speech therapy mistakes

Avoid these top 10 speech therapy mistakes

Avoid these top 10 speech therapy mistakes

In this blog, we will discuss the top 10 speech therapy mistakes made by parents.  When I say this, I don’t mean you are doing something wrong as there is no right or wrong way to communicate with kids. What suits you may not suit someone else. Some kids develop language and speech by reading books.  While for some it’s through role play.  Every child has a different journey.  But there are some pitfalls that you should avoid making while communicating with your child.

Once your child is diagnosed or you suspect there is a delay in talking. I see a lot of parents reading up articles and tips. This is good. You may even be doing things correctly. But somehow you don’t see progress or something is amiss. So, you may have been doing things right but making mistakes as well. This is not uncommon for parents.

Secondly, you would have heard modeling to your child is a great technique. How you do this makes a lot of difference. Your child is lagging; you don’t want to spend too much time in therapy covering that lag. If you avoid these mistakes you can speed up the process.

In addition to this, we have a lot of working parents. We get limited time to spend with our kids. That time should count by making sure you are not just doing the right thing but also the right way.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when you are modeling speech and language at home so you can get the most out of it!

Top 10 speech therapy mistakes to avoid:

  1. Delay in consultation

This is the first and foremost mistake I see parents making. Everyone is advised to wait and watch by elders or relatives in the family. I have even seen a pediatrician saying this. And parents tend to believe if they have heard they (parents in their childhood) started talking late or mispronounced some words. Now, you must understand that every child is different. Your relative’s child or you picked up language that does not mean your child will too. Plus, you should understand that today’s era is different than what we grew up in. it is competitive.

Kids need to be fast or else they are bullied, not spoken with, and lag. Not to mention how much impact it will have on their academics and social life. Therefore, early consultation with an SLP is crucial. We at 1specialplace provide speech therapy globally beyond the barriers of distance and time.

  1. Not going to the right person

Once you decide to consult for your child’s speech and language problems. I often see parents going to the wrong person. A pediatrician, physiotherapist, or occupational therapist cannot treat a speech and language-related problem. If you have been made to believe so it is incorrect. Parents also visit someone who hasn’t acquired even a diploma in speech hearing. Check the credentials and then visit the professional. If you do not have a professional in your area, you can opt for teletherapy. You can read about it more here. We at 1specialplace provide teletherapy. If you are not going to the right person, your child will not show progress.

  1. Model the response but don’t say the word ‘say’

Now, once you have started with speech therapy; the first thing you will hear your speech therapist say is ‘Model’ the correct response to your kid. I often see parents after modeling the response they would start asking their kid to repeat the response. For instance, ‘say dog’ ‘say ball’. This has the opposite effect on your child. He/she will seal the mouth shut. It will lead to a battlefield or stubbornness. Hence, your job is to keep showing the correct response. They will repeat it not then and there but somewhere during the day. Keep your ears sharp listen and appreciate! Your child is listening and learning, you may not see it right away but over a while, you will see it. Just trust me on this one.

  1. Not modeling correctly

Mistakes you can make while modeling the correct response.

  • Not gaining your child’s attention before modeling.
  • Not targeting specific skills such as building vocab of daily use objects.
  • Lack of repetition. Give enough repetition so that the concept is transferred from working memory to short and long-term memory.
  1. Not waiting enough

This is my first advice to parents. It’s good you are talking and stimulating your child. But if you don’t wait for the response, they will never get a chance to speak. Therefore, after 5-6 trials of modeling a response in different ways wait. Just wait for a minimum of 30 seconds and see if the child is attempting something. We do not expect a correct response; any kind of attempt of trying is also okay. Waiting can be an incomplete sentence also. For instance, car, ready steady and ___, you are waiting whether he will finish or attempt to say ‘go’.

  1. Too many questions

Asking too many questions is like testing your child. Imagine if your boss or husband kept asking questions to you. Instead of explaining what was wrong or correcting you or teaching you, they kept repeating the question. You will be irritated by the end. Therefore, stop asking too many questions but instead explain the correct response.

  1. Not practicing at home

This is self-explanatory. Practice makes a man perfect. In addition to this, you will build a happy relationship with your child and get to know them individually. Therefore, just practicing in the session and no carryover at home will reduce generalization.

  1. Teaching shapes, colors and numbers

This is widely seen these days. I keep seeing parents and they tell me proudly he/she knows numbers or shapes etc. Think about it, we don’t talk using shapes or colors or numbers. We don’t say pass me the rectangle (for a book). Hence, teach daily use objects actual things which are required by them in daily life so that they have words to communicate. It is okay to teach shapes, colors, and numbers but there is a time for it. It should not be your first or go-to thing. Also, using colors more as descriptors than individually is more beneficial. That is the actual use of this, to describe. Pass me the red balloon. Pass me the square-shaped plate etc.

  1. Just asking to show or point

Pointing is important. Just asking to show or point is okay if there is no understanding of some concept. But, later to encourage talking just don’t ask them to point or show. Instead, you can use an incomplete sentence or act like you haven’t understood. This will lead them to explain more.

  1. Doing baby talk

Doing baby talk is okay in infancy. But as they grow older, do not use baby talk. As I have seen babies don’t come out of it. I see them using that for attention or continue it because parents laugh and say ‘oh so cute. In addition to this, it will carry on into their toddler and teens phase. Do not repeat their mistake while modeling. Instead, just repeat the correct response.


In conclusion, there is a number of reasons why delay happens. You should not blame yourself for it. But if you find something you’ve done in here, don’t go too hard on yourself. These are reversible. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and do what you need to do to help your child. Also, consult a professional SLP because without consultation all these tips are tips and not the correct treatment.

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