Ways to Embed Practice of Speech Sounds into Daily Routine
Has your child’s therapist provided at home practice and you just can’t find time to fit it into your already jam-packed schedule? Or, maybe you and your child’s therapist had the talk about carryover of speech skills. At home practice is crucial to your child’s performance in meeting his/her goals but it does not have to be hard or something that takes a lot of time out of your week.
Make connections between speech skills and real life while reading.
Ask questions about characters while reading with your child, model what you expect from them.
Point out speech sounds in a text and emphasize them as you read aloud.
Make speech skills relevant in daily life.
For example, if your child has a goal to address social interactions, make it a point to familiarize yourself with that goal through discussion with the therapist and provide opportunities for practice (i.e. at a sporting event, family dinner).
When your child has mastered that speech sound in the structured therapy setting but isn’t generalizing the sound yet, provide opportunities for practice in daily activities (i.e. ordering your meal at a restaurant, looking/listening for speech sounds while reading/doing homework)
Practice during daily routines.
Use bath time or time to brush teeth to practice a target speech sound! The more accurate repetitions you’re able to achieve, the better.
Encourage risk-taking through opportunities for practice.
Acknowledge and validate your child’s interactions with others. That may sound something like this: “You have grown so much in your ability to greet others or (name goal). I love how brave you were when you _____ .”
Familiarize yourself with verbal/visual/gestural cues that your child knows/uses.
If your child is working on speech sounds, chances are your therapist has introduced some kind of multimodal cue to elicit accurate productions of a particular sound. Use those in daily life to carry-over use of the learned sound in different contexts.
As a parent/caregiver, you are invaluable to your child’s growth and success with speech and language skills. Be encouraged to establish solid relationships with your child’s therapist and talk about practical ways to address carryover of speech and language skills in your child’s day to day life.