Category: <span>Reading</span>

Top 5 Reasons to Send Your Kid to Summer Speech and Language Camp

With the holidays wrapping up, the summer months are just around the corner. Summer provides great opportunities for travel, play, and relaxation. However, summer can also be a time when academic and language skills stagnate or even regress. Speech and Language Summer camps can be a great way to maintain and grow children’s language skills throughout the summer months, especially those with a speech and language focus. Here are five great reasons to enroll your child into a camp this summer!

  1. Gaining play skills – Research has shown that kids learn many early concepts and language fundamentals through guided play. Exposure to novel play and experiences is one great benefit of summer camps. These experiences help your child learn new words and develop skills to better understanding the world around them. The opportunity to explore while still having adult guidance gives children the ability to learn and grow with a safe and nurturing environment.
  2. Social Development – Playing with other kids is key to a child’s social development. During the school year, your child is consistently exposed to peers throughout the school day. However, during the summer, these interactions often decrease, resulting in less opportunity to develop age-appropriate social language skills. Summer camps offer an excellent opportunity to expose your child to peers and continue their social growth during the summer months.
  3. Confidence and Self-Esteem – Success within novel activities and opportunities for leadership among peers help children build their confidence and self-esteem. Children are consistently exposed to confidence building opportunities during summer camps, such as leading group activities, contributing to group success, and solving novel problems. Summer is a great time to focus on building independence and self-confidence for young learners and camps are a great way to do that!
  4. Consistent Routines – Children, especially child with language delays, do best with routines. Routines help children know what to expect throughout their day, which can help reduce stress and anxiety. During the school year, kids often thrive on the consistent routines they are exposed to throughout their day. Summer camps offer similar routines and clear expectations to help children succeed within their environment. When children have an increased understanding of the expectations throughout their day, they often demonstrate increased success and willingness to try more new or difficult things.
  5. Being Active – Research has also shown that being active and participating in free play or outdoor play is key to help kids develop self-regulation skills. Self-regulation is the ability to control one’s emotions and behaviors in response to different situations. It is also considered a foundational skill for early childhood development. Kids learn best when they are regulated, so learning self-regulation skills is another great focus for the summer months. Opportunities for free play and active movement abound in most summer camps, giving kids a ton of chances to grow this skill.

Overall, whether your child is thriving or struggling, speech and language camps provide an excellent opportunity for continued growth over the summer months.

Our summer camps are facilitated by licensed speech and language therapists and are a great supplement to speech therapy. Want more information about how to help your child grow both during the school year and during the summer? Feel free to reach out to us!

The Do’s and Don’ts of Engaging the Rabbit Trail

By Rachel Betzen, M.S., CCC/SLP

At one time or another the children that we work with will inevitably veer off course from the direct activity they are doing, to ask a related (or unrelated) question, or to tell us about something they are reminded of.  I personally get a little excited when this happens, though I realize that this is probably not the initial reaction of most clinicians.  There are some “rabbit trails” that we can use to further engage the student, and reignite their love of learning.  Other kinds of “rabbit trails” disengage the child from therapy tasks, and it is more effective to redirect them back to their work.

Determining which kind of rabbit trail the child is leading us down will help determine whether we go along for the ride- vs. redirecting.  If the child is asking a relevant or related question, it’s ok to stop and talk about that.  I like being near a computer, so I can search for images related to the topic.  Sometimes we need to give more background info and the computer is a good tool to use.  We have two laptops that are available, and taking them into the therapy office to your PC is ok too.

Sometimes with tangentially related rabbit trails, I take advantage of them as a “compare and contrast” learning opportunity.  If the child can explain how the topic is related and how it differs from the information we are using with them, that deepens their understanding.  If this is too distracting or taking too much time, it’s also ok to tell the child how their question is similar and different to their topic, and then re-direct back to their work.

Fist Bump for a Job well done in Speech Therapy
Fist Bump for a Job well done in Speech Therapy

For redirections, I often tell kids to put their distraction “in the back of their attention”, and they respond “put this in the front”.  A quick reminder to “put it in the back” is sometimes all they need to re-focus.  One of our highly distracted students is beginning to remind himself “ok, I’ll put that in the back and my work in the front”!

The Socratic learning process encourages students to discover the right answer or a deeper understanding through us asking the right questions.  Using this method is bound to lead us through multiple rabbit trails.  When a student is doing a “stinking thinking rabbit trail” we need to stop whatever we are doing and redirect them back to the positive.  The socratic method is a powerful tool as students learn to see their “mistakes” as a way to focus more on where they need additional learning.  This helps us lessen their emotional response to “failure” and empowers them to become more independent learners.


Following Your Child’s Lead

Following Your Child’s Lead 

By McKenna Jackson, M.S., CCC/SLP


When we witness a child struggling with learning of any kind, our first inclination, as adults, is to step in and teach the child the correct way of doing things. We lead the child through instructing them in the proper way as we see it. When the task at hand is learning to talk, parents may talk for the child, finish the words for them, or use controlling language, like commands and questions, while correcting their speech.

However, it is essential that the child develop the confidence to take an active role and an eagerness to express themselves independently. Follow the child’s lead in observing their interests and level of communication. When your response is appropriate for these levels, learning to talk will come more naturally and comfortably for the child.

Steps to Take:

  • Wait, Observe, and Listen – In this way, the child’s communication methods may be observed. These may include pointing, eye gazing, gestures, grunts and crying.
  • Give Your Child a Chance – Instead of anticipating the child’s every need, allow them to have the time to express themselves. For instance, wait to serve juice until the child makes a request for it. When the doorbell rings, wait for the child to respond before answering the door.
  • Know What to Expect – After observing the child’s interests and desires along with their methods for expressing them, communication is achieved whether it be verbal, pointing, nodding, or using signs or picture boards. This is the starting level for communication — do not expect more or less. If you expect too much, you may never recognize the child’s current method of communication. If you expect too little, for instance a grunt instead of using a word the child has used before, the quality of the initiations will not improve.
  • Be at the Same Physical Level – Sit together on the sofa or on the floor where eye contact can be reached with no distractions. Verbal and non-verbal methods will be more recognizable. Your responses and facial expressions will work to encourage your child’s communication skills.
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