5 Ways SLPs can Help Their Clients Improve Language Skills Over the Holidays
Holidays may mean a break from formal therapy sessions, but you can help your clients build their language skills even over the holiday season. Here are 5 ways that SLPs can help their clients improve their language skills over the holiday
1. Digital Word Games
There are plenty of applications that offer word games for people to play on their phones. For example, Words with Friends is a digitized version of the tabletop game Scrabble. Using games like Words with Friends, your client can practice language skills such as verbal memory and verbal fluency. Other digital word games that we love include Wordfeud, WordCross, and Wordathon. Other word exercises are available on digital cognitive therapy platforms, such as HappyNeuron Pro. Some popular word exercises on HappyNeuron Pro are Split Words, Writing in the Stars, and Root it Out!
2. Have your client Subscribe to a Daily Mini Crossword
You do not need a newspaper to do the New York Times crossword. Large newspapers such as the NYT offer crossword puzzles on their apps. Your client can download the app and access a daily mini-puzzle that challenges their deductive reasoning, verbal memory, and problem-solving skills. Other crossword apps include CodyCross, Fill-in Crosswords, and One Clue Crossword.
3. Label Items in their Home with Synonyms
Is your client trying to expand their vocabulary? Common household items have synonyms. Have your client label the items in their house with their corresponding synonym, and encourage your client to integrate that synonym into their vocabulary. Are there words that your client has trouble articulating or remembering? This label strategy can work to address verbal memory issues as well!
4. Learn to Love the Art of the Essay
Does your client not have the attention span for a novel? Encourage your client to explore essays that pertain to topics of interest. Essays offer an opportunity to experience a story, but in a much shorter format and with more room to critique. Reading essays allows your client to practice working memory, visual attention, and language comprehension. Need some inspiration for humorous holiday essays for adults? Check out Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris.
5. Practice “3 Good Things” or “3 Funny Things”
3-Good Things and 3-Funny Things are both positive psychology activities used during cognitive behavioral therapy to help clients not dwell on negative experiences and focus on the positive aspects of their lives. This activity is not only great for managing emotional well-being, but requires your client to tap into their long-term memory and write about events, thus causing them to practice word retrieval, sentence structure, and journal writing. Encourage your client to practice one of these each day, and be prepared to share with you their “good” or “funny’ holiday during your next therapy session.
Holiday breaks do not mean that therapy has to stop. Clients can continue practicing language skills through using word game apps, digital crossword puzzles, implementing vocabulary learning strategies, reading engaging essays, and journaling positive experiences. Additionally, some SLPs use digital cognitive therapy tools to practice both cognitive and language skills. Some of these tools allow for therapists to assign their clients homework so that their clients can continue building essential skills that can help them speak, read, write, and understand language better. Looking for a digital cognitive therapy tool to help your clients improve their language skills? Check out HappyNeuron Pro.