How Speech/Language Therapy Can Help Children Improve Grammar and Communication Skills
Mariposa Therapy is dedicated to training and mentoring clinicians because we know how important it is for therapists to feel supported and connected with their colleagues. This is why we proudly offer a substantial Clinical Fellowship (CF) program that helps new Speech/Language Pathologists transition from graduate school to the working world.
One of our new clinical fellows, Hallie, was part of the Mariposa team as a Speech/Language Pathologist Assistant (SLPA) while she completed her graduate course work. She feels there are many ways Mariposa has helped her make the transition from SLPA to CF. The training and guidance she received while she was an assistant therapist helped her during her master’s program and enabled her to become a competent and knowledgeable clinician during her CF year. She enjoyed the professional transition and gained the confidence to trust her instincts regarding decision-making and program development while serving clients.
Hallie has implemented a therapeutic approach at her campus to teach children, who receive verbal grammar as part of their Speech/Language Therapy services. The technique is based on “Shape Coding,” which was originally developed by Dr. Susan Ebbels. Dr. Ebbels is a Speech/Language Therapist and Director of the Research and Training Institute at Moor House School & College, Surrey, UK, a special school for children with language disorders aged 7-19.
Shape Coding teaches students to put together correct sentences with the use of shapes and colors. Each part of speech has its own color and shape (i.e. nouns and pronouns are red ovals, verbs are blue hexagons, etc.) The use of visuals with integrated colors and shapes helps students tap into other areas of their brain that are not as dependent on linguistic information.
This approach to Speech/Language Therapy circumvents conventional brain pathways and capitalizes on a student’s strengths. The results can be dramatic with many children learning correct verbal grammar for the first time. Hallie makes it fun and interactive by engaging peers in the therapy group to play charades while another student writes sentences on a whiteboard to describe what is being acted out. Academically, students can use the tools they learn in Speech/Language Therapy to become better writers and speakers.
Some advice Hallie offers parents who are concerned about their child’s grammar and communication skills:
- Read to your child so they hear correct grammar in context.
- Use correct grammar and spelling and gently correct children when they make errors.
- Play fun word games using rhymes, opposites and nonsense words during car rides and at the dinner table to reinforce grammatical rules.
- Provide positive reinforcement and encouragement when your child uses correct grammar.
- Talk to your pediatrician if you are concerned about your child’s language development.
- Working with a Speech/Language Therapist can help children of all ages with grammar and communication skills.
Hallie Ross holds a Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders and is currently completing her Clinical Fellowship Year at Mariposa Therapy Services and provides specialized help for children who need help with grammar and communication skills. Contact Mariposa Therapy today to request an appointment.