We are all very busy. With the economy causing everyone to tighten their belts, many caregivers are even busier now. Working a second job, doing more home cooking, or gardening to keep grocery costs down add to our already busy schedules. Unfortunately, for the same economic reasons, many assisted living facilities are being forced to cut back on speech therapy services. This trend leaves already overworked caregivers with the job of finding time in their schedules for speech therapy. Here are a few of my very favorite tips for finding the time to work on speech therapy in your daily life.
1. Carefully consider what your loved one’s needs truly are. Do you need to be sitting right next to your loved one each and every time they are working on their speech therapy and articulation exercises? Could a tape recorder do the same job? When working on speech therapy at home, a tape recorder can’t do the job all the time, but maybe once or twice per week. Another overlooked option by busy caregivers finding time in their schedules for speech therapy is family. Do you have a family member who would be happy to sit and listen to the apple of their eye work on a few words?
2. Is your loved one required to read aloud to you for their mental health? Finding time in your schedule for speech therapy at home might be as simple as listening to the same story with a more discerning ear. Remind your loved one of their speech therapy rules as they read, and keep on top of any mistakes they might make.
3. Conversation. Speech therapy is best when it is a more natural flow. You are trying to find time in your schedule for speech therapy because you want your loved one’s conversational skills to remain. You can have speech therapy time with your loved one while driving to drum lessons. It is not the most ideal situation, but you don’t need your hands all the time, just your ears.
4. You can write the words your loved one needs to work on repeating over and over on the bathroom mirror using and dry erase marker. After teeth brushing, and before bed, have your loved one work on their speech therapy words in front of the mirror. Speech practice in front of the mirror is terrific because so much of our speech is affected by how we hold our lips, cheeks and tongues.
5. One of my favorite ways to work on speech therapy is at the a social setting. This method is very successful with the elderly. A simple sentence or short list of words can be repeated each time your loved one walks, or plays cards, or plays a game of bingo. If you can help your child to see that speech therapy doesn’t have to be miserable, they will enjoy the process more and fight you less.
We have been working on speech therapy at varying levels and for different reasons for many years with my mother. I have always found that tying speech therapy practice in with regular life is the most effective way to keep a loved one improving in their efforts. I hope these suggestions are a help to you.