I remember one of my earliest speech therapy seminars when the instructor 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 during speech therapy sessions.
Since speech is comes from a child’s mouth – it’s important to consider the mouth from the perspective of 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, with respect to speech, a lot of things are expected and maybe not a whole is happening. A child cannot see their own 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. Its easy for a little one to be frustrated and take a step back from expected speech goals.
The mouth and it’s speech is a phenomena that must be discovered. Children by nature, learn through play and adults act as facilitators of knowledge. We can guide and put things in the path a child to learn, but when all is said and done a child learns through a process of discovery.
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 will keep trying the same thing several times.
Children learn because they attend and are curious about something immediately in their path. They learn because something has caught their attention and sparked their inherent curiosity. As facilitators of learning, adults can place things in their path, but when all is said and done we can only hope it triggers an interest.
If a child is having fun it means that whatever is going on around them has the power to draw their attention and curiosity. And when in this state their mind is more open for learning.