Speech therapy, is it just playing?

THE MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION PARENTS ASK US: “How is this SPEECH THERAPY when you’re JUST PLAYING?”

Early Intervention speech and language therapy is often referred to as a “play-based” approach. Often times, the only thing parents see is that we are “just playing” rather than WHAT we are doing as we play. Here are just a few of the important factors we are working on while “just playing” during your toddler’s speech therapy session:

  • social skills (including eye contact, turn taking, etc)
  • vocabulary development
  • body parts (through toys like Mr. Potato head)
  • requesting
  • developmental play skills (pretend play-things like tea parties, play kitchen, etc.)
  • basic concepts (up, down, in, out, on top of, under)
  • following directions (as simple as “clean up” to a more complex multiple step direction)
  • toys like puzzles: we are working on shapes, colors, animals, animal sounds, labeling, matching, identifying (both expressive & receptive skills)
  • stringing beads: we are addressing fine motor, sensory, colors, shapes, animals, animal sounds, labeling, identifying (both expressive & receptive skills, along with fine motor & sensory)

As we, “just play,” we remain on the toddler’s level, usually seated on the floor or at a small table, and stay engaged throughout the entire session. Children want nothing more than your attention, especially at a toddler’s age, so giving them this attention while playing AND doing “therapy” is extra beneficial.

Here is a link to some of our favorite toys, and a few extra resources we use to learn more about “just playing.”

http://blog.asha.org/2013/10/10/kid-confidential-teaching-parents-the-power-of-play/