By Linda Lange, Assistant Director of Speech Language & Learning
Services, Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center
We shuttle our children from soccer to karate to ballet…adding speech therapy to that agenda can seem overwhelming. However, attending and being on time for your scheduled speech therapy sessions is extremely important for your child to learn and use their new speech and language skills. When you remember what a life changing and necessary skill communicating effectively is, it will be easier to make it a priority!
Be sure to schedule the therapy on a day when you can consistently be there at the same time every week. Ask for carpooling help if needed and don’t schedule other appointments during that time. The more sessions that your child misses, the longer he/she will have to attend therapy. If you can’t make it to an office every week for therapy, consider telepractice! Telepractice is a method for receiving speech-language pathology services using a computer or iPad instead of in-office appointments. This can be done from any location and may be a convenient option for your busy family.
While attending every therapy appointment is excellent, home practice also is a key component of your child’s success. Think of yourself as part of a team with the speech-language pathologist who is helping your son or daughter. Practicing your child’s speech goals at home can seem like one more item on your “to-do” list, but a little bit of home carryover makes a huge difference in your child’s progress with their speech-language therapy.
Here are some tips to make it easier:
- Try to practice a little every day, even 10 minutes can result in improvement! Turn bath time or a long drive into “speech time.” Or, make it a part of their homework.
- Make those 10 minutes of practice part of your daily routine.
- Get siblings involved! Sometimes kids will work better for their brother or sister.
- Offer small rewards for great practicing.
- Celebrate their success, just like if they had won a sporting event!
Remember, language is in everything we do! Whether practicing a specific sound, using “smooth speech,” or learning grammar, there is always a way to target your child’s needs in daily activities. You also can ask their SLP for specific carryover ideas.
So when you are wondering how to fit one more activity into your day, think of speech-language therapy as an extracurricular activity that will advance your child’s success in every aspect of their life.
— By Linda Lange, assistant director of speech language & learning services at Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center