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Thoughts about practising therapy targets

I’ve been thinking about what might help parents to get children practising therapy targets at home. In the clinic setting I find most children are happy to carry out “my jobs” but I know from parents that this is much harder at home. Children have often got so many things to do these days – going to “after school” clubs and homework tasks. Equally, parents are usually tired after a long day at work or getting on with being parents…then there’s a meal to prepare, bathtime to organise and before you know it it’s bedtime.

Why practising therapy targets is important…

Practising therapy targets is vital to the outcome of speech and language therapy. We know that our work benefits from lots of small sessions. This is much more effective than one long session the night before your next therapy slot! Especially with speech work, it’s all about building up muscle memory so that it takes less effort for the brain to move the articulators (tongue, lips, palate) to exactly where they need to move to.

With this in mind, here are a few ideas to encourage children with practising therapy targets:

Games

If your child is working on developing a sound on its own, or in a word, phrase, sentence etc you can combine this with playing one of their games. I really enjoy using games such as “pop-up pirates”, “Mr Potato Head”, “Monkey Madness” alongside our work. Every time the child makes the correct sound/word etc they take a turn at the game so you would give them a dagger for “Pop-up Pirates” or a monkey to hang on the tree for Monkey Madness.

Craft and stampers

Use stampers or craft materials – every time your child makes a sound/word use a stamper. I have a lovely set of stamps with fairies and unicorns. This has a great distraction effect from the repetitive nature of speech practice work.

Jigsaws

Build a jigsaw – every time the child makes the correct sound/word etc they are given a piece of a jigsaw and can start to build it (not good for 1000 piece jigsaws!!!)

In the bath

Try getting foam letters and stick sounds and words to the side of the bath while splashing about.

Give these ideas a go and if you need any more help or have any comments let me know