The ASHA Leader asked readers: "What strategies and materials do you use to develop home-practice exercises and to encourage students and parents to use them?"
Keep It Simple
For pediatric patients, I try not to have too many fancy toys, games, and equipment. I try to only use things in my sessions that the parents can get or already have at home. If you want to be a true model, the environment and the equipment should mimic that of the home.
—Rob Shields, MS, CCC-SLP
Tap the Classroom-Home Connection
For students who are at the reading level with articulation goals, I sometimes make copies of things they might have to read in class. I have them go through it with a pen/highlighter to mark all their target sounds, and then have them read it to a parent/helper. I like it because it directly relates to the classroom, increases their awareness of target sounds, and gives them a strategy they can use if they are anxious about reading aloud.
—Elizabeth Simms, MA, CCC-SLP
Open the Door
I work in an outpatient setting, and I encourage the caregivers/parents to join in and be an active part of the session if possible! I include them in the session so that they feel empowered to help their child meet the goals at home. I have found this improves carryover and provides the caregivers or parents with functional tasks they can work on and [use] to encourage the child to be successful outside of therapy.
—Christina Sanford, MA, CCC-SLP
Keep Them Accountable
Bring caregivers or parents into sessions to build skills and confidence for assisting the client outside of sessions. For pediatric patients, I also create a perpetual weekly calendar with a focus goal of the day, so they rotate through concepts during daily activities with family members, such as tidying a room, shopping for or putting groceries away, laundry, meals, play dates, etc.
For older elementary-age and adolescent students, I have them keep a dedicated speech journal we edit every session with instructions, activities, and successful tips. I also encourage them to do some of their practicing when brushing teeth so it happens twice a day while at the mirror. I encourage them to do a set "when a commercial comes on TV."
For adults and geriatric clients, I encourage practice "every commercial" for two hours in the morning and again in the evening, aiming for the equivalent of 30 minutes twice daily. I often have them keep a dedicated speech journal per above. They keep a score page in the journal to track their own goals and progress. We edit this every session. If minimal or no progress was made, we discuss barriers (such as not doing between-session activities) and they are counseled that next visit we need to see progress, or we may need to put therapy on the back burner. As a private therapist I have the luxury of very motivated clientele for the most part, so this approach works well. The journals are either computer-based or traditional paper, and I encourage drawing and clippings to make it theirs.
—Deb Ross, MS, CCC-SLP
I pretty much bribe them :-)
—Elizabeth Barrett, MS, CCC-SLP
Tell Us What You Think
We're looking for member voices and want to know:
What unique treatment challenges do the upcoming holidays present for you and your students or clients, and how do you deal with them?
Tweet your response to #LeaderPosted or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Your response may appear in a future issue of The ASHA Leader.