When your child needs speech therapy to help them improve their communication, making sure they’re having fun during sessions is important! Why? Because kids learn best when they’re excited about what they’re doing. Teaching correct pronunciation of sounds takes a lot of repetition. And repetition can trend towards boring. This article discusses ways that speech-language pathologists help kids have fun during speech therapy.
Make Speech Therapy Fun Through Success!
One of the most important steps in the process of articulation therapy is teaching the correct motor plan for the sound. Learning the correct movements is not only critical to being able to make the sound correctly, but it’s also important for having more fun in speech therapy! This is because the therapist can use your child’s success to help them stay motivated.
How does this work? The SLP determines what level of difficulty is the right level of challenge for the child. Ideally, we want kids practicing somewhere in the realm of being correct 50 to 75% of the time. If they can’t make the sound at all, this means the therapist starts by teaching them the mouth movements needed for success. By keeping them successful, there’s always something to reinforce. Once the child starts to be able to imitate the movements for the sound, then the therapist has them repeat that movement many times to help them build motor memory. By always working at a good challenge level, speech therapy is more fun for clients because they feel challenged and accomplished.
Make Speech Therapy Fun with Energy!
Fun naturally follows from success because we all like to be good at things! A good rule of thumb is that if the therapist isn’t having fun, the child probably isn’t either. The therapist should help you learn how to celebrate the small successes the child is making as they’re working to figure out how to make this new sound. Sometimes, acknowledging the hard work goes a long way. Tell them you appreciate how hard they’re trying. You therapist will use a reinforcement schedule that makes sense for your child’s age, temperament, activity level, and so forth. For example, early on, they may choose a response-token reinforcement plan where the child gets praise or a sticker for every production. Over time, you may reduce the frequency of the token to every five or ten productions. Speech therapy is more fun for clients when kids know what expectations are, and we can use reward systems and positive reinforcement and praise to help keep them motivated.
Make Speech Therapy Fun with Games!
Speech therapy for articulation and speech sound disorders needs to improve the motor plan for the sound in error. Because this is highly repetitive, it may seem like it’s got to be boring. However, keeping kids engaged wit turns at games during practice keeps them motivated to keep trying. The more correct repetitions they get in, the more likely they are to make faster progress. Head over to our games page to learn about how Verboso’s technology works for speech sound disorders.
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Rvachew, S., Rafaat, S., & Martin, M. (1999). Stimulability, speech perception skills, and the treatment of phonological disorders. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 8(1), 33-43.
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