So, your child is working on speech sounds in speech therapy. But this can mean a lot of different things! Differing speech sound disorder diagnoses lead to a different treatment approach from your speech and language pathologist. Here are some helpful tricks and tips to help ensure you are supporting your child at home!
Frequently we hear that kids with speech sound disorders are working on articulation, but it can be so much more than that, and it is important to know which speech sound disorder your child has to help ensure appropriate treatment planning and home carryover. Speech sound disorders can be due to structural abnormalities, motor or neurological differences, and some have no known causes. An articulation disorder describes errors in specific speech sounds (e.g., producing “w” for “r”), while a phonological disorder indicates a pattern of errors which affects more than one sound (e.g., fronting all back sounds, producing “toe” for “go” and “tat” for “cat”). Another speech sound disorder is Childhood Apraxia of Speech, which is a neurological speech sound disorder often indicated with inconsistent errors. Each diagnosis leads to a different treatment plan from your SLP. If you’re not sure which type of speech sound disorder your child has, ask your SLP!
Look at the Big Picture
Based on what type of speech sound disorder your child has, a multi-disciplinary approach may be necessary. Think about the big picture with your child instead of just focusing on their speech sound errors. How is their dentition? Do they need orthodontics? Have you consulted with an ENT and do you have concerns with nasality or mouth breathing? These aspects are all intertwined with your child’s speech sound skills, and encouraging your SLP to collaborate with your child’s orthodontist, ENT, or other specialists can help ensure progress and consistency across disciplines.
Home Carryover…Keep it simple!
So now that you know what speech sound disorder your child has, what can you do at home to help them make progress? While we help your child make progress in the speech room, generalization can only occur with practice at home! In addition to the home carry-over ideas your SLP provides, here are some helpful tricks to try at home.
- Make a routine: Pick a certain time of day or activity during which to practice your speech sounds. It can be as simple as before you brush your teeth, while driving to school, or during snack time conversation at home. For kids who are working on their speech sounds in conversations, you could play a game of would you rather in the car while focusing on speech sounds, or go over your “highs and lows” from the day. For those working on their sounds in isolation or the word level, tape their sounds to the bathroom mirror and practice every time they brush their teeth!
- Make sounds visible: Post pictures of their target sounds in commonly seen spaces! This could be on their bathroom mirror, on the fridge door or by their toys at home! This can help create opportunities throughout their day to practice their sounds in everyday situations.
- Do a scavenger hunt: Try and find things around the house that start with their sound? Can they find 5 things that start with “s”?
- Read: Read to your child or have them read to you while focusing on their speech sounds!
- Ask your SLP: Need more ideas on how to help your child succeed with their speech sound disorder? Ask your child’s SLP! They are full of great ideas and activities specific to your child and their interests.