BY: BRITTANY O’NEILL, M.S., CCC-SLP
HAPPY FALL from the Scottish Rite Childhood Speech and Language Center! My name is Brittany O’Neill and I am very pleased and honored to be a new member of the Hilgenberg Scottish Rite Center for Childhood Language Disorders. I started my career at HASA in January 2019 and have felt very welcomed to the Scottish Rite by the Masons, additional staff members, and the families of clients who have been and continue to receive services at the clinic.
Over the summer, our doors remained open! Some of our clients continued to maintain their weekly sessions while other clients enjoyed vacation, camp, or even just some rest and recreation! Even though some clients were unable to attend sessions consistently throughout the summer or needed a break to recharge for Fall, our therapists provided supplemental tasks for parents to complete with their children at home to further facilitate maintenance and generalization of previously trained tasks. We encouraged parents to use functional, routine, and FUN activities throughout the summer, including taking a walk, cooking, and excursions! Parents reported that children labeled items, followed directions to a favorite recipe, discussed likes/ dislikes, and participated in conversations with neighbors, peers, and other adults!
Now that we are at the start of a new school year, our clients and families are recharged and ready to achieve new goals! As we continue to expand upon clients’ current goals, we continue to emphasize the importance of caregiver education and collaboration for carryover of skills throughout different environments. This is the perfect time for caregivers to inform therapists of any changes their child may have experienced over the summer months. For example, what new activities does your child enjoy? Are there any new behaviors your child has developed? Does your child benefit from working toward a reward? What skills is your child have difficulty with at home? In addition, it is also a great time for parents to share information regarding their speech and language goals with their new teachers to facilitate more successful and productive interactions throughout the school day!
As our clients settle into their school routines with regularly scheduled activities and appointments before or after school, it is important to continue to organize supplemental and fun activities on the weekend! As the weather becomes milder and the leaves begin to change, here are some ideas we give our parents:
APPLE AND PUMPKIN PICKING: take a trip to a local farm for a day of fun! Allow your child to explore the excursions at the farm while taking conversational turns about things you see, what you are doing, where you are, wants and needs, and even sequencing of events throughout the day! This is a great way to provide appropriate speech and language exposure while creating memories as well!
ARTS AND CRAFTS: this is a great time of year to create crafts at home! Use paper, crayons, markers, scissors, glue, and even some streamers or pipe-cleaners to make a fall tree, scarecrow, or a pumpkin patch. This is a great way to encourage your child to request desired items, ask for help, and use descriptor words!
BAKING: plan a Fall snack or dessert with your child; it is a great time of year to use apples! Allow your child to find the ingredients in the grocery store or in the kitchen if they have already been purchased. Parents can model sequencing words while following directions including spatial and qualitative concepts of the recipe, such as “first we pour the flour into the bowl, and then we crack 1 egg in the bowl.” When you are done baking, have a conversation about the dessert. Make sure you provide your child with opportunities to initiate and respond to encourage their speech and language development!
As speech and language pathologists, we love encouraging parents to incorporate skills into fun, functional, and routine activities to empower both parents and children!
We want to thank everyone for continuing to support the clinic here at Scottish Rite! We love what we do and we are ready for another great year of servicing our current clients as well as any new clients that need speech and language services!