Aug 012013

Speech development issues are prevalent among children with dyslexia or other learning disabilities. Public schools provide speech therapy services and often these services are sufficient to help a child overcome their difficulties.

If you are a home schooling family, you may be in a quandary about whether to approach the public school for help, go to a private therapist, or may even wonder if there are speech-language therapy programs you can provide at home. Each of these is an option, so let’s explore each of these speech therapy ideas.

Public School Speech Therapy Programs

Speech-Language services through the public school are often good because the qualifications for a school SLP (Speeh-Language Pathologist) are usually the same as for private providers. The biggest drawback to using public school services is that your child would have to be identified as needing special education services, would be placed on an IEP, and then–depending upon your school district–you may find yourself mired in special education bureaucracies and inefficiencies.

Some districts are excellent though, so you’d want to find out the special education climate in your district prior to seeking their services. If your child must have speech development therapy and you cannot afford private therapy, then the public school system may be a good choice, as meeting your child’s special needs should be your first priority.

Private Speech Therapy Programs

Private speech-language services are often covered by insurance, so you may want to avail yourself of a private Speech-Language Pathologists’ (SLP) services rather than seeking services from an uncertain public school situation.  The main benefit in using private services is that your child can receive services from a highly qualified individual provider without your child having to be identified as needing special education services (as is required if you go through your public school).  Check with your insurance company to determine if they will cover the SLP services.

If your child is struggling with reading and has speech-language issues, you may want to shop around to find a SLP who will provide the Lindamood-Bell LiPS program.  It is excellent for helping a child who needs both speech-language services and phonemic awareness training.

At Home Speech Therapy Programs

There are programs available for home use which vary widely in their scope and ease of use. Some programs teach a single difficult sound, like the most common sound of /r/, while others like LiPS are designed to be comprehensive programs.

If you work well with your child, you are confident you can work consistently with a program, and aren’t intimidated by the thought of it, you may want to consider “At Home” therapy first. The Lindamood-Bell LiPS program mentioned above can be purchased as a kit with a teacher’s guide and can be used at home. My son received some LiPS services from a private SLP, but in observing her working with him through their one-way observation mirror, I was able to see–it is NOT rocket science! I’m pretty confident most any parent can do fairly well with the program given that you are careful and purposeful about your enunciation of each phoneme.

How to Help Your Child Learn to Talk Better in Everyday Activities is written by Mary Lou Johnson, who has helped hundreds of parents help their children learn to talk better in over 30 years of work as a speech-language pathologist. If you want to learn how to understand your child’s challenges in learning to talk, learn techniques to help your child talk more or more clearly, and use everyday activities to work with your child – Mary Lou will help you do it through the How to Help Your Child Learn to Talk Better in Everyday Activities eBook. (More resources found below the ads..)

Speech-Language therapy for issues that are not too complex can be done at home. **”Straight Talk” is a program provided through the NATTHAN organization (Nationally Challenged Homeschoolers Association). There are two different programs offered for a very reasonable price. Depending upon your child’s needs, you may want to try one of these programs to see if you can help your child at home.

** has created an effective and cost efficient way for you to help your child at home. Their web-based speech therapy program helps children with pre-reading, articulation, antonyms, synonyms, vocabulary, categories, basic concepts, multiple meaning words, plurals, verbs, possessives and a whole lot more. BSTLearning staff will customize a program for your child, then he or she will be able to access their program daily via the Internet. will provide you with detailed progress reports as well as educational material pertinent to your child.

Another option for articulation problems might be the Institute for Excellence in Writing’s “Developing Linguistic Patterns Through Poetry Memorization” – This program, sent complimentarily to us for review, is fabulous for children with learning difficulties in many ways. The memory work will help strengthen memory and recall skills for children with memory deficits. The recitation component will help children with articulation practice, as well as memory recall. The main premise behind the program is to give children a ready source for varied and sophisticated usage of language skills in writing. If a child has word usage committed to memory, he can use that information when writing his own original works. Given the program’s format, you’ll find you can substitute any works of poetry in a similar process of memorization and recitation.  For speech-language purposes, you might want to practice with a number of independently selected, short, and easily memorized poems before using those provided with the program.  Whether using your own poems, or those provided with the program, “Developing Linguistic Patterns Through Poetry Memorization” seems like a great way to practice and improve speech skills.

Speech Trainer 3D – This program is a great audio-visual learning tool for a child to learn the proper positioning of the tongue, teeth, lips, and breathing for making each sound in the English language.  This is a great phonemic awareness type of app for a child who struggles with reading and has any language-based difficulties.

Splingo’s Language Universe – This is a great little app developed by Speech-Language pathologists that your child can use to practice speaking and reading skills.  “An exceptionally high-quality, interactive game designed by Speech and Language Therapists/Pathologists to help children learn listening and language skills, from the authors of the Receptive Language Assessment with Splingo app and the exciting new Pronouns with Splingo app.”

If your child’s problems are complex, you’ve tried one of the at-home programs and it isn’t working, or you have the means to go for private therapy, that is generally a great option, particularly if your insurance will cover the therapy. Depending on the depth of your child’s speech-language delays or articulation issues, your child may require private therapy for a relatively long period of time. You can shorten the length of time in therapy by working on difficulties at home in conjunction with weekly therapy. While you won’t want to counter any services provided by your private therapist, working with **Straight Talk at home can provide added progress.

If you need other speech therapy ideas, then there are some DVD programs, books for working on specific letter sounds, and other options for working with your child at home.


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