Written by: Dr. Heather Grossman
We recently posted on the importance of listening. It is more important to focus on what your child is saying than on how he or she is saying it.
The speech therapist working with you and your child will help you determine when the time is right to actively integrate “speech tools” into daily interactions. These strategies will likely include such skills as using good eye contact while talking, slightly reducing rate or stretching out words, or taking larger pauses.
It can be challenging to keep motivation high and to ensure such practice is rewarding for all involved. Here are some suggestions, particularly suited for working with young children:
- Refer to practice sessions as something like “Special speech time” rather than “homework” and try to make it part of the everyday routine.
- Introduce practice as something that you, the parent, need help with. Praise your child for teaching and correcting you in your efforts.
- Incorporate fun activities of the child’s choosing including playing games like I Spy, Simon Sez, Go-Fish, etc. or incorporating walkie-talkies in practice.
- Have your child dictate a letter to you that you then send to a family member, friend, or personal hero.
- Focus more on the quality than quantity of the time, realizing that a short, successful practice is better than a lengthy one that is less productive.
- If additional motivation is necessary, maintain a calendar or chart where you have your child place a sticker each time you practice. After a specified number of stickers, have a special outing or give a special little prize.