Having your child in speech therapy to improve their communication skills is great, but it is important to recognize that the speech therapist is only seeing your child between thirty minutes to one hour each week. Because of this limited direct time with the therapist, it is essential that you, as the parent, implements carryover of therapy skills at home. Ensuring that there is carryover outside of sessions increases the opportunities your child has to practice their skills; thus, increasing the likelihood that what they are learning in therapy is sticking. The role you have in your child’s success in speech therapy is a crucial one, but don’t worry, we have some strategies to assist you in making it the best experience for both you and your child!
As you know from experience, after each therapy session, your child’s speech therapist will review the session and provide you with a worksheet or strategy to work on at home. Life can become busy, and these carryover exercises can often get pushed to the side. While it is easy to do this, it is necessary that you make time for your child’s therapy homework. Let’s discuss how children learn best and some ways to make carryover homework easier.
According to research, children learn more when their parents play with them and guide their interactions (Matute, 2017). Setting aside dedicated playtime with your child is extremely beneficial, and it is here where you can target the carryover exercises assigned from therapy. Not only can this guided playtime help your child’s carryover of therapy-learned skills, but it can also positively influence their IQ scores, language and school success, and comprehension skills (Matute, 2017).
Using the right types of toys during this guided playtime is important. Although many toys are electronic with loud sounds and crazy lights, playing with classic toys is best. This can include blocks, dolls, foods, puzzles, and books- these types of toys can improve your child’s deductive reasoning, visuospatial planning, and verbal reasoning (Matute, 2017).
Now that you have set aside time for play and have the appropriate toys prepared, what’s next? Conversing with your child and asking them questions while playing is key. This can help with their imagination and creativity, as well as their fluency and intelligibility. Be a good model of sentence structure, articulation, and rate of speech. By asking your child questions during play, you are increasing their vocabulary and understanding of wh- questions (Matute, 2017). Also, try implementing a sing-song voice so your child stays engaged and wants to repeat words back to you.
Even if it is for 10 minutes each day, set aside time to facilitate home carryover with your child. This time of play and conversation can truly help your child meet their therapy goals- it also gives you the opportunity to engage and bond with your child. Keep in mind that everyone’s ‘playtime’ will look different and may involve different activities, such as doing chores, going grocery shopping, playing with toys, etc. Any time spent using these strategies and aiming for generalization of speech therapy skills is time well spent!
Matute, Frita. (2017). 5 ways to make carryover exercises easier for families. The ASHA Leader. Retrieved from https://leader.pubs.asha.org/do/10.1044/5-ways-to-make-carryover-exercises-easier-for-families/full/