"It's a big problem!" cries Evie as her three comrades shout in agreement. "That's right," says Evie's speech therapist. "It's a big problem." Evie smiles at answering correctly as she and her friends continue to indentify small problems and big problems.
The four children make up one of the first speech social groups at Special Kids. After years of dreaming, our speech therapy department was able to launch speech and language groups in September to the excitement of Evie and her new friends.
"Groups are helping us to follow our mission by serving the child and having their needs met," said Christian Vaughan, Special Kids Speech Specialist, and co-organizer of the program. "Choosing a child for group therapy is part of a very specific plan for that child to reach his or her goals."
Groups are providing natural opportunities for social interaction and an environment for learning from peers. Some of the children we treat have a hard time talking to a friend even though they can speak with an adult. Because children react differently to situations when speaking with peers than adults, groups provide a much-needed learning environment where children experience real life situations and real life consequences for their interaction with peers.
In the short time since starting the social, pre-school language, and stuttering groups, Special Kids has seen children learn to respond to body listening cues, develop their listening skills, and grow confidence in problem solving skills. The children have even started listening to and learning from their peers' perspectives.
So Much More.
As Evie wraps up her session with her group, she says goodbye to her therapist but not her other speech buddies. The group is headed out to a birthday party for one of their own. What started as a speech group has lead to so much more... friendship.