Practical Speech Therapy Techniques for Speech Disorders in Children

Nurturing Communication Skills in Homeschooled Children

We understand the profound importance of nurturing communication skills in homeschooled children, and we’re thrilled to offer you a video recap of the Practical Speech Therapy Techniques webinar event hosted by SPED Homeschool. Below, you’ll find several multi-step guides designed to complement the webinar, assisting you on your journey to empower your child’s communication abilities.

While the activities and techniques shared in this resource cater to children at varying levels, please bear in mind that adjustments may be necessary based on factors such as age, personality, cognitive capacity, and the specific speech challenges your child may face. 

Below, you’ll find a simple breakdown of the 3 Most Common Speech Disorders, a 5-Step Active Listening Process, and a link to download a printable Guide to Speech And Language Skills.

Video Timestamps

00:00 Introduction to Speech Therapy Techniques
00:52 Most Common Speech Disorders and Causes
05:47 Richard Fink IV Vocal Background and Story
09:21 Importance of Understanding Vocal Anatomy
15:00 How to Isolate and Develop Elements of Phonation
24:28 Q&A: When a Child Swaps Words within Melodies
25:30 Q&A: How the Vagus Nerve Affects Speech and Singing
27:36 Benefits of Reading Out Loud (Multi-Sensory Engagement)
29:22 Active Listening Techniques
33:35 Connection Between Confidence and Effective Communication
37:43 Inhalation Technique to Improve Breath Management
40:16 Singing Techniques to Build Vocal Confidence
45:45 Q&A: Working with Nonverbal Children
48:24 Q&A: Apps for Speech Development
49:48 Q&A: Multi-Sensory Approach for Omissions (Articulation Disorder)
51:08 Q&A: Using Harmonica for Inhalation Play and Development
51:46 Q&A: SPED Homeschool and The Vocal Gym

We hope you enjoy the webinar replay! We are excited to embark on this empowering journey together, enhancing your child’s communication skills with practical insights and valuable resources. To download your 10-step guide, “Speak, Listen, & Connect,” click the button below:

Most Common Speech Disorders

Understanding speech disorders is essential for early diagnosis and effective treatment. Awareness of the different types and their underlying causes allows for targeted intervention strategies, which can significantly improve the quality of life for those affected. This quick guide aims to offer a better understanding of these conditions, so healthcare professionals, educators, and family members can take more informed actions to support those struggling with speech challenges.

Three Most Common Speech Disorders

  1. Articulation Disorders: Affecting production of speech sounds
    • Substitutions (“wabbit” instead of “rabbit”)
    • Omissions (“cool” instead of “school”)
    • Distortions (lisping)
  2. Fluency Disorder (Stuttering): Involves disruptions in the natural flow of speech
    • Repetitions (“I-I-I want”)
    • Prolongations (“sssssnake”)
    • Blocks (temporary speech halts)
  3. Phonological Disorders: Patterns of speech sound errors that affect the language
    • Repeating syllables (“baba” for “bottle”)
    • Simplifying complex sound patterns (“tat” for “cat”)
    • Deleting certain sounds (similar to omission)

Three Most Common Causes of Speech Disorders

  1. Auditory: Difficulties perceiving and processing auditory information related to speech, which can include:
    • Hearing impairments that lead to speech sound distortions
    • Auditory processing disorders cause challenges in distinguishing (similar) speech sounds
    • Phonological awareness issues affecting the ability to recognize and manipulate sounds
  2. Cognitive: Language and communication challenges are rooted in cognitive processes, which influence the ability to express themselves coherently. This includes:
    • Language processing disorders that hinder understanding and using language effectively
    • Working memory limitations, which impact speech complexity
    • Executive function deficits, which affect the organization and planning of speech
  3. Physical: Difficulties in anatomical, muscular, or motor control factors that affect speech production, which can include:
    • Anatomical variations impacting articulation
    • Weak oral muscles causing speech sound distortions
    • Motor control problems leading to hesitations or stuttering

Mastering Active Listening Techniques

Being an attentive listener is pivotal for parents, especially when their child has speech-related challenges. Active listening fosters a supportive environment, letting the child feel understood and valued. It can also greatly enhance communication and strengthen the bond between parent and child. Here is a simple 5-step guide to help strengthen your lightning skills, and in turn, teach your children to do the same when interacting with others:

The Five-Step Active Listening Process

1: Focus Fully on the Person Speaking

To truly engage with your child, it’s essential to eliminate distractions and be fully present in the moment. Put away your phone, close your laptop, and give the speaker your undivided attention. Make eye contact to show them that you are actively listening, and ensure your body language communicates your interest and engagement. Simple actions like nodding or leaning in can convey your attentiveness and encourage the speaker to feel valued.

2: Avoid Interrupting

Patience is key when communicating with children. Allow the child to express themselves fully without interrupting, even if they encounter difficulty with a word or idea. By patiently waiting for them to finish their thoughts or sentences, you provide them with the space and time needed to articulate their ideas effectively. This not only boosts their confidence but also fosters a sense of respect in the conversation.

3: Reflect Back

After the child has spoken, take a moment to paraphrase or reflect back what they’ve said. This step confirms your understanding and shows the child that their words matter. By saying something like, “So, you’re saying that…” or “Let me make sure I’ve got this right, you mean that…,” you demonstrate active listening and give the child an opportunity to clarify or expand on their thoughts if necessary.

4: Ask Open-ended Questions

Encourage meaningful conversation by asking open-ended questions that invite the child to share more about their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. These questions cannot be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and encourage the child to express themselves more fully. For example, you can ask, “How did that make you feel?” or “What did you do next?” Such questions stimulate deeper discussions and help the child develop their communication skills.

5: Show Empathy and Validation

Demonstrating empathy and validation is crucial in creating a safe and supportive communication environment. Affirm the child’s feelings and thoughts, even if you don’t necessarily agree with them. Validating their perspective helps them feel heard and understood. Use phrases like “That sounds challenging,” or “I can see why you’d feel that way,” to convey your empathy and reinforce that their emotions and viewpoints are respected. This fosters trust and openness in the conversation, making it easier for the child to communicate effectively.

Hear from parents and educators who have experienced our guide in action using The Vocal Gym:

Introducing the Vocal Gym

Take Your Child's Learning to the Next Level with the Vocal Gym

If you find value in our Practical Speech Therapy techniques, you might also be interested in our specialized program, The Vocal Gym for Homeschool. This unique course takes many of the principles applied to speech disorders like articulation and voice disorders and extends them to the realm of vocal training. Just like speech, singing requires attention to articulation, fluency, and voice quality, and the skills your child can learn in The Vocal Gym will not only enhance their singing abilities but also contribute to their overall communication skills. This integrated approach complements any educational journey by providing an engaging and holistic way to help your child discover and refine their voice, both spoken and sung.

  • Self-Paced and Interactive Learning
    The Vocal Gym for Homeschoolers offers a self-paced, interactive curriculum that allows students to learn at their own pace and on their own schedule, making it easier for busy homeschooled students to fit vocal training into their schedules.
  • Qualifies for Carnegie Credit
    Using the Carnegie Credit system, this course can provide homeschooled students 1 full Fine Arts or Extracurricular Credit per year, in all 50 U.S. states.
  • Parental Oversight
    With the Parent Portal, parents can monitor their child's progress and ensure they are on track to meet their goals. This helps take the stress out of lesson planning and provides peace of mind for busy homeschooling parents.