5 Simple Strategies for Articulation Carryover

Why is carryover of articulation skills from the speech room to the classroom or home environment so difficult? And why does it take so long?

I recently attended a continuing education course that talked about 3 domains that impact communication: the social-emotional domain, the motor-sensory domain, and the cognitive linguistic domain. The instructor stressed that when we place more demand in any one of these domains, the other domains may suffer. Therefore, by increasing the demand in the social-emotional domain by changing a child's communication partner, we may see a decrease in their motor skills necessary for the accurate speech sounds. So, what can a parent or teacher do to help with carryover of articulation skills? How can an SLP make it easier for a child and their family tow work on these skills at home? Here are 5 strategies I use in my sessions and with my families that I have found to be successful with increasing carryover.

1. Choose a Challenge Word
Let's face it. Not all families remember to complete those lovely homework packets sent home each week. It may be the last thing on their mind or it may be difficult to engage their child in completing their practice. So, I came up with a solution - a weekly challenge word! Each week I brainstorm with my students working on their speech sounds to find 1 word they can use in conversation at home or school that contains their speech sounds. Sometimes I choose the word (why is "with" so hard for our students working on "th?") and sometimes they choose their own challenge word. For example, one of my students is working on /s/ and /z/ in conversation. Some of the challenge words we have picked over the weeks are: "recess, swing, SuperBowl, sister, snack, cookies, skittles." I communicate the challenge word to the parents after the session so they also know which word to focus on using and correcting in conversation.

2. Practice Tracker
To simplify the homework process, I use a practice tracker that requires an adult's initials 3 times each week. I work with my student during their session to see what they would like to earn if they practice 3 times. Sometimes it's a sticker, gym time, or choosing the game we play in therapy. Parents have commented that this is an easy way to keep track of how often they are practicing and I remember what I sent home the previous week more easily. You can get a FREE copy of my Simple Speech Therapy Homework Tracker HERE.

3. Spot Your Sound
For students who can read, ask them to highlight words with their speech sounds in their homework. Even better - ask them to make a list of words they find that have their sound in books they read, TV shows they watch, or games they play at home.

4. Spelling Lists
Many students have spelling lists they use in their classroom. Ask for the spelling list each week and have the student highlight words with their speech sound. This is a great way to work on spelling and speech at the same time.

5. Model and Recast
Parents and teachers can model accurate productions. Parents can choose books that contain lots of their child's sounds to read out loud at home. When a child produces a sound in error, a teacher or parent can recast the sentence to model the accurate sound. Example, child says, "I want the wed one." Adult says, "Oh you want the red piece?" This brings attention to accurate productions without taxing the social-emotional domain. It's also a great way for children to start noticing their speech sound errors.

These are just a few ways that I increase carryover of articulation skills into the home and classroom. How do you encourage your children to carryover skills they learn in therapy?