COMMUNICATION IS EVERYWHERE: KEEP TALKING and LEARNING!

By Gretchen Myers, MSLP-CCC, owner of Center4Speech in Mars, PA

Recognized by Apraxia Kids for Advanced Training and Expertise in Childhood Apraxia of Speech

 

May is Apraxia Awareness Month and Better Hearing & Speech Month.  Living in these uncertain times, parents and caregivers are expected to be teachers, therapists, employers, employees, and more all while caring for their families and themselves.  It is exhausting, isn’t it?  As the mother of two daughters, I find myself worrying if assignments were completed, virtual classroom meetings were attended, eating 3 healthy meals each day, getting enough exercise when they are tied to their computers, and on and on.  And so, I have to remind myself, as does my husband (also an SLP!), to let things go and be kinder to myself.  The constant worrying is unsustainable.  THIS WILL END!

Some of our children may or may not be receiving speech therapy via telehealth.  So, in a time when we are expected to do it all, what do we do in the meantime?  You may be thinking, “how can I help my child”?

Early in my career as a speech pathologist, I assumed if my patients were not talking, then I was not doing my job.  My patient wasn’t benefiting.  My patient wouldn’t progress.  Not true!  This is especially not true for our hesitant and emergent communicators.  Frustration can happen if we demand too much, too-soon.  As I developed my skills, observing how my younger patients responded in therapy, I realized that if I relaxed and demanded less “performing”, my sessions were better overall.  And I was enjoying myself more in therapy.  My young patients were enjoying themselves too.  My patients were benefiting and progressing.  Yes, we know that our children with motor-speech difficulties need repetition and practice.  That is important. But some of our kids, especially our emergent talkers, are not quite ready to “perform”.  And that’s ok.  Some of my favorite activities that I often suggest for home-carryover include just one target word and practicing that word in daily routines.  Communicate with your child’s therapist and ask for target words or phrases.  If your child is hesitant or tends to ‘shut-down’ with the pressure to talk, just model for him/her.  Join them in their play.  Use those daily opportunities at home.  Make is fun!

Here are some suggestions to practice communication in daily routines:

-Go for a walk and label objects and actions. Say/model “I see flower, bug, tree, sun!”, “Let’s walk, jump, run!”

-Play with Mr. Potato Head, dress-up doll, blocks.  Say/model “red dress”, “blue hat”, “purple boots” as you take turns choosing items.

-Play with play food.  Say/model “I like ____” and “I eat ____”, then say “mmmmm, yummy” or “ew, yucky”.

-While getting dressed, say/model “I wear____” for each item or just label each clothing item.

– Use lots of play sounds when playing- “guh, guh” for drinking, “sssss” for snake, “ch, ch” for train, etc.

-Sing simple songs, finger plays.

-Read, read, read.  Read the book together.  Go beyond the words and label/model objects, actions, colors, locations (in, on, under, over, etc.) in the book.

-During play set-up (i.e. dollhouse, blocks, etc.), say repeatedly “in” or “out”.  Do the same for clean-up.

 

You get the idea.  Remember: just keep talking and learning!  Communication is everywhere!

By Gretchen Myers, MSLP-CCC, owner of Center4Speech in Mars, PA

Recognized by Apraxia Kids for Advanced Training and Expertise in Childhood Apraxia of Speech

 

May is Apraxia Awareness Month and Better Hearing & Speech Month.  Living in these uncertain times, parents and caregivers are expected to be teachers, therapists, employers, employees, and more all while caring for their families and themselves.  It is exhausting, isn’t it?  As the mother of two daughters, I find myself worrying if assignments were completed, virtual classroom meetings were attended, eating 3 healthy meals each day, getting enough exercise when they are tied to their computers, and on and on.  And so, I have to remind myself, as does my husband (also an SLP!), to let things go and be kinder to myself.  The constant worrying is unsustainable.  THIS WILL END!

Some of our children may or may not be receiving speech therapy via telehealth.  So, in a time when we are expected to do it all, what do we do in the meantime?  You may be thinking, “how can I help my child”?

Early in my career as a speech pathologist, I assumed if my patients were not talking, then I was not doing my job.  My patient wasn’t benefiting.  My patient wouldn’t progress.  Not true!  This is especially not true for our hesitant and emergent communicators.  Frustration can happen if we demand too much, too-soon.  As I developed my skills, observing how my younger patients responded in therapy, I realized that if I relaxed and demanded less “performing”, my sessions were better overall.  And I was enjoying myself more in therapy.  My young patients were enjoying themselves too.  My patients were benefiting and progressing.  Yes, we know that our children with motor-speech difficulties need repetition and practice.  That is important. But some of our kids, especially our emergent talkers, are not quite ready to “perform”.  And that’s ok.  Some of my favorite activities that I often suggest for home-carryover include just one target word and practicing that word in daily routines.  Communicate with your child’s therapist and ask for target words or phrases.  If your child is hesitant or tends to ‘shut-down’ with the pressure to talk, just model for him/her.  Join them in their play.  Use those daily opportunities at home.  Make is fun!

Here are some suggestions to practice communication in daily routines:

-Go for a walk and label objects and actions. Say/model “I see flower, bug, tree, sun!”, “Let’s walk, jump, run!”

-Play with Mr. Potato Head, dress-up doll, blocks.  Say/model “red dress”, “blue hat”, “purple boots” as you take turns choosing items.

-Play with play food.  Say/model “I like ____” and “I eat ____”, then say “mmmmm, yummy” or “ew, yucky”.

-While getting dressed, say/model “I wear____” for each item or just label each clothing item.

– Use lots of play sounds when playing- “guh, guh” for drinking, “sssss” for snake, “ch, ch” for train, etc.

-Sing simple songs, finger plays.

-Read, read, read.  Read the book together.  Go beyond the words and label/model objects, actions, colors, locations (in, on, under, over, etc.) in the book.

-During play set-up (i.e. dollhouse, blocks, etc.), say repeatedly “in” or “out”.  Do the same for clean-up.

 

You get the idea.  Remember: just keep talking and learning!  Communication is everywhere!



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