Before I started this semester, I sat back and reread my application to the major. In it, I described a scene from when I was in 2nd grade or so, and my sister was in kindergarten. I remember her holding up a macaroni shaped pipe (the kind commonly found in hardware stores) to her ear and speaking into the one end. It was a telephone-from her mouth to her ear. Her speech therapist had given it to her and told her to use it as such-and the end result is that my sister could more easily hear her words and eventually learned to enunciate better.
Now that it’s hard to get her to shut up, I look back on that memory and think ‘That speech therapist made it fun for my sister’. And this was 12 years ago. That was pretty innovative stuff back then. But now, in our digitalized world of apps and iPhones, what kinds of innovations exist that turn therapy into games? How many kids undergoing a therapy session think that they are actually playing games? I remember in elementary school, we had a game that taught you to touch-type by using a castle quest motif-you had to hit the letters in the right order, and eventually, your teacher put a barrier over the keys so you had to type without looking.
So, my 20% project is to do some exploring and see what kinds of therapy kids are undergoing that seems like games-or like fun! I want to explore high and low (light) tech activities, in everything ranging from computer games to games of Simon Says. In addition, I want to explore ways that parents can work on improving their child’s speech and language ability at home, on their own time. But most importantly-I want everything I research to be considered fun by all parties involved!