Summer vacation can mean a break from speech therapy. However, vacation does not mean a break from speech! Communication happens every where, every day! To help accelerate your child’s acquisition of target sounds, pick a moment each day to incorporate some focused support. Following are some overlapping ideas for fun on the fly:
IDEAS FOR EVERYDAY SPEECH SOUND PRACTICE
1. THREE R’s: ROUTINE, REPETITION, RELEVANCE
Think of routines throughout the day (i.e. bath time, getting dressed, feeding the dog, setting the table, making lunch) when you can incorporate target words or skills. For instance, if your child’s target sound is “F”, you might pick lunch as the time of day to have fun practicing the target words. Ideas include: FOOD; FINGERS; FORK; FISH STICKS; FRENCH FRIES; FOUR PLATES; no eating with our FEET!…. Daily repetition of these routines and skills will naturally help the child improve. Children tend to invest more into a task if it is meaningful or relevant to them.
2. PEOPLE, PLACES, PETS
With your target skill in mind, do a brainstorm of meaningful people, places, pets and activities that involve that skill. For instance, if your child’s target sound is “S” and your dog’s name is SAM, your child has a meaningful word to practice and lots of fun opportunities to say it! Wouldn’t it be SUPER if your child fed SAM SUPPER on SATURDAYS and SUNDAYS?!
3. EXPERT WORD
Pick one word or skill that is your child’s EXPERT word. This is a target word that your child can say well when focusing on the helpful tricks for saying it correctly. As you go about your day and you come across that word, you can encourage your child to be the one to say it, since he is the expert. For instance, if your child is practicing the “K” sound, maybe his expert word is CAR or KEY or CUP! Each day as you get into the CAR, your child is celebrated for using his new “K” sound to say CAR! Encourage your child to teach you how to make the sound!
4. HIGH FIVE
High five is a quick and fun way to have a five second practice each day. Pick one word and say it 5 times OR pick 5 words. Hold up your fist with palm facing forward. Ask your child to copy you as you say one word for each finger. For instance, if your target sound is “F”, bite your lower lip and let the air leak out of your mouth as you say: FEET…FOUR…FIVE…FINGER….FUN! Then, after lifting up one finger per word, your hand will be ready for a high-five!
5. MULTI-SKILLED APPROACH
Pick a short time during other activities, such as reading, to really think about using the target skill. For instance, if your child is practicing the TH sound, he or she could scan a paragraph of the book, highlight the TH words (i.e. three, thank you, toothbrush, the, bath) then read the paragraph with focus on placing the tongue tip between the front teeth and letting out air for the target words. TH is the tongue tickler sound! Other activities include practicing your weekly spelling words out loud, talking out loud during math homework or counting, saying the days of the week, writing the shopping list or a song, or having fun during a craft. For instance, if your target sound is S blends, build a crafty snowman. Target sounds could include: snow, snowball, scarf, scary, smile, sparkles, stick, stones, stars, slippery, and stomach.
6. SAY IT TO PLAY IT!
Your child learns that communication is magical because it gives control over situations, helps good things happen, and makes wishes come true. Say your target sound is B as in ball. Try playing catch or blowing bubbles. To receive the ball or to blow a bubble, say your target sound first! Close your lips and say BALL! Take turns saying the target word to have your turn!
Another idea is to encourage your child to use the target sound to earn a surprise or a desired item. For instance, your child is practicing the K sound and knows that if he or she says COOKIE, you will hear that magic word and give him or her a cookie! Keep in mind, if your child’s mouth is not ready to say the whole world accurately, listen to his or her message rather than to how he or she is talking. You can be an enthusiastic, smiling model. Example:
Child: Tan I have a tootie?
You: Cookie? Yes you CAN have a COOKIE! Here is a COOKIE! C-ookie!
If your child is successful at a lower level (i.e. He or she can say the K sound in isolation like KUH, but not in words), you could ask him or her to do a HIVE FIVE (as in #4 above) for just the K sound: K…K…K…K…K! High Five and a cookie for you!
W.O.W. means WORD OF THE WEEK! Each week, the child selects one meaningful word or skill to practice. For instance, if the child’s target sound is “G”, his W.O.W. might be GUM! Ideally, this child will teach the word to someone else, since he or she is the expert!. This word can be part of the HIVE FIVE from #4.
8. WALK and TALK
Realize the value in simply having time with your child. As you walk to the park, chat about what you see along the way. At the park, comment on what your child is doing and where he or she is (i.e. Wow! You are sitting on top of the monkey bars! Are you a monkey?!!) While driving to do your errands, notice out loud how the big crane is lifting up the new building sign. I wonder what I would lift up if I had a crane! Later, as you pour bubbles in the night-time bath, talk about how the water and the fluffy bubbles feel. Wonder out loud if the soap will sink or float. Your child will absorb your words and wonders to expand his or her own communication skills, curiosity, and love of learning.
PARENTS: If you would like access to a fun and effective home practice program, or summer speech therapy, follow this link to learn about our online programs: http://www.tinyeye.com/Summer-Speech-Therapy-With-TinyEYE/How-Summer-Online-Speech-Therapy-Can-Benefit-Your-Child.php
SPEECH-LANGUAGE PATHOLOGISTS: TinyEYE offers school-based SLPs their own online Backpack Program. Provide your students with their very own virtual Backpack that you fill with fun and engaging practice games. Follow this link to receive your password! http://www.tinyeye.com/TinyEYE-Virtual-Homework/Free-Online-Speech-Therapy-Homework-For-SLPs.php
Marnee Brick, MSc
Speech-Language Pathologist and Director of Speech Therapy
TinyEYE Therapy Services (Speech Therapy Telepractice)
Growing smiles, mending spirits, engaging children in their lives