Normally when parents are searching for speech therapy services for their child, they will look into private therapy, rather than group therapy. However, speech in a group setting, such as a therapeutic preschool program, can be very beneficial for language development. Therapeutic preschool programs can help a child with social communication skills, as well as their language skills.
Circle time is a great example of how much a child can learn within a group therapeutic program. In the beginning of circle time, there is a greeting for all the children to say ‘hello.’ This gives the child a sense of belonging and community in the classroom. Although the main goal of speech-language pathology is to increase expressive language, there are other forms of communication children learn through circle time. There is communication through holding hands, movements or gestures, or even just the presence of other children.
New Language Skills
When a child acquires new language, they will usually master the skill during their one-on-one therapy sessions. Once it is mastered in that setting, the speech-language pathologist may recommend group speech therapy, in order to help the child generalize their mastery in a new setting. Generalization will allow the child to apply this skill in their daily routines (not solely in the context of speech therapy sessions).
Pragmatic language is the social language that children use everyday. In a group setting, the child can learn to initiate a conversation and maintain the topic of that conversation. Children will also receive practice in turn-taking. These skills help them help them grow to their full potential. As they start reaching their full potential, it is important to remember that these steps are crucial to learn, as the children will be applying these skills to their daily activities, in and out of therapy.
When learning through play, children learn the fundamentals to participate in group activities. They will learn how to communicate, collaborate, and work as team in different play settings during their time in a therapeutic classroom. As they work in teams, this also teaches them to problem solve, which results in the children learning how to accomplish a goal.
If a child is receiving speech therapy in a private setting, the speech-language pathologist may recommend group therapy. This can happen in place of the individual one-on-one therapy, or coincide with the individual therapy sessions. During the private therapy sessions, the child will learn specific language skills within their language development. However, in a group setting, the child can not only expand their language, but also increase their social communication and language.
If you think a therapeutic preschool program could help your child with language development and social communication, click the purple button below or contact CST Academy at 773-620-7800 to learn more about the wide range of services we offer for children. We offer ABA therapy, feeding therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology.