As a parent and a speech-language pathologist, I know how important home practice is, and how nearly impossible it can be to find time in a busy schedule to do it. But, recent results from the American Speech Language Hearing Association National Outcomes Study found better gains in kids who completed at least part of a home practice program. The challenge lies in making home practice fun for kids and low stress for parents. No one wins when attempting speech homework ends in a power struggle. Luckily, research has backed up the benefits of distributed practice, which means that practicing for shorter amounts of time across a number of sessions is beneficial for speech learning.
What Makes Good Speech Home Practice?
How does this translate into home practice? Don’t feel a burden to try and do a full 30 or 60 minutes of home practice. By working in small batches, kids get distributed practice opportunities over time. Read on for a few more ideas for how to make home practice successful.
- Home practice should be easy for kids. Your therapist should recommend activities that your child is nearly 100% able to do. This way, they aren’t practicing old habits.
- Think of reminders for distributed practice. Maybe it’s a sign on the refrigerator and every time the child goes into the kitchen with you, they do five repetitions of their target.
- Think through the best time and place for speech homework. Is it driving to swimming practice on Tuesdays and ballet on Fridays? Every night after brushing teeth? Talk through your schedule with your speech therapist to help identify a good way to build speech into already busy routines.
Using Verboso for Better Speech Home Practice
We’ve created our speech therapy games as a way to provide practice opportunities at home. Speech practice gets embedded in a video game for less grumbling about boring speech homework. Keeping kids motivated and engaged makes getting the needed repetition in easier. The more kids practice, the easier is becomes to make their target sounds.
Strand, E. A. (1995, May). Treatment of motor speech disorders in children. In Seminars in Speech and Language (Vol. 16, No. 02, pp. 126-139). © 1995 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc..