Therapy sessions at The Shepherd Centre focus on supporting communication development through developing listening skills. However, the development of listening and communication happens in a wider context with children simultaneously developing their skills across many areas.
Some of the skills children acquire are:
- Cognitive skills (thinking)
- Gross and fine motor skills (movement)
- Self-care / independence skills (eating and drinking, dressing)
- Theory of Mind and Social skills (understanding others’ thoughts and perspective are different and regulating behaviour in light of this)
- Executive functioning skills (including short term memory, self-control and flexible thinking).
- Individual therapy sessions mostly take place seated around a table. However many daily routines for babies, pre-schoolers and school-age children do not take place seated at a table.
Children can be supported in developing their listening and language skills in almost any activity or routine daily situation.
Here are some everyday listening ideas you can do at home:
- Playing outdoors with a ball – talk about kicking, rolling, catching, bouncing, throwing. Talk about whose turn first / next and waiting. Take turns giving and following instructions.
- Playing in the garden – commentate on activity – let’s water the plants, whoosh! out pours the water, my turn, your turn, the water comes out fast!, let’s make a mud pie in the sandpit. Talk about what activity each person likes/doesn’t like and why.
- Singing songs with gross motor actions – e.g., ‘See the little bunnies sleeping/hop little bunnies hop hop hop’
- Shopping – You can go shopping in your pantry – let’s grab a shopping bag, let’s find the apples first, the bread next and last the milk
Integrating listening and language development into every day can happen when you think of any routine activity in your child’s life and identify ways to include opportunities for listening and talking.
Try these simple activities at home while you go about everyday activities in your day.
Written by Sally Hewett, Listening and Spoken Language Therapist at The Shepherd Centre.