Portable Speech Therapy: Packing for Vacation
Summer and vacation go together like clowns and circuses. Whether you plan to cool off at a water rollercoaster or watch ballerinas sweating it out on stage, summer vacation offers the perfect opportunity to become even closer as a family. When you have a child with a speech disorder, preparing for summer break might take a little extra time. In addition to packing all the hip new styles of summer, bring along some games and other speech therapy tools to stimulate your child’s language skills.
Despite being highly portable, flashcards might not be the best option for summer vacation speech therapy. Unless, of course, your child genuinely enjoys working with flashcards. If not, look for more engaging alternatives. The neat thing about speech therapy is that it doesn’t have to feel like work. Your child can have a great time singing songs, playing games, and making up stories, all in the name of language enrichment. Ask your child’s speech-language pathologist (SLP) for recommendations of small toys and games to bring along on vacation.
Toys & Games
Activity books are great for traveling. They’re small enough to fit easily into your luggage, but they can keep your child entertained for hours. Look for activity books that can build language skills, such as word finds. As your child finds each word, encourage him to say it out loud. Sticker books are useful for encouraging narration skills. Have your child make up a story about the images as he peels and places the stickers. Older children often enjoy Mad Libs, which teach grammar skills and the parts of speech.
In addition to activity books, pack a few other small games or toys for your child. A new doll can encourage social interaction and pretend play. Go Fish is a popular game for young children that encourages conversation skills and following directions. For example, “Mary, please give me your jacks.” It’s also useful for articulation. The game encourages the repetition of sounds like “sh” in the phrase, “Go fish.”
Children do well with routines. For example, if you’ve gotten into the habit of using Speech Buddies for a few minutes after your child brushes his teeth every morning, continue to do this on vacation. Speech Buddies are quite portable and are a fun way for your child to practice proper mouth positioning while on break. Before you leave for your trip, check out Speech Buddies University. After you register for free, you can use the University’s resources to find fun, interactive games for your child that are geared toward his problem sounds.
Kids love electronics. A child who absolutely refuses to do another flashcard with you might happily go through an entire, virtual deck on an iPhone. There are numerous apps available for your iPhone or iPad that can help your child improve his speech and language skills. Download a couple of new ones for your child to use in the plane or on the car trip. Try a sing-along app or one that is geared toward a specific speech disorder, like apraxia. As well, download a few new books for your child into an eReader to save space in your luggage.