Sunday, January 24, 2010

Speechy Sunday - a Newbie update

I tried being a "newbie" at my job last week, and it was really fun!

As I was walking from my car to the door for each of my clients, I reminded myself to try to pretend I was brand new at this whole SLP thing. I tried to reconsider their goals and progress and the techniques I was using with each of them as if I had never met them before. And I really do think it made me a better therapist! Maybe it was just a product of reflecting on the sessions before and after them that made the sessions successful. But either way, I'll take it!

I wanted to share one of the speech activities I did this week that was pretty successful and fun. (Some of you have requested some speech ideas and tips, so I'm trying to honor that.) This is just a general idea for working on specific skills and is in no way to be taken as medical advice. If you have a child or grandchild who needs speech and language support, there is no better way to get it than in person with your very own SLP. You can find a certified SLP in your area by going here.

Sometimes as kids are learning to use language well, they leave out little pieces of sentences. For example, they might say, "It my turn", or "I cold, " or "I hungry," or "Where doggie?". To teach them how to include the verbs in these sentences, we can model the sentences while emphasizing the words they're missing and then try to have them imitate us. If we make it fun, it won't feel like work! Here's one way to teach those little important verbs:

THE HOT/COLD GAME - (a variation of hide & seek)
good for preschool aged children (3-5ish years old)
for working on using "is, am, & are" verbs in short sentences

Here's how it works:
The adult shows a small toy to the child, then has the child close his eyes and count to 20.
While he's counting, the adult hides the object somewhere relatively nearby and easy to find (but not in plain sight).
Then, the adult has the child repeat "I AM ready" when he's done counting, and "I AM coming" before he sets out to find the hidden object.
While he's looking for the object, the adult has the child repeat "Where ARE you?" in a sing-songy calling voice repeatedly, and when he looks in one place and the object is NOT there, has the child repeat, "It IS not there." All the while, the adult says "You ARE cold" when the child is far from the object, and "you ARE warm" when getting closer, and "You ARE hot" when he's right near it, as clues to find the object.
Once the child finds the toy, the adult cues him to say "Here it IS!" "It IS _____(by the couch, under the bed, etc)___!"

Then, they switch roles. Have the child say, "Now it IS my turn" before he hides the toy.
The adult closes his/her eyes and counts to 20 while the child hides the toy.
Once it's hidden, the adult prompts the child to say, "I AM ready!" or "It IS ready!"
The adult searches for the toy, all the while asking, "Toy, where ARE you?" in a sing-songy voice.
While searching, the adult narrates where the toy is not (ex: "Uhoh, it IS not by the table, it IS not under the chair," etc.)
The adult cues the child to say, "You ARE cold/hot/warm" as clues as they are searching (you usually know where the child has hidden the toy because they can't keep themselves from showing you! :) .)
Once the toy is found, the adult says, "Here it IS!", "It IS ___(under the table, by the bag, etc)___!"
Then the adult cues the child to say "It IS your turn", and they switch roles again.

If you can stay energetic and excited throughout this game, most preschoolers will play it at least 10 times in a row with you. That's a lot of "is, are, & am" practice, and, actually, a lot of fun for you both, too!

A friend of mine mentioned that the newbie thing also applies to non-work stuff, like being a new mom or being newly married. We tend to get less appreciative of things as they become routine. What routine things are you thankful for this week?

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