Active Kids in Speech Therapy (Let’s Get MOVING)

I recently attended a training on Neuro-Developmental Treatment (NDT) with Patsy Tate. NDT is an amazing way at looking at the whole child- not just their little mouths (where we speech therapists so often focus). It opened my eyes to the importance of core strength, posture, the ability to cross midline, and all sort of other amazing skills kiddos need. It is best for kids to have a solid foundation of the gross motor / “big picture” strengths. If a child has poor posture and is struggling to breath sufficiently, how can we expect them to focus on their speech sounds? And when you add on top of it the fact that young children have SO. MUCH. ENERGY…. movement becomes incredibly important.

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Photo Credit: Julia Raasch via unsplash.com

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Young children are not made to sit still and work. But time after time research shows we need repetitions in therapy. So how do we drill with a tiny ball of energy? Challenge accepted. Here area few activity ideas:

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Stick It

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Let your kids strap on some elephant trunks and try to pick up their artic cards.

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Find It

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photo credit: Frank McKenna via unsplash.com

I always keep sticky tack on hand in my room. I use it for lots of activities but one of my favorites is hiding artic cards around my room. We turn off the lights, grab our flash lights, and then we are explorers! Once the kiddo finds a new card, we practice that word before moving on to the next.

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Roll It

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Help your kids roll over a yoga ball on their belly to reach and pick up artic cards on the floor. Take a break between each card to practice your words. Just be careful to go slow, keep a good hold on the kiddo, and mind their heads.

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Do It

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This particular activity I use specifically for teaching /l/, as well as for reducing some phonological processes (fronting and backing). A few target words include “unlock the door” using our “key”. It’s simple, fun, and gets us quite a bit of extra practice as we target just about every door we encounter!

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All of these activities get your kiddos MOVING and are motivating enough to keep them WORKING. There are always exceptions, to be sure. Some kids do better with the structure of “work THEN play”. Use your best clinical judgment to choose which kiddos to try these activtiies with. So far, they have worked for more patients than they haven’t. Just remember to always have plans B, C, and D handy! Happy speeching, y’all!