Exercises for Speech Therapy

There are many different exercises which can be done at home with a parent, caregiver, or spouse, to improve speech therapy results. Putting in extra time and practicing speech therapy exercises at home can significantly improve speech therapy outcomes. Below is a list of some of the most common home exercises for speech therapy. If you ask your speech therapist, he/she can give you a list of exercises for speech therapy which are customized for your specific needs.

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Articulation Exercises

1. Have the patient look at your mouth as you slowly say a word. Then ask the patient to repeat the word. Choose words which are small and simple. Practice a list of words that all have the sound in them that the patient is trying to learn.

2. If speech is slurred, practice oral motor exercises with the patient to strengthen the lips and tongue. Model each exercise for the patient and ask him/her to do each one 10-20 times. (pressing tongue into each cheek, pressing tongue up against the roof of the mouth, make a smacking sound with lips, puff cheeks with air and hold for 10 seconds, run tongue along the top teeth side to side, run tongue along the bottom teeth side to side, blow kisses.

Phonological Exercises

1. Have your child look at your mouth as you slowly say each word and ask him/her to try to say the word. Use a list of words that have similar sound types, such as velar sounds that are produced using the back of the tongue. These words include the sounds "K", "G", and "-ING".

2. Read books to your child that are rich in the phonological group your child is targeting. Ask your speech therapist to recommend a book for you.

Swallowing Exercises

1. Oral motor exercises to strengthen the lips and tongue are important for good swallow function. Model each exercise for the patient and ask him/her to do each one 10-20 times. (pressing tongue into each cheek, pressing tongue up against the roof of the mouth, make a smacking sound with lips, puff cheeks with air and hold for 10 seconds, run tongue along the top teeth side to side, run tongue along the bottom teeth side to side, blow kisses.

2. The Shaker Exercise: Lie flat on your back, without a pillow. Slowly lift your head so that your can look at your toes. Slowly lower your head back down. Repeat 30 times and then hold in the elevated position for 1 minute 3 times.

3. Showa's Maneuver

Press your tongue flat against the roof of your mouth and hold it there while you swallow hard, squeezing the muscles in your face and neck tightly. Repeat this exercise after each of the other exercises.

4. Masako's Technique

Protrude the tongue out of the mouth and hold in that position, between the teeth, as you swallow . Repeat this exercise after each of the other exercises.

5. Chin Tuck Against Resistance

Use an ISO-PLUS Swallowing and Voice Exercise Device to provide resistance under your chin as you press your chin downwards towards your chest, into a chin tuck position. Repeat until the muscles in your throat feel fatigued. This exercise is contraindicated for people with neck injuries.

6. Jaw Opening Against Resistance

Use an ISO-PLUS Swallowing and Voice Exercise Device to provide resistance under your chin and while holding your head still, slowly open your mouth as widely as possible. Then, slowly close your mouth. Repeat until the muscles in your neck/throat feel fatigued. This exercise may be contraindicated for people with TMJ.

7. Supraglottic Swallow

Take a deep breath and hold while you swallow. Exhale and clear your throat and then swallow again. Repeat after each of the other exercises.

8. Lateralizing Tongue Press Against Resistance

Press your tongue into your right cheek. Gently press against it with your hand to provide resistance and hold for 30 seconds. Then do the same thing on the left side. Alternate back and forth until your tongue muscles become fatigued.