Speech & Language Tidbits

This page goes out to all of those wonderful parents who text me and ask the questions that they should definitely ask…and then some!  Also, The American Speech and Hearing Association has some amazing resources especially if you know where to look, so I will be sharing those as well.

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Scary Easy Fall Sensory Bins 

Fall Sensory Bins

I currently have a toddler that loves to jump from activity to activity because the world is her oyster!  At least for this age it definitely seems that way!  Her senses are growing and integrating constantly, so exposure to different textures, smells, sounds, etc. are not only fun they are IMPORTANT!

Not to mention that teaching new vocabulary related to events we experience during seasons can be a great way to generalize new words across all sorts of environments!  With that being said I respect that parents are busier than ever before.  These bins are not only super simple to make, but they can be sealed up and stacked on top of each other almost like puzzles!  Your child can play with them for days or weeks for expanding learning!

These are the storage bins I purchased.  I live in the city so space was a concern.  If it isn’t an issue for you, you can always order larger bins!

Scary Squishy Sensory Bin:  WATER BEADS!  These are one of my personal favorites and this kit comes with tools for picking the beads up that target fine motor skills as well!  My husband agrees with me that feeling these immediately results in feeling relaxed, but some people might experience a different sensation!  These are non toxic as well, and as a warning a little bit of water beads go a long way.  I added in bouncy ball eye balls for Halloween effect!  For vocabulary you can target colors, wet vs dry, pick up, slippery, BOUNCE, eyes, shapes, and numbers!  You can even sort the colored beads into different bowls with older kiddos!

Farm Life Bin:  This one is so simple, and I fully encourage you to use what you have if you already have farm animals!  You just need to get a small bale or bag of hay and burry the animals inside!  That is it!  This is the PERFECT activity to do at home after visiting the farm!  Identifying animal noises is a developmental milestone/considered meaningful vocabulary for language development.  Expand this bin by having multiple of each animal and sorting them.  Have pretend food handy for feeding the animals if you want!  Teach animal noises each time your child finds a new animal and engage in pretend play!  The learning opportunities are endless!

Pumpkin “Vines” Bin:  I have been to the pumpkin patch this fall more times than I care to count because my daughter has enjoyed it so much!  This bin is a super cool textural experience, and adding in the pumpkins creates opportunities for targeting counting, pretend play for “picking off the vines”, and so much more!  All you need is green food dye and one box of spaghetti noodles! Cook the spaghetti until soft and at the end add the food coloring into the water to dye the noodles.  The coloring will probably come off on your little ones hands!  But, it washes off!  Practice picking up the noodles, use them to create letters for graphemic awareness skills, count the pumpkins, and so much more!

Spider Bin:  You can get your spiders anywhere!  I found cute spider rings at the grocery store that were all different colors to incorporate color ID with my daughter.  Next you just need a bag of the fake spider webs!  Hide the spiders inside the “web” and have your child pick them out!  Another great way to target fine motor!  Incorporate a fake magnifying glass to “spot” the spiders!  Add other bugs and sort spiders vs. other bugs by counting legs!  I could go on and on!

Enjoy the season!  Play around!

Family Game Time with Small Children & Toddlers: Bridging the Gap

Piggy Bank

Who has two little children and finds it hard to navigate ways to play with them together?  I’m going to give you some activities using two toys that I find a lot of families have!  They are also two toys I have used in therapy sessions for a range of ages by adapting them!  Because, as most parents know, we make plans…and then our 4 or 5-year-old wants to play with a “baby” toy their younger sibling is using (it’s not a baby toy!).  These activities are developmentally beneficial for 1-2 years old, as well as siblings 4-6 years old!  It is important to recognize that Theory of Mind (our ability to share another’s perspectives and thoughts) doesn’t emerge/develop until around five years of age. “Terrible Twos” should really be called “Thinking of only ME Twos” because that “we” mindset just hasn’t developed yet!  However, there are great ways to introduce them to it, and reinforce those “thinking of others” moments when they occur!   Here are some ways to bring everyone together, with just one toy, and 5-10 minutes!

Coin Piggy Bank OR Shape Sorter:  These toys are great for fine motor skills, color identification, number identification, shape identification, requesting help, turn taking, following directions, and so much more.  Honestly, you really don’t even NEED to turn on the Piggy Bank.  Here are my ideas if you have siblings in the age ranges of one child age 1-2 years and another child age 3-6 years of age.

  1. First things first! It can be really helpful to talk about a “group plan”.  I use this in sessions from Social Thinking, and it helps keep things on track! Explain how excited you are to play all together as a “group” and that together you are going to set up the game, play (with each person’s roles), and clean up.  Talk about how part of the group plan is taking turns and OFFERING to help each other.   Another part is “activating your waiting systems” when it is someone else’s turn (this is specifically for your older kiddo!)  I like to have children pretend they have a button on their “brain” or top of their head that they press to “activate the waiting system”.  Demonstrate what waiting looks like if you have to.
  2. Take the shapes and/or coins and “hide” them around the room. Think of location concepts or clues you could give your older child. For example: “in”, “on top”, “under”, “above”, “next to”, “in front of”.  You can do this part in different ways.
    • Have them find the shapes/coins on their own, and then give them to the younger sibling to put in the box. Teamwork makes the dream work!
    • Have them wait and say, “I’m thinking of a red shape with four sides that is in front of the couch” and have them find that specific shape. Still have them give that shape to the younger sibling to put in.  Complimenting turn taking, and sharing is a great way to build those behaviors during this activity!
    • For your little one you can work on modeling language for: “put in”, “thank you”, labeling colors, labeling shapes, etc.
  3. The “Just Right Road” was introduced to me by an amazing Occupational Therapist and I will encourage parents to even use it to get homework done on those days where their child has excess energy and little motivation to sit down and put pen to paper.
    • Put the shapes/coins at one end of the room and the piggy bank or shape sorter on the other end. Give your older child directions on HOW to move to the shapes/coins, and which ones to get.  For example: skipping, jumping, bear walk, inch worm, hop scotch, roll, etc.  If your younger child wants to imitate that is great!  Again, focus on having your younger child put in the shape and model language!

 If you start to notice the wheels coming off for either child, it is a GREAT time to switch to free play for that little one and explain that it’s ok to “be flexible” in a group!  These activities might only last 5 minutes, but that’s five minutes of learning rich play for the whole family!


MY LEVELS OF LIKE: BREAKING THROUGH RIGID THINKING & ENCOURAGING PROBLEM SOLVING

Let’s be honest, all of us have used “I hate…” before.  We have all become so stuck in a specific mindset about an activity, person, problem, that we cannot see it any other way.  It’s black or white and it’s never going to change.  The issue with this is it stifles our ability to make positive change, seek support, or set a boundary.  One tool I was introduced to via Social Thinking is the “Level of Like Scale”.  It has become one of my favorite tools in working with clients who present difficulties with flexible thinking, social cognition, and executive functioning.  Moreover, it has also become a tool I utilize for myself, and once my daughter is older, I will utilize as a parent.

I recently had a client who insisted to me that they hated ALL MATH.  Which is why they were bored and decided to “opt out” their attention. Now, there’s multiple issues with this, some of which are now embedded in our culture.  In a changing social world where everything is instant gratification or entertainment boredom has practically become extinct!  Working through things (or a bored moment) has almost become irrelevant.  Why spend time researching online or in a book when you can simply ask Alexa?  Who is guilty of scrolling through their phones while “watching” a show or movie?  Our minds literally have whatever distraction they want AT THEIR FINGER TIPS. So, we are in a time where it’s becoming increasingly important to TEACH bored moments, problem solving, and flexible mindset.

When my client said they hated all Math I knew it was a great opportunity to work with “The Levels of Like”.  We laid the cards out in a line from “Hate It…Really Dislike It…Dislike It…Like It…Really Like It…Love It”.  Before broaching the topic of Math, I wanted to direct them to the variations of these levels.  So, we started with foods.  At first, they either hated or loved them, and nothing in between.  But, with discussion about which foods they could eat all day, which foods they could tolerate, which foods might make them vomit (for me Jello!)  We worked out how most things in life fall on a scale, and it’s pretty much never fixed!

Levels

Next, we got into it. MATH.  However, we used Math as the UMBRELLA CONCEPT!  Math is a subject that can be broken into many components. For example, using a calculator is a PART of Math.  We found out that my client actually “liked” using a calculator.  They also “really liked” manipulatives in Math.  They really disliked “math lecture” and “math word problems”.  The greatest thing about this information was that it gave us VALUABLE information into the client’s learning style and struggles.  So now instead of just trying to help them work through not “hating math” we could target tangible areas.  Making math lectures more interactive for them.  Finding appropriate times where calculators could be used. Requesting help from a teacher or peer or requesting more time with manipulatives.  Targeting how to best work through word problems.  In short, IT OPENS DOORS IN THE MIND TO SOLVING PROBLEMS RATHER THAN LIVING IN THEM! 

As an adult I have used the scale as a reflection tool for:

  1. Partner communication styles
  2. Household Chores
  3. Parenting Boundaries
  4. Household Schedules/ To Do Lists
  5. Expectations of Myself and Others
  6. Work and Home Relationships
  7. Self-Care Strategies

For example, if I am consistently thinking I feel overwhelmed by household chores.  How can I break this down?  Which do I “hate”? “Which do I “like”?  Where could I find support?  Which could I “let go” of every now and again?  What invokes balance within me in this area?  What are some potential solutions or strategies I could attempt?

 Finding fault on external factors consistently only robs me of the opportunities to grow.  If I can’t look within myself or REACH OUT to try to find balance, resilience, or solutions I am really only limiting opportunities and remaining FIXED…in a mindset…that keeps me bored and unhappy.  I would personally rather live elsewhere.

Where can you practice your levels?  Where can you teach them as well?

I absolutely LOVE Make Social Learning Stick!  Check out her website and blog for great teaching tools!

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For any parent, especially those with children who have or will benefit from fun fitness; and local to the NYC or North Jersey Areas this interview is a GREAT read!  Coach Mike is the owner of Empowered Sports and Fitness.  His energy is super contagious, and his focus and philosophy for building children up, and helping them learn through exercise is inspiring.  Coach Mike was kind enough to do a Q & A with me!  For more information please visit his website!

empowered Sports and Fitness

1.  What inspired you to start Empowered Sports and Fitness? 
 
created Empowered Sports and Fitness based on my own personal experiences. At the age of four, I was diagnosed with a learning disability that was both retrieval- and language-based. The diagnosis opened the floodgates to a series of judgments – from teachers, peers, and even relatives – as to what I could or could not accomplish in life. Despite my challenges with academics, there was one area that made all of that disappear: sports and fitness. All of my insecurities and self-esteem issues became an afterthought when I was out on the fields and courts. This was possible as a result of a special set of programs that I was fortunate to be a part of while attending a school for students with learning disabilities. I participated in sports programs that emphasized play, inclusiveness, and a level playing field. It didn’t matter if you were a fast runner or fast math problem solver; it didn’t matter if you could score 20 points in a game or process 20 words at a time; it didn’t matter if you struck out or hit a homer by acing your exam. Everyone had their moment to shine.
 
I have since learned that this opportunity was quite unique. Sports and fitness can be intimidating to many children depending on their ability; I believe they should be used to promote inclusion. Sports and fitness can be a gateway to building self-esteem and confidence. With that in mind, I’ve created a unique approach to youth fitness by getting my clients to play and move prior to my injecting technique and development into the session. I consider myself to be both a teacher and a coach. As a teacher, my goal is to plant seeds; as a coach, my goal is to get results. Overall, my main objective is to provide kids, especially those who have been challenged just as I was, with opportunities similar to those I had growing up.
 
2. Exercise is beneficial in more ways than just physical.  What are some positive impacts the children you work with experience?
In addition to the physical benefits, the children I have worked with have shown improvement in the way they learn (academics), how they relate and communicate with others, and how they feel about themselves. I constantly strive to help my clients pursue excellence on and off the field. The most important aspect a coach must consider when working with kids and adolescents is to remain positive; be positive about their skills and efforts. By showing appreciation for their physical activity you are reinforcing the foundation of lifelong habits. Overall, it has become more than just the physical – it’s also about the quality of life.  
3. If you could give parents two pieces of advice for making physical activity a positive part of their child’s life, what would it be?
 “My child doesn’t like organized sports or hates the idea of ‘exercise.'”
Sometimes it’s more about what parents want than what the child wants. Parents tend to have their own agenda when it comes to their children. Playing organized sports, attending classes and/or other structured activities does not have to be the ONLY method of physical activity. In fact, less structured activities can be a great start for kids who dislike the organized approach. When I’m not there to train, I teach the families I work with to create activities that are fun (that aren’t typical gym routines), and those activities should include input from the child. In other words, the family should be helping their child find activities he or she enjoys and can do on their own. Lastly, these activities should be creative, imaginative, and engaging. There’s a great saying about life: “Find what you love to do and you’ll never work a day in your life.” This same concept applies to kids and exercise. If they find something they love to do, they won’t think of it as exercise. 
 
“My child is self-conscious playing sports or trying new activities.”
A child who is a reluctant athlete might feel extra nervous when a coach barks out orders or the focus is on winning. This can be powerfully de-motivating. However, all of this can be overlooked because society tells us our children must learn to play with others and develop certain skills in a timely fashion. What if your child doesn’t fit this cookie-cutter lifestyle? Do we want to discourage them even more? Instead, shouldn’t we be trying to optimally motivate kids through purposeful direction? I have found that kids who are self-conscious, do not enjoy being singled out, or don’t like to try new activities, respond well to personal communication. By directing questions, suggestions, and tasks to the child privately, rather than publicly, we can make them feel safe and not “on display.” Some kids may be motivated by competitive play, but what about the kids who are not? Those kids need a trainer who understands how to create a safe, fun, and engaging environment, and, within a reasonable amount of time, understands how to gradually introduce competitive activities. 
 
4. You run social groups with an Occupational Therapist.  What do these groups focus on?
Can you relate to the following story…
“Coach Mike, my child doesn’t have many friends. I find it extremely hard to say it to myself, let alone out loud to you. I get a lump in my throat and a pain in my heart when I talk about this with anyone. My child is rarely invited to a birthday party, sleepover, or playdate. In most cases, we only get invites from close friends or family. What hurts me most is that my child loves to be around other kids, but he either sits on the sideline watching and smiling or, the other extreme, he becomes over-stimulated and overzealous while interacting and typically ends up having to be removed (kicking and screaming) from the other kids. It’s no secret my child struggles socially to build and maintain friendships. I want him to be able to enjoy being around other kids without being isolated or about to star in a UFC cage fight.”
Having heard many stories like this, I came to the realization that I needed to create change for the families with whom I was already working. With the help of Emily Kline, a Pediatric Occupational Therapist, we came up with the idea of combining our skills and creating a fun fitness – social group. We want to give the families and kids we work with a safe environment to practice and improve their social skills, and have them learn these skills through sports and fitness. This way, when they’re not working with us, i.e., when they’re out in the real world, parents and kids can feel more confident in any given environment. Society has a lot of catching up to do in regards to awareness for children with special needs.  However, rather than waiting for society to catch up, Emily and I decided to create a paradigm shift and give the families and kids we work with additional skills and the support they need now. With that in mind, we came up with the concept, CORE, which focuses on the following:
Cognitive – The benefits of physical fitness go beyond health and wellness of the body. Besides strengthening the cardiovascular and muscular systems, research suggests that physical activity also positively impacts the brain and improves cognition, mood, attention, and academic achievement in students. So, to support positive outcomes for both health and learning, we have incorporated movement into our social skills groups.
Open Communication – There are a broad range of communication and learning styles because we all process information differently. The learning styles are: visual, auditory, kinesthetic (hands-on), or a combination of all three. Knowing how your child learns helps us leverage cognitive and movement skills and explore barriers to help guide them.
Responsibility – We teach personal and social responsibility through physical activity. In fact, physical activity is a great way to teach kids valuable life skills such as respect for others, cooperation, and leadership. We enjoy helping shape and develop the character of the kids with whom we work.
Establish Life Long Habits – We are constantly striving to help the children and families we work with to pursue excellence on and off the field. The most important aspects to consider when working with kids and adolescents is to be positive about their skills and efforts. By showing appreciation for their physical activity, the foundation of lifelong habits is reinforced.
 
We understand that life choices and interactions can be difficult for the kids we work with because of sensory difficulties, motor planning difficulties, and social skills difficulties. Because the kids we work with already have so much on their plates, we decided to focus on the CORE (literally – as this is where all movement stems from) through physical activity and theory of mind (providing our kids with the CORE skills to be socially interactive). We felt that if we could give the kids and parents a model (the CORE Four), they would be able to reference and utilize these strategies in any given situation.
 
5. How could teachers and therapists like myself incorporate games and physical activities into our teaching and therapy to benefit those we work with?
My philosophy is one of INclusion, not EXclusion. The best way to include a child or adolescent in an activity is to find out what he/she loves, such as a favorite television series or character, a video or computer game, or even a movie, and use that as motivation. In other words, I would encourage teachers/therapists to become mad scientists. Cook up the craziest, whackiest, and most creative game possible that is based on your kiddos passion and you will have them engaged for hours! 
6. As a mom and professional I get so busy that self-care (especially exercise) can be hard to commit to.  What are some ways the whole family can get active together and encourage each other?
 
“My child’s schedule is jam-packed with school, homework, after-school activities, and there is not enough time to squeeze physical activity into an already crowded schedule.”
 
There is no doubt that kids and families today are in a time crunch. Free time has declined and kids are spending more time than ever in sedentary activities. In fact, a lot of free time kids have is spent in front of some sort of screen (TV, Computer, iPhone, iPad). Technology is not bad, but it’s an easy distraction that takes time away from things that are truly important. Being busy is the new norm. Therefore, it’s important to find balance. Too much or too little of something is never good. We need to find a happy medium. The one common denominator we all share is good health. Without our health it’s hard to be busy with anything. Therefore, my recommendation is to make everything into a game. For example, if you need your kids to clean their room, turn it into a Mission Impossible game. Their mission is to clean their room in one minute. However, many items are left on the floor (toys/dirty laundry) at the end of the one minute is how many jumping jacks they have to do. Another idea is before your kiddos engage in any screen time turn the screen time into an activity first. For example, if their favorite show is Peppa Pigbefore they can watch Peppa Pig they must go on a scavenger hunt and find all the piggies (print and cut out some piggies). On each of the pigs write a small game (5 jumping jacks, 5 push-ups, 10 seconds of running in place), and once they find all the pigs they can watch their show. 
 
7. Your company and coaching is all about Empowerment.  Can you leave readers with any advice or words that empower you? 
 
Having been diagnosed with a learning disability since the age of four, I have mastered the ability to understand how I learn best. But, I was not able to accomplish this on my own. I had the help of family, teachers, mentors, tutors, and friends. We all face challenges in our life. It’s never a sign of weakness to ask for help, but a sign of strength. We all learn differently and process information differently. Everyone deserves the same equal opportunity to enjoy life to the fullest. My life’s purpose is to create greater awareness in the community of special needs and show the community that with the right set of tools and guidance great things can happen. 

Book Review Blog

Happiest Toddler On the Block Book Review From ME to YOU!

A great Mom (and AMAZING pediatrician) recommended The Happiest Toddler on the Block to me when my daughter turned one.  It’s a book I have really enjoyed reading, and I have ACTUALLY used a lot of Dr. Karp’s strategies!  I am by no means an excellent book “reviewer”, but I thought I would share some of my favorite take home points, and how I love them not only as a Mom, but as a Speech-Language Pathologist as well!

Toddlers: Normal Development can make them misbehave.  It is basically a toddler’s job to push boundaries.  Their brain is growing at a rapid pace, so it is part of learning!  Dr. Karp brings up that toddlers can be especially rigid and yet also unpredictable!  You can think of this as “battle of the brain”!  The “logical” left brain can often lose control to the “emotional” right brain and leave them spinning!  Here are some strategies I took from the book, as well as some speech and language/social development ideas mixed in (in italics)!

  • Give them control where you can: Whether it is picking out their own clothes, teaching them some simple sign-language so they can advocate for help, more, etc., scheduling “special time” (5 minutes) where they direct all the play!
  • Routines: It’s not possible to ALWAYS stay on routine, but if you can keep some simple portions in place, even on hectic days it helps your toddler to regulate. Safety blankets/animals, songs, familiar toys, snacks, they aren’t obsessions. They are “tools” in your little one’s developing “tool belt” for self-regulation!
  • Narrating Play & Pretending with Emotions: During pretend play engage in pretending to be “mad”, “sad’, “excited”, “tired”. Describe how your body is feeling, what you’re thinking, what you need!  For small children use simple sentence structures so they get the main points!  (ex: narrating in 2-5 word sentences). 
  • The Fast Food Rule: I have been using this with my daughter and 90% of the time it is REALLY helpful with diffusing frustration! “In a nutshell, the Fast-Food Rule says: Whenever you talk to someone who’s upset, always repeat his/her feelings first…before offering your own comments or advice.”-Dr. Karp (Did I also mention this works well with my husband…) Dr. Karp goes on to state that for younger toddlers it helps to repeat using an emotional tone similar to the one they are expressing (make yourself sound mad, with similar tone of voice to them). As your child gets a little older scale it back, or gauge based on your child’s personality.  Make sure to use very simple language (ex: I mad, mad, mad, mad!)  Once your child calms you can then talk to them using simple language and try to re-direct.  From a speech and language perspective I LOVE this because it incorporates: building emotional vocabulary, narrates language for expressing problems/emotions, models active listening skills.  As a mom it has really helped to diffuse some tantrums or just straight stop them in their tracks!
  • Gossip Praise: This one is pretty impressive! It’s crazy how quick and effective it can be! When you witness your child doing something you want to reinforce you “gossip” about it to a stuffed animal, other parent, sibling, pet, etc! “Wow doggie I LOVE how…put away her toys.  She did such an amazing job cleaning up today!” You cover your mouth or whisper like it’s a secret.  It’s amazing how quickly you get the toddler’s attention, and a big smile! It’s also important to note that the more you point out/compliment/draw attention to these behaviors that you want to see, the more you will see them!  Your child pays attention to what you pay attention to…and what gets the largest emotional response from you!  You are also modeling TONS of language/labeling for your child’s actions!
  • Bedtime Sweet Talk and Positive Thinking: This has become hands down one of my FAVORITE things to add to our bedtime rituals!  It honestly puts me in such an amazing mindset before bedtime as well, since frankly some days are harder than others.  Karp talks about “sweet talk” before bed.  Putting out your hand/fingers and telling your little one about specific things that you loved doing with them, or loved seeing them do, or hearing about them doing throughout the day.  It doesn’t have to be anything big, but it’s so special!  “I had so much fun playing at the park today. It was fun watching how brave you were going down the slide!  You tried a new food today and really enjoyed it!”   This is also an amazing way to help build self-narrative skills!  Having children recall parts of their day using salient details, emotional responses, thoughts, and actions is a huge stepping stone to building narrative language skills, as well as theory of mind and perspective taking!  Not to mention a fantastic way to start boosting your child’s positive self-dialogue and inner coach/voice!

This book has SO much more to offer including: increasing “green light” behaviors, “time ins”, tips for limit setting, and tips for eliminating “red light” behaviors!  As with everything else every child is different! These are just some of the tools from this book that have worked for me!  If you decide to read I really hope you enjoy!  Also, this isn’t just a book I would recommend for parents!  Fellow therapists it’s a fun resource to look through! 


Soap bubbles background (blue)

Bath Time Benefitting Speech, Language, Sensory, & Motor Development

For children that enjoy bath time it can be an amazing area to practice wellness, speech, language, motor, sensory, self-regulation, and social developmental skills to name a few!  Below are some tips, tricks, and benefits from an Occupational Therapist and Speech Therapist for simple ways to make tub time a totally amazing form of quality learning time!

Tips and Tricks from Occupational Therapist You Young Min OTRL and Sarah A Ott M.S. CCC-SLP

  • Bath time is great for kids for sensory integration. For example, it gives them both tactile and auditory feedback when splashing with water. (*When working on speech and language skills, especially those that are difficult, having the sensory system integrated and calm can greatly increase quality practice of skills. The systems are not competing!)
  • Kids can scoop water and pour into another bucket which is great for developing play skills and coordination. And there is great tactile input with bubbles and warm water. Bubbles are great for sensory input, much like shaving cream.
  • They can receive a gentle massage on their arms for tactile input using the bubbles. (*Adding Speech and Language to this you could label body parts as you massage with the bubbles.)
  • They can draw on the wall for motor planning, coordination, fine motor skills using shaving cream or dry erase markers.
  • Grabbing and popping bubbles are good for coordination and fine motor skills.
  • Scented bubbles are also great for aromatherapy. They can explore different scents so their brain can interpret how it makes them feel: calm/alert. (*Adding Speech, Language, and Social/Emotional Communication to this you can talk about how the body physically feels like and looks like when it is calm vs. alert. Have them tense and release their legs, arms, face, etc.)
  • Warm water also helps most children to regulate (calming effect for our sensory systems, think about how great a warm shower feels as an adult!). Bathing also gives them a safe environment for them to put items in their mouth if they’re still in the mouthing stage since the toys are clean.
  • Reading, Writing, Turn Taking! YES! Practice writing in shaving cream on a tub wall or white board, bring measuring cups, bowls, and other items that could encourage pretend play into the tub and practice turn taking, imaginative play schemas, location concepts, and so much more!
  • Articulation Practice! Bath time is a GREAT time to get this in if your child is in Speech Therapy, or you notice certain sounds are emerging or need assistance emerging. You don’t need to buy new toys to target sounds, and you do NOT need flashcards!
    • EXAMPLE: If the sound is /k/ or /g/ put bubbles on their neck and say this is where the sound comes from, have them kick their feet and use auditory bombardment by saying “kick, kick, kick” (with your finger tapping your neck) now you try! Make up a silly “k” song and sign it in the tub!5 minutes of articulation practice each day is really all you need! 
  • Social and Emotional Story Telling! This is a great time to have “story time” maybe about a lesson you want them to learn about sharing, calming down, expressing emotions!  It is an environment where they are already calm and happy, so these lessons are much easier to talk about and retain!

 

Identify the Signs

What Parents Can Do

The Earlier the Better

Early Intervention

sound chart


Let’s Chat Phonological Processes…what they are, when they should no longer be present in your child’s speech, when you should consult a speech therapist, and how you can help your child!

Phonological Processes

Phonological Processes are speech errors in your child’s speech that are typical in their development up to a certain age range.  In most cases these speech errors will resolve themselves as your child sort of grows into their little articulators! There are a lot of things to coordinate when talking…think of it sort of like your child learning to walk.  They slowly gain their balance and coordination as they practice.

This chart is an excellent source for parents to glance at to check on their child’s speech development.  Really look at the examples.  These will help to guide you.  The ages listed are the ages you should see these processes or distortions resolve or disappear.  If your child is 6 months to a year past, and you have concerns with their intelligibility you should consult your pediatrician or school teacher for an Ear Nose and Throat Specialist and Speech referral.  I am a huge proponent of an audiological evaluation as well, just to rule out any hearing issues.

If you or your family members are concerned that you understand less than 60% of what your child says talk to your pediatrician.  Early detection and intervention are so helpful!

You are your child’s greatest advocate, you’re AMAZING!


This is from ASHA’s official page.  An amazing resource for parents!

Remember: Children develop at their own rate. Your child might not have all skills until the end of the age range.

Age 1-2 Years 

What should my child be able to do?

Hearing and Understanding Talking
  • Points to a few body parts when you ask.
  • Follows 1-part directions, like “Roll the ball” or “Kiss the baby.”
  • Responds to simple questions, like “Who’s that?” or “Where’s your shoe?”
  • Listens to simple stories, songs, and rhymes.
  • Points to pictures in a book when you name them.
  • Uses a lot of new words.
  • Uses p, b, m, h, and w in words.
  • Starts to name pictures in books.
  • Asks questions, like “What’s that?”, “Who’s that?”, and “Where’s kitty?”
  • Puts 2 words together, like “more apple,” “no bed,” and “mommy book.”

Ages 2-3 Years 

What should my child be able to do?

Hearing and Understanding Talking
  • Understands opposites, like go–stop, big–little, and up–down.
  • Follows 2-part directions, like “Get the spoon and put it on the table.”
  • Understands new words quickly.
  • Has a word for almost everything.
  • Talks about things that are not in the room.
  • Uses k, g, f, t, d, and n in words.
  • Uses words like in, on, and under.
  • Uses two- or three- words to talk about and ask for things.
  • People who know your child can understand him.
  • Asks “Why?”
  • Puts 3 words together to talk about things. May repeat some words and sounds.

Lazy 8 Breathing

This visual can be a GAME CHANGER for helping kids to calm down or just plain focus.  It also requires them to cross midline on their bodies so helps to integrate both sides of their brains…which if they are having an emotional moment can be really helpful!  Plus deep, slow breathing is SO regulating! I suggest laminating the visual and placing it on a wall. Your child can either stand and trace it with their finger or you can get a dry erase marker, and they can trace.

lazy 8 breathing