How to do Speech Therapy at Home:

Speech and Language Ideas for Parents

These are my ideas for parents on how to do speech therapy at home.  Speech therapy at home can be fun, easy and very effective.  Parents are more than capable of helping their child’s speech and language to develop at home.  These are some of the first ideas that I give parents who come to see me.

The ideas are divided into two different areas: Speech Sounds and Early Language Development (Talking).  I hope they help.

Let me know if you have any questions.  You can reach me at

Madison Garvi – SLPatHome

Speech Sounds

The following ideas will help your child to speak more clearly, be easier to understand and to improve their ability to say the different speech sounds.  I hope they help.  

Basic Speech Development Ideas

Your child learns to say sounds and speak clearly by listening to you.   Model good speech.  Say words slowly and clearly making sure you say each sound in every word.  Don’t use baby talk.  Read More about Basic Speech Development.

Speech Sound Development Chart – When to be Concerned About Speech Sounds

The following is a guide as to when it may be good to work on different speech sounds.  Remember that all children develop differently.  There are no hard and fast “rules” for when specific sounds should be worked on.  The biggest thing to watch with young children is how well they are understood by strangers. Here is my Speech Sound Development Chart.

Games for Speech Therapy

Playing simple games makes it motivating for your child to practice sounds. It doesn’t matter what you play as long as you both are having fun.  Here are game suggestions for both younger and older children and ideas on how to make the practice more challenging. Here are my Games for Speech Therapy.

Core Words Approach

The Core Words approach is the most powerful way I have found for parents to work on speech sounds at home. Practice becomes meaningful and change starts to happen. Because you are working on carryover from the very start your child learns how to make the sounds correctly in their everyday speech. Read more about using Core Words for Speech Practice.

Hand Gestures for Speech Sounds

Pairing a physical action with a sound makes it easier to say the sound.   Having your child practice doing the action each time you say the sound, will make it easier for him to say the sound correctly in harder words.  For some children the very action of doing something physical when trying to say the sound makes it easier.  Here is what I use for Hand Gestures for Speech Sounds.

Motivating your Child to Practice Speech

Practicing, even just a little bit each day, is necessary for your child to make good progress.  However motivating your child and sometimes even yourself to do this isn’t always easy.  Here are some ideas to help: Motivation for Speech Practice.

Model Back Good Speech Sounds

Modeling is a powerful way to help children become more aware of and learn how to say speech sounds.  Some parents are afraid to “correct” their child’s speech.  Modeling isn’t simply correction.  Modeling provides children with the information that they need.  Read More on How to Model Back Good Speech Sounds.

Early Ideas for Last Sounds

Children sometimes leave the endings off of words. When this happens words often become hard to understand.  These are some ideas to help younger children put the last sounds onto words. Activities for children under 3 focus on having the child become more aware of sounds.  Here is my guide for How to Work on The Last Sounds of Words.

Minimal Pairs – What are they and how to use them

Minimal pairs are a teriffic  way to teach children awareness of sounds and helps them to see that changing one sound in a word can completely change what they are saying.  Minimal pairs are words that differ by only one sound such as “Wing”/”Swing”, “Rake”/”Wake” and “Can”/”Tan”.   I often encourage parents to use them when practicing with their children.  Read more about Minimal Pairs for Speech Therapy

Slowing Down Speech

Children sometimes need to learn to slow down their speech to make it easier to understand.  When children talk too quickly their words can get pushed together or they don’t give themselves time to say the sounds properly.  Here are some ideas to help practice slowing down.   Read more about Speaking Clearly and Slowly.

Repair Strategies

It is important to teach children to know what to do when they are having difficulty making themselves understood.  The first step is to help them know that you didn’t understand what they said.  This is why it is so important to not “pretended” to understand. If a child doesn’t realize that what they said was hard to understand they won’t be motivated to say it differently.  Here are my ideas for Using Repair Strategies for Speech Sounds.

Reducing Frustration

It is important to reduce frustration as much as possible.  When children have problems communicating they often become frustrated. Frustration can lead to behavior problems and limits social and language development. Here is what you can try to Reduce Frustration for Speech Sounds.

Apraxia of Speech Practice Principles

Apraxia is a motor speech problem where the is a disruption between what the brain is telling the mouth to do and what actually happens.  Children with apraxia of speech have trouble controlling their muscles to make speech sounds.  When working with children with apraxia it is important to follow the principles of motor learning. Read more on How to Help Apraxia of Speech.

Working on Speech Sounds Early

Working on speech sounds early, before they are considered to be a delay, can be a contentious topic.  Speech sounds typically develop at different ages.  This Speech Sound Development Chart is what I use as a guide for when speech sounds should  be worked on.  It is though, as are all speech development norms, just a guide.  A lot depends on how the difficulty with the sound is affecting the child. Here are my thoughts about Practicing Speech Sounds Early.

Early Language Development

The following ideas will help your child’s early language to develop.They will learn the skills needed to start communication and to start saying their first words.

Basic Language Development Ideas

These are short descriptions of the basic ideas I give parents to help them get communication started.  Communication is always the goal.  Words will come.  Read More on Ideas to Develop Basic Language Skills.

Fun First Sounds and Words

Children’s first Sounds and Words are often “Fun” sounding.  These can be easier for children to say because they often use early developing sounds (H, P, B, M, W and simple vowels), often repeat themselves, are fun to say, and are motivating to say over and over again.  They are a great way to get talking started.  These are my ideas for Fun First Sounds and Words.

Make Your Child Noisy!

Every child needs to be noisy. None of us can talk unless we know how to produce sound purposefully. Some children who aren’t talking yet will already be doing this, but some may not.  Here are some ideas to help move a toddler towards becoming noisy. Read more to Make Your Child Noisy!

Increasing Imitation

Imitation is a powerful and important skill to teach your child.  The more your child is able to imitate the better he will be at learning new sounds and words.  Imitation also creates and increases social connections. Here are my ideas to Increase Your Child’s Ability to Imitate Speech Sounds.

Using Pictures to Communicate

Pictures are a great way to help children learn to communicate more frequently and more effectively.  They can decrease frustration and help to get talking started. Read more about Using Pictures to Help Your Child Communicate.

Tempt Communication

Try these ideas to encourage your child to communicate.  Before doing this have in mind what you want your child to do – look, point, make a sound, say a word etc.  Don’t hold out for something that he can’t do. This is what I do to Tempt Your Child to Communicate.