By Leslie Lindsay
Although we are no longer dealing with CAS in the instensity or severity we once were, I truly did see a change overcome Kate (now 7.9 years and in 2nd grade) as she boinged and bounced around the trampolines. Her mind was present and engaged; she giggled as though there was no tomorrow, and she initiated a game of “mimic me.” It went like this, “Okay, mom…I am going to do what you do [on the trampoline].” And she did. Not that I was all that innovative (or limber) on the giant stretchy material. But sure, I did some seat-drops, high-knees, and straddles. She did them all. I counted and completed repetitions of exercises…say 10 seat-drops in a row and she watched, repeating what I had done.
Now how does all of this relate to speech and language, you ask? Bear with me.
- It helps organize thoughts
- Kate’s mimic game has a lot to do with turn-taking in coversations. You speak, I speak. We both listen (hopefully)…and observe.
- It gives kids a *boost* of confidence
- Little talking is really required to jump on a trampoline. It just takes a little skill and stability…even so, it’s still a ton of fun, and sure to elicit some smiles and giggles (which is a precursor to speech and language)
- You can sneak in speech drills with trampolines, too…as you bounce along, quiz your child on words/phrases/sounds he is working on in speech therapy.
- Play I’m-gonna-get-you…and run about the trampolines. When you “catch” each other, say a troublesome word/sound/phrase.
Our experience wasn’t exactly cheap (about $10/per person) and I wouldn’t advise going to pricey indoor play gyms like this one all the time (or in lieu of speech therapy by a trained and qualifed SLP), but for an out-of-the-house experience, you and your family can have a fun and healthy time while sneaking in a little speech-langauge work. And please use caution–as you would with any physical activity or sport. Trampolines, if not used correctly can cause serious injury.
For more tips & information on ideas like this (those involving gross motor, and the science behind it), please refer to chapter 8 in SPEAKING OF APRAXIA: A Parent’s Guide to CAS (Woodbine House, 2012).