By Violette Godier-Ruess M. S. CCC-SLP
So the school year is over and Summer is here! We've all heard of the Summer slide in education (kids lose skills over the summer break). Well I'm here to tell you it happens in Speech too. The work that hasn't been solidified by the time summer comes around, (maybe those pesky speech sounds aren't perfect yet, or those pronouns are still getting mixed up, or we aren't following 2 step directions), can be completely lost by September if you don't work on it.
My first recommendation is: go to Speech Therapy! Find a private office like Hello Speech and Language Services LLC in Red Bank, NJ, where they have summer hours and availability and sign up for 1 - 2 x a week! If that's not possible, here are 5 secret's to doing therapy at home over the Summer!
Tip #1 - Get the goals from your therapist!
They will be able to provide you with the exact goals your child is working on. If you do this at the end of the year they will be the most up to date speech therapy goals! The goals from last September have probably changed with all the progress that is made over the school year. Take it a step further and ask them for handouts too!
Tip #2 - Schedule in a time to work on speech
Committing to working on speech therapy over the Summer means sticking to a schedule. Just set an alarm in your phone : daily at bath time, every Thursday at 6 pm etc.
"Younger children are prone to the most learning loss because they’re at a crucial stage in their development." - Ashley Austrew, Scolastic.com
Tip #3 - Be realistic
If your child is at camp all day, chances are they don't want to come home and work on Speech with you. Keep it short and sweet; for some kids it's 5 minutes every day, for others its 10 minutes a week. Any work that you do is great!
Tip #4 - Mix it up
Following directions in the bathtub? Easy! Grab a bowl and spoon from the kitchen and teach them how to mix up a magic potion using their bath toys! Working on K sounds? Spend a car ride talking about the different trucks that you see, make sure you are cueing them to use their throat sounds. Working on R? Have them ask you questions in Charades, " Are you a cat?", "Is that your tail?" etc.
Tip #5 - Finish strong
Working on speech therapy at home over the summer can be fun! Spend time face to face, just talking to each other. Don't over - correct your child. Give them a strong starting point by reviewing what you are working on, how to produce the sound, and what the expectations are. Set a timer and when it rings, end things on a positive note. Keep the positive momentum going, and when there are struggles, talk about it. Set yourself up for success.
Set up those play dates!
Play with your kids and encourage them to play with their friends. No iPads, no devices, no TV. Playing in the backyard or with their toys with no structure at all. Using their imaginations. Give them 1-2 hours or more at a time to really develop their play. When you let kids go, they come up with the wildest most creative play schemes with anything around them. Set up those play dates! Keep the kids safe and fed and let them have fun this summer!
If you are interested in virtual or in person speech therapy to keep up your child's skills over the summer please email email@example.com or call 732-290-5158