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What is speech therapy like for older kids?

You’re standing in a glass box at the bottom of the ocean.  Sea creatures are coming at you from all directions – blowfish, turtles, hammerhead sharks.  They bang on the glass as hard as they can, trying to get to you, and water begins to leak in through the holes they make.  You need to seal these holes and QUICKLY.

“A little to the left!” your partner shouts. “Now in front – use your foot! You can do it!”

You run left, you step right, you put your hands out, holding the water back with all of your might … YES!  You’ve done it – you’ve saved yourself and it feels great. This is awesome, you think.

“Okay, let’s go back to the table for a few minutes,” your partner says now.  You can’t stop smiling as you move away from the Kinect and look at your speech therapist.

Speech therapist??  Yes, your speech therapist!

“Let’s try a few words,” she says.

“Sun,” you say.

“Try moving your tongue up a little bit.  Now toward the front.  You can do it!”

“Sun,” you say again, placing your tongue exactly where it needs to be.  You’ve done it – you’ve said a perfect “s.”  You try it a few more times and can’t stop smiling as you say “sun” again and again.  This is awesome, you think.

Speech therapy gets a bad rap – it’s a lot of work, too hard, and boring.  Yes, working on your speech takes practice, but it can also be a lot of fun.  In fact, speech is a lot like playing a video game:

The more you practice, the better you get.  You might spend hours trying to beat a really hard level on a game.  It’s challenging, but each time you get a little farther until you beat it.  Practicing your speech sounds can be tough, too, but the more you practice them, the better you get and the easier it gets for you to make them.

When you get better, it’s more fun.  When you’re good at a game, it’s awesome to show all of your friends how easy it is for you.  As you get better and better at making your sounds, it’s fun to show off how well you can use them.

When you’re doing well, you don’t want to stop. Ever feel like you always want to play just one more time, because you’re on a roll? When you say your sounds correctly 50 times in a row, you might want to try one more word, just because you know you can – and it feels great.

You can win. It’s pretty obvious how to beat a game.  How can you win at speech?  By using your new sounds all the time, without making mistakes.  Just like in a game, it usually takes some time to get there, but it feels awesome after all of the hard work you put in.

Keep in mind that speech is a 2-player game.  Your speech therapist will always help you get better and better at making your sounds, while having fun.

What’s the best part? When you’re at speech, you get to work on your sounds AND play games.

“Let’s get those fish again,” your game partner and speech therapist says.  You can’t help but think to yourself, How about one more word first?