• November 23, 2014

Music an important tool in speech therapy

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Posted: Monday, November 4, 2013 12:10 pm | Updated: 3:02 pm, Mon Nov 4, 2013.

"Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack, all dressed in black, black, black..." and this jump-rope, hand clap, nursery rhyme goes on. It stays in your head for minutes, maybe hours, depending on how many times you hear it.

As for me, I heard and sang this song hundreds of times last year with my students in Oak Cliff, a suburb of Dallas. We sang this song to practice continuous phonation, which is helpful for anyone who stutters. We also sang to practice sounds within the English language, such as s, k, bl, etc.

I enjoyed hearing my students with speech impediments sing. They laughed, yelled the lyrics, danced, and made the goofiest faces. They found pleasure in sharing this catchy song with their classmates. Soon, I had the physical education coach, principal, parents and other students singing Miss Mary Mack whenever they saw me. My students loved it, because they were the first ones in the school to learn the whole song.

Music was my favorite tool to make my students feel comfortable, speak up and practice on their own or with parents and siblings. It also allowed me to act like a kid, which I definitely miss!

Incorporating music into speech therapy is an evidence-based practice that can be used at home, in the car or anywhere.

According to "Use of Music in Speech-Language Therapy," an article by Mary B. Zoller, "Using music is a multisensory experience that enhances a number of other skills that impact on speech and language development."

Singing gave my students the confidence to let their voices be heard. Singing made us happy!

Resources:

Zoller, M. (1991). Use of music activities in speech-language therapy.  Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 22.

Asha.org - American Speech Hearing Association

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