A network to share best practices for children with special needs
Great question! My favorite for this age group is to make activities out out of snack time. Have droolers? Bet you'll see a significant reduction in 4 weeks. I usually have the cafeteria make a pan of jello for us and keep it where the paraprofessional can scoop out a daily ration. Get paper cups, cut plastic straws in half for each student. Put a gummy animal at the bottom of each, a scoop some jello in. No Spoons! Have children sip jello with a straw. If it is too challenging, thin with a little juice or water. Gradually increase thickness of the snackand/or length of straw. Let us know the results!
Incorporating movement into your oral-motor exercises is a great way to get those little ones doing what you want. You could print large pictures of the O-M exercises and have them do relay races. Or, have each child pick a picture and teach the class. This would be great for expressive language also. In addition, you can give each child a mirror so they can get visual feedback when they are performing their exercises. It will be silly oral-motor fun. There are also some cute music CD's that incorporate fun oral-motor movements perfect for this age!
I had a speech therapist work closely in our classroom training my assistants and me basically how to do her work when she wasn't there. A few activities she used were:
1. taking big bites of an apple at snack time and having students open their mouths wide,
2. using a large straw to suck out thick yogurt or applesauce during snack time,
3. having cotton ball races across the table by blowing the cotton ball and not touching it with hands (for deep breathing and using the diaphram),
4. moving their tongues from side to side several times then up and down
5. playing kazoos during music in circle time