Have you ever wondered what private speech and language therapy looks like? Here is a little glimpse of how I work with preschoolers and how I engage parents in the process. There is nothing better than private speech and language therapy for parent training and carry-over into the home!
Time to set a goal for this week! Here are some AMAZING tools to help get your toddler talking. My suggestion: rate yourself on how well you are already doing, and then pick one skill to work on at home this week. For more information on helping your toddler talk check out this blog post: encouraging-my-child-to-talk.html
Wait for your child to try!
Don’t cater to your child’s every need or want before they have a chance to communicate with you. Observe their actions, wait for them to interact with you, and then listen!!
How often are you waiting? Never - Rarely - Sometimes - Often
Mess things up:
Mess up routines so your child has to communicate his or her needs.
Example: During mealtime give everyone a spoon but “forget” to give your child a spoon. Wait and see if your child initiates they need something. If they don’t initiate what they need, help them by saying. “What do you need?” or “Are you missing something” or “Uh-oh!” Label the item before you give it to them.
Do you ever mess up the routine? Never - Rarely - Sometimes - Often
Use clear simple speech with your child during play routines. The goal is to talk in phrases you want your child to copy. Use one or two words more than your child is using.
How often do you use Parent Speech? Never - Rarely - Sometimes - Often
Add 1 or 2 words to what your child says when you respond back to him or her.
Example: When your child says “up” say “up… you want up”.
How often do you use add-on? Never - Rarely - Sometimes - Often
Narrate your life:
When your child is within hearing range, talk about what you are doing while you do it.
Example: When washing your hands at the sink say “I'm washing my hands”, when the phone is ringing say “I hear the phone”.
How often are you narrating your life? Never - Rarely - Sometimes - Often
Narrate your child’s life:
When playing with your child, describe what your child is doing while they are doing it.
Example: When your child picks up a car – say “pick up the car”. When your child drops a block – say “you dropped the block”.
How often are you narrating your child's life? Never - Rarely - Sometimes - Often
Hopefully this list gives you an idea of a skill to focus on this week. You can do it!!!
Mom! I'm hungry!! Can I have a snack?
Who has heard that before? Like 10 times, or 20 times... and it's 10:30 am. Am I right?
Lucky for us, making meals and snacks can be a super excellent way to work on speech and language AND feed your starving child. It's a win-win!
When I first started working in early child development, a mom told me the most valuable thing she had learned so far was how to talk and be with her kid while he was eating. She told me that before her therapy services, meal and snack times were all about getting other stuff done while her son was busy eating. BUT once she started using some of the following tips her son's language really started exploding.
Using My 5 Senses
Imagination and Guesses
Repetition is key!
Introducing my brand new page! Several months ago Emily Hewlett contacted me asking if there was any way we could work together to help get parents more resources regarding growth and development. She was working on her MS degree in Public Health and needed a Preceptor to oversee her Practicum. I was delighted to help because getting development handouts for parents has been on my wish list for ages. Her final product is AMAZING and you can read more about it in my previous blog post. Today I sorted her handouts into developmental stages and created a new page for my website. You can find it at the top right hand corner of this page or you can just CLICK HERE!
HUGE BIG NEWS!!! I now have an amazing new FREE resource on my website. Introducing the "MEGA Parent Information Book: Milestones". This resource was created for me by Emily Hewlett as her practicum while working towards her Master of Public Health degree at Kent State University. I am in the process of creating little mini-handouts divided by age and skill set BUT in the mean time go to my SLP Resources page and download the entire book...who knows when you'll need it!?!
In my practice I see a lot of kids with low speech intelligibility. What is my go to technique to help these kids form a sound? A quick hand sign or tactile cue. I have found in my practice that when kids are having a very difficult time producing a sound these kinds of cues really help...so I thought I would share!
A visual hand sign is a little reminder that you can give your child to help them remember what to do with their mouth. Something like this:
Tactile cues are a little different from visual cues because they involve lightly touching your child's jaw/lips/nose etc. to remind them where and how to shape a sound.
Some examples of tactile cues can be found in this awesome link created by Wendy Ryback, MA, CCC-SLP.
Research has found that tactile cueing is particularly effective for kids with Childhood Apraxia of Speech (see ASHA's Apraxia of Speech Portal).
I don't strictly use these approaches. My cues change based on things like the age of the child or the severity of their speech delay, or the types of errors a specific child is making. BUT the above resources are a great way to try giving your kid some more specific help with sounds you are concerned with. As always if you have additional questions or concerns talk with your pediatrician or local school district SLP!
We all know I LOVE using the holidays as a jumping off point for speech and language activities. They are motivating, use language that is high frequency for that time of year, and they are just plain fun. This activity is super awesome!!
This year I have been doing a TON of activities using prepositional phrases with kids. I think I stumbled on THE BEST Halloween activity ever. So I thought I would share.
The book "175 Easy-to-Do Halloween Crafts" has this awesome craft idea:
Basically you take a 12x12 piece of scrapbook paper, fold it into 16 squares, cut the edges and then fold a house...it is SUPER easy once you have given it a try. Then you get to let the kids decorate it however they like. In my world that means I get little clip-art guys (I love the ones found HERE) and have the kids tell me where they belong on the house using prepositional phrases.
The skeleton goes inside the house, Frankenstein lives on top of the roof, the pumpkin sits beside the door, the witch is flying over the house, etc.
You can work receptive and expressive skills (following directions, giving directions), you can work sequencing, you can work pronouns, you can work verbs...so many options! Or you can throw the goals out the window and just decorate and have fun knowing you are providing a language rich experience. No matter where your child's language skills are they will LOVE this activity. Give it a try!
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and Read Aloud 15 MINUTES just put together some awesome handouts with good information for parents and clinicians working with children ages birth to 5. The handouts give information detailing communication development in children and offer tips for daily reading.
If you have young kids or work with young kids you definitely need to click below:
Identify the Signs of Communication Disorders AWESOME NEW HANDOUTS
My family loves to camp! We find it a great time to unplug, slow down, and explore. Turns out those elements make for some great language development opportunities.
Here are some of my favorite things to do while outdoors:
Let me get this out there right now: each child is different so we are all going to use different strategies while parenting our children.
In the past year I have become pretty concerned about some of the new parenting ideas floating around the internet. It seems like we are in this "hands off, let kids learn on their own" phase, where it is a problem when a mom teaches her child to share...or say thank you...or heaven forbid a parent actually put their kid in time-out!
As a mom when I read these articles I just come away scratching my head. So I can't teach my kids what is right and wrong, but somehow they are still going to turn out ok? WHAT?
I totally get behind some of the non-adultism movements, like I agree we shouldn't be forcing our kids to dole out kisses or hugs, sure. I totally get that kids need to be respected, and that they are human beings just like adults. BUT it has been pretty heavily researched...for almost 100 years (think of Piaget people) and today it still seems applicable: the mind of a child is not the same as the mind of an adult...it is still growing.
Kids are still developing! You can expect an adult to understand what someone else is feeling/thinking and (hopefully) share without being prompted. BUT our really young kids don't have that skill. They are still learning that everyone doesn't feel the way they do.
WE NEED TO TEACH THEM! I can tell you from my professional experience, how we interact with others involves social skills that need to be taught. Kids need parents to help them learn to say please, and thank you, and answer the door politely, and not cut in line. Just sitting back and watching is not enough, in my experience.
Suddenly it's not ok to give your kids positive reinforcement? I seriously read that we should not be using praise because it will manipulate behavior...WHAT? Again, look at the research people! Yes we should be careful about using rewards to control behavior because that does result in being extrinsically motivated (which we all are to some extent so chill). BUT using rewards to inform, support, and challenge, like praising effort, increases intrinsic motivation! See research by Mueller, C.M., & Dweck, C. S. (1998).
Sometimes kids do things that are not ok, not to be mean, or rude...because they are still developing and learning. How do you help them learn? You praise them for good choices, you model correct behaviors, you consistently help them succeed. If a child needs a break, you give them one, and in our house...that's called a time out.
I feel like some of the advice out there that is so fluffy that if I tried to follow it all I would go crazy. Here is the best parenting advice I have read this year:
As a parent, you probably don’t want to play referee within the walls of your own home. Good news—you shouldn’t have to! You’re a coach, and your children are on the same team, even if they don’t realize it yet. As you try to coach your children instead of referee them, they will feel secure in your love and grow to love each other more.
Here are four ways to help your children learn to get along: