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10 speech therapy ideas to do at home

I wanted to give you 10 speech therapy ideas to do at home because you, as the parent, are your child’s best teacher.   These ideas do not replace therapy and should not replace therapy.  These are EXTRA ideas to do when you are home, playing with your child.

1.  Do Not Have the TV on in the Background. 

The background noise can actually make it harder for a child.  Contrary to what many think, TV in the background does not enhance development.  According to JAMA Pediatrics, “children with frequent television viewing…would have delayed development of meaningful word speech.”

2.  Teach Sign Language. 

There are studies to show a correlation between sign language and speech.  If nothing else, it stops the huge frustration that children are feeling.

I focus on the biggies: more, mine, help, Mommy, Daddy, please, thank you (please & thank you are added in there just to teach your little one good manners!)   However, instead of simply teaching “more” teach him or her “ball” (or the name of what you are playing with) each time he wants “more ball”. If he’s hungry he could request eat or the specific food. This motivates children more.

Typically when children first begin to talk it’s by requesting the actual item or action such as a ball, milk, blanket, momma, daddy, car, doll. Requesting things they can see will be easier to learn and understand in the beginning. “More” may be over-generalized a

3.  Make Printable Magnets for Your Refrigerator.

Add magnets that have his favorite things  (juice, cereal…) and when he wants something, he can bring that to you. (make sure he can’t choke on them.

4. Spend 40 Minutes Just Playing with Him. 

Use simple words “Car fast!” or “Red ball”.  .

5. Work with Simple Flash Cards

Say the name of the object & have them repeat it.   Labeling is HUGE for a child with a speech delay.  ps- You might want to get a flashcard app for babies or toddlers- they are free).

6. Get a Cotton Ball & Straw

Put the cotton ball down on the table or on the floor.  Now, take a straw& let him blow through it to make a cotton ball move (have the cotton ball on the table). This will help with the oral muscles needed for speech.

7. Drink with a Straw, but Not Just Liquids.  

Change it up a bit and use the straw to drink many different textures (water, milk, applesauce, pureed fruits, milkshakes)…  This will help to strengthen the muscles in their mouth, making speech easier when they are ready.  

8. Use silly straws for Drinking

I use these curly/wavy straws.  These are great because they take a little more muscular strength and work than the average straw.

9.  Put Some Things Out of Reach

I do this with something that you know your child will want (a favorite book or favorite toy) and they will have to ask you for help when getting it. Teach them to come and get you and take you (by taking you the hand) to what he/she wants OR by getting you the magnet off of the fridge (did you read that tip above?)  Show your child the sign for help and say “Help” when they are asking you.  You are modeling this behavior for him/her.  Children are more likely to talk when they want something.

10.  Praise Their Efforts

These are just some things that I practice with my speech delayed clients & that I have done with our own children.   Praising your children has a profound effect on their success, because of the increase in self-esteem and self-worth.