In my many years of working as a speech-language pathologist, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard not only children but also their parents ask this question in disbelief.
Of course, “homework” conjures up nasty images of hours of busy work, taking your child away from fun activities such as watching television or playing outside with friends. And as a parent, helping out with that homework might take you away from your pleasurable activities as well as a long list of daily chores.
But why must we all do our homework for Speech? In a word, “practice.” Practice enables us to improve our skills, as well as extend speech production to settings outside the clinic or classroom. Practice may not always make perfect, but it certainly helps us improve!
As a parent, I believe it’s important for you to ask your child’s speech therapist whether you may join your child during a speech therapy session. I then encourage you to practice daily with your child. Adult clients are also strongly encouraged to practice with a family member or friend. It is better by far to practice 10 minutes daily every day than to practice only once or twice a week for 30 minutes.
Practice, practice, practice; this should help you or your children to become well spoken!
Joanne Summer, MA, CCC-SLP, a speech-language pathologist based in Morristown, NJ, has helped hundreds of children improve their speech sound production and language skills. She founded Well Spoken Speech Therapy, LLC, in 2014 after spending 12 years providing therapy to children (K-5) in the New Jersey public school system. In private practice, her clients also include younger children and adolescents. In addition, she treats people of all ages who stutter or otherwise find it difficult to speak fluently—an area in which she has received extensive specialized training.