There are so many rewards to being a therapist. But something that always makes my day is when I get an out of the blue text from a mom or dad sharing some great news about something their child did. I just got this one from a child I see with significant feeding difficulties – he is gradually moving toward non pureed foods, but the going has been rough. Here’s what it said!
“He just ate a banana in banana form!!! He even bit it!!! Bites were big too!!!”
Good job to a tough little guy and his amazing parents!
If you have a garden or park near by, worm hunting can be a fun activity! Here are things to try:
- Model prepositions or “place words” when looking for the worms. ”Worms, where are you? Are you under this rock? Are you bend that bush? Are you on top of the leaf?” Make it fun by looking in silly places, “Are you in the mailbox?”
- Talk about how the worm moves… it wriggles, it crawls, is twists, it digs, it oozes. Lots of fun vocabulary!
- Hold the worms. Talk about how they feel… cool, slimy, wriggly
- Talk about how they look…pink, shiny, long, skinny
- Can you move like a worm?
As young kids and kids with language difficulties develop their communication skills, they start off using very simple language. They learn to produce more “adult language” by listening to parents, siblings and older kids. Expansion is a good way to help.
Language expansion involves restating what the child says using adult vocabulary and grammar. It is NOT correcting the child – it is demonstrating the correct way to say something. Never say “No honey, you said that wrong, say it this way.” That stops communication and puts a lot of stress on the child. With language expansion, you are not adding any new information, but rather restating what the child says. For example:
- If you child says “Him running”, you would say “Yup, He is running”.
- If you child says “Mommy goed work”, you might say “You’re right, Mommy went to work”.
Modelling an adult “sentences” helps the child learn vocabulary, grammar and inflection. It is a great way to help them learning without directly “teaching”. It also lets the child know you understood what he is saying – a nice reinforcement for communication!
iWriteWords is a fun and attractive app that helps teach young kids how to write the letters of the alphabet (upper and lower case), numbers up to 20, and simple words. The app uses a connect-the-dots format. When the target is completed, a cute picture appears, the target is spoken and then kids can tilt the screen or drag the letters/number into a swirling vortex!
How to promote language
- Kids can use this app independently to help learn the mechanics of writing letters and numbers, participate with your child to use it as an interactive tool to talk about what’s happening.
- Talk about the letter or number names.
- Discuss the shape – make a reference to something else. For example, “The 9 looks like a lollipop”, “The “o” is a circle”, or “That word looks long… let’s count the letters”
- Talk about the movements needed to write the letters to improve vocabulary – “Up down up”, “All the way around”, “loop around like a hook”, “the round part is on top”
- Try different ways to get the letters into the vortex – “Let’s try bouncing them”, “Can we throw them in?”, “Which letter should we throw away first?”
- Take turns writing the words to help promote turn-taking. Make mistakes so you child can give you pointers, too!
A great article with practice tips from Sami Rahman, founder of Bridging Apps.
Noah began using his iPad when he was two and was assessed to be 12 months behind with language and cognition. Within four months, he was on par for his age. Now, two years since he began using the iPad, he is 15 months ahead developmentally, can read English and Arabic, and is learning Mandarin.
Rahman recently released his book Getting Started: iPads for Special Needs. Rahman shared some of his insights for preparing an iPad for people with disabilities. Most of the tricks are tailored for parents or educators working with children.
Read the article here.
Making animal noises and doing animal walks can be fun! They also help develop gross motor skills, play skills and language skills.
- Get down on the floor. Show your toddler or preschooler how a bear walks.
- Roar like a hungry bear
- Talk about what you want to eat (berries, honey, pizza, mac and cheese – its pretend so don’t get stuck on text book facts about bears!
- Follow up with Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See? or Going On a Bear Hunt or any fun bear story.
by Andres Gutierrez, nbcdfw.com
At 3 p.m. at Duncanville High School, it’s time for cheerleading practice. But this squad is unlike any other.
They are the Duncanville “Sparklers.” Each member on the squad is a special needs student at the school.
“We cheer for every person,” Genesis Moataned, the Sparklers Squad Captain said. “It’s wonderful to do it.”
Coach Krystal Morrow, who leads the school’s varsity cheerleaders, heard about the program through Estefania Barron, one of her physical education students.
“I said we should do it for the girls so they can be involved in something fun,” Barron said.
Barron spent her spring break researching “The Sparkle Effect,” a program that helps schools across the country create cheerleading and dance teams that include students with disabilities.
At Duncanville, coach Morrow pairs up the Sparklers with members of the varsity squad, like Captain Chelsea Taylor, to help them.
“We love working with them, they love working with us,” Taylor said. “It’s just one big happy family.”
The squad is the fifth of its kind in Texas.
“My parents are so excited to see me and I like the squad,” said Hannah Dickerson, a Sparklers cheerleader.
Excitement is one way to describe parents of the squad members.
“For this to come to fruition the way it has and bringing in the awareness from another student is truly amazing,” Tenna Adams, a parent said.
Their teachers have notice the difference.
“They come out here and they’re totally different,” said Elizabeth Thompson, a Duncanville High School special education teacher. “They can be outgoing, they can be loud, they can do anything they want, it’s a totally different environment. They love it.
The Sparklers will soon be receiving cheerleading uniforms.”/blockquote>
Beloved Children’s author dies from complications from a recent stroke.
RIP Mr. Sendak. I hope you are enjoying a wild rumpus!
Water play is always fun. Instead of the usual bathtub toys, fill the sink with water and have your child help you wash other toys. There are lots of opportunities for good language activities. Here are just a few:
- Have the toys swim. They can swim “up” or “down”, “fast” or “slow”
- Have the toys “jump” into the water. This is a good time to model two word sentences such as “jump tiger!”, “jump block!”
- Model action words like “splash”, “drop”, “swish”
- Talk about “wet” and “dry”
- Collect toys with a slotted spoon to work on motor skills