At-Home Speech Therapy for Expressive Language Skills
Speech therapists have countless tricks up their sleeves, along with at-home speech therapy techniques they can teach to parents. One of the many facets of language that a speech therapist can teach your child is expressive language skills. If your child has an expressive language disorder, it means that he has difficulty using language to communicate, or in other words, expressing himself. Your child might have limited speech or he might be entirely nonverbal. Communication difficulties can be extremely frustrating for your child. He might know what he wishes to say, but cannot verbalize it.
Sometimes, speech and language impairments can encourage the frequency of temper tantrums and similar behavioral problems because the child is so frustrated from being unable to make his wishes known. If your child has difficulty speaking, a speech-language pathologist (SLP) can help. To accelerate your child’s progress, talk to the SLP about at-home speech therapy techniques to use at home.
How to Talk With Your Child
One of the great things about at-home speech therapy techniques is that you don’t need to spend a fortune on them. It’s not necessary to delay your retirement plans and go into bankruptcy to buy expensive, specialized equipment. At-home speech therapy techniques can be completely free, and may involve little more than knowing how to talk with your child. Modeling proper language patterns and expanding your child’s language can teach him by example. For instance, if your child says, “Cookie,” you can say, “Do you want a cookie? I’d like to eat a cookie, too.” Talk to your child often throughout the day. Narrate your actions, his actions, what you plan to do, etc.
As well, pay attention to repetitive patterns in your child’s language. If you notice that your child tends to repeat the same words or sentences often, try to encourage variety. Say something whacky and nonsensical to elicit a different response from your child. Instead of saying, “Would you like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?” for example, say, “Would you like a mustard and jelly sandwich?”
In addition to modeling proper language and encouraging variety, create an environment that encourages your child to verbalize more often. Turn off the TV, radio, and other distractions. When your child speaks or attempts to speak, be face-to-face with him.
Using Books for At-Home Speech Therapy
Books are great at-home speech therapy tools. Set aside regular time for reading with your child every day. To help encourage his expressive language skills, look for picture books with little to no text. Have your child tell a story about the picture, or expand upon the text. If he has trouble getting started, prompt him with observations and questions. For example, say, “Lucas, did you notice that the mouse took the elephant’s peanut?” and “What do you think the mouse is doing?” Ask your child what he thinks will happen next in the story, and expand upon his response.
Another fun idea to make books more interactive for your child is to create your own with magazine clippings and/or family photos. Have your child pick out pictures that he likes. He can arrange them in whatever order makes sense to him and paste them onto construction paper. Staple them together and flip through the homemade book together. Encourage your child to tell you a story about the pictures. If you use family photos, your child might tell a story about a family vacation that you took, for example.