Well, it’s April, which means it’s officially summer (at least here in the Texas Hill Country, that is). Here summer lasts, oh, about 7 months. We don’t really know what spring or fall are.
So last week we found ourselves at the swimming pool. Noah (7 – with Down syndrome) loves the water, and it seems to really open the door to speech to have him in the water. This apraxia thing is a real booger. The more he concentrates, the harder he tries, the more his speech falls apart, it seems. So to have him engrossed in the water creates enough of a distraction that we often get good speech production.
In the water with Noah, I captured every speech opportunity I could, and I want to share some of that with you.
I have 3 Littles who are not swimming independently yet, so I lined them up on the side of the pool while the 3 Middles played in the water in the middle of the pool.
First I had the Littles kick with their feet in the water. I gave each of them a turn to say “kick” whereupon they would commence to kicking and then “stop” when they would all stop. A great thing about kids – they don’t demand perfect enunciation or pronunciation. Noah just had to attempt to say kick or stop, and the others performed on cue. Very powerful stuff for a little boy who is still deciding just how important speech is to him.
Then it was Noah’s turn to come into the pool. He practiced signing and saying “I want in water.” (I said most of those words along with him.)
Once we were in the water, he was happy to say “water” when I asked him what we were in. He also said “go” to get me to move. We worked on blowing bubbles in the water, which he loved so much, he was happy to practice saying “more bubbles.” For this, I asked him, “Do you want more bubbles?” He said “yes”, and I told him, “Then say more bubbles.” And on cue he said, “More bubbles.”
He gets mighty bold and likes to show off in the water, so I took advantage of this by having him call out to his siblings by name.
When he did something well, I cued him to say “Yay.”
Noah likes me to hold him close in the pool, so although I would push him to kick and paddle with a little distance between the two of us, when I was ready to pull him closer, I verbally prompted him to say, “Hold me.”
Then when it was time to get out and let another Little have a turn, I prompted Noah to say “out.”
When his turn came around again, Noah practiced phrases like “My turn” and “I want in.”
Best case scenario, Noah would be working with a speech therapist in the water. Next best thing – that would be me. :)
How about you? Are you finding good opportunities for speech sessions in unusual settings?