Education / Language / School / Speech Therapy
I’ve had the pleasure of being able to treat children now for many many years. (15 to be exact! Sheesh- where did my 30’s go?!?). Over the course of time, you begin to notice trends that help, and trends that hamper a child’s progress through-out their experience in speech therapy.
As I sat here this morning, one of my first thoughts as to why kids struggle to get through to the next goal is following through with the homework.
I GET IT! LIFE IS BUSY…. And is it ever! In a previous blog we posted, I mentioned how challenging it can be just finding time for your child to play. It’s not very unusual for kids to get home at 7pm these days. Our culture is just different, and unless a conscious effort is made to “stop and smell the roses”, we can be running full steam ahead without feeling like we’ve accomplished anything at all!
So, having said that- we’ve had to modify how we (as therapists) can give homework so that it’s:
a) DONE and
With those two concepts in mind, we can work together with parents to make sure that our children are set up for success rather than failure. Never underestimate the power of parent involvement- it’s the best prognostic factor for success.
I’m going to share 5 tricks of the trade that I have found really works to get the job done, and to get our children through Step A-Step Z of their speech therapy, and successfully so!!
Trick 1: All those flashcards!! Who has the time to play another round of go fish with all those flashcards. Rather than finding extra time to give your child their speech homework (yet even more homework to their growing pile)… place their flashcards in the glovebox in the car. For every “redlight” that you come to, your child has to whip out those flash cards and say as many of his/her target words as possible before the green light.
Trick 2: Dinnertime! Everyone has to eat right? While we sit at the dinnertable, it’s a great way to learn more about each other. We all know the “how was your day” routines. I keep a mason jar of thought provoking questions printed onto red or purple paper cut into strips to work on receptive and expressive language. I call it my Jar Jam: A list of questions to spread around. You never know what children will say. I’ve included a set of those questions for you to copy for your own home. Jam Jar Questions – start your own jar!
Trick 3: SAND… living here in Hawaii, we have beaches… and lots and lots of sand! It’s a very common weekend for us here in Hawaii to hang out on the beach for a few hours on a Saturday. And what kid doesn’t love the sand?! And what kid doesn’t love finding buried treasure… that’s something I still get a kick out of! Make it a speech activity by burying some cards and objects in the sand. Little fingers love discovering their small hidden treasures, and are more likely willing to say their “speech words” if they think it’s treasure…
Trick 4: Storytime. Most of us read, (or try to read) to our children nightly. While reading is great at all ages, sometimes when we have a child with delayed speech and/or language, the content may need a bit of tweaking so that we can not only read with our children, but sneak in a bit of homework during snuggle time as well.
- If your child is working a particular sound in speech, wait until you get to a word with that sound or sounds, and have them say it for you.
- If the book rhymes, leave the last word of the sentence off and see if your child can “fill in the blank”. That way you can sneak in some phonological awareness
- Sneak in those WH questions for language. In this order of easiest to hardest, here are some of the questions you can sneak in for extra speech therapy on the fly.
- Who is this? What is that?
- Where is he/she
- What is he/she doing? (first, next, then, finally)
- Why is this happening?
Trick 5: Sneak in just 1 goal for the day. For example, if your child’s language/speech goals is to say VCV words (vowel-consonant-vowel syllable patterns) pick just one word like….“Open”…. Sneak that word into your daily routine. Before opening the door, say “Open door”; before opening a book, say “Open book; before putting dinner in the oven, say “open oven”. Usually when your child is sent home with some homework- you can find just one question/concept to review over and over again for a couple of days-without even having to sit down at a desk… PHEW. You’ll be surprised how many times you can sneak 1 small goal in through-out the day.