Personally, I’m done with giving worksheets for speech and language home practice. Actually, I’m with homework altogether. It isn't effective or functional and really just a waste of paper. Poor trees....
Children need a mental break. Families need bonding time. Educators need to stop wasting time at the copy machine.
So now what? How to help
Okay....we can't just ignore home speech therapy practice, unfortunately. 30 minutes of therapy once or twice a week just simply isn't enough. So...what can we do?
I thought about this for awhile. What actually works? What will parents actually do? How many times can I say the word actually?
To be honest, I'm always thinking about this question. Over time, I've been tweaking my recommendations and parent counseling based on my reflection.
I've created materials where children can learn and practice speech-language skills while at home simply by interacting with their family. These materials don't add more to a child's already busy life. Instead, they fit right into the chaos.
Functional Language Therapy Materials
Functional Language Therapy Materials has been a work in progress.
I have created cue cards for:
*Answering WH Questions
*Story Grammar components
I use these cue cards in therapy as needed with my students and clients. I then send home the cue cards and have my students and clients show their parents and talk about them. This way, there is a continuum of care across settings. All the adults are using the same strategies and same vocabulary.
Next, I created FUNCTIONAL PRACTICES for how to:
*Answer WH Questions
*Retell or tell a story
These functional practices are uses guides on how to target the above-mentioned language skills while:
*Having a conversation at dinner
*Playing car ride games
*Going for a walk
I provide parents with a functional activity as needed as part of a home practice program. There is a space on each sheet to customize the activity and for parents to write notes on how it went.
Most activities don't change each week...reading is really the best way to target speech and language skills, right?! Then, why would I create some elaborate home practice worksheets when they aren't even the best thing for my students/clients.
Instead, I just adjust the cueing strategies and level of practice each week to match my student's/client's progress. Done!The Theory Behind These Materials
The main idea behind these materials is that communication & language learning happen ALL DAY LONG! Even when we aren't talking, we are still communicating through our silence, body language, and facial expressions. We are communicating with thoughts and actions.
Therefore, with this in mind, language practice should happen naturally, through daily interactions.
My language therapy materials introduce WH Questions, vocabulary, and story grammar skills with the use of visuals. Then each skill is targeted during a daily activity such as dinner conversation or reading.
By practicing language during these daily activities, any progress made will generalize easier and children and their parents won't have to waste time doing tedious worksheets. It's a win-win!