Just because the school year is over doesn’t mean your child has to stop working on his or her speech therapy. In fact, keeping a child working throughout the summer is important, because it has been shown children can lose up to three months of what they learned in school over a summer break if they are not kept engaged in using those skills. Here are five things you can do to keep children working on their speech.
Expose Them to Language
There are many different ways to expose children to language. Talk to them, and talk to them often. Narrate everything you are doing, pointing out objects of importance. Repeat everything you narrate, often, to help it sink in. When you watch television, discuss what the characters are saying, and engage them by asking questions that require thought out answers beyond yes or no. Encourage your child to ask you questions. Read to your child regularly. Read with your child regularly. What matters is that you and the child talk, and talk often. Everything, with practice, becomes easier over time.
Invest in a Copy of Teach Me How to Say It Right
This book is full of speech therapy exercises you and your child can use to improve skills. The book also has exercises to help you evaluate your child and his or her needs. Chapters 5 through 7 are a great way to dive right in and get started.
Review the Individualized Education Program (IEP)
If your child has an IEP, take time to look at it over the summer. This will give you a chance to review the speech goals, just as the speech pathologist will do. This way you know exactly what you should be working toward with your child. In addition to the speech goals, be sure to take a look at the behavioral and any other goals, as well as the techniques that may be listed with them. Follow the IEP during the summer to keep your child on track for the next school year. If your child does not have an IEP, talk to someone at the school to start the process of creating one to help your child succeed in their education environment.
Teach Them Figures of Speech
Many children have issues with speech as a result of figurative language, so taking time to teach your child various figures of speech is a great way to improve their skills. One of the best and easiest ways to help your child learn more about figurative language is through using a book called, What Did You Say? What Do You Mean? The book discusses many different figures of speech to compare what a person says to what they mean, to help children understand the difference between literal and figurative speech.
Make Use of Telespeech Services
Telespeech services allow children to connect to a speech-language pathologist (SLP) online, to get the same quality education as they would from a face-to-face session. Many schools across the country employ this technology to not only improve quality but to also reduce costs. You can make use of these services over the summer so the child receives constant exposure to a professional SLP.
Working with your child on speech skills over the course of a summer can make a huge difference in their ability to speak and understand language. Use these techniques to give your child the best bridge between school years as you possibly can.