Why Our Pediatric Brecksville Speech Therapists Use Crafts in Sessions
Our pediatric Brecksville speech therapists LOVE using crafts in sessions with kids. Our tables and desks are often packed with stickers and glitter and papery and clay and cotton balls. There’s a good reason for this: Crafts are an excellent communication temptation. What that means is that it motivates kids to engage – to express themselves and to understand what is being expressed to them. These are referred to as expressive and receptive language skills.
Kids enjoy crafting because it’s fun. Go to any preschool or child education center, and you will spot the crafts within two seconds. That’s because teachers have long recognized that arts and crafts activities are not just key to development of visual motor processing and fine motor skills. They compel kids to talk and help the lessons “stick” like glitter glue.
Our Brecksville speech therapists recognize that crafts are incredibly effective at language development because they necessitate a basic understanding of concepts and helps with practicing of:
- Answering/asking “wh” questions
- Vocabulary (nouns, verbs and basic concepts)
- Articulation skills
- Voice/fluency skills
- Following directions
- Social/pragmatic skills (taking turns, eye contact, requesting, etc.)
Crafts are also a great way for parents to practice with their child on certain speech therapy goals. Doing this just takes incorporating a few speech therapy strategies into your crafting time.
Brecksville Speech Therapists’ Tips on Crafting Communication
- Self-talk to your child while you’re working on the craft. Say out loud what you are doing, seeing, hearing and feeling. “I am cutting the red paper.” “This glue is super sticky.” “This yellow crayon smells like bananas!” “I’m gluing the white cotton ball to the blue paper to look like clouds.”
- Parallel talk to the child. This is when you talk out loud about what the child is doing. “You are gluing the square onto the box.” “I see you are cutting the small, orange circle.”
- Use lots of descriptive talk. Talk about how the paint is wet, the glue is sticky, the colors are bright, the cotton ball is soft, etc.
- Use strategy expansions to help your child “fill in the blanks” of their vocabulary and language. For example, if your child says, “Me color,” you would respond with more advanced language like, “Yes, you are coloring!” If the child says, “Crayon green,” you respond with, “Yes, you are holding a green crayon.” You can use this same strategy to help introduce new concepts and vocabulary. With this, you’re not just repeating and expanding the child’s language, but adding more language. So if a child says, “green crayon,” you respond with something like, “Yes, the crayon is green and it is short.”
- Slow it down. When you’re introducing new vocabulary words, slow down, emphasize and repeat them. Just as when you learned to talk, repetition is key.
- Be a good role model. It can be tempting to “baby talk” to your child. But if they are struggling with their speech and language skills, the best thing you can do is model the language you want your child to use. The more they hear it, the more they’ll be able to incorporate it themselves.
Last but definitely not least is to have fun! You want this to be an enjoyable activity that your child wants to participate. It’s also a great time to bond. Don’t get so caught up in the language learning part of the crafts that it starts to feel like a chore. There is a reason many people from the outside looking in on our speech therapy sessions tend to think that “you’re just playing.” It’s because we are playing, while also strategically incorporating speech and language skill practice. Play-based speech therapy has long been recognized as the most effective when working with kids.
Therapy & Wellness Connection – your connection to a life without limitations – provides speech therapy to children in Brecksville-Broadview Heights, Akron, Cleveland and surrounding communities. We also offer summer camp, day programs, education services, vocational counseling and more. Call us at (330) 748-4807 or send us an email.
Planning a Play-Based Therapy Session, By Merideth Poore Harold, Sept. 2, 2013, ASHA
More Blog Entries:
Should I Take My Child to a Brecksville Speech Therapist? June 9, 2019, Brecksville Speech Therapists’ Blog