The Best Materials to Target Speech and Language Skills
After coming to speech therapy and learning that their child has a speech or language delay, many parents wonder what they can do at home to help. In addition to attending speech therapy appointments, it is very important for caregivers to work on speech and language skills at home and in other environments that the child spends the most of their time in. It may feel tempting to run out and buy the newest toy, decks of flashcards, educational workbooks or apps. However, these are typically NOT necessary to target speech and language skills at home. In fact, the best materials are often those that are already a part of a child’s daily routine!
Getting Ready in the Morning
- Model (give your child examples of) use of simple and/or social phrases and gestures.
- Good morning! Time to wake up! Wave hello! Get dressed! Breakfast time!
- Point to or name functional vocabulary, such as clothing and body parts.
- Give simple directions for your child to follow.
- Stand up, get shoes, open door, zip jacket
- Name simple actions or describe the steps you take.
- Pick up, put on, brush teeth, go potty, wash hands
- As your child becomes familiar with these routines, you can ask them what items they need to get ready or what step comes next!
- Model use of simple and functional mealtime words.
- Eat, bite, cut, more, cook, open, drink, yummy, help, all done
- Work on making choices and indicating likes/dislikes by offering 2 different snacks or drinks for your child to choose from.
- Describe what food/drinks taste or feel like.
- Sweet, salty, crunchy, hard, soft, dry, wet
- Model use of simple and functional bath time words.
- Wash, water, splash, play, rinse, soap, dry, bubbles
- Talk about what you are doing.
- First we wash hair. Get shampoo. Wash wash wash! Bubbles! Now rinse. Pour water. All clean!
- Make requests for objects, actions, or help using simple phrases.
- Bubbles please, splash more, help me, I want to play
- Imitate actions to wash or play and engage in pretend play.
- Clap hands, splash water, kick feet, pretend to swim, help wash
Driving in the Car
- Name actions and things you see or hear.
- Drive, stop, go, truck, siren, birds, trees, people, horn
- Talk about where you are going.
- We’re going to the park! What do you think we’ll do there? Do you like the swings or the slide? Is it hot or cold outside today?
- Sing along to nursery rhymes or other simple children’s songs.
- If your child is working on a specific speech sound, incorporate words with that sound into your conversation or play an I spy game to look for items with that sound.
- For example, to practice /f/, I spy….a farm, a roof, a leaf, a place to buy food, a family, an office, traffic, fast cars
These are just a few examples of the many skills that can be practiced during daily routines and simple play activities. These are cost and time efficient for caregivers to incorporate throughout the day, and can help children learn in a way that is functional and fun!
Mary Hamilton M.S. CCC-SLP