By Megan Hughes, M.A., CCC-SLP
Have you noticed your child having difficulty generalizing a newly acquired skill to different environments and conversational partners? This is a common occurrence with many students! But not to worry, there are fun and easy ways to help your child generalize their new skills and increase consistency across settings and people.
Below is a list of fun generalization games and activities:
- FaceTime, Skype, or Call a family member: Have your child call a family member or friend to practice their target skill. Be sure to coach them beforehand and be sure they know what they are practicing before calling (e.g., I want you to call grandma and work on using your awesome “sh” sound while you talk). Afterward, have them assess themselves (e.g., How do you think that went? What can you do differently next time?). Lastly, give them your feedback (e.g., I think that went great! Just remember not to forget your good “sh” sound when you say “she”)!
- Make a video recording: Have your child make a video of them telling a story. Be sure to coach them beforehand and be sure they know what they are practicing before recording (e.g., I want you to record yourself telling a story about something that happened a long time ago. Work on using your past tense -ed). Afterward, have them assess themselves (e.g., How do you think that went? What can you do differently next time?). Then let them watch the video and re-assess themselves (e.g., Now that you have seen the video, how do you think you did?). Lastly, give them your feedback (e.g., That was an awesome video. You only missed one -ed sound).
- Read Aloud: Have your child read their favorite story or a familiar story out loud. This activity works best when working on speech sound production. Tell them what sound you’ll be listening for. Start with them reading one short paragraph. Raise your hand when they miss a sound, indicating they need to try the sentence again using their target speech sound. At the end of the paragraph, have them tell you one thing they did well and one thing they can improve upon for the next paragraph.
- Play a Board Game: Sit down to play a board game with your child! While playing the game, listen for their target sound or language skills as they talk. Be sure to tell them what you will be listening for and raise your hand when you notice an error. Have them try it again using the skill correctly. Have siblings join in this game! You can even have older siblings act as a coach or models.
- Do a Physical Activity: Speech is a motor skill. Therefore, we can make our motor system learn to multitask by speaking while doing another physical activity (e.g., throw a ball, kick a ball, jump rope, hopscotch, etc.). Doing speech with another motor activity helps a child learn to produce their target sound while distracted.
Generalization can be challenging but fun! Enjoy these useful activities!
Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center has locations in the Iowa City, IA area and Des Moines, IA area. We provide individual speech-language therapy and tutoring as well as offering small group academic programs. At Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center our passion is to help kids achieve effective communication skills and gain academic success. Contact us for more information on how we can help your child succeed.
740 Community Drive, Unit A
North Liberty, IA 52317
5530 West Pkwy, Suite 300
Johnston, IA 50131