I remember one of my earliest speech therapy seminars Suzanne Evans Morris – laid down the tenet – that one of the prime roles of a therapist was to teach children to “love their mouth.” The more I practiced, the more I came to understand the importance her words.
Since speech is coming from a child’s mouth – it’s important to consider the mouth from the perspective of the child. Away from a mirror, it’s not that visible. It’s also a source of discomfort; it’s the place where teething occurs. A place, where a lot of things are expected and maybe not a whole is happening. A child cannot see their speech. Unlike a toy, they can’t hold it, push it or bang on it. And if you’re having problems it’s kind of like being at a tennis match where everyone around you is playing but you. It’s easy for a little one to be frustrated and take a step back from expected speech goals.
Children through such activities as mouth and speech play discover sounds and words. Children by nature, learn through play and adults parents, therapists, and put things in their path that facilitate learning. It could be a song, a book, a game or any host of activities. But when all is said and done it’s comes down to how we fill the path.
Play Is fun – Discovery Is Fun – Learning Is Fun – Make Speech Fun
Children don’t play by the same rules as adults – they don’t yet think the way we do. I read an article suggesting that young children are faster to fix a computer problem than adults. Not because these digital natives are naturally better at technology (although they might be), but because they keep trying different things until they have success. They discover a solution while an adult tends to do the same thing several times.
The first years of life might well be the most fun filled time’s we will ever know. Everything is new – the grass, the sky, the toy car, that book, the dog, crayons, the sandbox. The early years are about discovering firsts, seconds, thirds. And to boot everything has a sound or word that describes it. These are unbelievably fun times for learning.