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Practice, Practice, Practice!

Why Completing Home Practice Activities From Your Child’s SLP Is So Important

Speech-language therapy is a critical intervention for children with communication challenges. Whether your child struggles with articulation, fluency, voice, or language disorders, the guidance of a qualified speech-language pathologist (SLP) can be transformative. While attending regular sessions with an SLP is essential, the role of home practice activities cannot be underestimated.

Are you familiar with the saying, “practice makes perfect?” Well, if you want to learn a skill, any skill, such as how to play an instrument, swim or even how to ride a bike, it takes a lot of practice and repetition to master those skills. Learning speech and language skills is no different!

If you have a child in speech therapy, you should get what I like to call “home practice activities,” or what’s more commonly known as homework, after every session. No matter how often your child receives speech therapy, the skills they learned during their session need to be practiced every single day. This reinforcement of the specific speech and language skills is incredibly important for your child's progress and success. It will not only help them achieve their communication goals, but ultimately it will help them master their speech and/or language goals and help them graduate from speech therapy in a shorter amount of time.

You may be thinking, I am so busy and I don’t have time to practice with my child every day. We get it, life is busy and life with young children is insanely busy, but these home activities do not have to be time consuming…5-10 minutes a day will make a huge difference in your child’s success. Best of all, the activities can often be incorporated into your daily life!

For many language goals, you can simply make small, purposeful changes to some of the daily routines you already have with your child each day, such as getting them dressed in the morning, playing, or preparing meals and incorporate the home practice activities into these routines. If your child is working on articulation and has specific sounds they are working on, you can have them practice their words in the car while you're running errands or while they are looking in the mirror before or after they brush their teeth.

The goal of home practice is not only to accelerate their progress, but to help solidify their new skills. Here are a few key reasons why using the suggested activities from your child’s SLP is vital to their success in speech therapy:

*You’re reinforcing the skills they learned during their session

*You’re helping them make progress faster

*You’re helping them to carryover and generalize their skills outside of the therapy room

The collaboration between an SLP, the child and their family is incredibly important for successful speech-language therapy outcomes. While the expertise and guidance of the therapist are indispensable, the commitment of the child and family to daily home practice is equally important. By understanding the significance of home exercises and actively participating in them, families can play a critical role in their child's journey to becoming a confident and effective communicator.

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