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  • Nimra

Building new speech and language habits

Hey there! With the new year around the corner, it had me reflecting on the ways we try to build new speaking habits for children and adults in speech therapy. Have you ever tried to build a habit, only to find yourself falling off the wagon a few days later? It happens to the best of us. Building habits is no easy feat, but fear not – we're here to have a conversation about the art of building speech and language habits.

Setting the Stage: Why Bother with Habits?

Imagine your life as a play, and habits as the script. They shape your character, determine your plot, and ultimately influence the ending. Want a happy ending? Let's talk habits.

two people in a therapy session

Act 1: Start Small, Dream Big

Beginnings can be intimidating, but remember, Rome wasn't built in a day. Start with something small and manageable. For example, a common piece of advice when we want to read more is to aim for just one chapter a day. It's similar in pratice for speech or language goals - we start in small pieces, which you should also continue at home. This way, you can make short-term goals to achieve that are a staircase to your larger goal.

Act 2: Cue, Routine, Reward

Every habit has a backstage pass – the cue, routine, and reward. Identify the trigger that initiates your habit (the cue), establish the action (the routine), and don't forget the reward – your standing ovation for a job well done. For speech and language goals, your reward might be saying someone's name correctly, feeling confident at work or school, etc. Always remember what you are working towards.

Act 3: Consistency is the Co-Star

Consistency is the key to a great habit. Treat it like a daily rehearsal. Missing one day won't ruin the play, but consistency builds momentum. I always describe speech muscles as similar to any other muscles you want to train (they're just much smaller!). If you only worked out at the gym one day, you're unlikely to see any big change - but add up the 1 hour each day, and in a couple of months, you'll see a huge difference.

Act 4: Embrace the Ugly Days

There will be days when your performance isn't Oscar-worthy. That's okay! Embrace the imperfections and remember that even the best actors have off days. What matters is getting back on stage tomorrow, whether that's getting back into practice, or using your newly learned skills in your daily life.

Act 5: Be Patient, Be Persistent

Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither are habits. Be patient with yourself. It's okay if progress is slow – the crucial part is persistance and progress itself.

Curtain Call: Celebrate and Reflect

As the curtain falls, take a bow. Celebrate your victories, no matter how small. Reflect on what worked, what didn't, and adjust the script accordingly for the next performance.

Encore: Rinse and Repeat

Building habits is an ongoing production. Once one act concludes, it's time for an encore. Reflect, adjust, and repeat. Soon, you'll have a habit repertoire that's worthy of a standing ovation.

Building habits is not just a. It requires patience, consistency, and a bit of trial and error. Treat it like a dialogue with yourself, and soon you'll find yourself not just building habits, but crafting a masterpiece of a life. What are your speech or language goals for the next year, and what small steps can you take now to achieve them?

Questions? Reach out to me at



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