Speech Therapy at Home or at School – Which is Better for Your Child?


It’s hard dealing with speech challenges. No parent wants to watch their child struggle. You know that something has to be done, but you don’t know exactly what that thing is. Should you be focusing all your educational efforts on the time your child spends at home? Or is this something that the child’s school should be handling?

Most of the time, it’s a combination of both. We explore the nuances of how to maximize your child’s success potential and give them the help they need no matter where they find themselves. 

A Flawed Question

Well, not to point fingers, but you’re the one who asked it. 

Your powers of observation are inescapable. Yes. We did pose the question because it’s something that weighs heavily on the minds of parents who are trying to give their children the best speech therapy possible.

Should it happen at home, or at school? The true answer is that it needs to happen at both. Your child’s school should be providing speech support. In most parts of the country, this is their legal obligation. However, the majority of your child’s progress will take place at home. 

Two Things to Keep in Mind

You Will Always Be Your Child’s Greatest Advocate 

The school undoubtedly will approach your child’s speech therapy needs with the best of intentions. However, things don’t always play out the way they should. Maybe the school lacks the resources required to supply the best possible help. Maybe the speech professional simply has more students than they can handle. Even in the best-case scenario, the school will never be able to provide your child with the same level of attention that you can. 

Home is Where Your Child Learns the Most 

Your child will inevitably speak more often and more intimately with you than they would with their speech therapist. The very context of speech therapy means that your child will be making an unnatural effort to speak well in the professional’s presence. With you, they will speak organically, in the way that is most natural to them.

These are not points against the educational system. They are points in favor of attacking the issue from every possible angle. Remember when your child was learning to read? They were taught the fundamentals at school, but it was home where they got most of their practice. 

The same is true. Your child will spend only a small part of their day working with a speech therapist. The rest of the time, it is up to you to help them get where they need to be. Below, we highlight a few techniques that will help you work with your child on tackling their speech challenges.

Practice Words They Struggle With

This is probably the most obvious piece of advice that we will give in this article. 

I hope so. 

You sound grumpy. Have a coffee. But you’re right. The arithmetic is pretty simple on this one. They find a word hard. They need to work on it until it feels easy. Just don’t stress the issue for too long on any single given stretch of time. If you turn speech lessons into something that the child dreads, it may significantly delay their progress. 

Practice Words They Don’t Struggle With

How’s that for a twist? You should practice words that your child is good at for two reasons.

  • It provides momentum to your lessons: If your child gets stuck for several minutes on the hard words, sprinkling several easy ones throughout your practice session will help them pick the momentum back up. Once your child gets the ball rolling, they may even find that it is easier to tackle their hard words. 
  • It helps them build confidence: Again, you don’t want your child to feel frustrated the entire time you are having your lessons. Throwing them the occasional win can do a lot to lift their spirits. 

And of course, you also just want to make sure that their good words remain good. Maybe they aren’t having any trouble with them today, but if you focus all of your attention on the words they are struggling with today, you may find that tomorrow will be full of new challenges. You can avoid that simply by diversifying your practice.

Constant Reinforcement

Of course, the vast majority of your child’s speech experiences will take place outside the context of formal instruction. They will learn the most from everyday interactions. How you handle these moments will inevitably have an enormous impact on how they learn and grow. 

There are a couple of things you can do to help them with their speech challenges during everyday conversation. 

  • Use their problem words as often as possible: Context can be surprisingly helpful when it comes to pronunciation. Try to work problem words into conversation organically so that your child can hear their correct pronunciation as often as possible. 
  • Correct them gently: It can be very disheartening to get corrected every time you open your mouth. Instead of calling attention to your child’s mistakes, look for ways to work the correction in gently. If your child comes to you full of excitement, saying “Daddy, look at thith!” You don’t necessarily have to plainly correct them every single time. Instead, work the correct pronunciation into your response. “Oh! That’s really something. Thank you for showing me this.”

That’s not to say that you should never correct your child. Merely that you should incorporate variation into how you inform their speech patterns. It will be less exhausting for you, and more encouraging for them. 

Avoid Mirroring Their Speech Habits

Hey, it’s more common than you think. Sometimes mispronunciations become an endearing family shorthand. Other times, they slip into your speech accidentally. In all cases, normalizing mispronunciations will only slow down your child’s development. 

Don’t let that happen. Make a point of pronouncing words clearly, and correctly. The example you set is what your child will try to follow so keep that in mind as you speak.

About Author

LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

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