The speech therapists at Shelby Hills use group times to work on a variety of language and articulation skills. They work on skills while children have fun making a craft to take home, making a snack to eat in the classroom, or while playing a game with their peers and teachers. The group is a “practice” time where children learn new skills and continue to work on skills that they may not use consistently in their everyday language.
- Children work on increasing the number of words they are using in their sentences as well as including a variety of more complex language structures. For example, a child may be working on including 4-5 words in their sentences or including prepositional phrases in their sentences such as “The ball is under the table” or “The balls are in the basket”. The therapists often use pictures/words on sentence strips so that children can point to the pictures as they are saying all the words in the sentence.
- Children work on increasing their vocabulary of words so that they understand more words and can use them when they are talking with us in conversation. For example, during a cooking activity we may work on understanding and using words such as spreading, mixing, sticky, measuring cups, etc. During a craft activity we may work on using words such as “Put it on the top of the page” or “Put it next to the door”, etc.
- Children work on using their language for a variety of reasons including requesting items, making choices, making comments, protesting appropriately when something is not correct, asking and answering questions and greeting other people.
- Children work on thinking skills such as following directions to increase the number of steps that are involved, improving problem solving skills (How can we do this a different way?), sequencing events and activities and using their language to describe items or events: What group (categories such as fruit, toys, vehicles, etc.) does it belong to? What do we do with it? What does it look like? What is it made of? What are the parts? Where do we find it? What else can you tell me about it?
- Children work on increasing their confidence in their communication skills. We work on participating in a group (doing hand motions, singing songs, etc.) and doing things in front of the group. We want children to be able to use the language that they have to share information with others and make their wants and needs known to others. We also want them to know how to take turns with a group of people.
- Children also work on articulation skills during group times. Therapists will often highlight words that contain sounds that children are working on. For example, the class may work on using the “sp” sound while using a “spoon” to stir with. Or work on counting out “five” items with a child working on using “f” in words.
How Can Families Help Support Their Child's Speech Therapy?
- Review the papers/crafts that come home with your child after they have language group. You can have a conversation about what they made, how they made it, what they liked to eat or not to eat! … Many times the papers will include pictures that make it easier to talk about the activity with preschoolers.
- Read books and talk about the pictures. This will help increase your child’s attention span, their ability to listen and follow directions, answer questions and share information about a topic.
- Play simple games together such as Candy Land and Who Spilled the Beans? This gives you a way to model language such as “Who needs a turn?” or “I want to land on the ice cream sundae and the gumdrops”
- Talk to your child while you are in the car. This is a time when you can talk about things that you see and work on introducing new words or playing games such as “I spy…”