Speech Therapy IS a Daily Routine
Last month I wrote two posts addressing the latest buzz phrase in my area in early intervention, namely "daily routines". Our county wants therapists to be working with children within their "daily routines" and at times, there has been recent criticism that aspects of speech therapy do not fall into this category.
Over the last several weeks, I have been thinking more and more about how to implement both the "daily routines" aspect that is now mandated and the skills that I know the child needs in order to build an effective communication system.
Here is my solution:
For all the children involved in early intervention out there who are receiving speech and language services, therapy is now a part of their daily routine! Correct? Yes! So, the next natural and normal response of a therapist is to implement activities within their therapy time that will help the child achieve their IFSP goals, namely be able to communicate through the daily routines of the day. That is exactly what our objectives are designed to do. They outline for the family and team exactly how you propose to empower the child and the strategies you plan to use to move the child from not communicating to communicating effectively with their family.
When I write my objectives, I include a variety of methods that, in my professional opinion, will help this child progress in the area(s) in which they are now delayed. Some examples of these speech and language based objectives include:
- Using sign language, pictures, phonemic cuing to enable the child to communicate effectively with their family.
- Using oral motor activities to help increase awareness, mobility and strength of the oral musculature needed for speech and feeding.
- Using music and familiar tunes to help the child learn the flow of the language and promote imitation and sentence development
- Using art and multi-sensory based activities to help engage and focus the child, therefore creating an opportunity for communication
As you can see, I outline both the strategy I am going to use, as well as how it relates to the big picture or the child's daily routines.
For many children and families out there, very little structured routine may exist in their day. In addition, there may also be a lack of toys and play time available for the child. Showing families how to play with their child, how to challenge the child appropriately to promote communication and how to use a variety of tools and methods to stimulate the child are all part of what we do in early intervention home-care speech therapy. These skills are the stepping stones of communication and are the foundation for which families can build daily routines, especially ones that are more child-centered.