When preparing for a speech therapy session with a pediatric client, often the first question is; “what toys and games could I incorporate?’
It’s not uncommon for parents to look in on their child’s session and see what looks like their child “just playing,”. However, we know through evidenced based research, that incorporating toys and games that are of interest to the child is extremely vital when developing and targeting language skills, social skills and even speech sound production!
Evidence Based Therapy
Research has supported the idea that play-based therapy is an effective intervention approach for young children, since play is children’s main way of learning and is a modality that children best understand. The play-based intervention approach can be utilized not only within treatment sessions, but also in evaluations as supported by the following statement that play “is a nonthreatening way to gather information about general symbolic skills, linguistic skills, behaviors skills (i.e., attention and organization), and task persistence in a child-friendly setting” (Fewell & Rich, 1987; Short et al., 2011).
Play has more than one Solution
Not only is play the most fun and engaging for our kiddos but it is also able to address various areas such as cognitive, social (turn taking, sharing, relationship building), language (vocabulary development, requesting, naming, following directions, joint attention), speech sound development (articulation), and more!
Get Up, Get Active and Get To Play!
Furthermore, as a result of utilizing common toys, games and activities into session, we see increased carry-over of skills addressed in a skilled therapy environment to the child’s functional environment due to easy accessibility to play at home. We are also able to provide parent education through direct modeling with familiar toys they may have at home, which also positively impacts carry-over. Who knew play based therapy could be so beneficial!
By- Jenna Suzio, MA, CCC–SLP, Speech Language Pathologist