Bring Speech and Language into the home

March 24, 2017 by admin in Speech Therapist

 

 

Bring Speech and Language Therapy into your home

By Dr Anna-Mari Kruger, Words First Resource Developer

During my first years as a speech and language therapist (aka the “pre-kid” era), I was enthusiastic about my job and passionate about helping kids’ with communication difficulties and helping parents to understand and support their child along the way. Part of my strategy was compiling interesting and extensive home programmes to encourage parents to reiterate and recap our therapy sessions at home by following detailed instructions, cutting out pictures, colouring in and doing all kinds of (what I thought was fun) stuff.

Fast forward twenty years, a husband and three kids later. I am still passionate about speech-language therapy and literacy development. I still believe parents’ involvement in their child’s development is crucially important but I am more realistic. A parent’s main role is just that: Being a parent. Coping with all the day-to-day challenges of making a house a home; making sure that everyone is well-fed, reasonably well-dressed and plus-minus on time for all their activities.

I now know that for children with speech-and-language difficulties, one speech therapy session a week is an excellent starting point and I now know that most parents DON’T have the time to cut out, colour and laminate my extensive home prgrammes. The great news is, I now know that by incorporating these easy tips and strategies into your daily routine, parents will be doing a lot to support their children.

My advice to parents is: know what your child’s speech-language therapy goals are for the week and keep your eyes and ears open to seize those five minute-opportunities during the day to reinforce these goals. So the next time

  • you change your baby’s nappy, sing a song or recite a familiar nursery rhyme
  • you push your two-year old on his pedal bike, talk about concepts like “fast” and “slow”, different means of transport and how many wheels each one has
  • you are building blocks with your three-year old, talk about concepts like “high and low”, “more or less” and “many and few”. Build a castle and use prepositions like “in, on, under, behind and in front of”. Sort the colours and count the blocks while you pack them away. You can also do this when your child climbs INSIDE the box that the birthday present came in;)
  • you are reading a bedtime story to your four-year old, show him the title and author of the book. Discuss the front picture and speculate about a possible storyline. Find words starting with the same letter as your child’s name. Let him tell you the story in his own words
  • you are driving to football practice or ballet class with your five-year old, talk about the shapes and meaning of the different road signs. Which way should we turn, left or right? Can you remember which stores we are going to pass on our way? Once you’re home, let your child draw a basic road map with all the important beacons and directions

And before you know it, those five-minute opportunities add up to several hours of valuable and meaningful communication between you and your child.

If you have any concerns about your child’s speech or language development or progress, contact the Words First Team for a consultation or visit www.wordsfirst.uk or www.kidsfirstcentre.uk for more information.