Poolside Speech Therapy
Adapt this popular pool game to suit your child’s speech therapy needs. Rather than shouting “Marco” and “Polo,” you could have your child work on his prepositions, for example. Instruct your child to give directions instead of saying “Polo.” He could say “I am next to the ladder,” “I am beside the diving board,” or “I am right outside the shallow end.” Not only does this reinforce your child’s use of prepositions, it also gives him practice speaking in complete sentences.
Play water tag with your child. Each time he is tagged or each time he tags you, have him say one of his target words. If he has trouble remembering which words he is supposed to say, line up objects next to the pool to remind him, if possible. For example, if he is working on the “ch” sound you could point to the pool chair. If he is working on the “p” sound you could place a cup and a picnic basket next to the pool.
Use the same strategy for a game of I Spy. Point to objects around the pool and say, “I spy with my little eye a….” Scatter objects around the pool that will encourage him to work on specific sounds. For example, for the “n” and “o” sounds you could place a couple of pool noodles in the water and for the “k” and “d” sounds you could add a rubber ducky.
Pretend play is often an effective way of encouraging vocalization. Use pretend play in the pool by playing pirates with your child. Use pirate-related words to encourage articulation practice, like “Ahoy, matey!” “Prepare to be boarded,” “Walk the plank,” and “Arrrr!” Make up silly stories about the pirates with your child to encourage narration skills and sentence structure. If he has trouble getting started, give him a prompt. For example, say, “I’m Lily the Fearsome from the Caribbean and my ship is called the White Star. What is your ship called?”
Go word fishing with your child in the pool. Laminate a few flashcards with words that you would like your child to work on. Glue a magnet on the back of each card. Attach a string to a dowel with a magnet on the end of the string. Have your child fish for the flashcards. As he catches each flashcard, have him say the word. This game might only work well in shallow, plastic kiddie pools. Otherwise, you could place the flashcards in a basket and have your child fish for them by the side of the pool.
Speech-language Pathologist, Christine Wilson, requires her patients to practice home programming, on top of attending speech therapy sessions weekly. We see the most progress in the patient’s who come to speech therapy at least twice a week and those who practice home programming. A home program does not need to be a major time commitment on the parents part, but it IS important. Try to practice with your child for 15 to 30 minutes a day. Even five or ten minutes every day will benefit your child. We work as a team at Christine Wilson’s Speech Clinic! Practicing language skills at home will bring your child closer to their speech goal/s!
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Speech Language Pathologist, Christine Wilson.