Why Speech Pathologists Highly Recommend Play Therapy

Playing is an essential part of every child’s life, and we dare say an adult’s life. Play is also something that the speech pathologists from Communi Kids Speech would regard as one of the most essential treatment tools they have available to them. Playing has the perfect combination of facets. Namely, it is fun for the child and creates scenarios where their communication, language, or skills can be developed.

We are not suggesting that simply by playing a game, a child’s speech problems will miraculously disappear, as that would be too simplistic. However, playing certain types of games and games that require the child to act or behave in specific ways can create an environment where their language and communication skills can be developed.

What Is Play Therapy?

Play therapy is used in several medical fields to help treat children, and it can be especially effective in implementing speech pathology treatment. Given how much children love playing, play therapy uses that fact and tries to combine the child having fun whilst playing to help support the development of their speech,  social skills and communication, voice, and listening skills.

Why Is Play Therapy Effective?

When parents look in on their child being treated by a speech pathologist, they are confused as to why, instead of using workbooks and sessions where the child and speech pathologist talk, they see their child playing a game and often with other children. They wonder why their child is playing instead of being treated by their speech pathologist, but the simple fact is that they are being treated.

Speech therapy is a highly effective means of helping children build confidence, boost their communication skills, and overcome other language difficulties they might have. Here is why.

  • Children lead Play Therapy.

Allowing children to choose games makes them more engaged and interested in what is happening. In addition, children have greater motivation when playing a game they like, and as it often requires skills and actions they are good at, it builds their confidence. A confident child is likelier to try things such as saying a word they usually struggle with.

  • Play Therapy Is Not Location, Time, Or Equipment Dependant

Play can happen anytime and anywhere, providing many opportunities for it to happen. This is especially useful if the child’s parents and older siblings know how to use games to help the child develop their language.

  • Play Has Meaning To A Child

When a child plays, you can usually see on their face that they are focused on what they are doing. This is because every game means something to them. So, if the speech pathologist introduces language skills into the game, the child has far more potential to progress, given their attention to the game or play activity.

A Simple Example Of Play Therapy

A simple example of how play therapy could work is a child playing with toy animals, such as small, plastic farm animals. The child could be given the following prompts by a speech pathologist to help with specific communication and language development aims.

  • Following Instructions: “Pass me the black and white cow.”
  • Vocabulary: “Name each animal and its colour”. e.g. Pink pig, black horse
  • Verbs: “Jump”, “Run”, “Bark”
  • Categorisation: Sorting the animals by size, type, colour, etc.
  • Spatial Awareness: “Put the cow in the shed”, “Place the saddle on the horse.”
  • Practising Specific Sounds:g. ‘D’ is in dog, ‘Hard C’ is in cow, etc.
  • Pronouns:He is a black horse”, “She is a large dog.”