Does this center provide traditional, individual speech and/or language therapy to children who have intact pragmatic language skills?
Yes! We are speech-language pathologists who are highly qualified to treat difficulties with auditory processing, language comprehension, expressive language, higher level language, articulation or speech motor coordination. However, we still use our "out of the box" thinking to make traditional therapy more fun! We also have use of our recreational space to use for reward times after therapy.
What time does the social language group for my child's age group meet?
This is one of the first questions many parents ask. However, we DO NOT believe in grouping children solely on the fact that they are in the same age range! With a group client base of over 250 children/teens, we are able to match each child to the appropriate group to work on his/her specific needs with age-matched children who are working on similar issues at the same level. We have MANY groups for each age level. More than anything, research has shown that the group has to be the right "match" to be therapeutic for your child. Therefore, we meet each child for a teaching consultation and use the information we gain from the parent, child and/or any referring professionals during the consultation in order to determine placement. We also find out about the child's schedule at that time as well.
In the rare instance that we do not have an opening in a current group that we feel is a "best match", we will place your child on the waiting list and he/she will be able to start in one of our new groups as soon as we have the appropriate "matches". While this can feel frustrating to a family that wants to get started right away, please trust that the right group placement is vital to seeing progress and ensuring it is an enjoyable process for your child!
How do Dramatic Pragmatic social communication groups work?
We believe that every child, adolescent and young adult that we service requires an individualized program to acquire the skill set needed to have social success. Research shows that individuals are most successful in acquiring pragmatic language skills when in a small, supportive group setting where they can practice these skills as part of a peer group. Through the use of role-play, original stories, scripts and monologues, video-modeling, games and activities, we target specific social pragmatic skills. We believe in thinking “out of the box” and being creative therapists who hook client’s interest by using strategies that are conducive to their learning style. We also utilize visuals for every skill we teach to enhance acquisition and generalization of these skills.
We also believe that the right grouping is essential to the success of a group and have years of experience creating successful groupings. Additionally, collaboration with parents is a vital piece of the puzzle. We value parents and other team member’s input into the process of creating individual goals to address the needs of each client. Ultimately, our goal is that our clients are able to carry over the skills that they gain into their everyday lives to achieve social success.
Why are these groups led by speech-pathologists?
As speech-language pathologists, we are uniquely qualified to understand and support the receptive and expressive communication demands of social interaction and social problem solving. We see social skills through a “language lens.” Because of our language training in discourse skills, oral narrative development, word retrieval, language formulation, making inferences, predicting outcome, and language processing, we are best equipped to develop these skill sets in students. We can assess whether they have the underlying language foundation skills so that they can fully participate in the complex and rapid exchange of ideas, comments, questions, negotiations, arguments, and the friendly banter of conversation.
In addition, as language clinicians we are skilled in helping our students learn to read social cues, recognize body language and facial expression, take another’s perspective, as well as infer emotion and intent from tone of voice and affect. We can help them understand the subtle language nuances of friendly teasing vs. mean teasing, sarcasm, figurative language and code-switching from a language perspective.
How do we help students to carryover and generalize the skills learned in Dramatic Pragmatics Groups?
We strongly believe that in order to effectively learn these pragmatic language skills and to be able to generalize them into everyday life, students must be taught a common language identifying these social concepts and rules. In addition, they must be provided with consistent visual cues and strategies which can be used across different environments to support the acquisition of these concepts. Whenever possible we like to consult to schools to provide them with the same tools and strategies used in our groups. Parent Workshops are also held so that parents are trained in the “language” and tools and symbols of Dramatic Pragmatics so that they too may carry them over to the home environment and reinforce the concepts. During our sessions, whether it be in a structured time at the table or an unstructured time downstairs in our “Dugout” room, we as language therapists are continually providing feedback to our students to help them identify, interpret and modify social behavior and social language.
In addition, we are continually helping our students to learn to problem solve and to take on another’s perspective while they are interacting. By teaching perspective taking in everything we do, our students are learning the positive and negative consequences of the behavioral choices they make and the choice of language that they use. Another bonus of group work is that the peers become not only each other’s “support”, but they also help to provide that natural feedback that only peers can provide in a safe, nurturing environment!
Why is Drama/ Role-Play vital to our program?
Talking about social concepts only goes so far. Many of our clients are able to come up with all the correct answers when asked hypothetical social judgment questions about what they would do in various social situations but the disconnect is in “the doing” in the actual situation! Therefore, in our experience and based on clinical research, the use of drama and role-play is an invaluable technique in solidifying the skills of social communication by helping clients “try on”, and practice the skills in a non-threatening format. Developing a character teaches them about taking on another’s perspective and actively listening to each other and responding accordingly with appropriate facial expression and tone of voice, as well as to practice empathy.
Additionally, acting and improvisation teaches students the reciprocity, and “timing” of conversation. Different social scenarios can be played out in role-play with different outcomes and students can be involved in the discussion and opinions of each social scenario. We also write our own material of individualized stories, scripts, and monologues to target problematic areas for each child. Through role-play, the students are able to develop the ability to acknowledge and understand the perspective of others, create appropriate dialogue through context, ask appropriate questions, learn how to ‘join in a conversation”, listen to others, negotiate, and compromise.
Who would benefit from Dramatic Pragmatics social language groups?
At Dramatic Pragmatics, we are not about labels, but about each child maximizing their communication and social development. If your child struggles with the complex demands of social interaction, with the appropriate use of language as a social tool, with reading and responding to social cues and with figuring out "the whys" and "how to's" of making and maintaining friendships, then your student would benefit from a Dramatic Pragmatic Social Language Group.
The Dramatic Pragmatics methodology is most effective for students with near average to above average cognitive abilities.
Does Dramatic Pragmatics Accept Insurance?
Insurance companies consider Dramatic Pragmatics an out of network provider. Payment is provided by the family directly to Dramatic Pragmatics. Once we have recieved payment, parents recieve a PAID invoice with treatment and diagnoses codes which are provided for insurance purposes. It is each families responsibility to contact your insurance company to find out what coverage you have for speech and language services. We are happy work with families to provide treatment plans and progress notes as needed.