Spreading Speech Skills, One Museum at a Time An SLP distributes guides to help families incorporate speech and language skills into outings, meals, festivals and more. In the Limelight
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In the Limelight  |   July 01, 2015
Children participate in a speech quest—searching for products with certain starting sounds or interacting with vendors to tackle social challenges—at the Fenton Street Market in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Spreading Speech Skills, One Museum at a Time
Author Notes
  • Shelley D. Hutchins is content producer/editor of The ASHA Leader. shutchins@asha.org
    Shelley D. Hutchins is content producer/editor of The ASHA Leader. shutchins@asha.org×
Article Information
Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / In the Limelight
In the Limelight   |   July 01, 2015
Spreading Speech Skills, One Museum at a Time
The ASHA Leader, July 2015, Vol. 20, 22-23. doi:10.1044/leader.LML.20072015.22
The ASHA Leader, July 2015, Vol. 20, 22-23. doi:10.1044/leader.LML.20072015.22
Name: Aviva Krauthammer Freedman, MS, CCC-SLP
Title: Owner, The Language Link
Hometown: Silver Spring, Maryland
Many parents fill their children’s weekends with trips to museums, zoos, festivals and libraries to provide that ideal combination of fun and education. So why not add practicing speech-language skills into the mix?
That’s exactly what seasoned speech-language pathologist Aviva Krauthammer Freedman urges her clients and their parents to do to make the most of these excursions. “I’ve been working with kids for more than a decade,” she says, “and it’s always been a challenge to carry over the skills we work on in sessions into their home life and activities.”
It’s tough for parents of any kid to find time to run through speech skills, but it’s especially challenging if the child is old enough to have homework, music lessons, sports practice or other time demands. Krauthammer adds that some parents are intimidated by the exercises, so she’s constantly looking for ways to make them part of the family’s routine.
“A major focus of mine is working on social pragmatic language and being able to use those skills in the community,” Krauthammer says. “I take my clients and their parents on quarterly outings where we apply our techniques and goals to real-life situations.” To help them practice this integration more regularly, she provides printed sheets with guidance on incorporating communication skills into their own adventures as well as into mealtimes and other at-home events.
Area attractions
After moving to suburban Washington, D.C., five years ago and discovering numerous family-oriented festivals and happenings, Krauthammer expanded her printouts into a series of guides that parents can access from their smartphones or tablets.
Krauthammer and a dedicated team of interns research events and locations that lend themselves to a variety of communication goals. Someone from the team then calls the event organizer or museum program director to discuss tailoring guides to that specific event or place. She says organizers eagerly work with her because they know she’ll send attendees their way. They also use the guides as promotional tools to attract more parents.
To create each guide, Krauthammer and her staff discuss and re-create what families might experience. “We break down the events into bite-sized pieces for parents and kids,” she says, “using four skill-building areas: talking, listening, words/sounds and social communication.”
For example, the restaurant guide covers the social skill of giving a greeting. The drill encourages parents to rehearse with their child (while in the car) scripts for how to greet the host and ask for a table using good eye contact and complete sentences. Later, they can work on descriptive language or sequencing steps while selecting and ordering the food.
Burgeoning business
Called Speech Explorers, the growing enterprise now offers several interactive guides, quests and in-person gatherings. Parents and kids tackle exercises together before, during and after visits to museums, theaters, restaurants, festivals, the zoo and other places or events.
Krauthammer also makes guides that transform potentially less fun, but necessary outings—like the doctor’s office and grocery store—into communication adventures.
In addition, she’s building relationships with nearby businesses. In Silver Spring, Maryland, Krauthammer arranged Better Hearing and Speech Month activities in May at two local businesses, Eggspectation and the Fenton Street Market.
Eggspectation—a restaurant featuring an egg-centric menu—has mini-guides printed on its table tents. Participants who complete a guide can enter for a chance to win a gift certificate donated by the restaurant.

Krauthammer also makes guides that transform potentially less fun, but necessary outings—like the doctor’s office and grocery store—into communication adventures.

At Fenton Street Market, where local artisans sell their wares most Saturdays, Krauthammer arranged to include a scavenger hunt in two of the markets in May, during Better Hearing and Speech Month. Families explored booths while checking off exercises such as “Find five items containing the following sounds: /b/ balloon, /k/ toy car, or /r/ bread.”
The SLP eventually hopes to grow this venture into a business. Having talked with many parents, Krauthammer realizes the guides work for all families, not just those targeting a specific communication issue. Washington, D.C., attracts many tourists, some of whom might be willing to pay for one or more guides to enrich their visit to the nation’s capital.
“There are so many opportunities for parents to take advantage of working on speech skills at events or places they’re going to anyway,” Krauthammer says. “If they’re using these guides, they should find something that sparks a skill-building moment.”
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July 2015
Volume 20, Issue 7