It’s that time of year when classes are starting to wrap up. Many parents are asking, “What can we do over the summer?” Here are some ideas and considerations for summer home programs for speech therapy, but really they can be used at any time of the year.
In my experience, the most effective home programs are the ones that are convenient for the parents. Make it too big and complicated, and it will likely overwhelm the parents.
Keep the activities short. Parents are much more likely to use activities that only take a few minutes.
Use equipment that parents most likely have. We don’t want, nor should we expect, parents to go out and buy things that they don’t have. Try to use activities where the families already have everything that they need.
Use home routines as activities. If the activity is something the family does it regularly, then they are most likely to adjust it to work on their child’s goals.
Give the parents some control. Ask them what kinds of activities they do and don’t like to do. I have many parents where playing with play dough or using scissors with their children are no-goes. Ask about their regular days. This info will help you tailor the home program for what works for them and increase the odds that all the work you put into the program will have results.
Lastly, send home any printed materials your families may need for the activities (e.g. speech cards/words). It may seem obvious, but a long time ago, a parent asked me for cards when the child’s regular SLP forgot.
Ideas for Home Programs
Calendars. There are lots of really good calendars out there. They’re great because they are usually quick, simple activities that families can do every day.
Photo books. Making photo books (aka memory books) are also a great way to work on a child’s speech and language goals. They’re usually pretty easy to make, and families can use the pictures and activities they already do. Check out this blog post for a more in-depth description of photo books (Click here).
Use Home Routines. Now this will take more patience on the caregivers’ part, but they are a great way to work on functional speech and language goals. Like with calendars, there are many great handouts to help you and the child’s family work on these goals. For more info, check out this blog post (Click here).
Play Handouts. These types of handouts are great for kids working on their play skills. Handouts will give families ideas on what to say and what to do while playing with their child’s favourite toys.
If you are looking for more ideas, please see this post by Linda in Looks Like Language, click here.
Let me know what you’re favourite home program activities are.