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Home Program: What and How?

Updated: Apr 29, 2019

Whether or not this is a new term or familiar one, the idea is something I am sure you will recognize.  A Home Program, in the simplest form, is homework.  Now don’t get scared, there are no grades, reports, or group presentations, nonetheless, the home program is a necessary piece to the puzzle in closing the gap.  Treatment requires greater involvement of the parent/family which often results in more concentrated time focusing on treatment (Donahue-Kilburg, 1992).

Home programs are vital in that they provide direct services and consultation with the family.  These services are able to target communication goals that are best met in the home and community rather than having to rely on generalizing these skills (Bernstein & Tiegerman-Farber,2002).

Home programs allow learning to take place in the natural environment, which further allows learned behaviors to be more easily generalized, and is designed around providing individualized instruction (Donahue-Kilburg, 1992).

While the idea of a home program is quite simple, creating one is not as easy.  Home programs are designed specifically for each individual and family set up.  No two programs will be the same.  Similarly, no two therapists create home programs the same way.  Therefore, this is designed to be a general guideline as to what a home program should include as well as a few examples.

A successful Home Program contains the following aspects:

  • Skills to be targeted are identified

  • Duration and frequency of activity

  • Baseline information shared

  • Role of client

  • Role of caregiver

  • Location to target skills

Below you will find a couple of general home program examples:

  • Emily is a 2 ½ year old who has been referred for feeding. She demonstrates low tone musculature in her cheeks and oral cavity.  Her parents were given “facial molding” exercises to be completed before each meal and during bath time.  This was the first stage of their home program.

  • Cathy is a 2 year old who has been referred for a developmental language delay. She is the younger of 2 siblings.  Cathy’s older sister often talks for her and interprets her actions so that adults can quickly know what she wants.  For Cathy’s home program, her parents were directed to have one 10-minute play session a day with only Cathy.  During that time the parents were encouraged to limit their language use to 1-2 word phrases throughout the entire interaction.

  • George is a 15 year male who has been referred for difficulty with his /r/ sound in speech.  During his evaluation it was identified that he had lingual restriction.  Prior to a referral to a doctor to release the lingual restriction, he has been given a set of lingual exercises to help strengthen and use his tongue.  He has to complete tongue clicks, practice lifting his tongue to the “spot”, and practice nasal breathing.

Remember, in order to create a functional and successful home program, please consult with a Speech-Language Pathologist for an evaluation.  Once a treatment plan has been put in a place, a home program is a wonderful supplement to activities conducted during individualized treatment sessions.  Please contact Simply Communication, Ltd. with questions or to request an evaluation at

Berstein, Deena K., & Tiegerman-Farber, Ellenmorris. Language and Communication Disorders in Children – 5thedition. Boston, Massachusetts: Allyn and Bacon, 2002.

Donahue-Kilburg, Gail. Family-Centered Early Intervention for Communication Disorders: Prevention and Treatment. Gaithersburg, Maryland: An Aspen Publication, 1992.

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