If your child is having trouble articulating certain sounds, speech therapy can help. However, most kids can only spend an hour or two with the therapist every week, and if you really want your child to improve, there are skills you should work on at home. Here are four ways you can help your child practise his or her speech therapy at home.
1. Repeat what your child says with the correct pronunciation
If your child mispronounces a lot of words, repeat them with the correct pronunciation after your child says them. However, don't do it in a shameful corrective way that could embarrass your child or hurt his or her feelings. Instead, make it seem natural.
For example, if your child doesn't pronounce consonant clusters and he asks if you want to "pay", don't say "the word is pronounced 'play'." Instead, simply say, "Yes, I would like to play," and stress the correct pronunciation so your child gets a chance to hear the word correctly.
2. Create five-minute practise sessions
Every week, ask your child's speech therapist which skills you should work on that week. Then, to keep your child from burning out, only work on them in five minute increments.
For example, start a wind up toy and have your child repeat a sound until the toy stops running, or when you are at a red light while driving, have your child repeat sounds until the light changes to green.
3. Play games that target the words and sounds that need work
In addition to formal practise exercises from your child's speech therapist, try to play games that focus on the words or sounds your child needs to practice. For example, if your child has trouble saying "L", make a simple memory game out of objects that all start with that letter.
As your child tries to hunt for the match to llamas, lamps, lobsters and other L words, he or she will have to practise saying that sound, but he or she may not even know you are working on speech therapy skills.
4. Create "real life" practise for your child
You talk with your child every day which makes it easier for you to understand what he or she is trying to say. However, your child will have to speak a bit more clearly to be understood by other people and electronics. If you have tablets or other devices for your child, let him or her practise pronunciation by using voice command.
Many different search engines, apps and websites have voice command. If your child pronounces things correctly, the device follows his or her commands, but if he or she mispronounces, he or she will have to repeat it until it sounds right. That challenge encourages many kids to work on their speech skills.
For more tips or assistance, contact resources like communiKIDS.