This advice-column-style blog for SLPs was authored by Pam Marshalla from 2006 to 2015, the archives of which can be explored here. Use the extensive keywords list found in the right-hand column (on mobile: at the bottom of the page) to browse specific topics, or use the search feature to locate specific words or phrases throughout the entire blog.
Q: My two-year-old son has dysarthria. We have been practicing his target words 100 times every day at home, but when he goes to speech sessions, his SLP only has him practice his words a few times. Can you comment on this? I don’t think she is working him hard enough.
Drill has its place, but he is only 2 years old! You are giving him more practice than just about any toddler could handle. You do not want him to get sick of this.
Children do not learn everything all at once. And they do not need more therapy now. They need good therapy over the long haul.
Think about speech like anything else. You would not make a two-year-old hit one hundred balls with a baseball bat. He would end up hating baseball and hating you.
At his age you want to practice within the normal course of everyday living.
His therapists are right about that.
- Example: Have him say “ball” five times while playing with a ball for 5 minutes.
- Example: Instead of giving him a whole cookie, break it into 3 parts so he has to say “cookie” three times––once to get each piece.
- Example: Read a picture book about a dog together and say “dog” a few times on each page.
You are his mother first and foremost. He needs you to be his mother more than he needs you to be his teacher. Teach him as a mother, not as a drill sergeant. Let him have fun! Play! Enjoy your interactions!
If he has dysarthria, you are not going to “fix” him or make this all go away because you are drilling him so much. You want him to be the best communicator he can be, not a robot who can spit out words on demand 🙂