5 Easy Ways To Improve Your Speech at Home
Communication is an important skill we all must learn, but it’s also something that you need to practice, just like sports. May is Better Hearing and Speech Month, dedicated to raising awareness about different types of communication disorders in children and adults. People who have suffered from a stroke or brain injury, or diseases like multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s, can benefit from practicing their speech and language on an ongoing basis.
When dealing with communication disorders like stuttering, be sure to consult a speech-language pathologist before starting home therapy. A speech pathologist can help diagnose a specific speech, hearing or language disorder and provide the proper treatment options. Depending on your health care coverage you may need a referral from your primary care physician. Before making an appointment with a specialist you should always consult your primary care physician.
For anyone wanting to improve their speech, you can also try these easy methods at home. Remember, it takes time to see results so don’t get frustrated when you don’t experience improvements right away.
- Make a plan: You can map out certain exercises or practice areas to do each day, specific to your needs. Start by reading words and phrases out loud and mark any that are difficult to pronounce, and then spend some time working on the words that were harder. Depending on what sounds were harder to form, you may need to fix your tongue placement. To fix incorrect sounds, practice tongue placement in isolation with exercises that give mouth and tongue cues. Consistency is key when it comes to improving your speech and language so carve out 20-30 minutes every day. For quality practice time, practice in a space that helps you focus, away from TV and other distractions.
- Slow down your speech: Pacing your speech can give you more time to gather your thoughts and form words correctly. While you don’t want to slow your talking to an unnatural rate, slowing down can help you relax your speech to be understood easier, reduce the use of filler words like “uh” or “um”, and minimize stuttering. Practice reciting a phone number or sentence slowly enough so that someone listening to you could write it down.
- Find a buddy: Get a friend or family member to help you practice—someone who can provide you feedback in real time and assistance if you get stuck. Prefer to practice privately? A recording device is another great option. Listening to your own speech can help you identify problem areas to focus on in future sessions.
- Practice new words: Expand your vocabulary by introducing yourself to new words and sound combinations. If you find yourself getting frustrated, repeat easy phrases that you’ve already mastered to help you reset. Repetition of words and phrases creates muscle memory in the jaw, lips and tongue, making them that much easier to recall and master.
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