"SING-TO-TALK" GROUP THERAPY

Two Saturdays ago, we had our first Sing-To-Talk Group Therapy trial session! In this blog entry, Jayne, the Speech Therapist in-charge of the therapy groups, answers some questions about what Sing-To-Talk Group Therapy is all about. It is definitely NOT any music and movement groups!



Firstly, what is Sing-To-Talk?

Sing-To-Talk is a series of materials created by Speech Therapist Hui Ting and Music Therapist Jenny Lee. Both of them met in 2008 when they were working together in a special school in Singapore. Hui Ting was looking for new and fun ideas to help children learn speech, language and social skills, while Jenny was exploring what else music can do. Together, they came up with this set of resources. While the resources were first created as hardcopies, part of it is now available on the app store. https://apps.apple.com/my/app/sing-to-talk/id1095602301 (Still a work in progress to get all the resources up!)

Sing-To-Talk app preview
Sing-To-Talk app preview


What is Sing-To-Talk Group Therapy?

Sing-to-Talk Group Therapy is speech-language therapy with the use of music. Children will learn pre-verbal communication, speech, language and social interaction skills through songs, music and movement, as well as language-based activities. 


Why use music to build pre-verbal communication, speech, language and social skills?

  • Music and movement activities are a fun way for children to bond, connect and interact with one other and with caregivers. 🤗
  • Songs are are rhythmic and repetitive, which is great for learning new skills! 🧠
  • Songs can help signal that a change is coming, which helps with building anticipation as well as making transitions easier. 💫  
  • Songs slow language down, thus promoting language learning. 💭 
  • Songs encourage children to imitate actions, gestures and to make sounds 🗣


How is Sing-To-Talk Group Therapy different from other music class?


Difference #1: Our groups focus speech, language and communication goals, just like any other speech and language therapy sessions. The goals are set based on typical speech and language development, i.e. we will progress from single words to phrases to sentences. The fun part is that we do all the teaching in songs! Research has shown that music greatly supports speech and language learning. Therefore, our Sing-To-Talk Group Therapy is unlike typical music classes, which focus on music appreciation and instruments exploration. We literally make the children "Sing-To-Talk".

Difference #2: Our Group Therapy is created, in consultation with the above-mentioned Jenny Lee, a professional Music Therapist. She provides us with insight on the music and instruments to use, the flow of the sessions and the many ways music can be used to facilitate speech and language development.

Difference #3: In our sessions, we embed language strategies within music. These include (but not limited to): 
  • Face to Face 
  • Pause and wait
  • Slow Down
  • Show - using gestures, actions, visuals 
  • Repeat, repeat, repeat
  • Giving Choices
  • R.O.C.K. (http://www.hanen.org/Programs/For-Parents/More-Than-Words.aspx)
Difference #4: Specially-designed communication boards will be provided for each child. It is to support both their receptive and expressive language. The words are colour-coded according to the Fitzgerald key. It helps children understand the different parts of language and support their sentence expansion skills.

Fitzgerald Key for AAC
Photo credit: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/AAC-Modified-Fitzgerald-Key-4648660

What is a typical Sing-To-Talk Group Therapy like?

  • Each group has no more than four children. One caregiver per child is allowed to join in the session. (We love for caregivers to join in the fun and learn how to use music to support the child's speech and language learning!)
  • Each group is conducted by a Speech Therapist and a therapy assistant.
  • Each session is 1.5 hours, including a 5-minute toilet break midway and a parent debrief at the last 15 minutes - to chat about the goals and strategies used in the sessions, so that they can continue the therapy at home.

  • Songs will be used throughout the whole session (as if you were in a musical!). There will be about five different songs in each session. Each song is sang at least three times so that the children get familiar with the songs and can join in the singing! The lyrics will change as new vocabulary is being introduced.
  • It always starts with a chirpy Hello song, where the children learn to greet one another through songs. And it always ends with a calming Goodbye song, where the children bid their friends goodbye and down-regulate after an active learning therapy session.

  • A variety of musical instruments will be introduced. The children will be given opportunities to interact with one another through instrument playing.
The children can explore different instruments as they sing along!
They learn to make choices, take turns and share the instruments too. 

  • There may also be one or two table-top language activities to emphasize the vocabulary and concepts taught in the singing. It provides an opportunity for the children to learn on-seat behaviour, follow group instructions and work with peers.

Who can join Sing-to-Talk Group Therapy? 

There are two different groups:  

  1. ‘Chitter-Chatter’ group: suitable for children aged 5-9, with emerging language skills
  2. ‘Chipper-Chirper’ group: suitable for pre-verbal children below age 5


What are the therapy goals for each group?

  • ‘Chitter-Chatter’ group (5 - 9 year old; with emergent language skills)

    • Increase receptive and expressive vocabulary (e.g. nouns, verbs, adjectives)
    • Following directions 
    • Understanding and use of basic concepts 
    • Social communication (e.g. ask/answer questions, greeting, turn taking, following group rules)
    • Identify and express emotions

  • ‘Chipper-Chirper’ group (under 5 year old; with little/no speech)

    • Joint attention 
    • Shared engagement & interaction 
    • Imitation skills (e.g. imitate actions, gestures, facial-oral movements, sounds, words)
    • Turn-taking
    • Following directions 
    • Increase receptive vocabulary 

When is the next run of this group?

We are having a run of our Chitter-Chatter’ group series (Term1) starting on 17 April. It comprises of four sessions (alternate Saturdays, 3 - 4.30 pm). [Dates: 17 April, 15 & 29 May, and 12 June]

The themes are:

  • Body parts/Feelings 
  • Actions/Movement 
  • Animal 
  • Food 
  • Transport/Places

Through these themes, we will target the above-mentioned therapy goals. 

Hope you have a better understanding of our 'Sing-To-Talk' Group Therapy! Do come join us!

(You may call 97665067 or email ask@summerstherapyservices.com to find out more.)

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