Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Speech-Language Therapy and Use of Arts and Crafts

Purvi Gandhi
cute smiling 1-year-old 18-month toddler baby boy child painting with brush and water colors at art therapy

Art therapy is a form of communication development that enables individuals to express themselves through the use of visual mediums. Art in speech-language therapy is helpful for working on children’s expressive and receptive language skills and speech skills. Younger children may have difficulty following directions but may be able to draw with crayons. In this manner, children will focus on the color and gradually learn to follow simple instructions. This is just one of the many benefits that art therapy provides for children.

Through expressive art therapy, children can enhance social development and support without feeling judged by their parents, peers and speech therapists. Not only does this give children the opportunity to appreciate differences but they also learn to accept other perceptions. Expressive art therapy can help children develop a better understanding of their feelings. Whether it is being hurt, angry, happy or excited, children can put these emotions into their drawings when it is not easy to describe them in words. This creates an opening for conversations and more opportunities to express their thoughts and feelings. Arts and crafts are great for improving a child’s speech and language skills. They are fun to do and address a variety of speech-language goals. The children will also have a physical product as a result of the activity, which provides a conversation piece that will enable them to talk about it. When painting a picture or telling a story, children learn to experiment with choices and consequences, causes and effects, problem-solving and how to make decisions on their own. Those are just a few of the goals a speech-language pathologist can target.

Some of the speech-language areas that are focused through the use of art and craft activities are:

  • Following directions
  • Listening skills
  • Sequencing skills
  • Vocabulary
  • Recalling past events
  • Asking and answering a variety of Wh- questions
  • Working on speech sound production
  • Targeting grammatical structures in instructions and during recall of information

Art therapy ideas for toddlers

Learning and art go hand in hand. Art comes in all forms, and different children may prefer working with different materials. Here are a few ideas and materials for you to try:

  1. For drawing purposes, collect jumbo crayons, chalk, water-based markers, a variety of paper in various sizes and shapes, wrinkled and smooth paper, chalkboards, construction paper, tissue paper, tracing paper and paper with different textures.
  2. For painting purposes, use flat, bristled brushes with stubby handles, rollers with ink pads, pom poms, spray bottles, cotton swabs, rubber stamps, sponges and squeeze bottles.
  3. Instead of paintbrushes, provide different objects and tools, such as feathers, pom poms, twigs, leaves, fruits, vegetables and toothbrushes.
  4. For molding purposes, introduce modeling clay, Play Dough, kinetic sand, slime, Goop and basic props: mallets, plastic rods, tongue depressors and cookie cutters.