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Take a Speech Vacation

by Kim Swon Lewis
written by

Summer vacation 2011 friends and family

Photo by kevin dooley

Everyone’s in the midst of planning summer vacations, signing up for camps and stocking up on popsicles and sunscreen.

May I make a recommendation? Take a break, maybe even a big break, from therapy at some point this summer.

Odd advice coming from a therapist? Perhaps. But I’m a parent too. Certainly consult your own provider(s), but let me list here five very important reasons you should take 5 this summer.

  1. Get perspective: There’s nothing like uninterrupted time together to realize, “Hey, this is so much easier than last year”, or “Wow, the waitress understood her order!” or “He can put on his Velcro sandals himself now.” It’s hard to see growth when you’re staring at it all day. Sit back and bask in the accomplishments no matter what the size.
  2. Re-evaluate goals: Therapists have great ideas for achieving the chronology of development, but they don’t live your life. Maybe it’s 3:00pm, he’s tired and fussy. You know he needs the peach smoothie in the blue cup before nap because you’ve been running this script for years. So maybe you aren’t so vested in a verbal request for “drink,” “smoothie,” or “nigh-nigh” (especially if you’re on the brink of the only quiet 30 min. you’ll get in your day). But getting him to say “Mimi” on the phone to your mom, which would make her year, even if he did it without communicative intent? It’s ok to prioritize this way. Figure out what you care about.
  3. Decrease mileage: Gas is expensive and the emissions are bad for the environment—so go green. Even more importantly, lose all that time spent commuting to appointments and sitting in waiting rooms. Use it on playing and living.
  4. Integrate lessons: A skill learned in therapy is useless if you can’t achieve it in your everyday life. The connections your child is making when they ask you for “more” on the playground swings? And then uses it again on the slide? That’s mastery. Practice carry-over.
  5. Build confidence: Both you and your child need to realize that it’s not the professionals getting you through the day—it’s you. Scary, I know, to think “the buck stops here?” You’re doing better than you think. Get assertive. “The buck stops here.”

Now….send us a postcard.

(This post originally appeared on Activity Tailor.)


Kim Lewis M.Ed, CCC-SLP has a private practice for pediatrics in Greensboro, NC. She is the blogger at www.activitytailor.com, providing creative ideas for speech therapy, and the author of the Artic Attack workbook series.

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Margaret Peterson July 17, 2012 - 4:25 pm

This was so wonderful to read. It is really important to take the time to stop to smell the roses. Sometimes staring at a particular situation keeps us from seeing what is really important. Thank you for this joyful advice.

Kim July 17, 2012 - 4:38 pm

Margaret, I appreciate your taking the time to comment and I love your use of “joyful!”. Thanks for making my day! Kim

Renee July 17, 2012 - 5:18 pm

Thanks for sharing. I was “terrified” of a break in therapy last summer because of how I thought it would set my daughter back. After seeing the positive benefits of a three week break around the holidays, I’ve been looking forward to our summer break this year! It’s nice to see the reasons reinforced though (and being told that taking a break from the mileage – we commute 60 miles one way for therapy – can be a valid reason!).

Kim July 17, 2012 - 8:35 pm

Renee, I hope you both enjoy and take advantage of your time off (and I hope you give yourself a break during the holidays too)! Kim

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