Last time we talked about how fun and simple arts and crafts can have an impact on your child’s speech and language learning. Here are some examples of using art to improve receptive and expressive language skills at home!
- Many times if when presenting a receptive task such as, “Get the red crayon” (while presenting two crayons), if your child is more willing to reach for the red crayon. Then get them to say “red” or “red crayon” by asking what color do you want? Once they make a choice, continue building on that by saying “Oh you want red! That’s such a good choice. Red is the color of strawberries and apples that we can eat.” to continue enriching the language.
- You can use indirect strategies during craft time to ask “What is your favorite color?”, if needed you can word this differently to decrease the “ demand”. Instead, I would say “My favorite color is purple, I wonder what your favorite color is?” This type of question gives your child an option to answer or not. This makes it less stressful, so they often are more willing to answer.
- Arts and crafts can even be used to address social language skills such as requesting, protesting, terminating the activity, asking for help or additional information and conversational turn-taking. Here’s a situation that provides examples:
- “Let’s glue the eyes on.” parents give them the eyes and wait. They may just look around at first. Then, provide visuals with choices. If they still cannot indicate what they need you can prompt by saying: “Oh no, what do we need?” This way, they can point to the glue or they can verbalize “glue”. Another way to do this is to make sure certain items needed to complete the craft are “missing” so it provides an opportunity to observe this and request.
- If making a snowman, depending on the child’s level, you can say, “I made a snowman.” And wait to see if they add on to the conversation. “Did you make a snowman?” I always have visuals provided to aid their ability to answer, especially if this can be harder for them.
- If your child is using an AAC system or device, always incorporate this into the activity and model for them!
How art goes beyond your child’s language?
The use of art with speech therapy goes beyond speech and language development and into self-care territory. Art therapy draws on artistic and creative processes for a psychological benefit, allowing an individual to navigate self-expression, cope with toxic stress, or work through concerns. Art is an accessible way for children to express a variety of emotions they are otherwise unable to verbalize.
Encouraging your child to exercise creativity every day can also serve as the foundation for a soothing self-care routine. You can make arts and craft time a bonding experience and use this time to check in about feelings towards school, friends and family, or just have fun and play! It’s also important to know that arts and crafts do not always need to be speech and language focused. Allowing children to engage in activities such as coloring independently can teach the importance of peaceful alone time and increase independence. Play around with the number of days you practice art with your child or the various ways you practice beyond speech therapy in order to discover the most beneficial routine for you and your family. Both your child’s creative and language abilities, as well as their mental well-being will nourished through these types of activities and through doing these things with you.