Home programming is an important part of speech and language therapy so that what the child is learning in the therapy room has practice outside of the treatment room. This seems very logical but what exactly should this be?
First one needs to consider the needs of the whole child. What else is the child doing? Are they involved in after-school activities or do they accompany a parent to a sibling’s activities? Is the child exhausted after a day of school?
Then you need to consider the needs/wants of the family? Are they juggling multiple responsibilities? Are they requesting some ideas for them to do? Do they have access to a computer?
You then need to think what is the purpose of the homework? Is it to reinforce a skill? Is it to expand the environments that the child can do the skill? What does the child like to do?
So although worksheets are often a go-to for homework there are many things besides a worksheet that can be given to a child to bridge the gap between therapy and home.
Here are some creative ideas:
- Give a child a knock-knock joke to tell a family member: If a child gets a response they might tell more.
- Give picture script for a topical event so the child will be able to have a conversation ( Who are you rooting for in the big game? )
- Give some cards with the child’s sound on it for them to play a Concentration game or Go Fish.
Home programming can also be you connecting with the family and giving information on what is working with the child.
- It might be giving a suggestion for a game or activity that is fun but will also work on a goal.
- It might be giving the family a handout about the particular research-based approach that you are using.
- It might be to suggest an outing ( ex. after reading Corduroy Gets a Pocket, it was suggested that the family show the child a laundromat in town.)
- Give suggestions on how everyday tasks can be a learning experience ( ex. when you are shopping ask what department would you get carrots in?)
- It might be suggesting a game that the family can play in the car ( ex. name as many animals as you can, find different letters on road signs).
- It might be giving the family a visual that you made for the child.
- It might be giving a paper book for the child to read at home.
- It might be telling a family about the story that you read in class so the parent can talk about the story with the child.
So it is important that we think about how we are involving families. Their needs may change over time and we need to be responsive to this.
No two families are alike, no two children are alike which means no two home programming plans may be alike.