Monday, 15 August 2011

Smell Box, a speech therapy tool?!

Vision, Hearing, Touch, Taste, Smell, Vestibular and Proprioception are the 7 horses of our sensory system that interact with each other to make us use our bodies effectively in the environment around us.It is indeed intriguing how these different senses integrate in our body to provide information. By such sensory integration, these sense organs indirectly help us to gather opportunities to communicate better!
Extrapolating this idea, I have tried using visual, auditory, tactile and olfactory kits during my therapy sessions to elicit speech.

On this page I will share about the 'Smell Box' that works wonders for kids who exhibit problems of insufficient expression of language.

The Smell Box can be made at home. It basically consists of 2 classes of odors. 1 pungent and strong and the other mild and sweet.

Pungent odors come from
  • petrol,
  • old scrappy food,
  • mustard/horse raddish sauce,
  • grated raddish,
  • asafoetida(hing in Hindi),
  • naphthalene balls,
  • dettol/savlon,
  • salmon omega & other strong tablets
  • garlic etc.
Mild smelly items can be
  • aromatic massage oils,
  • mild perfumes,
  • strawberry/apple jam,
  • mild talcum powders,
  • sugar,
  • mithai,
  • flower petals
  • aromatic candles
  • and most importantly your child's favourite food item, (chocolates, biscuits ) etc..
You can store all these items in similar looking little boxes, name/ tag each of them and store together in a bigger box.

The smell box can be used to elicit Yes/No response from your child. The pungent odors will lead to modelling out - No, while the mild sweeter odors lead to a Yes response.

I have observed  that children pick up 'No' response very quickly through this activity with the smell box. You can start by accepting gestures for yes/no and later graduate to verbal attempts.
You can also build your child's language by talking about the different smells in our environment.
Another game that you can play with the smell box is, identification of the source of the smell without looking at the box in which the stuff is stored. You can blindfold your child while playing this and even take turns. Great activity to build vocabulary, improve sentence formation, and teach turn taking.

So go try this tool now.I'm sure you yourself will have loads of fun doing this activity!

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