Many parents ask “would my child benefit from a therapeutic preschool program if they are already receiving speech therapy?”
While the specific answer may depend on your child and the amount of speech and language support your child needs, the short answer is “yes”. Children who are receiving individual therapy often thrive in a therapeutic preschool program.
When a child is receiving speech therapy, they participate in one-on-one sessions with an adult who is a trained as a speech-language pathologist. These sessions are very helpful and work with the child to target specific speech goals. It is often exponentially more effective to have the child enrolled in a therapeutic program as well.
Below are several ways a child who is receiving individual therapy can benefit from a therapeutic preschool program:
Ability to practice individual speech and language goals in a group setting
When a child is receiving speech therapy, the ultimate goal is the have the child take what they have learned and use it in a social setting. A therapeutic preschool is an ideal context for your child to use those newly-acquired speech and language skills. Whether your child is asking another child to play or asking an instructor for help – this environment is a perfect place to practice the skills learned in speech therapy.
Opportunity to participate in structured and unstructured group activities
Therapeutic preschools tend to have a fluid structure. While some of the time may be guided in structure, the rest will likely follow a free play model. This fluidity follows a one-on-one therapy session in a larger context. On one hand, a child is able to explore and use language during the unstructured portion of the day, but also participates in structured activities that target the child’s speech and language goals.
Instructors meet to discuss specific speech and language goals for each student
The instructors in a therapeutic preschool program can review the targeted goals a child has in that child’s individual sessions. In this way, the team can reinforce those goals during the day. A well run therapeutic program would consist of frequent meetings in which the team reviews each child’s goals and collaborates with the child’s family.
Improved ability to develop attention skills
Therapeutic preschool programs place significant emphasis on a child’s attention ability. Developing strong attention skill is directly correlated with improved speech and language abilities. The ability to tend to any task, for an appropriate amount of time, directly relates to your child’s ability for developing new milestones.
Encouragement to expand language skills during group routines
Group routines are a great way therapeutic preschool programs help children expand their language. Many group activities require social participation and encourage the use of spontaneous social language.
Overall, the majority of children in a private speech therapy routine tend to benefit, and even excel, within a therapeutic program. Having the extended therapy time, opportunities to practice with others, and experiencing materials in a new way just a few of the benefits. Be sure to inquire about the activities and classroom models of the therapeutic program, to ensure it is a good fit for your child’s needs, or ask your speech therapist for recommendations.
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