NATHHAN National Challenged Homeschoolers Associated Network

Christian Families Homeschooling Special Needs Children

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Speech /Language Suggestions


Editor's note: Here is a sampling of the suggestions sent in by NATHHAN families experiencing success when working with their speech/language delayed children.  When working with a child who isn't speaking coherently for their developmental age, it helps to have a guide book to work on speech sounds. I know this sounds like a plug.....and I guess it is, but we really don't know of any other resource like it. STRAIGHT TALK, A Parent's Guide to Correcting Childhood Mispronunciations, although not made specifically for speech/language delays, has been an invaluable tool in keeping parents focused on sound production. What sounds or words would be best to start with? What are some fun ways to learn to make these sounds? Where do we start? These and many more answers can be gleaned just by using common sense and pouring over Straight Talk.


One Word Activities

Let's choose the word " up" as our trial word. As you probably know the idea is exposure, exposure, exposure to the target word. This can get monotonous. Here are a few more ways to make it more fun.

Remember to accept anything close to the word ( as in this instance "uh"). If your child has been using gestures to communicate and is capable of speech perhaps it is time to stop understanding what his hands are saying for the particular word you are working on. For instance, if he lifts his hands to come up on your lap, encourage him to say "up", pretending not to see his lifted arms.


A. Make a goal of say .....20 productions of the word a day for each member of the family.


B. At first, it is a good idea to totally isolate the word. Grasp your child under the arms and lift "up". Lift down silently. Lift "up" again. Make this a fun game.....good for the muscles too!


C. Make a big deal out of the daily things you do "up." Point, reach way "up" high. While putting breakfast dishes away, show what "up" means. The cereal goes "up", the potatoes do not.


D. For once you can bless those stairs.....those of us who live in multilevel homes! How many times do you go up and down the stairs any given day? As you climb each stair say "UP"(take a step) "UP" (take a step). If you are like us, it is hard to remember these things. Post a sign on the stairs door or wall to remind you until it becomes a habit.

Another fun stair game is to get on your hands and knees at child's level and climb "u-u-u-u-u-u-u-p!" Make each step a real effort. The more dramatics the better.


E. Do you have a dog or cat? Calling it to come "up" can provide lots of interesting production of "up"


F. Escalators and elevators are fun ways to use "u-u-u-u-u--p." How about when driving the car up a noticeable hill. "Come on 'ole Gertrude, you can make it u-u-u-u-p!"


G. " Hide" an object high up while your child watches. Next "forget" where you put it. Search low, then higher, prompting your child to help you search higher "up".


H. Balloons filled with helium can be lots of fun. Holding it by the string watch it go "up." Next have your child let it go "up" or pull it down while you have your eyes closed. You try to guess which position it is. Reverse roles and let your child guess.


I. Tie a string on a toy airplane. Drape the string over the top of a door. Slowly raise the toy plane "up". and down. Load the passengers or refuel and go "up". Next have him cue the plane. If he says "up" the plane goes up. If not the plane doesn't take off. It may help to have another child initiate or take part at first to demonstrate how to get the desired action!


J. A Jack-In-The-Box game can be loads of fun. This game can be used with any word. The point is to get the child using the word to produce the desired effect. Use a big box, or drape a blanket over two chairs. Pop up as soon as the desired word is said. Once again you may need to get other family members to demonstrate and "bait" your little one into sound production. Pop up as a surprise once in a while. Your child will soon want to see you "up" again.


K. Does your child like to be tickled? Use your fingers to "walk" "U-u-u-u-u-p" his foot, arm or leg.