May is Better Hearing and Speech Month!
And the reason I am so passionate about sensory processing is because I recognized how sensory differences were affecting my clients’ ability to access language.
So in honor of Better Hearing and Speech Month, I wanted to give a few quick tips on integrating sensory processing when working on language, specifically with gestalt processors.
Understand that regulation is foundational to communication. I created The Language Staircase to help parents and professionals better understand the role sensory plays in language development. You can check out my Language Staircase Training Tool here.
The first step of integrating sensory in your speech-language sessions is to identify your client’s arousal level and provide the input they need. If your client comes in very under-stimulated, provide more alerting input. If they are climbing the walls when they enter your therapy room, provide calming input. Energy is contagious and our affect is the #1 tool we can use to help a child regulate.
Take time to learn your client’s sensory preferences. Using activities the child likes can help increase their intrinsic motivation in sessions which often leads to more language.
Once you know your client’s sensory preferences, begin to model sensory gestalts. Ex: “Let’s jump!”, “I need squeezes”, “more tickles”. We should also make sure these gestalts are programmed to a child’s AAC device if they are not using oral words to communicate.
Focus on fun! I wrote an article on this topic for the ASHA Leader. You can check out that article here
Thank you Katja, aka Bohospeechie, who joined me live on instagram to discuss integrating sensory when working with gestalt processors. If you are looking to learn more about gestalt language, make sure you give Katja a follow! @bohospeechie
If you are an SLP looking to learn more about Sensory, we’d love to have you join us in our Sensory Certificate Course for SLPs.
I created the Inside Out Sensory Certificate Course to give SLPs a step-by-step plan plus concrete strategies for improving regulation in your autistic clients, so that you can do the real work you were meant to do: help them communicate.
And if you are a parent wanting to know how you can help support your child’s sensory needs at home, check out our Sensory Communication Course for Parents.