Parents, teachers, and even speech and language professionals sometimes focus on flash cards and drills to practice academic skills. But this focus may be misplaced. Especially for young children, research is increasingly telling us that games such as Simon Says, Red Light Green Light, clapping songs, and rhymes help children develop skills like executive function, attention, memory, and self-control that also help them be successful in school. This article from the New York Times describes research from Oregon State University on games and play that develop cognitive skills in young children. 

But what does this mean for SLPAs and paraprofessionals targeting IEP and IFSP goals? Over the next several months, in our series of posts for SLPAs and speech/language paraprofessionals, we will examine the cognitive skills of executive function, attention, memory, and self-control, and look at ways to incorporate them into your work with kids at all different ages.