Health and FitnessHow To Imitate Play in Children with Speech Disorders?

AdminSeptember 5, 2019328 min

Doing imitations, playing ‘pretend’, sound bingo or the rhyming circle. They are just some of the ‘medicines’ that are used by the speech therapist to treat delays and speech disorders (dyslexia, dysgraphia, articulation, speech, expressive language and others).

It is always necessary to take into account the different clinical situations in which a Pathologist for Stuttering finds himself defining needs and therapeutic interventions in the pediatric field also because they can concern transitory phenomena or real disorders destined to remain in time.

Early intervention is more effective

These considerations have generated diversified clinical approaches and precise guidelines in recent years. At the center of everything there is the efficacy of an early intervention to promote short-term linguistic progress. This helps to reduce the cumulative effects of language delay which can influence emotional development and behavior of the child. And it is here, also given the age of the little patients that playing has a fundamental role. Just as it is fundamental that the activities are repeated also in the family context using simple words but with a strong communicative impact inserted in contention of game that the child prefers and is attracted to. And here the problem arises of parents coming from distant countries who speak little and badly about English and with whom it becomes very complex to interact and above all to understand if the child has this type of problems.

Play with words

Faced with specific language disorders (articulation, speech, expressive language and others), the speech pathologist therefore chooses the strategies, the context, the tools (various games or role-playing games, reading a book, etc.) and the materials to produce situations where words lead and are stimulated to reproduce them indirectly. The strategies can be of different types: child-centered which promote the emergence of discourse or which shape the language.

If we think of a small child who is in the 1-3 years age group he only repeats two-syllable words: pappa, tattoo, tata or verses and sounds of animals or objects pum pum, pèpè). Thus we will have to act with strategies able to draw his attention which include, for example, imitations (the child imitates what the speech therapist puppets and puppets say in a game context). It is also very important to “pretend”.

To simulate routine situations (to prepare baby food, to put to sleep; the doctor: a puppet was hurt; the teacher: the child teaches him to the puppets) that stimulate imitation and where the speech therapist intervenes leading the ‘role’ central and stimulates the child to identify himself with proposing responses with an adequate sense, elaborating personal experiences. With the words, you can cast as many communicative acts in the child that is attracted to the game of role feeling even more character.

Play with the voice

Objects can also become very important: the child chooses an object that he likes and interests him, the speech pathologist for stuttering adapts his communicative and linguistic intervention to the chosen game. In this way he indirectly uses the words or verbal forms of the child often misrepresented, reformulating them correctly without requiring the child to repeat them. But using them as a background, facilitating their interaction. Also play with the voice, as in the bingo of sounds that is to recognize the musical instruments use the voice to express the different intonations and emotions and produce sounds and reproduce simple melodies, recognizing the noises within different categories – can be fun and stimulating.

The game grows with age

If instead we turn to the next age group, ie 3-5 years, the game of limitations must be refined, prolonging and ‘stressing’ the sounds that interest us, alongside them with visual and proprioceptive information (use of the mirror). Name minimum pairs (chicken-stamp, heel-sack, wool-frog) play with the ‘sound bingo’ that reproduce these minimum pairs and make them understand the error of pronunciation when the child happens to be in the box (for example ‘wool’ in place of ‘frog’). In this way, a ‘cognitive conflict’ is created which leads the child to understand the correct production and assignment of the right phoneme, in its expression that characterizes the Specific Language Language Disorder.


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