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Early Intervention Speech Therapy

Using Items in the Home, Continued

Published September 16, 2014 8:00 AM by Stephanie Bruno-Dowling
Last week I wrote a post about the task of only using items found in the various homes where you are doing therapy. This is the expectation we work under in the county where I practice speech therapy. When you work in impoverished areas, this can definitely be a challenge. Many children have very little access to toys and various resources. Families are often struggling just to put food on the table and pay their bills; therefore toys are often a luxury that does not exist. Working with children in this type of environment can be very difficult so learning how to improvise is vital!

Here are some additional ways to do so:

  • Magazines, catalogs, coupon flyers and circulars - If the home where you are working does not have any or very few children's books which could be used in your therapy session, ask if the family has any catalogs, flyers, coupon circulars, etc. Many times families will have basic mailings that are sent out by companies, local food stores, etc. Coupons will have pictures of food, school supplies, basic household items, etc. Use them to build receptive and expressive vocabulary skills. Cut them apart and flip through them like flash cards. Use toy catalogs to hold the child's interest. Look for favorite toys and familiar cartoon characters. These are all common items that can be found in most homes.
  • Basic household items - Ask the family for basic household items such as a spoon, bowl, fork, measuring cups, wooden spoon, pots and pans, toothpaste and brush, etc. Practice naming these items. Practice using these items appropriately through pretend play. Get the child involved by "cooking" the child's favorite food and using the real materials from their kitchen.
  • The child's clothing - Ask the family for some of the child's clothing and practice naming them as well as body parts. Items such as socks, shirts, pants, shoes and pajamas as well as cold weather items, such as hats, mittens and scarves are perfect. Practice identifying what each item is called and how the child wears them, such as "You wear a hat on your ____" and "You wear mittens on your ____." If the child has a doll or stuffed animal, you can dress them as well!

Join me Friday for simple supplies you can make/bring and leave with a family to help to improve carryover and parental involvement.

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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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