OK, this is the last discipline that we need to cover. In Beanie’s school speech therapy, she focuses on vocabulary and making requests. In her private therapy, she focuses on oral-motor skills, social interactions, asking for help, and play skills.
Here is how we address these areas on the boat:
Vocabulary and Making Requests
–It’s all about PECS! We do some PECS practice most days, during afternoon snack time. Right now, she gets two choices. She hands us the picture, we model the phrase she should be saying and give her the snack. This has gotten Beanie to say “please” and to request more of her snacks specifically.
Improving her oral-motor skills has helped Beanie to make her sounds better. Here are some of the activities we do:
–Chew tubes. If Beanie is getting restless, especially when we are visiting people or sitting in the car, we will give her the tube to chew on. We will also tie a knot in it for Beanie to chew out, or play tug-of-war with her.
–Whistles and musical instruments. Beanie likes it the best when we each have one to use.
–Making faces in the mirror!
–We got the Bean an electric toothbrush, which she will use on her own during the day as well.
–During any play time, we work on creating “communication circles.” I will say something, then Beanie talks, gestures, etc. in return. We also do some specific activities that involve turn taking.
Asking for Help
–We set up activities that we know Beanie will like, but that she will have to do with assistance. For example, she has a balloon pump. She will want to try it on her own but will be unable to. We will model asking for help, then help her with it.
–Beanie’s fine motor activities are also opportunities for lessons on asking for help. We always model it, then move on, so that we avoid a power struggle. Eventually, Beanie starts asking on her own.
–This is the most fun! I will join Beanie in her pretend play and model social interactions and activities for the dolls or animals to do.
–Beanie loves music! When she is in the bath, when we are taking a walk, and when she is in her swing, we will sing songs together. Later, she will start saying the phrases from the songs.
Speech activities are easy to do and to incorporate into play. Almost any activity can include some speech practice!