Homework. That word that Mums and Dads do not want to hear! As a Speech Therapist, when I work with families it is important that I set some ‘homework’ strategies for the family to work on before our next session.
I strongly encourage families to use these home therapy techniques in games, between my visits, as it allows little ones to progress faster and ultimately reduce the number of therapy sessions they require with their Speechie.
When I arrive at a session where a family has worked hard with their little one since my last visit, the improvement is noticeable to me. The delight on the little ankle biter’s face as they achieve yet another goal is heart warming and exciting.
Creating word games can be an easy way to make ‘homework’ fun for the whole family. While out in the car, children can be encouraged to identify items on billboards and other advertising on the side of the road as you drive to your destination. See sample game below.
At home parents/carers can use the free magazines from the grocery store to encourage children to identify objects or items from particular categories (e.g. fruit and vegetables, cooking items, cleaning products). See sample games below.
A game that helps target memory, word retrieval, vocabulary and listening skills. This game is particularly suitable for the 5-7 year old child.
Parent/carer nominates a letter of the alphabet ‘L’ for example.
Players have to provide words that fit within a category (e.g. name some items commencing with ‘L’ that you bring to school). “I am going to bring my lunch to school”. Other players will then build a sentence with another example of what they will bring to school also commencing with the nominated letter.
How to play a picture/word game (when driving) that targets articulation sounds and picture/word identification.
Parent/carer will start the game by using the letter ‘A’ (on a billboard or other advertising). Parent to say what they see – “I can see the picture of an adult.” Then the next player has to find a picture of an item starting with ‘B’ and so forth as you work your way through the alphabet and head to your destination. If you have older siblings in the vehicle, then I would suggest you kick it up a notch and instruct them to find words starting with the nominated letter rather than pictures. If you wish to make it even harder, include the rule that older participants cannot use the same word twice.
Using a magazine or your free shopping catalogues (junk mail).
For the 2-3 year old, the child is required to be able to identify the names of the items you ask them to find in the magazine/catalogue (e.g. find me the lawnmower).
For the 4-5 year old child, he/she has to pick an object from the catalogue/magazine and provide a description of that object (e.g. where you would find it, how does it work, who would use it, colour, size, texture, temperature…etc).
Using games as a way to maintain a child’s interest when you are following through with the home therapy techniques is beneficial to the child and helps to achieve optimum outcomes.