Three ways to maintain your child’s communication skills

By Linda Bonnar-Ivery, MA, CCC-SLP, ATP

Director of Communication Pathways, Pine Tree Society

When school isn’t in session, how do you maintain the skills it took your child, with support of their educators and therapists, months to achieve? While the structure of your child’s school day is nearly impossible to replicate at home, there are aspects of that structure that may provide some insight into providing carryover of communication skills and even building upon them.

Regardless of your child’s age, grade, or developmental level, there are three key aspects of their school day that need to be considered and addressed when looking to provide carryover of communication at home.

1) Literacy

Reading, whether to themselves, out loud, or being read to is emphasized and immersed in more than anything else during the school day.  Carrying over the level of literacy that kids are exposed to within their educational environment is critical for maintaining communicative levels for students.

2) Peer Interactions

Within the school environment, students are surrounded by peers. This level of expressive and receptive language is unparalleled in other aspects of their life. Figuring out creative ways to mimic this level of exposure is so important in providing carryover of skills. During this time of social distancing, video and phone chats with friends and family will be particularly helpful as will free resources available across the web that help keep you connected to the larger world. Some examples can be found at this link.

3) Talking

Wait… what? Our grand idea for carryover of communication skills is to talk? Yes! We need to mimic the level of communication that students receive throughout their school schedule. Asking questions, answering questions, describing events and making requests are language functions that happen frequently throughout the school day and are essential in establishing, building, and maintaining language for students who are struggling in this area.

So, how are you going to incorporate these three key factors into your child’s day? The same way that their teachers do: establish a schedule. Create a schedule that works for your lifestyle and incorporates as much of this as possible and stick to it!

Remember, you’re not alone.  Pine Tree Society has expanded its telehealth services and is offering speech therapy appointments remotely.  These remote services are available using Zoom, which is a user-friendly video conferencing technology that is easily accessed from any device.   Reach out to schedule an appointment today.  Contact Linda Bonnar at or 207-386-5931.

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