My school has a wonderful occupational therapist (OT) who brings in loads of great sensory and fine motor activities to our preschool classrooms. We always say to each other that we should collaborate more but we never get around to doing truly joint speech therapy/occupational therapy sessions for our kids. What I have realized recently though is that our OT is including much more language stimulation in her activities that she ever knew!
The past few weeks I have made a point to stop in a preschool classroom during her OT group time and have realized that many of her activities are a gold mine of language. This week I got put in charge of an activity where the kids had to pick up a small fall themed object (learning fall vocabulary!), scoot across the floor on their tummy on a scooter board ( learning verbs!), and then put the object in a bean bag game board that looked like a jack-o-lantern (learning body part vocabulary!). Next, I was in charge of a game of hitting a balloon with a paddle up in the air back and forth (turn taking, verbs, and prepositions!). I was amazed at how much language is involved in all the OT activities.
In order to add a speech therapy component to these activities is really just a matter of making sure to add language to all the activities by narrating what the kids are doing and picking a language concept or two to emphasize during each activity.
Here are just a few of the language concepts that can be a part of OT activities:
- Action words: many OT activities involve actions – coloring, cutting, jumping, pulling, pushing, digging
- Prepositions: when working on fine motor skills while coloring, writing, digging, etc. there are many opportunities to demonstrate under, on top, around
- Descriptive concepts: our OT has a wealth of sensory objects that are bumpy, soft, rough, wet, and even slimy!
I could go on and on because the possibilities for language stimulation during OT is endless! Keep it up awesome OTs of the world!