delay, it is not a “hurry and fix this and move on” situation. Instead, embrace the idea that how we do things needs to change slightly to meet the needs of your children.
We need not add more work but instead change how we play, read, write, talk etc... We need to learn and build in extra strategies so our children can learn and be happy.
For home practice ideas, check out:
Our Speech Therapy Talk Member's Site has lots of games and step-by-step guides for both parents and professionals. Check it out if you think it might be for you.