Sunday, July 13, 2014

Speech Therapy - There's an App for That!

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Having been in the business of child care for over 20 years, I've had many children in my care and have always tried to help each child develop to their potential. Sometimes a child will have trouble with their speech, and I will try to help them with that as much as I can. Children today are so much more fortunate than they were 10 or more years ago. Today, their parents and I have access to so much more information and resources than we did years ago. I am so thankful for that! With the cost and long wait lists to get children in to see speech therapists, it is nice to know that there is help available outside of the speech therapist's office.  Even after a child is accepted into the speech program, which is usually only one short weekly visit, support at home and at daycare go a long way in helping children practice and perfect their speech sounds.  

About 10 years ago, when I noticed that I had several children who were struggling with speech sounds, I began searching for resources.  They were extremely difficult to come by, and, at that time, speech and language pathologists were not very generous with their resources.  I had one speech sounds development chart that had been given to me by a teacher and I treasured it and guarded it carefully.  There was an impression that speech therapy was so complicated that no one without specialized training would be able to help a child - except, maybe for parents with children in speech therapy who were being given instructions by the speech therapist on how to help.  I was thrilled to find a cd called Speechercise to use with my buddies.  I simply added a few of the speechercise song activities to our usual circle time routine.  It wasn't perfect, but it was something.  Today, it is just one of many available resources.

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Please don't misunderstand me and think that I am discouraging any parent from getting their child into a speech therapist if they have any kind of speech delay!  Absolutely get your child into a professional because a professional can diagnose any underlying cause of the speech delay.  There may be a physical reason that the child is struggling with speech.  What I am saying, though, is that you don't have to wait and do nothing.  There are lots of resources!  The video above is just one of many apps available for parents.  There is a small charge for the Tiga Talk app, but there are many free ones as well.  Visit the Tiga Talk home page here.

Technology has been getting a bad rap lately and there is a general consensus that children are exposed to too much technology.  It's easy to see why that might be, as children seem naturally drawn to these things.  Early childhood educators and child care providers are even going as far as banning all technology from their classrooms.  I prefer to make use of children's natural affinity for technology and use it to help children's development.  There's no denying that technology is here to stay and when not overused it can be as valuable a tool as any other in our environments.  

Technology will not cure everything, either, and should not be solely relied upon to correct speech problems, either. Reading stories, singing songs and just having face to face conversations with your child are very important.  Here's a link to some of our everyday activities for language and literacy skills.  

I hope this post has been helpful.  If you have a favourite resource or app for speech, or language and literacy, please share it with me in your comments.  I will add it to this post so more readers may find it.  Thanks, and I look forward to hearing from you!

For more helpful info see:

Speech Delays and Speech Therapy

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