If your child is seeing a speech pathologist, it’s likely your therapist has given you some activities to try for home practise. Home practise can be given for just about any skill your child is learning with their speech pathologist. You may be wondering, if my child is practicing this skill in their regular sessions, why do they need to do it at home too? Great question! The answer is generalisation.
What is generalisation?
Generalisation is the carryover of skills from the therapy context to an everyday context. Your child works hard in therapy to achieve their goals! We want them to be able to use their new skills all the time, so they can continue to make gains outside the therapy room. To achieve this, they need to practise their new skills in different contexts with different people. This will lead to them using their new skills more naturally and effortlessly.
What does home practise look like?
Home practise looks different for each family, depending on the skills your child is working on, and the therapy approach your speech pathologist is taking. Generally, home practise is encouraged everyday, so your child can get lots of exposure to their new skills over time and their learning “sticks”. For younger children, home practise will typically be recommended for 10-15 minutes a day (or less!), it may be longer for older children. Let’s have a look at how home practise may vary depending what area of speech pathology your child is working on…
Home practise for speech
Your therapist will provide you with words to practise that contain your child’s target sound. We encourage you to practise in the same way your therapist conducts therapy in their session. This creates a consistent approach between you and your child’s therapist. It also ensures more success for your child at home, because they are already familiar with how to practise!
Home practise for language
Language practise will look quite different depending on what level of language your child is working on. If you are working on developing your child’s early language, such as helping them say new words, you are likely using parent-training strategies. Home practise will involve using the strategies your therapist has taught you in specific contexts. You can collaborate with your therapist to determine when and how to use your strategies most effectively at home.
Your child may already be understanding and using language, but working on skills like following instructions, using full sentences, and using pronouns or prepositions in therapy. In this case, your therapist will provide you with specific activities to try at home, and may give you some resources to support you between therapy sessions.
Home practise for literacy
Depending on your child’s level, literacy practise may have differing levels of structure. For younger children developing their pre-literacy and early literacy skills, home practise may be more naturalistic, such as playing Sound I Spy (“I spy something beginning with a ‘b’ sound”), or segmenting the sounds of pictures in their favourite book (“I see a cat. Let’s listen to the sounds in ‘cat’: c-a-t.”). For school-aged children working on their literacy, home practise may be more structured so they can practise their recognition of letter-sound relationships, reading, spelling and writing.
Home practise for stuttering
Depending on the age of your child and the fluency program or strategies your therapist has recommended, home practise may look a little different. Home practise for stuttering may involve structured practise sessions to help your child be as smooth as possible and giving them feedback on their speech, or it may be having time for your child to practise using their smooth speech strategies.
At Curious Kids, our therapists are always open to collaborating with you about home practise, and finding the most effective method for you and your family. Please speak to your therapist if you have any questions or concerns.