8 Ways to Encourage Speech and Language in Young Children

1. Read, read, read! Find age appropriate books that have lots of pictures that your child can look at while you read, label objects and actions, etc.

2. Expose your child to new situations. This will provide you with an opportunity to introduce new vocabulary in novel situations such as, a trip to the zoo or a bike ride through a park.

3. Expand on what your child says, Ex. if your child says “doggie” then you could say “Yes, the dog is running,” or something within the context.

4. Provide choices in order to create opportunities for your child to vocalize their wants/needs. Ex. ” Do you want crackers or pretzels?”.

5. Put desired objects in out of reach places to encourage your child to request, and ask for help.

6. Use fill in the blanks statements. Set up a familiar phrase, and leave off the last word. Ex. “ready, set, …..”

7. Self talk. Talk about what you are doing, seeing, thinking, etc. “I’m washing my hands so I can make you a snack”.

8. Feign lack of understanding. Pretend like you aren’t sure what your child wants. Ex. If your child points to their juice on a high counter, but doesn’t vocalize the request, you can act like you don’t understand. I.e.  “I’m not sure what you want? Do you want your juice or this paper?” Wait till a vocalization is made even if it doesn’t sound perfect, then reward their efforts.

Blog By: Mary Williams-Anderson

For further information contact us 941-360-0200 or visit us at www.pediatrictherapysolution.com

Frontal Lisp: From Cute to Concern

A frontal lisp is when the tongue protrudes through the front teeth, typically during the production of /s/ and /z/. This causes air to escape out, resulting in a sound distortion. Production of /s/ and /z/ will sound like the /th/ sound, ex. sun/thun. This articulation error is cute initially, but is no longer developmentally appropriate after 4 1/2 years old.

A child should receive a formal speech evaluation around the age of 4 1/2 years old if this error persists. Intervention should include awareness activities, strategies/techniques to elicit /s/ and /z/ sounds without tongue protrusion, drill activities, and self-monitoring skills.

Techniques that can be used in therapy and in the home environment include:
1) Ask child to close teeth, smile, and blow air out. This technique will teach child correct tongue placement.
2) Have the child use a mirror during practice to visually show child correct tongue placement
3) Ask child to produce /t/ sound and then hold the sound while blowing out air. This technique will elicit appropriate tongue placement.
4) Once the child is able to produce /s/ and /z/ correctly, drill and structured activities will be used so the child is given many opportunities to practice. The more the child practices the sooner the skill will be carried over into conversational speech.

Blog by: Mary Williams Anderson

For further information contact us at 941-360-0200 or visit us at www.pediatrictherapysolution.com

 

 

Personalized Books

Manasota BUDS recently hosted a workshop with guest speaker Natalie Hale, founder of Special Reads for Special Needs.  Manasota BUDS is a volunteer organization based in Bradenton Florida that provides networking and support for families and helps promote understanding and acceptance of Down syndrome.  Natalie was an excellent speaker, with so much information to share.  Her program Special Reads for Special Needs provides specialized reading materials for learners with Down Syndrome, Autism, and other developmental delays and Natalie has so many wonderful suggestions for making reading more fun and effective.  One of her recommendations for helping children learn to read is making personal books.  So, how do we do this?

Materials you will need:

A “hot topic” list of at least 9 of your child’s favorite people, family members, pets, foods, toys, activities, sports, character, etc.

5×8 index cards

110# card stock paper (for printing the book)

Red marker (for making flash cards)

Instructions

Choose a vocabulary list of 10-15 words.  Some of these will be your “hot topic” words, and some will be Dolch Sight words appropriate to your child’s current reading level.  A full list of Dolch words can be found here: http://www.dolchword.net/printables/All220DolchWordsByGradeAlpha.pdf

Write the text for your book.  Keep your sentences short and simple, each one will be on a page by itself.  After each sentence page, the next page will be the sentence plus a picture.  Be sure to end your story with “The End”.  I created a book about the Minions from Despicable me.  I kept it very simple and incorporated numerical words one to ten.  The entire book had 11 vocabulary words.

Create flash cards for all of the words in your story.  You can do this by writing them as large as possible using your red marker, or printing them on your computer in red ink (red has been known to help children learn).

 

Find photos online, cut out pictures from magazines, or take your own photos to go along with your text.

Write the text on your computer and print it, with these guidelines (directly from Natalie Hale’s website):

Use landscape mode

Set font to size 70-100 black, and choose one of the Sans Serif fonts (Arial, Calibri, Tahoma). Almost everything we read on a daily basis (newspapers, internet, books) is in a Sans Serif font.

Type one sentence per page, alternating sentence only and sentence with picture and print using the 110# index paper stock (or use plain paper in a pinch, and laminate to help your book hold up longer)

Assemble your book with the text ONLY on the right hand side.  You can take your book to an office supply store for binding.

Time to Read!

Using Fast Flash, a method of reviewing flashcards at a rapid pace, which helps maintain a child’s attention and helps with instant recall, review the vocabulary with your child.  You can find more detail about the Fast Flash method here: http://specialreads.com/blog/?p=165.  Once you have reviewed the flashcards, it’s time to read the book to your child and enjoy it together!  Finish up by showing/calling out the flash cards again, and you’re done!

You can continue to create new books with the same topic and new sight words, or create books with new topics.  In addition to the Minions book, I also created a book about a baby doll, to help teach some verb vocabulary (Baby Eats, Baby Sleeps, Baby Drinks, Etc).

Once we read the book and review the vocabulary, we get to play with the baby!

I hope you enjoy making your own personalized books!

Blog by: Rebekah Greer

For further information please contact us at 941-360-0200 or visit our website at www.pediatrictherapysolution.com

 

For more information about Manasota BUDS, visit their website: http://www.manasotabuds.org/

For more information about Natalie Hale and Special Reads for Special Needs, visit her website at: http://specialreads.com/

Fun Articulation Activities

Does your child have difficulty correctly producing particular sounds in connected speech? If so then they may be struggling with an articulation disorder. Flashcards and drill activities can quickly become repetitive and boring for children. Here are several activities that will have your child asking you to practice their sounds:

1. Bowling-print out flashcards or words that contain their target sound (the sound that they are working on) and tape them to empty 2 liter bottles. When your child knocks down the “pin” they will produce the target word using correct articulation.

2. Bean Bag Toss: line up flashcards or words, that contain the child’s target sound and and take turns throwing bean bags at cards. When they land a bean bag on a card they can produce the target word using correct articulation.

3. Simple card games: such as Memory or Go Fish, buy or print out and laminate flashcards containing your child’s target sound.

4. Treasure hunt: Involve other family members if possible and see who can find the most things that begin with the target sound. Make up your own “house rules” to make it more fun.

5. Magnet Fishing: attach a string with a magnet to a stick. Make small picture or word cards with the target sound. These can be fish-shaped, but they don’t have to be. Put a paper clip or staple at the top of each card. Take turns “catching fish” and naming the pictures or reading the words.

Blog written by: Mary Williams-Anderson

 For further information please contact us at 941-360-0200 or visit us at www.pediatrictherapysolution.com

 

Book Review: “Brain Rules for Baby”

Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child form Zero to Five

Brain Rules for Baby is written by John Medina, a developmental molecular biologist and research consultant.  He is also the author of the New York Times bestseller Brain Rules:  12 Principals for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School.   You might think that with all these accolades, Brain Rules for Baby would be dry and boring. We found it to be quite the opposite!  The author adds facts, mixed with humor and real-life scenarios, which will challenge you to question your current parenting process or lay the foundation for a future child.

John Medina divides the book into specific brain rules in the areas of: pregnancy, relationships, smart baby, happy baby, and moral baby.  Within these “chapters,” if you will, are answers to questions we have all asked ourselves regarding genetics, nature vs. nurture, psychological characteristics, emotional control, diet, technology, character building, etc.   At the end of each chapter he reviews “Key Points.”  These key points are a nice review and allow you to digest the facts that were presented in a more simplified version.  We personally dogeared these pages as a way to quick-reference in the future.  This book will resonate with you whether you are trying to conceive, are currently pregnant, or have a newborn, toddler, or school-aged child.  What you are doing right now will affect your child for the rest of his or her life.  You will learn to see your child in a whole new light after reading this book.

We give this book 5 stars!  If you have ever had any questions regarding parenting and how your day-to-day decisions affect the growth and moral development of your child, this book is a must-read!

Written by: Michelle Adams, OTR/L, IMC

Bring Out Those Board Games

In today’s world of tablets, smartphones, and other electronics, family game night does not have to be a thing of the past!
Playing board games with your children is a great way to practice speech and language skills.  Many board games offer the opportunity to practice turn taking, problem solving, numbers, counting, adding, and so much more.
For younger children, simply practicing taking turns, waiting, and understanding the rules of a game is important in helping them develop pragmatic language skills.  A few games that are great for younger children include:
Don’t Break the Ice
Hi-Ho Cherry O
Pop Up Pirate
Cootie
Connect 4
If your child is working on asking and answering questions, try playing Go-Fish or Guess Who.  The repetitive nature helps your child get plenty of practice with specific question forms and yes/no responses.
Articulation practice can be incorporated into almost any game.  Have the list of words or sentences your child is working on nearby, and make it a rule that everyone has to say a word/sentence before each turn.  To make this more fun, parents can “mess up” on the speech sounds, and let your child correct you :)
Another card game that is popular and great for practicing colors and numbers is Uno.
For children working on reading and literacy skills try playing Sorry, Scrabble, Scrabble Jr, or Scrabble Slam.

There are so many fun games available, and just as many ways you can incorporate speech and language practice into them!
Blog written by: Rebekah Greer
For further information please contact us at 941-360-0200 or visit us at www.pediatrictherapysolution.com

Receptive and Expressive Language Developmental Motor Milestones

Have you ever wondered if your child is on target with their speech and language development?  We have come up with an easy to read checklist to track his or her developmental progress:

Birth to 3 months

  • Smiles at the sound of your voice
  • Makes cooing, gurgling sounds
  • Turns head toward direction of sound
  • Communicates hunger, fear, discomfort (through crying or facial expression)

3 months to 6 months

  • Begins to respond to the word “no”
  • Responsive to changes in your tone of voice and to sounds other than speech
  • Babbles in a speech-like way and uses many different sounds, including sounds that begin with p, b, and m

6 months to 12 months

  • Responds to own name
  • Begins to respond to “no”
  • Turns and looks in the direction of sounds
  • Responds to sound by making sounds
  • Uses voice to express joy and displeasure
  • Knows familiar faces
  • Understands words for common items such as “cup,” “shoe,” or “juice”
  • Responds to requests (“Come here” or “Want more?”)
  • Communicates using gestures such as waving or holding up arms

12 months to 18 months

  • Tries to “talk” with you through babbling
  • Tries to imitate words
  • Says “dada” and “mama”
  • Uses exclamations, such as “oh-oh!”
  • Recognizes family members’ names
  • Follows simple commands (“roll the ball”)
  • Responds to “no”
  • Uses simple gestures, such as shaking head for “no”

18 months to 24 months

  • Knows a few parts of the body and can point to them when asked
  • Understands simple questions (“Where’s your shoe?”)
  • Enjoys simple stories, songs, and rhymes
  • Points to pictures, when named, in books
  • Acquires new words on a regular basis
  • Uses some one- or two-word questions (“Where kitty?” or “Go bye-bye?”)
  • Puts two words together (“More cookie” or “No juice”)
  • Asks specifically for his/her mother or father
  • Uses “hi,” “bye,” and “please,” with reminders
  • Requests items or actions by pointing or by using one word
  • Directs another’s attention to an object or action
  • Laughs at silly actions (ex. wearing a bowl as a hat)

24 months to 36 months

  • Points to 5-6 parts of a doll when asked
  • Uses 2-3 word sentences to verbalize desires and feelings
  • Asks for information about an object (ex. “shoe?” while pointing to shoe box)
  • Hum or tries to sing
  • Listens to short rhymes
  • Likes to imitate parents
  • Takes turns in play with other children
  • Treats a doll or stuffed animal as though it were alive
  • Refers to self by name and use “me” and “mine”
  • Knows some spatial concepts such as “in”, “on”
  • Knows descriptive words such as “big”, “happy”
  • Begins to use plurals such as “shoes” or “socks” and regular past tense verbs such as “jumped”
  • Follows two step directions

36 months to 48 months

  • Groups objects such as foods, clothes, etc.
  • Identifies colors
  • Able to describe the use of objects such as “fork,” “car,” etc.
  • Uses verbs that end in “ing,” such as “walking” and “talking”
  • Answers simple questions such as “What do you do when you are hungry?”
  • Match objects that have same function (as in putting a cup and plate together)
  • Speaks in sentences of five to six words
  • Understands the concepts of “same” and “different”
  • Tells stories
  • Follows three-part commands (ex. “Put the toys away, wash your hands, and come eat.”)
  • Recalls parts of a story

48 months to 60 months

  • Understands the concepts of  “big,” “little,” “tall,” “short”
  • Able to identify situations that would lead to happiness, sadness, or anger
  • Uses “a,” “an,” and “the” when speaking
  • Asks direct questions (“May I?” “Would you?”)
  • Wants explanations of “why” and “how”
  • Relates a simple experience she has had recently
  • Often prefer playing with other children to playing alone, unless deeply involved in a solitary task
  • Speaks sentences of more than five words
  • Uses future tense

For further information contact us at 941-360-0200 or visit us at www.pediatrictherapysolution.com

References

http://www.lpch.org/DiseaseHealthInfo/HealthLibrary/growth/aaslm.html

http://www.speech-language-therapy.com/devel2.htm

http://giftedkids.about.com/od/gifted101/p/milestones.htm

 

 

 

Articulation Station

Is your child working on correctly producing specific sounds to increase intelligibility in connected speech? Typical flashcards and drill activities can become boring very quickly! Fortunately there is a fun, interactive articulation app that kids of all ages love to play.


Articulation Station has 6 engaging activities at the word, sentence and story level. You are able to customize the target sounds, sound placement, and level of difficulty for your child’s needs. If your child is too young to read, picture prompts and auditory reinforcement are included to allow your child to practice by themselves. They are also able to record their responses and play them back to hear how they produced the sounds. This tool is great for self monitoring.

Articulation Station has a “store” within the app. This is where you can purchase the sound(s) your child needs help with. You have the option to purchase all of the sound programs at once for $49.99. The 22 programs included include: p, b, m, h, w, y, d, n, t, k, g, ng, f, v, ch, j, l, r , s, z, ch, and th. Individual sound prices range from $1.99 to $9.99 depending on the sound.  For further information or to purchase, log onto:  http://littlebeespeech.com/

Blog By: Mary Williams-Anderson

For Further information contact us at 941-360-0200 or visit us at www.pediatrictherapysolution.com

Fun and Simple Meal Preparation

A fantastic way to encourage your child to become involved with simple meal preparation is to make it a creative experience. Play with your food! This activity is great for using imagination, a wonderful way to increase communication, and a great self-help skill builder. Involve your child with all the steps, from selecting the meal to cleaning up the dishes. It is never too early to learn to create their own simple meals in a fun and safe way.

1. Gather the fixings for a sandwich, whether it be peanut butter (sun butter, almond butter, nutella), meat and cheese, veggies, fruit, candy toppings, condiments, whatever it may be that will appeal to your child. We used bread, peanut butter, craisins, and chocolate chips for our fun creations. Since it is Valentine’s Day tomorrow we used heart cookie cutters to create our shapes.

2. Use your cookie cutter to cut out your shape from your slice of bread. If you are grain free you can use the cutters to cut your lunch meat or veggie slices too. Be creative!

3. Spread on your condiment of choice.

4. Arrange your toppings to create animals, fun shapes, designs, boarders, etc.

5. Now you are ready to eat your tasty treat. Austin made his into a mouse by adding pretzels for whiskers. So fun!!

*Depending on the age of your child parent supervision may be required. If you have a child who is able to safely prepare their meal independently, have them make something for siblings, family, and themselves. They will be so proud to show off their creation.

Blog by: Laney London, COTA/L, IMC

For further information contact us at 941-360-0200 or visit us at www.pediatrictherapysolution.com 

The Tricky “R” Sound

It’s not unusual to hear a 3 year old talk about “wabbits” and “wainbows,” but when does the /r/ sound become an articulation concern?

Speech sound errors can be developmental in nature and, with maturity, some children may grow out of it.  Other children, due to various factors such as oral motor delays, past or present hearing difficulties, or other unknown causes, may keep using these immature speech sound patterns as they get older.

According to Goldman Fristoe Test of Articulation-2, a standardized test commonly used to assess articulation skills, 85% of children master /r/ and /r/ blends by age 6.  As speech language pathologists, we typically wait until this age to determine if errors are developmental in nature or true disorders.  We may choose, however, to address /r/ sound errors at an earlier age, depending on the child’s overall speech intelligibility and other factors.

/R/ is a complicated sound due to the various oral motor structures involved and due to the many ways in which /r/ appears in words.

Unlike earlier developing sounds like “b” or “p”, which are made primarily using our lips and our voice, the “r” sound requires proper placement of the lips and tongue.  The /r/ sound can also vary greatly, depending on where it occurs in the word.  Some children may be able to say prevocalic ‘r’ sounds (those occurring before a vowel, as in “rabbit”) with a correct “r” sound, but have difficulty with r blends (br-, tr-, dr-, etc) or vocalic r sounds.  The vocalic r occurs when r is between vowels (as in cherry) or after a vowel (as in car or teacher). 

Correct oral motor placement is key to /r/ sound production.  Most people make the /r/ sound in one of two ways – with their tongue bunched or retroflexed (curled).  A bunched /r/ sound occurs when the middle of the tongue is bunched in the center of the mouth and a retroflexed /r/ sound requires the tongue tip to be slightly curled up and back in the mouth.  With both methods, the sides of the tongue are lightly touching the back molars. 

Here are some tips and techniques you can use to help your child become more proficient with that tricky /r/ sound:

Demonstrate correct tongue placement – show your child how their tongue should be tight and bunched when making an ‘r’ sound – this can be done using a play dough “tongue” or simply a hand gesture to show that the tongue is bunched and the tongue tip slightly back.  You can also use peanut butter, a lollipop, or other sticky flavorful food on the top back molars, to help your child “find” where the their tongue should be touching.

Work from an /l/ sound – Have your child make an /l/ sound.  Then, instruct him/her to slide the tongue back along the roof of the mouth while vocalizing.  This will help get the tongue into position for the retroflex /r/ sound.

Use silly sounds to encourage /r/ - make the sound of a cat purring (“purrrrrrrrrr”), a tiger growling (“grrrrrrrrrrr”), or a rooster crowing (“rrr rrr rrr rrrrr rrrrrrrrrrr”) to practice the /r/ sound

Silent /k/ - If your child is able to make a /k/ sound, have him/her get the tongue into position for this sound (tight and far back in the mouth), and then growl!

Get rid of that /w/ - If your child is making a /w/ instead of an /r/ sound, ask him/her to smile when making the /r/.  This encourages the lips to be drawn back instead of rounded, getting closer to a good /r/ sound.