In the United States, there are many children ages three to 17 diagnosed with some sort of speech disorder. According to statistics, 7.7 percent of these children in the United States struggle with issues that are related to swallowing, voice, language, or speech.Indeed, speech disability is a severe issue. Some parents might not consider this as something serious. However, children with speech disorders and are not treated early can hinder their day-to-day routine until adulthood. This can impact their job application, social life, and other aspects in their entire adulthood.Parents should be all ears when it comes to speech disorders. Some causes of speech disability are:
Childhood trauma or infection
Brain or nerve damage
Issues in muscles or bones
Once you notice your children having difficulty communicating, it’s recommended to address these issues as soon as possible.You can enroll your children in virtual speech therapy classes to ensure that this issue doesn’t go on until adulthood.
On top of online speech therapy sessions, you can still practice speech therapy at home. Here are some ways on how you can develop your children’s speech even at home.1- Ask Open-Ended QuestionsSome children who have difficulty in conversing can become shy because they can’t express themselves. It’s better to avoid this and encourage them always to communicate, especially when at home. Try to strike a conversation with your children, even if it means asking them simple questions.To get them to talk more, try to ask more open-ended questions. Instead of asking them “Yes or No” questions, try to ask questions that need more detailed answers. This way, they can try to explain themselves. Please correct them and guide them whenever they’re speaking.Also, try to ask questions that have no right or wrong answers. Some children might be scared of answering for fear of giving the wrong answers. And this will bring down their self-confidence.Assure them that the questions don’t have a right or wrong answer. Ask them questions like:
What is your favorite food, and why?
What do you think about the trees outside?
Why do you like to play your favorite games?
Who is the person you look up to the most?
Why do you think school is important?
Try to ask some questions every day and spend some time sitting down so he can verbalize the ideas in his head.Sometimes, distractions aren’t good when a kid is trying to explain himself. So, make sure that you talk with him face to face without any other distractions.
2- Listen Carefully
As mentioned, it’s better to talk with your children face to face when practicing speech therapy at home. This will give them the impression that you care about their answers.Whenever you’re doing some household chores while talking to your children, they might think that they don’t have to give a serious answer because you’re not giving 100 percent of your attention to them.Always look at them in the eye and validate their responses. Try to comfort them whenever they’re having a difficult time explaining themselves.The worse thing that can happen when doing speech therapy at home is when your children are all-out in expressing themselves and you’re busy doing the dishes. This doesn’t show that you’re giving them 100 percent of your time and support in helping them get better.
3- Make Them Read More
Reading offers a myriad of benefits. There is also a correlation between reading and speaking. Reading a lot helps us improve our speech and communication skills.This is because we get more familiar with the sounds, grammatical errors, spelling patterns, and more. When you let your children read more, you’re introducing them to different writing tones. This will enable them to garner ideas on certain situations and will impact the way they express themselves.Make them read their favorite books. As much as possible, let them read the same books over and over again until they familiarize the vocabularies. Reading also helps widen your children’s vocabulary.The more words they know, the more they know how to express their ideas. Also, while reading, you can always ask them questions to engage in conversations. Ask them about the pictures or ask them what they think about the situations, characters, or scenes.
4- Do Speech Therapy Exercises
Make it a habit to do speech therapy exercises with your kid at home. The advantage of doing these at home is that it won’t seem like a “class” or something mandatory.You can create games that involve practicing their speech. For example, you can try to show them picture cards of animals. Once you show them a particular animal, you can ask them to imitate the animal sound.There are many speech therapy activities you can do with your children. Always make it engaging. Communication is a two-way street. Also, never reprimand your children if they make a mistake, as this might discourage them. Instead, correct them with a positive note.
5- Make It Fun
Last but not least, always make your speech therapy at home fun and enjoyable. A child has a very short attention span. They can easily get distracted and can only focus for a few minutes. However, if you make the activities fun, they will try their best to join in on the fun.If you also ensure that you engage them every step of the way, they will likely focus their attention on you or on the activity. Whatever you do, always spend speech therapy sessions at home with a smile and some laughter. This way, your child will never feel like it’s “homework.”
Speech therapy is crucial to improve and develop your child’s speech disorder. Whether someone young or old has speech disabilities, it’s recommended to act on it immediately. Please don’t take this issue for granted, as it can have a grave impact on a person’s day-to-day life.Eliza Brooks has written this article, Eliza is a passionate blogger and she loves to write about personality development, mental and physical disabilities, and ways to overcome them effectively. She is currently working with Verboso, which offers online speech therapy for children to improve their speaking skills.