Monday, May 28, 2012

Communication, Community, and the Love of Both

This particular post is brought to you by a friend that made me stop and think - although it is something I've thought about before - I believe this friend brought it home for me.
I love helping parents and children realize that listening and spoken language can be done and we can do it together.  When children become a part of my therapy sessions and when parents come to classes at school - I want them to have the feeling that anything can be accomplished and we have a starting place to build on.  I teach the children how to listen, give them tools and strategies to become the best at aural capabilities in my activities and I teach the parents how to become a partner in the listening and language communicative intent.  Their part?  Give their children their undivided attention and become their voice for just a little bit.  Their part is to become the expressive partner for just a little while.  Their part is to believe their child will model themselves after them and believe they can teach their child how to speak and become the 'expressive talker'.  I know in my heart that we have the best activities and can give the parents and children everything they need (as I stated before); but even more important - we can give them what they need available the whole time they are with us.

Now here comes the part my friend made me think about.  What happens after they (child and parent) leave us.  Have I outfitted them with all the listening and language strategies to make them successful oral/aural communication partners?  Will the outside community be able to impart their communicative intent on the children and have the children follow what is going on?  And the second part - will the outside community be able to understand the family?  Will the outside community be able to understand where the children and parents are in their listening and language journey and will the family be able to impart that wisdom and journey to the community?

In all of this generality - I want families to understand that no matter how much fun we have and no matter how much listening and language is done within the protective confines of therapy; there is the outside community.  We still have to remember individuals and independence - we also have to remember these individuals go back into a community they feel doesn't understand them.  We have to give them; everyone involved; parent and child - the communication skills to advocate and believe no matter what community activity comes their way.
What families have in common the world around is that they are the place where we learn who we are and how to be that way.                          ~Johann Georg Zimmermann
and how to show the community to understand why we are that way!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

It's Almost Here! Camp Time!

Once again, I spent time putting together activities for summer camp and I am so excited I have the opportunity to do this!  I met with friends and co-workers to discuss and explore the fun we are going to have in one month.  Wow! one month away.  But I wanted to write it down one more time and see what you think.  A camp of fun - listening and language. 
Balloons - you can do so many things with balloons.  I read that in a workshop book for children and they were right!  Elicit language while moving a balloon across the room without using your hands. Two campers will be working together to move their 'dinosaur egg' (that's our theme this year-Dinosaurs) to the nest on the other side of the room.   Campers have to make a plan and tell each other what they need to do to move the balloon.  Pick dinosaur names and share with the group - talk about your dinosaur and what your dinosaur will do-paint a puffy dinosaur, make dinosaur feet prints and plan a dinosaur t-shirt!  That is all in one day!  And we plan on doing so many other things for two weeks.  Campers will be moving around in physical motor skills, dancing and playing games.  Campers will be chefs and deciding on what dinosaurs will be snacking on for the day.  Campers will show feelings of dinosaurs and discuss family siblings.  Campers will just have overall fun while 'listening and learning language'. 
The young ones of the camp will be having water fun through Splash, Quack, and Moo!  Sounds fun already.  Through the use of music and learning animal movements - students will use their vocalizations and words to talk about the heat, talk about 'cooling off' and talk about splashing in the water.  They too, will have music, snack and overall fun.  Come on - you know you want to join us - please do!