Our speech is one of the first things people notice about us. It’s how we communicate our thoughts and feelings, so in a sense, it pays to have clear and concise speech. But what happens when an injury, an ailment, or the aging process robs us of that clarity?
Luckily, a speech therapist can help. In that case, you can consider Functional Speech Therapy Co. for speech or language therapy, including evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of your disorder. Even so, to complement therapy sessions, you’ll need to do your part at home if you’re to make any significant progress. To that end, consider using the following tips and tricks to improve your home-based sessions:
1. Reduce Distractions
While your speech therapist will work diligently to help you regain as much clarity in your speech as possible, ensure you’re not working against them by having too many distractions in your environment. That may imply turning off the TV, putting away your phone, and minimizing background noise as much as possible. After all, the idea is to focus on the task at hand – improving your speech – and not to compete with other noises.
2. Slow Down and Articulate
If you’ve been told that you speak too quickly or run your words together, consider shifting your focus by slowing down and articulating each word correctly. Mostly, it entails exaggerating the movement of your mouth as you enunciate words. But you’ll get there with time and practice.
And if you have difficulty pronouncing certain words or sounds, practice them at home. You can find plenty of resources, including apps, to help you with that. The goal is to get to a point where you can correctly say the problem words or sounds without overthinking.
You may not think about it, but how you breathe also affects how well you can speak. This explains the need for controlled breathing – your speech therapist would be best poised to help in this case.
Alternatively, you can take matters into your own hands by practicing diaphragmatic breathing at home. To do this, place one hand on your stomach and inhale through your nose, letting your belly expand. Then, exhale through pursed lips as you push all the air out of your lungs.
Repetition is key when learning anything new – it also applies when trying to improve your speech. For instance, if your speech disorder is due to injury, you’ll need to keep at it even when you start seeing and feeling progress. The same applies if you’re trying to get rid of an accent or improve your diction. So, find a comfortable place at home where you can practice your new speech patterns and go for it.
Just like any other muscle in our bodies, the muscles we use for speech need exercise to stay toned and healthy. A simple approach to getting started might involve the following:
- Reading out loud for 15 minutes daily.
- Humoring yourself with tongue twisters.
- Practicing different sounds.
- Adding new vocabulary to your speech daily.
- Looking in the mirror as you speak.
Whatever route you choose, don’t get discouraged if you don’t see or hear progress immediately. Remember, Rome took a while to build, and so would your new speech patterns. With time, patience, and practice, you’ll get there.
5. Rope in a Helper
A helper can provide valuable assistance with speech therapy exercises at home. For instance, they can create a supportive environment by providing encouragement and feedback. Similarly, they help you stay on track through reminders and gentle correction.
And if you’re stuck, maybe due to a plateau or lack of motivation, having someone to help can be all you need to bounce back and continue making progress. They might also come in handy by offering new ideas and material to broaden your resource base and strategies. And that’s not all.
Your helper can accompany you for speech therapy sessions. In that case, they can snag some tips from the therapist on what you need to work on and reinforce the same at home.
Ultimately, a helper can be invaluable in ensuring success with speech therapy exercises at home. That said, ensure you involve a patient and supportive individual – not someone who will get frustrated easily or make you feel worse about your situation.
We understand how difficult it can be to cope with a speech impediment. But you don’t have to suffer in silence – seek therapy and practice at home to see improvement. Remember, your success depends on several aspects, as we’ve highlighted. And coupling the right attitude with effort can make meaningful strides on the road to recovery.