Saturday, January 30, 2010

"That's Not My Monster"

I love Usborne books for language growth and treatment. That's Not my great for my 3 month old because it has simple pictures on each page to look at and a texture to feel. And it's great for my 2 year old because we can talk about Negation and what things he is "not". I'll ask him if he is old and he'll say, "no I'm not mommy", or if he is a girl and he'll say "no I'm not mommy". So he learns how to use NOT in sentences and that it means something that isn't which can be a hard concept for kiddos to grasp and is something I've worked with many clients on. The crazy monsters are also good because I have him describe them and this develops his adjective knowledge and increases his sentence length.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Therapy Everyday?

One of my parents said to me "my daughter's friend gets therapy everyday". She was referring to actual therapies-speech, OT, PT, Music, Developmental, etc. But before she expanded I thought she meant that the parent focused on providing a language rich environment everyday. As a parent you are the best teacher of your child. YOU are with them everyday for more hours than anyone else. Speech therapy and other therapies are great. But unless YOU are working with them daily, hourly and by the minute you aren't going to see significant changes nearly as fast as you would like. Making your moments with your child purposeful can create the most amount of change possible. I'm not saying you need to be doing worksheets all day or drilling speech sounds. I just mean that it's good to make ordinary moments, teaching moments.

For example:

If your making lunch, talk about what your doing, sequence the steps out loud, have your child help to the best of their ability.

If your doing laundry, talk about the laundry detergent, tell them it's the soap that washes the clothes and makes them clean, like you wash them with soap in the bath tub. Have them help seperate the clothes, lights and darks. Talk about how the washer makes them wet and the dryer dries them.

And as we all know, if your the passenger in the car you don't really remember how to get there! So make your child the driver during these situations once they have some understanding of what your doing. Have them spread the butter, have them seperate the clothes. Just watching you isn't going to create the same knowledge base that DOING will!

These things might seem so simple or silly or things everyone knows. But you wouldn't believe how many students I worked with in the schools that had no idea what laundry detergent was. Could not tell me the steps to making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

By 3 years....

These are the milestones I'm currently looking for in my 2 and 1/2 year old, by 3 years most children will:
-ask alot of questions (you will know when a child has reached this milestone, they ask questions all day long about everything! Kayden got here a few months ago and he asks questions from the moment he wakes up until he goes to bed. My mouth is sometimes ready for a nap by 8am because I'm constantly responding to him!)
-match primary colors and might name a few (Kayden has known his colors for awhile now. But many of my preschoolers I work with do not. It isn't a big deal but something to work on and watch for)
-understand some time concepts (for example "tomorrow we are going to the park" and they understand when that is, etc. some other early time concepts are yesterday, after, before, next week)
-usually have a vocabulary of 800-1000 words
-know their full name, sex, and part of their address
-know the difference between boys and girls
-frequently talks to themself
-can tell a story
-uses at least 3-4 word sentences
-can sing songs and recite some nursery rhymes. (nursery rhymes are important to teach, they have rhymes in them which is great for emergent literacy and they teach the flow of language in a fun way)
-can use all the different sentence types (statements, questions and commands)
-repeat sounds, words and phrases
-tell you when they need to go to the restroom
-like to whisper
-can deliver a simple message (for example you tell them- "tell daddy you are going to the park" and they go and tell daddy the message)
-are about 80% intelligible to a stranger
-can pay attention to an activity or book for about 20 minutes

milestones taken from Speech Language Hearing, Development in Preschoolers

Real Pictures

Here are a couple pictures I took to use for a client that only had about 5 words in their vocabulary and wasn't picking sign up very well. The client and her parents were getting very frustrated. The real pictures worked well and decreased tantrums and acting out alot!

Sometimes with clients that aren't talking and it's causing alot of frustrations for the child and parents I will take pictures of things/items/food they frequently request at home. They then use these pictures of "real items" to request their desired treat, toy, etc. I always have the parents model the word when the child uses the picture as communication. But this is the easiest form of communicating for a young, nonverbal child. This allows them to learn that communication=power! If they communicate their wants and needs they will get what they want/need. This can be a great bridge for non-speaking children while they are learning to speak. It's also very useful for children with Autism because they are usually very visual.

You can shrink the pictures down and laminate to make them easier to use for long term use. If it's just a "bridge" for a pretty little one that hasn't started speaking yet you might just want to save yourself the time and just use the actual picture or laminate the picture at regular size.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Misarticulating /k/ and /g/

Many kiddos go through a stage when they use /t/ for /k/ and /d/ for /g/. Most sources say that this is a normal transition time from 18-29 months. My little guy is still doing it and he is 30 months old. I'm not worried about it now. He Does say both the /k/ and /g/ sounds but not all the time. So that tells me he is slowly learning them and he will just slowly start using them more and more in the correct placements. If he didn't have /k/ or /g/ in his sound bank then I would worry more.

Ways I encourage correct pronunciation are- over emphasizing /k/ and /g/ when he uses the /t/ or /d/ sound. For example if he would say "mommy look at the tat", I'd respond with "Oh yes, I see that black Cat" and make the /k/ very obvious so that he is hearing the correct sound.

I will also say words that start with /t/ sounds and others that start with /k/ sounds and ask him to tell me which ones are /t/ sounds and which ones are /k/ sounds. This is teaching him to hear the difference and hopefully help him to realize that when he says "tat" he isn't saying it in a way that people can understand him very well.

Another one that works pretty well with him is acting confused. If he says "look at the tar mommy", I will respond with "what you see black tar on the sidewalk?" to show him that he is saying something that means something else when he substitutes the wrong sound.

Like I said, if your little one is still pretty close to 2 and a half I wouldn't worry about it too much if they aren't always using /k/ and /g/ all the time. I would check and make sure they have that sound in their sound repitoure and if they do I would just take opportunities to reinforce using them correctly. This is a NORMAL sound substition though for a child under 3.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Post Office

Writing letters and making cards for family members is a fun way to work on written language with your kiddo. And as a reward, whoever they write letters or draw pictures for will usually write them back:)

Kayden loves making pictures for our family that isn't close. We also usually write them a letter, he tells me what he wants to say and I transcribe it for him. We talk about how letters start with - Dear XX, and how they end w/ - Love, Kayden (or whatever other closing you choose). After his hard work on his artwork or letter we work together to write the address on the envelope and his return address on the top and talk about where each belongs and that you have to have the address it goes to on the envelope so that the postman knows where you want it to go. You can adjust this activity for different ages and ability levels by having them do more or less of the activity by themselves.

After we are finished we go to the post office and he puts the stamp in the upper right hand corner and drops it off in the slot. While we are there we talk about alot of the post office vocabulary and he asks me questions about "how do they know where to take it, why do we drop it in that slot?", etc. It's a great learning opportunity and language developer!

And then he patiently awaits a return letter or package from the receiver of his special artwork, card, or letter.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Very Quiet Cricket

One of my favorite ways to work on language and speech is through books. Literacy is so important for all areas of a child's growth, why not incorporate it into working on their speech and language as well. And if your lucky you will create a book lover, Kayden loves books and could read with me for hours! We actually have to say we are done sometimes because he could just go and go with books!

And some of my favorite books for the younger crowd are Eric Carle. He does a great job of having simple storylines with new vocabulary and often times has a phrase on each page that is consistent that the children can help you "read". The Very Quiet Cricket's phrase is "The little cricket wanted to answer, so he rubbed his wings together, but nothing happened. Not a sound." Kids love "reading" with you and this excites them to read. His pictures are also alot of fun to look at and usually have just one main object on each page.

The Very Quiet Cricket is a great book to work on expanding vocabulary, you can grow your child's bug vocabulary- cricket, locust, praying mantis, worm, spittlebug, cicada, bumblebee, dragonfly, mosquitos, luna moth; sounds- chirped, whizzed, whispered, crunched, slurping, screeched, hummed, whirred, buzzed, quietly, and silently; they also talk about different times of day, morning, afternoon, evening, etc. It's great to read the book over and over and reinforce the vocabulary through out the day by using the words on an afternoon walk when you hear different things, see different bugs, etc and then you can also refer back to the book, for example "oh there is a mosquito, remember we read about that this morning in The Very Quiet Cricket. Mommy doesn't like mosquitos, they bite and make you itchy."

Another way to use books is by asking questions to work on Yes/no questions and WH questions, such as WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, and HOW. As you read the book stop and ask questions and wait for answers, giving the assistance they need to be successful. Then you can also ask them questions after your done reading to recount the events with them.

Having them tell a story back to you works on storytelling and sequencing which are both important language skills. You can bridge this for younger ones or ones that have more difficulty by you re-telling most of the story and stopping and having them fill in words at first and slowly decreasing your role and increasing their role.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Making Pizza

Kayden loves cooking with me in the kitchen. And since he thinks it's fun I use those moments to work on language. Pizza is one of his favorite foods, so of course making pizza is one of his favorite things to do in the kitchen. He can tell me all the ingredients and the sequence of steps needed to make the pizza. It's a great activity for sequencing, story telling and vocabulary development.
I have him do everything from rolling out the dough, to spreading the pizza sauce, sprinkling on the cheese and arranging the veggies and other toppings. He loves watching it bake while it's in the oven with the light on and then always eats way more than normal because HE made it! He is so proud of himself when he tells people he made the pizza and he can tell them the steps to doing it. So not only does it work on his language development but it also builds his confidence and makes us a healthy homemade meal not out of a box or delivery!

Friday, January 15, 2010

By 3 months

Here is a pic of my little guy showing off his communication skills with his big smile!

So I was smiling and talking with Brecken today and realized he was doing all the things 3 month old babies should be doing to show that their communication is "on track". With Breck the most important thing I do is talking to him, the best stimulation for a baby 3 months and under is a mommy's face so I give him alot of face time and let him hear my voice while talking or reading him stories. He also loves the mirror and will coo at himself forever while he looks at himself in the mirror during tummy time.

By 3 months most babies will:

-Smile when mommy appears or when you smile at them
-Startle when they hear loud sounds
-Make "cooing" sounds
-Quiet or smile when spoken to
-Recognize their mother's voice
-Cry differently for different needs (have different cries)

The next milestones in communication for babies are usually by the end of 6 months babies will:

-Make gurgling sounds when playing with you or are left alone
-Babble repetitive syllables, such as "ba, ba, ba"
-Use his voice to express happiness or unhappiness
-Move his or her eyes in the direction of sounds
-Respond to changes in the tone of your voice
-Notice that some toys make sounds
-Pay attention to music

Rhyme Time

Rhyming words are one of the earliest ways you can prepare your child for reading. One of the reasons rhyming is so important for reading readiness is because it's fun! Kids love to hear rhymes and since reading can be hard to learn it's great to incorporate fun ways to learn it! Rhyming is also important for early/emergent literacy because it teaches kiddos about word familes (i.e., fat, pat, bat, etc). Another great thing about rhymes is that it teaches children about playing with sounds, which is important for speech and language development.
Fun times that Kayden and I work on rhymes are during bathtime, as I scrub each part of his body we rhyme words with that body part-arm= farm, harm, alarm; head= red, said, bed, fed, bread; etc. Bathtime is where we started rhyming and by the time he was 2 he could recognize rhymes and tell us if words rhymed or if they didn't and make his own rhymes. We also like to rhyme words in the car as we pass different things, sign= line, fine, whine, dine; tree= bee, see, tee, me, fee.
This website has fun activities for rhyming=

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Taking Turns

One of the ways I work with my son and clients on taking turns is thru games. Taking turns is one of the key components of communication. You have to let someone talk and then respond. So a great way to teach children about communication is by playing games where you have to take turns. Reinforce "who's turn is it?", "now it's your turn", etc. Having them practice waiting while someone else goes is a big deal for an anxious 2 or 3 year old.
Kayden's favorite game right now is Don't Break the Ice, he laughs and laughs when someone breaks the ice. He is like most 2 year olds and prefers to have all the turns but does pretty well w/ turn taking when we play this game.
Some great games to practice taking turns with toddlers are:
*Don't Break the Ice-it's always a huge hit and full of laughs!
*Memory-great to use because it reinforces taking turns, memory and you can expand it in many other ways to work on language
*matching games-there are some great color ones
*dominoes-another way to practice matching
*making puzzles and practicing taking turns

Toys R Us and other stores have a whole selection of toddler games. They are great ways to work on taking turns and communicating in general. Following directions is another important language skill that game play helps you work on!


My boys and I

Hi! I'm a mommy of 2 boys-2 &1/2 and 2 months old. I also have a master of science degree in Speech-Language Pathology and my CCCs (Certificate of Clincal Competence) through my national organization-ASHA. I've worked in rehab centers, skilled nursing facilities, special education pre-schools, and a K-8 grade school. After I became a stay at home mommy I started seeing a couple clients a week after my husband gets home. Those clients I see in their home and get to work with them in their natural environment. I love what I do! And I love being a stay at home mommy too! Watching language develop in my own children is such an amazing thing. Even though I try to seperate myself from be a "speechie mommie", it's hard b/c I'm always thinking about their language and trying to give them the best start possible b/c language is the foundation for their future and I want them to have the best foundation possible!
Since I love being a speechie mommie so much and I get so many questions from friends and clients on what they can do to improve their children's language or fun ways to work on it I decided to start a blog that would be a way to compile fun activities and information on my passion-language development!
I'll talk about fun things I do with my boys to encourage language development and what is normal and not normal. Leave comments about things you have questions about or want more ideas for!