During the summertime, parents get a well-deserved break from running their kids from place to place. While your kids are in school, your life may follow a set routine making it easy to get each task completed by the end of the day. Between summer camps, sports, and vacations your childs’ therapy might be forgotten. It is important that the home program is implemented daily to ensure progress towards speech-language goals. This also allows for these skills to generalize across settings.
Parents play an essential role in their children’s progress in language development. Parents have more opportunities throughout the day to experience, interact, and communicate during a meaningful, daily situation. These activities of daily living are when the most learning takes place. By providing tips and tricks, speech language pathologists help parents implement speech therapy throughout the day. It is important for therapy to be extended beyond the clinic into familiar routines including but not limited to bath time, snack time, and/or bedtime. The more we practice our home programs the easier and more automatic these interactions become. By focusing on giving your child an open-ended question (i.e. what do you want?) rather than a yes/no question (i.e. do you want the ball?), practicing verbal routines (i.e., ready, set, go!), or any other strategy your therapist has recommended, these interactions become more instinctive, which enhances daily interactions between the child and their parent, and ultimately enhances the learning opportunities..
Home programs are not only limited to late talkers and/or language delays. It is also essential for children working on their articulation skills or speech production skills to complete their home programs daily. Just like learning how to kick a ball, throw a ball, or playing an instrument requires numerous repetitions to develop muscle memory, our articulators (e.g. teeth, tongue, jaw, etc.) all require numerous repetitions to develop the muscle memory to produce a particular speech sound or sound pattern. When parents help their children practice their “new way” of producing sounds outside of the therapy room, these skills will generalize to new environments more rapidly than if their children only practiced once or twice a week at a clinic. By combining both home practice and direct practice at the clinic learning potentials are maximized.
Karissa H. – M.S., CF-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist