Good morning, everyone. Speech-language pathologist/momma. You may be reading this because your child is off from school due to a school break, weather, or sickness.
The current reason many schools are closed right now is due to sickness. So …. wow. Just wow. COVID-19 (coronavirus) is wreaking havoc on us (USA) right now. Schools are closing across the country, along with dine-in restaurants and many other establishments where large crowds of people gather. We are worried about our families, the young and the old, we are worried about our jobs, and we are worried about running out of food and other necessities in case it becomes a first come first serve basis. I work in the school system and today is Day #2 for my school in Kentucky being closed.
Thousands upon thousands of children are missing out on speech-language therapy right now. Though missing out on therapy is NOT a life-threatening situation, it can most definitely be another heartbreaking symptoms, especially for those children who were, or were beginning, to show progress. Well, I’m proactive and so are you. Today is how you can continue to do speech therapy exercises at home. Let’s jump in!
#1. Find out from your child’s SLP what they were practicing in speech-language therapy when school closed. For example, were they working on speech sounds or language (answering and asking questions, vocabulary, social skills, learning to use sign language or PECS to communicate, etc)? Maybe they are working on both areas.
#2. Ask your child’s SLP what is considered an appropriate/good response from your child and how YOU (parent, caregiver) should respond. Ask what is considered an inappropriate/incorrect response and how YOU should respond.
IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO CONTACT YOUR CHILD’S SLP or YOU WANT MORE IDEAS FOR WAYS TO CONTINUE WORKING ON YOUR CHILD’S SPEECH AND/OR LANGUAGE SKILLS, SEE BELOW.
Below I have categorized my blog posts according to what area of communication your child may be working on. This is a long list and some of the posts fall under more than one category. Here is the question you need to ask yourself about which posts to read:
What Is Impacting My Child’s Ability to Communicate Effectively With Others?
Is It How Clearly They Speak? SEE SECTION 1
Can They Talk Yet? SEE SECTION 2
Are They Saying Words, but Not Stringing Them Together (i.e. “want milk,” “I want milk.”)? SEE SECTION 3
Are They “Behind” In Recognizing Colors, Shapes, Etc.? SEE SECTION 4
Do They Have Trouble Understanding What Others Are Saying to Them? SEE SECTION 5
Do They Have A Short Attention Span? SEE SECTION 6
Do They Use A Lot of Empty Words or End Up Getting Frustrated Because They Don’t Know the Right Word to Use (i.e. “You know, that thingy” “that whatever-you-call-it” “you know what I mean”)? SEE SECTION 7
Need Help with Social Skills? SEE SECTION 8
Is Your Child’s Speech Difficult to Understand? How to Improve Your Child’s Speech At Home
How To Teach Your Child to Communicate if They are Still Not Talking
How to Teach Your Child to String More Words Together
How to Teach Your Child Their Colors, Body Parts, Describing Things…
Child Have Trouble Understanding What Others Are Saying to Them?
Does Your Child Having Difficulty Completing Tasks Because of Attention Span?
How to Teach Your Child to Talk Without Using “Empty” Words
Something You Need to Know …
It is very important that you stay CONSISTENT in what you expect your child to do in order to receive a “correct” response. This can be REALLY HARD because even as the therapist, I hate not being able to say, “That’s right! You got it!” So reward effort. “Wow, you are trying so hard! You’ll get it!” Let them definitely know when they are getting closer to a correct response. For example, “Your “L” sound is starting to sound more and more like mine!” or “You were SO close to getting the answer right! You’re getting better at this!”
Just remember, INCONSISTENCY will result in minimal to no progress.
Next, please be patient! Every child is their own unique individual and they may grasp one concept very quickly and it may take a VERY long time to grasp another. Most times, children do KNOW when they are grasping a concept and often their frustration is displayed through acting bored or “acting out.” Children oftentimes do the same thing in school when they are presented with something difficult. Remain encouraging and tell them that you understand what you are asking them to do is hard, but you know that they will eventually get it, as long as they don’t give up!
Last, don’t get the cart before the horse. In other words, we generally develop abilities in a certain sequence. For example, usually you learn to crawl and stand before you walk and run. Same thing with speech and language. You can’t expect a child to start saying full words if they are not making any kind of sound or attempt to talk yet. Also, you can expect a child to follow 2-step directions (go to your room and get your coat) if they are just now learning 1-step directions (go to your room). Or, you can’t expect your child to start using the “R” sound correctly while they are talking, if they just recently learned how to say the “R” in single words, such as “run, rabbit, car, around.”
I hope everyone finds something in here that is helpful. If you do not see something that relates to your child, please leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do my best to create a post, no names mentioned of course, that will hopefully help your child.
This article was written by a speech-language pathologist, but is not meant to replace a speech-language evaluation or speech-language therapy. If your child is already receiving speech-language therapy at this time, please continue to work on improving your child’s communication at home. Therapy is so much more effective when we all work together with the same goal in mind!