If your child requires speech therapy services, you may be wondering how you can support their language development outside of therapy sessions. Fortunately, there are a number of ways that parents can work alongside speech therapy to help improve their child's language skills in the home and community environment.
1. Encourage Communication
One of the most important things parents can do to support their child's language development is to encourage communication. This may involve setting aside time each day for one-on-one conversation with your child, or simply making an effort to engage with them throughout the day. Encouraging your child to ask questions, express themselves, and participate in conversations can help them develop their language skills and build their confidence.
2. Provide Opportunities for Language Development
In addition to encouraging communication, parents can also provide opportunities for language development in the home and community environment. This may involve reading books together, playing games that involve language skills (such as word games or storytelling games), or simply exposing your child to new words and concepts. This also includes spending time away from screens (TV, iPad, Phones, etc.). Increased time in front of screens has been proven to delay the language development of children. By providing a rich language environment, you can help your child build their vocabulary and develop their language skills.
3. Practice Speech Therapy Techniques at Home
Your child's speech therapist may provide you with exercises or techniques to practice at home between therapy sessions. By making an effort to practice these techniques with your child, you can help reinforce the skills they are learning in therapy and accelerate their progress. Be sure to ask your child's therapist for guidance on how to practice these techniques effectively at home.
4. Seek Out Community Resources
In addition to working on language development at home, parents can also seek out community resources to support their child's language skills. This may involve enrolling your child in a language immersion program, joining a language-focused playgroup, or seeking out other resources in your community that can help your child build their language skills.
5. Stay Positive and Patient
Finally, it's important for parents to stay positive and patient when working alongside speech therapy to improve their child's language skills. Building language skills takes time and effort, and progress may not always be linear. By staying positive and patient, and by celebrating your child's successes along the way, you can help build their confidence and motivation to continue working on their language skills.
There are a number of ways that parents can work alongside speech therapy to improve their child's language skills in the home and community environment. By encouraging communication, providing opportunities for language development, practicing speech therapy techniques at home, seeking out community resources, and staying positive and patient, parents can help support their child's language development and accelerate their progress in speech therapy services.