Rhythm, pitch, timbre, fluency, volume, prosody, and rate. When you hear these terms, what comes to mind? As a Speech-Language Pathologist, I would venture to guess that you would immediately think, “speech and language, of course,” and I would agree. But, these also describe music.
Music and Language are intertwined in many ways, which makes music a great tool for us to utilize in therapy. As a Speech-Language Pathologist and a musician, I have always incorporated music into my sessions, when appropriate. It was fun, my clients were engaged, and I was able to address their needs appropriately. More recently, I started to think about how I could have a larger impact, while incorporating these two aspects of my life. Thus, Speech and Language Songs was born!
I started off writing songs for Core Vocabulary. Specifically, I was writing songs for a few special education classrooms that I was “pushing in” to with a fellow SLP. These were AAC users and we were thinking about ways that we could practice their target words, alongside an activity that would drive home the meaning and functional use of the word. A song seemed like the perfect fit! We could get in many repetitions of practice without losing the attention of our clients.
After creating a few Core Vocabulary songs, I decided to try my hand at writing articulation songs. I thought that this would be a great thing to incorporate in therapy, as well as a tool for home practice and carry-over. I now have over 26 articulation songs, and continue to add more each week.
This is just the beginning of this journey. There is so much out there to cover!
That brings me to the top 3 reasons to incorporate Speech and Language Songs in your next Speech-Language Therapy Session:
Engagement – Go ahead and try to listen to “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson without tapping your foot or nodding your head! Music is an essential part of our lives, and the same is true for our clients (regardless of their age). Why not leverage this in our sessions? As clinicians, we know that “high engagement” = “greater participation in therapy” = “improved outcomes”, and there is a whole body of research to back this up!
Research – Beyond engagement, there is a plethora of research regarding music and its relationship with speech and language. For example, a 2018 study found evidence that music improved social communication and auditory-motor connectivity in children with autism. That is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more studies supporting the use of music in speech therapy:
Use of Music Activities in Speech Therapy
Speech and Song: Implications for Therapy
The Value and Use of Music Activities in the Treatment of Speech Delayed Children
*Let me be clear - this is not to replace your current Evidence Based Practice. This is meant to be an additional tool in your toolbox. Poor clinical judgement and therapy techniques set to music will not do the trick!
Carry Over – Want an extremely easy way for your client to practice articulation target sounds at home or in the classroom? How about a resource for AAC users and their families to practice new words/phrases? Sharing a link to the Speech and Language Songs YouTube page or website is quick, easy, and FREE!
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About the Author:
Hello! My name is Stephen Kneece, MA, CCC-SLP. I am a Speech-Language Pathologist and Assistive Technology Consultant for Aiken County Public School District (SC). I am the President Elect-Elect of the South Carolina Speech-Language Hearing Association. I am also the Founder and CEO of Speech and Language Songs. I write, perform, and record songs for speech-language therapy. I add new songs to my YouTube Channel every Monday at 5:00pm EST. You can check those out here - youtube.com/speechandlanguagesongs
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