Home programs are important for the generalization of speech and language therapy goals. With today’s busy lifestyles, families need to be taught how to practice with children without putting life on pause. There are common goal categories that SLP uses to create clients’ individual goals. These include the improvement of: expressive and receptive vocabulary skills, production of specific sounds, reading and writing, problem solving, and pragmatic conversational skills. It is always important to keep in mind that the ultimate goal of therapy is to help children communicate successfully outside the therapy setting.
Here are some activities that build on each category:
- Parents can build children’s vocabulary skills in any setting by thinking out loud. Identify objects, people, activities, pronouns, and adjectives. Asking “what’s this?” then allows the child an opportunity to practice new vocabulary. A good game to play for this is “I Spy.” Challenge the child by choosing less obvious items.
- For production of specific sounds, parents can find objects that contain the target sounds. For example, street signs, grocery store aisles, and shopping lists all provide good opportunities to practice specific sounds. Parents need to adjust their amount of help based on the child’s skill level. This also improves reading and writing by increasing letter to sound awareness.
- To improve problem solving skills, give the child clues to identify objects. A great game for this is “20 questions.” This is a good game to play while driving in the car or waiting in line. This game can also strengthen question formation and description skills.
- Finally, pragmatic and conversational skills can be improved at home as well. Practice and provide a model for the child for greetings , asking for help, appropriate volume levels, appropriate eye contact, and body position during interactions. Role-play is a good way for a child to practice conversational skills. For example, ask the child, “If you were the coach, how would you teach me?”