When interviewing Carolyn from Speech Therapy Centres (www.speechtherapycentres.com), one thing really stood out: You do not need a doctor’s note or referral to see a Speech Pathologist. According to Carolyn, 10% of children have some form of speech and language issues. Some obstacles aresounding out words, saying words with the correct timing, vocabulary building, verbal sentence structure, language delays and probably most important of all; Confidence in one’s speaking ability.
“Speech Therapy Centres aid in many language areas, but the main function we strive to focus on is building overall communication skills,” said Carolyn, Speech Therapist. “It is a misconception that children who have a lisp, rolling R’s or stutter are the only ones who need help. For some kids just going back to school can be frightening after a summer off school.”
The lead up to back to school; new classmates, new teacher, new subjects to learn, and for some, even a whole new school can be terrifying and exciting. One way to help alleviate some of these transitional stresses and ensure kids and teens have more confidence as they pick up their new books, is to keep learning over the summer. After all, it is understandable that some of the skills learned have fallen wayside – particularly in reading and writing.
Jeanette Podolsky, Director of Speech Therapy Centers, has some activity ideas to help you and your kids as they get back into the grind and feel confident heading back to the classroom. “By incorporating activities for listening, language expression, reading and writing into your daily routine, and creating a language-literacy rich environment, you can help ensure smoother transitions at school,” says Jeanette.
Here are her tips:
– Simon Says: This is a great game to sharpen your child’s listening skills. This game can help to improve verbal attention, following directions, language processing skills, and self-regulation. You can increase the difficulty level of the game based on your child’s skill level.
– Reading Together: Set aside some time for shared book reading. Look through the book with your child and encourage them to tell you the story. Encourage your child to read the words if the book is at their reading level. Encourage them to use the pictures in the book to support their story narration. Ask them to predict what will happen next in the story.
Junior School Age:
– Name-Place-Animal-Thing: Here’s a fun group word game that stimulates vocabulary and targets literacy skills. Ask oneperson in the group to call out a letter of the alphabet. All the members of the group then take a couple of minutes to write down a ‘name’, a ‘place’, an ‘animal’, and a ‘thing’ that starts with that letter. When all members in the group have finished writing down all four fields, each one calls out their list. Participants will get full credit for any responses that don’t overlap and half credit for any overlapping answers.
-Young writers in the making: What did your child do this summer? Travel to a new and exciting place? Watched a movie that they’ve been waiting for forever! Encourage your child to write about it.
Middle School Age:
– Movie Reviews: Challenge your child to summarize a recent movie they have seen. Not only will thisactivity target organization of thoughts (beginning, middle and end), but it will also help with verbalmemory, descriptive writing and presentation skills. Remember; encourage them to provide reasoning for their thoughts and likes or dislikes.
– Summer trip comparison: Do you wonder what your child liked about their summer holiday? Here is your chance to find out. Over dinner or some quiet time, have a discussion with your children where you
compare this summer to last. Encourage them to talk about what was liked or not liked and how they can make next summer even more memorable.This activity uses comparison skills, problem-solving and generation of ideas for next summer!
Making the transition from the lazy, dog days of summer back to a new school year can be a challenge for both parent and children. Incorporating some of these activities into your daily routine throughout the summer break can make the last few days leading up to the first day less of a scramble.
Parents know their kids best. Often a concerned parent will wonder if their child’s skills are up to the correct level according to their age. For peace of mind, it is worth meeting with a specialist to check it out, especially since a doctor’s referral is not required. Speech therapy is sometimes covered by extended health plans, so remember to look into that option too.