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Early Intervention Speech Therapy

A Vacation from Speech Therapy!

Published July 19, 2011 9:00 AM by Stephanie Bruno-Dowling

Yes, you read it correctly: today's post is about NO SPEECH THERAPY!

I know, a strange title for a speech therapy blog! However, let me explain....

Recently I spoke with two different parents who have children diagnosed with autism. One mom shared with me that her daughter's speech therapy program was suspended for the summer, so she was looking for opportunities to get her involved in social activities. Another mom shared that she was voluntarily opting out of all her son's private therapy appointments for the summer. NO speech, no OT and no PT for the next two months. Her son had been "acting out" at his private appointments and she decided to "give the kid a break" and try something new for the summer. He will still have the benefit of attending preschool and receiving his school-based therapies, but the rest of his summer will be filled with new activities, as well as new people. When she shared this idea with me, I encouraged her to trust her gut and go for it!

So, now I would like to share some of the ideas I talked about with both moms - activities they have gotten their children involved in this summer as well as some novel opportunities we each thought of for later this summer and the future:

  • Swim lessons and/or join a pool
  • Learn an instrument with beginner lessons
  • A music class/camp
  • A dance class/camp
  • Gymnastics
  • Classes at the local YMCA or community center
  • Join a team and play a sport!
  • Join a local "autism group" - if this is appropriate. Great way to meet other families dealing with the same diagnosis. Many times they will have regularly scheduled outings
  • Arts and crafts class
  • Trips to your local parks (free!) - wonderful and easy way to meet children in your neighborhood
  • A weekly summer camp
  • Farm camp - an opportunity to milk a cow and feed the sheep
  • Riding therapy
  • Weekly story time at the local library (free!)
  • Invite children from the neighborhood or child's school over. Make sure you have lots of yummy treats as well as fun games, toys, art supplies, etc., available for the children to play with and enjoy. (One mom is already doing this and has had really positive results in her neighborhood.)

Just a few ideas to get your wheels spinning if you are looking for things for your children or students to do to help expand their experiences and social network.

Another tip: When appropriate, involve the child in the decision and choose opportunities that foster their natural interests and talents!



This is officially our last week of preschool, then we have 3 weeks off and then summer school begins.

June 10, 2014 9:20 AM

Hi Stephanie! I like your blog so much!  I want to know if you have a twitter account??

Thanks for share all this tips and activities!


Alma Reza September 6, 2011 2:19 PM
Mexico City

I think the opportunity for children to explore opportunities with their families, build "background knowledge", and be physically active are grossly undervalued.  Cheers to parents that skip therapy to visit a zoo or see a constructions site up close. I only wish I had the opportunities to create such teachable moments in therapy. Everyone knows parents are the key to success!!

Mary Stokes, SLP - Mrs., Christina School Distric July 25, 2011 8:56 AM
Newark DE

I have often seen great growth in children over a break. I call it the "vacation effect". Many times a child who is plateauing in therapy will come back from a family vacation with a burst of new vocabulary and skills. I feel a vacation or break gives a child a chance to integrate all the skills they have been practicing as well as new experiences about which to communicate.

Lisa July 20, 2011 11:20 AM

Thanks Kathie, for the positive and upbeat feedback! I agree!!So glad you found it helpful :) Keep Blogging :) Steph

stephanie bruno dowling, blog author July 19, 2011 10:57 PM

Great Stephanie and I agree with these mothers. Many times a break is the best "place" to grow. It gives the child and parent time to integrate all of those wonderful strategies into daily activities. What better social times can a parent find than natural activities that they should be taking their children to anyway. Great list that you gave us as SLPs. Hey everyone, share these ideas with your parents, give the kiddos a break from therapy, and let them "practice what you've preached" to them. Therapy is fun and living it is too. Thanks Steph!

Kathie Harrington, SLP and ADVANCE blogger July 19, 2011 7:52 PM
Las Vegas

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About this Blog

    Stephanie Bruno Dowling, M.S. CCC-SLP
    Occupation: Speech-Language Pathologist
    Setting: Early Intervention in Delaware County, PA
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