Dec 042011

Is the mention of speech therapy for sensory processing disorder surprising?

Occupational therapy takes first place, of course. Physical therapy overlaps with occupational therapy in some ways, like when it comes to building muscle/low muscle tone, working on coordination, things like that. But speech therapy can also be very beneficial.

MeMe is on his fourth year of speech therapy. When I look back and think about how he used to be, I’m amazed at how much he’s gained just from speech therapy alone.

Off the top of my head, I know his speech therapist has worked with him again and again on very important skills that many kids like MeMe are lacking in, such as: learning cause and effect, categorizing objects into groups, figuring out analogies, learning to differentiate between two objects, learning the meaning of classic idioms, and learning about basic human feelings and which ones are appropriate when.

He has also learned basic reading comprehension skills which helps him in his school subjects. MeMe has even learned how to tell a detailed story or a lesson from school, in an organized manner that his audience can actually follow.

These skills help him in every day life. He has learned to tell when someone is serious or joking (90% of the time, anyway), he’s started to understand jokes right away instead of being the last one to get it, he understands more about people and their feelings and can sympathize. If something happens in school, he can tell me about it from beginning to end, and I can understand the full picture.

We are still working on getting MeMe to let go of his frustrations when he wants to speak, and to let his words flow. He does pretty well most of the time, but when something is bothering him and he’s really upset, his frustration is like a volcano eruption.

Also, we need to teach MeMe how to defend himself verbally to someone he may not be as comfortable with such as a teacher or principal. A while back a kid in his class cooked up some trouble and blamed MeMe for it to the principal. To understand this in context, I have to write that MeMe is a model student- he wouldn’t dare talk if his teacher asked for quiet, he doesn’t move from his seat without asking permission first, he pays attention to the teacher 100% of the time. Sadly, MeMe didn’t have the verbal skills needed to tell the principal that he had nothing to do with what he was going to be punished for. It all worked out in the end and he wasn’t punished, but he can’t go through life turning speechless every time someone accuses him of something.

Some speech-language therapists are also trained in listening programs (such as Integrated Listening and The Listening Program) which are a wonderful help for auditory processing disorder.

I accidentally came across this nice little website created by a speech-language therapist named Tracy Boyd, and I wanted to share it. The site is full of simple and fun games for practicing many of the skills done in speech therapy. Categorizing, differentiating, analogies, idioms- so many of the skills MeMe has learned over the years. I should watch him play them and see how well he does.

Does your child get speech therapy? How has he improved? Share with us your experiences!

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