Speech Melodies Music Program Is a Success!
“Yee-Haw!” shouts Matthew. “Go,” signs Jenny. Jessica choses the bells over the shaker eggs. These are all communication skills that some of the children have shown in our new Speech Melodies music program.
Recently, we created a new partnership with Suzie Sunshine and launched, “Speech Melodies,” an interactive, therapeutic music program leading the way to better communication.
The Speech Melodies music program was such a success for the children in our group that I just couldn’t wait to share how the group gave these children the chance to sing, dance, play, laugh, drum and communicate with each other. Miss Suzie and I always have sore cheeks from smiling and seeing these children beam with such joy once the music gets started. Some of the kids sit in the circle and immediately begin tapping their legs creating a beat to the anticipated ‘Hello Song’, which sings the name of every child in the group.
We were thrilled to see how one child grew to interact, sit on the carpet, take turns with peers, verbally request an item, strum the ukulele, tap the xylophone, create a beat on a drum and fill in words or a gesture to a song. The child’s skills got better each week making this child now an active participant in the group. What an accomplishment for this little kiddo.
WHAT IS THE SPEECH MELODIES MUSIC PROGRAM?
The Speech Melodies music program is run by a Speech Language Pathologist and an Early Childhood Music Educator, Suzie Sunshine. Each group is designed to have a maximum of 5 children. Children with communication challenges will benefit from the small group setting to express themselves to peers in a supported and engaging environment. While these children are practicing and developing their communication skills, the group also provides them an opportunity to work on their movement and coordination, listening awareness, social interaction and overall communication confidence. Each group is designed with specific speech and language goals. For example, in one group, similar aged children are all working on early communication language skills, whereas another group has been designed to work on the children’s clarity of speech. The Speech Melodies music program is designed to switch between music, song, instruments, and language activities specific to the group’s speech and language targets.
WHY THE SPEECH MELODIES MUSIC PROGRAM WAS CREATED
The Speech Melodies music program was created after a few Speech Language Pathologists were talking about how much we sing in our sessions to help develop communication skills. For some children on my caseload, I was able to get at least 50% more cooperation if I was singing. And little did these children realize, they were interacting and communicating with me while having fun. I started singing in my sessions to demonstrate a strategy I always suggest to parents to encourage vocal productions and words or gestures through any song with actions (e.g. Itsy Bitsy Spider). Pausing and allowing the child to fill in either the gesture or word within the song allows the child a chance to participate in a predictable language routine. I am sure these kids are also proud to show their parents that they can sing too! From Miss Suzie’s experience, the gift of music gives the children a chance to imitate and echo words or rhythm patterns which improves social interaction, attention and listening awareness. Merging the joy of teaching speech and language skills and music, only made sense to everyone here at S.L. Hunter SpeechWorks and Suzie Sunshine.
To find out if your child would benefit from the Speech Melodies music program or to find out how to register for a group, contact us today!
Teri Lynam is a registered Speech-Language Pathologist with ten years of experience working in the field of communication disorders. She has a special interest in early language, literacy development, acquired brain injury, motor speech and resonance disorders. Teri is committed to providing individualized family-centered therapy in a fun and supportive environment.