From time to time speech-language homework will be sent home with the students, so this will need to be completed. Help can also be given at home by reminding them to use their best speech sounds. Opportunities and home activities to practice speech sounds are helpful also. Encourage language use by asking your child to tell you as much as he/she can about a chosen topic. Spend time just talking AND listening to your child. Here are some things parents can do to help children improve their speech, language and hearing.
1. TALK to your child about everything. Children need a lot of verbal stimulation from infancy on to adulthood. Play games with sounds and words. Your children pick up most of their vocabulary from YOU!
2. LISTEN to your child and expand his/her language. Use well-formed sentences that are a little longer than his/hers. Use new words to help your child express him/herself.
3. MODEL good speech AND language. Children learn what they hear and often imitate your speech. Reduce the rate and volume at which you speak when addressing your child. Give them time to process the message you are trying to convey. Speak clearly and easily when talking to your child. Use proper grammar to form complete sentences when expressing your ideas. Be patient with them when they are speaking and allow them time to relay their message. Do not rush their speech or attempt to finish their sentence, or talk over them.
4. READ to your child frequently. Talk about pictures and situations in books. Your child learns new words, concepts and patterns of speech from being read to. Read cereal boxes, signs, ~ EVERYTHING! Use the library and make reading a part of your daily life.
5. PROVIDE NEW experiences. Take field trips, make things together, do science experiments. Involve your child in daily activities. Talk about everything you do.
6. PLAY games with your child. He/she can learn coordination, how to follow rules, how to communicate with others, and new concepts. Play hospital, zoo, store, barbershop, restaurant or airport. Use puppets or other toys. These activities develop creativity and help your child learn about life situations, and begin to develop problem-solving strategies.
7. CLASSIFY ~ Help your child sort things or make sets so he/she will learn concepts of color, size, matching, making comparisons, etc.
8. LIMIT TV use to learning times and spend more time in family interactions.
9. FUN FUN FUN ~ You can make language and speech FUN for your child as you spend time with him or her encouraging language development. Reinforce his/her attempts and praise him/her. You can gently model appropriate speech by repeating a message 3-4 times. DO NOT allow other family members to tease, make fun of, imitate or label him/her.
10. LOVE your child even when they struggle and disappoint. They are trying to communicate even if it doesn't always seem that they are trying. Be patient.
Excerpts from Copyright 2002 Dr. Catherine Collier