Speech therapy, or speech pathology, can be a beneficial undertaking for any preschooler, child, teen, or adult. According to speech pathologists Kid Speak, for a child, teen, or adult, it can be something that they understand the benefits of and will try their hardest to make it work for them.
A preschooler, however, often has other ideas. They want to move around, play, and engage with their surroundings, and may not necessarily understand how speech pathology works or how it can help them.
New techniques must then be put in place to ensure they get the most out of it – while also keeping them engaged and enthused. Read on to learn what it takes to give your preschooler the best of both worlds in a speech pathology setting.
Motivation Through Movement
Preschoolers and young children love to move, so no speech pathologist can expect a child to sit on a hard, uncomfortable “grown-ups” chair while they learn new skills for their speech. Create a space that encourages them to try different sitting and standing positions while they learn.
Possible options might include bean bag chairs, stools, a comfortable rug, a yoga ball, or a comfy couch. Having so many options can evoke a sense of curiosity that encourages the child to engage.
Not everyone is a massive fan of mess, especially around their home, but it can often be the key to keeping preschoolers engaged in speech therapy. Passive learning works for some children, but active learning by doing can be a far more effective approach for many.
Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty with sand, play dough, paint, paper mâché, and bubble mixture. Welcoming new ways of learning that don’t require just sitting still can end up being a practical approach to working with young children.
Structure is crucial for preschoolers and young children, but so too is allowing independence. At preschool age, kids start to decide what they want for themselves. They want to choose their own outfits, put on their own shoes, and decide what they want for breakfast.
Therefore, there’s no harm in allowing a bit of independence in speech pathology. Give them responsibilities and routines during sessions, such as putting their coat on the hook when they enter the room, and helping with clean-up once the session is over.
Celebrate Every Achievement
One of the common signs of a stutter or another speech problem in children is frustration. They know what they want to say, but they just can’t say it. That frustration can set the tone for a session – and it’s not a beneficial one.
Speech pathologists can make therapy sessions fun and entertaining in many ways, but a positive environment can also be achieved through celebration.
Have they mastered a new sound or word? Cheer, scream, reward, high-five, whatever it takes to show the pre-schooler that they are doing well. Even if a child is taking a little longer to get ahead, focusing on what they can do can set the scene for future progress, too.
Speech pathology with preschoolers can be a little more challenging than with an older child, teen, or adult. However, with a little bit of out-of-the-box thinking and planning, they can find the experience both rewarding and fun.