What does it mean to incorporate sensory integration into speech therapy? Children learn to develop their motor abilities, attention, cognitive thinking, language skills, and interpersonal relationships by taking in and processing information from each of the seven senses, including not only the well-known hearing, vision, touch, smell, and taste, but also their vestibular system (or sense of balance and movement) and proprioception (or sense of body awareness). Thoughtful and guided exposure to positive sensory experiences can help to ensure that children learn to process and respond to sensory stimuli. It's a holistic approach that makes learning language fun!
Fall is my favorite season for the primary reason that it offers so much to talk about ... and so many ways to add some silly and spooky sensory experiences into our sessions! A sensory bin offers lots of motivation for learning and language! You can work on identifying descriptive concepts by having a child find items by their attributes, such as a "striped pumpkin," "a small black spider," "a soft squishy candy corn," or even something more specific and complex such as "a shiny pumpkin wearing a green hat." You can make it more expressive and conversational by taking turns commenting, "I found a ____! What did you find?" A light board is a great way to attract a child's attention and interest by simply placing items on the board to play with and manipulate in different ways. I love using gourds this time of year because their appearance and texture offer so much vocabulary (it's striped, it's bumpy, it's short/tall, curvy, etc.). Rolling gourds in play-doh ON the light board adds sight and touch in a fun and unique way to really motivate a child to learn about it ... and gives the play-doh a new effect! And so many children respond positively to incorporating sound into therapy! Banging drums and jumping on a large piano mat adds movement with auditory input to really aide learning the language that is targeted. And a musical or melodic component is another way to help the brain process what is being said. If a child is working on specific sounds to improve his or her articulation, these are perfect activities to use as motivation and reinforcement for producing target vocabulary with their specific sounds! Connections Speech Therapy specializes in using these and other sensory-based techniques that derive from the principles of sensory integration to make therapy fun, creative, and effective. Contact us today for a free consultation to see if these experiences can assist your child's language and learning!
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My name is Katherine Hindman. I have been a speech therapist for over 20 years and truly love what I do!