Questionnaire: Do You Encourage Speech at Home?
When a child has a speech disruption it can be very tempting for their families to try to make things easy for them by not encouraging to speak as much at home. In reality, providing the opportunity and encouragement for children to speak at home is much more helpful in the long term than allowing them to get by with nonverbal cues.
To help you reflect on the speech environment in your home we have created this questionnaire. Answer each question, then add up your “yes” answers and match the total to the explanations at the end to discover if you encourage speech at home.
Questionnaire1. When you ask a question do you require each child to answer with words?
2. Do you ask open-ended questions for your children to answer with full sentences?
3. When your children’s speech stalls, do you ask prompting questions?
4. Are activities like reading and writing valued in your home?
5. Do you provide TV and DVD options which encourage speech and vocabulary?
6. Do you ensure each child has a chance to talk, and no one answers for others?
7. Do you feel your home is comfortable enough for children to take risks and make mistakes?
8. Does each family member offer encouragement for speech attempts?
9. Does everyone maintain eye contact and positive body language while speaking?
10. Do you correct pronunciation and grammar mistakes for each family member?
11. Do you provide family activities which require verbal speech from all family members?
12. Do you provide positive feedback for all speech attempts?
Do You Encourage Speech at Home?If you answered “yes” to between zero and four questions then you most likely do not encourage speech at home. It may be that you are tender-hearted and want to make things easier for your child with a speech disruption, or you may not realise that you do not encourage everyone to speak in your home. Whatever the reason, re-examine the value placed on verbal communication among family members. If you don’t already, aim for one meal or family activity per day in which all members speak and listen. Shy family members may need some prompting to tell their stories, but simply asking everyone about the three best things that happened to them or their favourite memory from the day should be more than enough to get everyone talking.
If you answered “yes” to between five and eight questions then you may encourage speech at home. You likely require verbal communications from all family members - when you have the time and inclination to listen to their responses. Make time every day to chat with each family member, and don’t allow anyone to speak on anyone else’s behalf. While nonverbal communication such as a nod, shake of the head or gesture may get the point across request that all questions and answers be given with words, and full sentences if possible. Remember to keep your prompts, eye contact and body language positive to encourage other family members to speak.
If you answered “yes” to nine or more questions then you most likely encourage speech at home. You likely understand the importance of encouraging all family members to verbally interact each day, as well as the importance of providing a safe, encouraging atmosphere in which everyone can share their thoughts. If you don’t already be sure to offer positive reinforcement when family members with speech disruptions speak, and ask that everyone use verbal communications to answer even the simplest questions. Reinforcing the value you place on language and speech through a variety of educational TV programmes, DVDs and books for your children should also help them understand the importance of efficient language and clear communication.