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What is Child-Led Speech Therapy?

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Before we jump straight into our question, try and imagine you are at a table with some new acquaintances. The person next to you strikes up a conversation about a new movie that happens to be your LEAST favorite genre and it’s a movie that you know next to nothing about. They go back and forth chatting about this movie for an hour, not once stopping to engage you on topics you find interesting. 
 

Now imagine an alternative scenario where you are once again at a table with the same people. However, in this scenario, the conversation begins with them asking you “What kind of movies do you like?” For the next hour, they continue to engage you on topics you find interesting and motivating, making follow up comments and asking questions that expand on your interests. Which scenario would you be more likely to want to communicate in?

If you picked the second scenario, you are not alone. Our children are very similar to us in this respect. When we are young, one of the natural ways we practice language is through play. Whether it’s through arts and crafts, music, physical activity, or playing with dolls, children are most inclined to communicate when they are involved in an activity that is motivating and engaging to their interests.
 
In child-led therapy, goals are targeted through these naturally motivating activities. By getting on the level of the child and allowing them the capacity to make choices and direct the activity, we are also empowering the child to communicate on their own terms, eliminating communicative pressure that can arise from more structured activities and settings.
 

-Jeff Greenfield, MS, CCC-SLP

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