Language Development and COVID19

The “new norm” of saying “Hello” and “Good-bye”

Language impaired children often have trouble interpreting facial expressions. Increasing numbers of states may be required that everyone except for those under the age of two wear masks. How will this affect social skills? Reading the emotions of others is so important to be able to communicate with each other

Language is changing in terms of interpretation of facial expressions – after all we are wearing masks hopefully more often than not at this time. Teaching emotions and interpreting them will change so please click on this link to learn some tips. A literal visual picture will be worth a thousand words! https://challengingbehavior.cbcs.usf.edu/docs/Wearing-Masks_Story.pdf

Learn about how to help your children interpret emotions underneath those masks

Helping Children Understand Emotions When Wearing Masks
Young children look for emotional cues from caregivers to help interpret the environment and rely on their caregiver’s facial expressions, tone of voice, and body posture to identify and understand emotions. Here are tips and ideas for helping children identify emotions when your face, your most expressive feature, is covered by a mask. Use these strategies to let children know that behind the mask, a kind and warm expression is still there!

  1. Practice emotional expressions with a mask on in front of a mirror. Pay attention to facial cues that can be seen, body movements, and hand gestures.
  2. Incorporate ASL when teaching emotions
    (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91foGHKuwL0).
  3. Direct children to look at your eyebrows, eyes, body movements, and gestures when talking about emotions. For example, “Look, I am happy.
    You can’t see my mouth smile, but my cheeks lift up, my eyes crinkle, and my shoulders and arms look like this.”
  4. Increase the use of gestures throughout the day and when talking
    about emotions (e.g., shoulders shrugged for sad, arms out to indicate
    a happy mood).
  5. Talk about your feelings as much as possible (e.g., “I am feeling happy that it is almost time to go outside and play.”; “I am feeling sad that it is raining right now.”; “I am feeling excited that we have a new toy in centers today.”).
  6. If using an emotion check-in, encourage all adults in the classroom to participate and check-in when the children do (https://challengingbehavior.cbcs.usf.edu/docs/FeelingFaces_chart_template.pdf).
  7. When talking about emotions, hold up the corresponding emotion card or visual near your face. Consider wearing a lanyard with a visual of an emotion expressions (e.g., tired, happy, excited, sad, angry, mad, nervous).
  8. Be sure to face children and remain nearby when talking to them while wearing a mask. Wearing a mask muffles the speaker’s speech, which can make it more difficult to understand what is said.
  9. Provide an activity for children to practice wearing a mask and making different faces while looking in a mirror or at each other. Point out how their face looks (e.g., eyes, eyebrows).
  10. Allow children to use masks during play with stuffed animals to help familiarize them with seeing masks in their environment.
  11. Reference: National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations | ChallengingBehavior.org
    The reproduction of this document is encouraged. Permission to copy is not required. If modified or used in another format, please cite original source. This is a product of the National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations and was made possible by Cooperative Agreement #H326B170003 which is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.
    Pub: 06/26/20

Please keep the conversation going and post how you an your children are changing how you are interacting with others. How is language changing for your family???

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Summer Tech Use?

On Facebook recently, I read the following question from a parent and had some ideas about what might be helpful:

“Anyone had success in detaching their kids from the electronic world? I have a huge concern about what this is doing to my 2 boys with multiple letters in their diagnosis…I am afraid our summer is a battle and competition with it.😑”

There is cause for concern, battles aside. According to How Technology Hinders People with ADHD: “Technology use requires balance and self-monitoring. It can be beneficial to utilize the available software to help increase productivity, but also to help decrease distraction and hyper-focus”.

The American Academy of Pediatrics provides guidelines for the use of technology that might be worthwhile to consider.

Create a Family Media Plan.

Create three rules:

RULE ONE

“Pick One Piece of Technology to Use Today for .. (time limit) ) Pick one i.e. kindle, i-pad, computer, etc,

You might want to define clearly on a color coded wipe off board or schedule such as this for each child:

Monday =Kindle Fire;

Tuesday = iPad etc. I might want to rotate every day of the week. Monday may be kindle day, Tuesday could be i-pad day etc.

RULE TWO

Plan Media Viewing: Here is a list of acceptable programs or … decide together what will be watched (you as a parent are responsible for how technology is used and viewed at home)

RULE THREE

Talk about what you have watched with mom/dad

Technology Can Facilitate Social Interaction Graphic

**The research shows that children of different ages understand ond process what they view on computers or other electronic devices best if you as an adult watch it with them and then discuss what is being viewed.

The Ready to Learn Television Program

The Ready to Learn Program: 2010-2015 Policy Brief, published in March 2016, summarized ED’s Ready to Learn Television program research on the effectiveness of three educational television production organizations.53 The brief reported on 15 effectiveness/summative research studies with children aged 3-8 using media in informal learning settings (such as after school or child care programs); 7 of the studies focused on learning at home. From the 7 studies that focused on learning at home, positive associations were found between at-home engagement and children’s math learning with children whose parents received interventions such as content guides and suggestions for supplemental activities. The studies also found that parents’ awareness of children’s math learning increased their likeliness to engage in activities and strategies to help their children learn math.

On a personal Note:

On this Father’s Day, I remember the house rule in my family. Each of the three of us siblings was allowed to watch television for one hour per day. The rule was so ingrained into my daily life that I can even recall the names of the shows I watched and the time of day. It was always for an hour in the morning before school. It was a relaxing way to start the day. Of course, the time of day changed with advancing childhood years.

There were exceptions to that rule: My parents allowed us additional time if we had to watch something on television for school OR if there was a special program – for example watching “The Wizard of Oz” as a family was a big deal for us. It was, after all, a simpler time. Another such special additional viewing that stands out is the night that Neil Armstrong landed on the moon. The LM landed on the Moon at 20:17:39 GMT (16:17:39 EDT) on 20 July 1969. That was special!… so special that we went to the neighbor’s house to watch together. We went there because they had a color television set and I imagine my parents wanted to share the occasion with other adults. For some reason, one of those memories as a little girl was that of dad carrying me home really comfortable in his arms, because I fell asleep right after the landing.

The beauty of this rule is a child was that I was forced to develop other interests and had to learn what else I could do in my free time. Mom was a librarian so we spent a lot of time picking out books and reading. I’d read two or three books at a time. I set up lemonade stands, rode my bike, learned how to draw, and write poetry. During the summer, we went to the pool. We traveled as a family, as we got older and actually may do so even now, periodically as adults. It builds bonds by sharing face time. The challenge comes when you sit down to eat and the phone has to go in a basket, away from everyone and the game is who can stay away from their phone for the longest! Technology can really be addictive!

Finally – for additional thought on the topic of how we use the brain and how it develops take note of this article and perhaps build reading time into your family’s regular routine:

https://medium.com/@alltopstartups/the-reading-brain-why-your-brain-needs-you-to-read-every-day-f5307c50d979#:~:text=Our%20brains%20change%20and%20develop%20in%20some%20fascinating%20ways%20when%20we%20read.&text=Reading%20involves%20several%20brain%20functions,something%20as%20by%20experiencing%20it.

Can You Hear Me?

Homes with multiple children and pets can be hectic and loud, requiring extra attention to everyone and stressful for families. Especially being at home at this time, being mindful of your child’s ability to hear will be especially important.

Infants

Ear infections are more frequent in babies who have hearing aids because fluid becomes trapped in the middle ear due to the earmold. Consider that it will be helpful to have a prescription for alleviating eat pain and infection.

Baby Hearing Protection - How to Protect Your Baby's Hearing
https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.babyhearing.org%2Fprotect-hearing&psig=AOvVaw1JEy4_AdF-jaVaOBs-Fzo3&ust=1589143947716000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CLsBEK-JA2oXChMIkJf_1tSn6QIVAAAAAB0AAAAAEAQ

Preschool – School Aged Children:

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With older children, who are remote learning, are the batteries working? Have extra ones on hand. because without working these may be affecting a student’s ability to concentrate and complete their work. A number of different ways of enhancing hearing function are detailed in a scholarly article published in ASHA’s American Journal of Audiology. Consider that there are headsets with a feature to help them. Your child may not necessarily tell you; but in this state of crisis at home and in the community this isn’t something to forget. If you are stressed and your child is not looking at you or responding to you for example auditory function may be compromised. Are they pulling at their ear and fussy? Consider that hearing may be a factor.

The Best Hearing Aids for Kids and Teens
https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fphysicianshearingservices.com%2Fblog-posts%2Fthe-best-hearing-aids-for-kids-and-teens&psig=AOvVaw01fLSAa6WSE0dpsSjbqcJs&ust=1589143544984000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=2ahUKEwiqsJ6V06fpAhVDBd8KHaBiDf8Qr4kDegUIARDWAw

ASHA encourages everyone to enjoy these devices safely by taking three basic steps:

  • lower the volume
  • limit the time spent listening
  • wear earphones that go around the ear or fit deeper into the ear to better isolate wanted sound and reduce the need to increase the volume

Referenced in articles published by the American Speech Language Hearing Association, Alexa Skill Blueprints may be helpful for your school aged child who needs to complete homework. https://blueprints.amazon.com/home As an example, the program can create a spelling test

ALL BLUEPRINTS

The Spelling Bee Icon

The Spelling Bee

Create an interactive spelling bee themed tale.MAKE YOUR OWN

Hear a sample of The Spelling Bee

“Alexa, open the Spelling Bee”

Alexa: Welcome to the Spelling Bee. This story has three blanks in it. To change a blank, say ‘Alexa, undo.’ Let’s get started. Please say a child’s name.

“Aloise”

Alexa: You said Aloise. Ok. […] Are you ready to hear your story?

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HOW TO CREATE

  1. Get inspired by the sample story
  2. Customize it, or start from scratch
  3. Drop in sound effects, fun expressions, and pauses
  4. Create interactive “blanks” to fill in while you listen
  5. Pick a name for your skill
  6. Give your child access to this skill in FreeTime. Go to Amazon Parent Dashboard, tap on the settings icon next to your child’s name, select Add Content, go to the Alexa Skills tab, and then toggle your Blueprint skill on

HOW TO USE

Gather your audience. When you play the story, Alexa asks listeners to fill in the blanks and then reads the story.

Resource:

Virtual Schooling Tips

In a challenging time for the ability to educate your child, parents are struggling in the manner in which children have to learn. With this being Better Speech and Hearing Month (BHSM), this second BSHM post relates to how you can better help your child (and yourself) succeed at tele-schooling.

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Additional Resources
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/07/business/school-education-online-money.html?fbclid=IwAR2l9NACDI_so_6leaGM1uCgBgmZ-8EPxknSxHYy2yJM5jyzWnvfy3T4sCY

LANGUAGE ACTIVITIES

May is Better Speech and Hearing Month. This is a month designed to educate others about these areas and provide resources. Well… during this COVID 19 declared state of emergency, families have inquired about the need to structure time at home. In response to this concern, I am posting ideas and include some links at the bottom of this post that may be of help.

Thanks to the American Speech-Language Association https://www.asha.org for the information contained in this post and the photo above. In addition, I’ve included a few related resources at the end which found and think may be useful for others

Ten Ways Children With Language Disorders Can Maintain Both Physical Distance and Social Connection During the Coronavirus Pandemic

With social distancing (or more accurately, physical distancing) a new way of life during the COVID-19 pandemic, people of all ages are challenged to find different ways to connect socially. However, for children with language disorders—who have difficulties with social interactions in the best of times—the physical distance mandated to prevent the pandemic’s spread can be especially challenging.

Sheltering-in-place is encouraging people to find resourceful and creative ways to extend and strengthen their social bonds. Children and adults are using video platforms for playdates, happy hours, and meetings; sharing relatable memes and jokes through email, social media, and texting; attending streamed worship services, fitness classes, and art and music lessons; and more.

However, children with language disorders may not be able to adapt as quickly as others. Parents can help their children interact socially during this time in the following ways:

  1. Screen time. Realistically, screen usage will increase while people are sheltering at home. Some research shows that screen time can lead to speech and language delays in children. But TV shows, movies, and social media can be viewed in a way that optimizes social interaction. When possible, use these technologies interactively: Watch shows/movies together, and discuss them (e.g., Who was your favorite character? What do you think will happen next? Why did the show end that way?). Ask kids to introduce you to their favorite video game or TikTok personality.
  2. Conversation opportunities. Although families may be together more than usual, parents may be focused on financial, medical, work, and other significant responsibilities and concerns. But conversation-rich opportunities can occur in everyday tasks that are already occurring, such as cooking/dinner prep (following a sequence of steps) or traditional activities that families are rediscovering as everyone hunkers down (e.g., board games offer a chance to talk about rules and turn-taking).
  3. Reading. This time of relative isolation can lend more time for reading. But this doesn’t have to be a solitary activity. Families can read to each other and find different types of books online. Young children can play rhyming and word games. Parents can ask older children questions to guide their understanding (e.g., What happened at the beginning, middle, and end of the story? What was the main plot? What motivated each character?)
  4. Being with friends and family. The importance of communicating with friends and extended family during this time cannot be understated. Children with language disorders may find the phone and FaceTime/Zoom communication more challenging than others. Parents can practice conversations in advance and can suggest topics and related responses (e.g., making comparisons between the weather in different cities; talking about home school experiences). They can involve siblings and discuss ways that they can help their sibling who has a language disorder.
  5. Understanding changes. The changes in daily routines may be particularly hard for children with language comprehension and production problems. They may hear alarming news reports or sense the tension of their parent(s)—but they may not have the ability to ask their questions, express their feelings, or speak about this confusing time. Parents can define new vocabulary words (e.g., coronavirus, COVID-19, social distancing, quarantine, sheltering at home) and can explain changes in routine. Parents can establish a new routine, as much as possible, and can involve a child in decision making (e.g., When would you like to call grandma and pop-pop? Which friend should we talk to today? What food would you like?). 
  6. Creativity. Dance, music, art, and other classes that kids may have been taking in person are now virtual, offering a great opportunity to continue the connection with those teachers and friends. And online drawing, cooking, and other tutorials are plentiful. Low-tech possibilities to use creativity and practice language skills include having a child pick out items around the house and create their own store; planning an indoor camping night (e.g., making a list of what they’ll need, ideas for things they want to do); and planning and planting a garden.
  7. Physical activity. Gyms, personal trainers, and community fitness programs are providing content online. Parents and children can use these activities as a way to bond together and as topics of conversation (e.g., different types of exercises, healthy eating, the connection between physical activity and wellness). Or they can take up a new form of exercise and learn it together via televised on-demand or online programs (e.g., family yoga). Some family-friendly neighborhoods have organized circuit training stops at various houses (posting a different exercise on each front/garage door) so families can get in shape and share a neighborhood-based social activity without actually interacting physically.
  8. Humor. Many people have been sharing or receiving humorous COVID-related memes and videos to ease tension and connect with others. Children with language disorders may miss some of these coping opportunities because they tend to miss the nuances of humor. Parents can help them better understand humorous anecdotes or jokes by talking through them. Jokes are a sophisticated form of communication—what a great learning opportunity!
  9. Organizing. Some households are undertaking to declutter and organizing projects that have been on the back burner for years. These can be language lessons, too. What items go together? Do you remember when you wore that outfit? Will you play with that toy anymore?
  10. Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). Some children with language disorders use AAC to help them communicate (e.g., letter boards, speech-generating devices). Parents should make sure that kids are using their AAC devices at home, at all times. These devices are not just for school.

Although this is no doubt a difficult time for all, parents can help children with language disorders to keep a safe physical distance without losing social nearness that is so critical to their development. 

Note: This is a modified version of a post originally published via the ASHA Leader Live blog.  

LEADER LIVE

Additional Resources:

Creating a family media plan https://www.healthychildren.org/English/media/Pages/default.aspx

Having Conversations http://resourcesforearlylearning.org/educators/module/20/7/19/

https://www.playworks.org/resource/34-conversation-starters-for-your-family/

Reading Books: https://www.rd.com/culture/read-books-for-free-online/

https://www.nypl.org/books-more/recommendations/best-books/kids

Educational Games Online

https://pbskids.org/curiousgeorge/busyday/bugs/

https://pestworldforkids.org/

COVID 19 with ASD or not

 

While walking in Central Park, I’ve noticed few if any children wearing masks. Did I wonder why? Indeed the answer is yes because I have seen this before and wondered.  After returning from my walk, completing some additional work I went digging and found that there are ways to protect your infant or toddler as well, in modified form. https://www.today.com/parents/cdc-says-children-should-wear-masks-slow-covid-19-spread-t178005masks.

Unfortunately, the issues connected with those experiencing symptoms of Autism this period of a pandemic may be extra-challenging. In this last weekend of Autism Awareness Month, I had some suggestions for families in terms of managing this stressful time with your special needs child or even an adult. Information about Support for Individuals with ASD: Coping with Family and Virtual Interactions During COVID-19 may be helpful to peruse: https://www.autism.org/covid-19-resources/ https://www.autism.org/covid-19-resources/

The symptoms of COVID 19 may be different in children in that they might be milder. That said it’s a good idea to be familiar with them. In children with COVID‐19 J Med Virol. 2020 Mar 31. doi: 10.1002/jmv.25807. [Epub ahead of print] She J1Liu L2,3Liu W1,2,3 the following symptoms were reported in children

 

  • fever and cough are the most common clinical manifestations, with some accompanied by fatigue, body aches,
  • nasal congestion,
  • runny nose,
  • sneezing,
  • sore throat,
  • headache,
  • dizziness,
  • vomiting, and
  • abdominal pain.

For those of you reading this who may benefit from visuals about this topic, the following video link regarding the symptoms of the virus in kids is available at HEALTH.COM  

With challenges in the economy, face masks are easy to make on your own with materials for which you don’t have to get outside.

My wishes and hope for safety as we work through this period…..

Additional Resources

[

**COVID-19 is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation.
Get the latest public health information from CDC: https://www.coronavirus.gov .
Get the latest research from NIH: https://www.nih.gov/coronavirus.

 

Related Link:

 

 

COVID-19 Parents

Sick woman looking at a thermometer.

In an age with so much sickness and heightened stress, don’t forget to stay healthy.  Forgetting about maintaining health in the area of nutrition should not be forgotten. The adage of  “you are what you eat” can not be understated.

selective focus photography of pasta with tomato and basil
Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

Having a concrete list of symptoms, so you can do a self-check as part of your daily hygiene may be helpful. https://www.mayoclinic.org/covid-19-self-assessment-tool .

As a speech-language pathologist, I would be remiss if I did not mention anything about this, in an age of social distancing. There are ways to connect with families:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/coronavirusparents/

“Coronavirus Parents: Parenting in a Pandemic is a group for parents, by parents, who are committed to supporting each other through the coronavirus pandemic.
We aim to help each other navigate school closures, childcare needs, social isolation, and other pressing concerns for kids and parents.
In addition, ParentsTogether (the host of the group) mobilizes parents to take action on issues affecting families. When we see opportunities to act, especially in support of families facing hardship due to the pandemic, we will share with this group.
This group is open to any parent or caregiver in need of support around the coronavirus. As an organization, ParentsTogether has a clear point of view: We fight on behalf of all families, with a commitment to equity and justice. No matter what your point of view, all parents are welcome in this group.
This community will work when all of us commit to mutual respect and civil discourse, even when we are anxious, scared, uncertain or angry–and especially when we disagree.
Coronavirus Parents do not provide formal medical or legal advice, and none of the posts here should be interpreted as medical or legal advice.
There are many health-related questions that are likely to arise in this group; members who share health resources are urged to include sources.”
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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

In closing – none of us wants to get sick so please take care!   https://parents-together.org/what-should-parents-do-if-they-contract-covid-19/

Resources to Keep You Informed

Resources for Families
Advocates for Children of New York https://www.advocatesforchildren.org/covid-19-updates?fbclid=IwAR24OaXWDMqk0SQHaOMDnlmNLzq3yDvOaP5smAW9ATb2J9FmXrJE42BgOTw

Information on Remote Learning https://www.schools.nyc.gov/learn-at-home/information-on-remote-learning

Autism Awareness

We have all been preoccupied with the coronavirus pandemic, but how can we not be. It still is a month during which we acknowledge and bring awareness to the nature of Autism. For those with families where you have a child with this diagnosis, there are indeed ways in which we can more effectively cope in day-to-day life. So many have told me that it is just too hard to schedule appointments, or that they are overwhelmed and having trouble working. Temple Grandin https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_Grandin has some thoughts that I felt might help others. I hope that it does and welcome your comments about what enables you to get through this challenging time. Please share…

https://parade.com/1019088/debrawallace/temple-grandin-tips-children-with-autism-coronavirus-quarantine/?fbclid=IwAR1L8M8petdXfGQyZdPhyx51viLP1usEaEOzhHHVEgWOH-o6rqu9SOKvtnA

COVID19 RESPONSE: WHEN YOU STAY AT HOME

AND PERHAPS APPEARING FRUSTRATED …

pexels-photo-987585
Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

I will try to keep adding to this list for you as I come across items to add; but for starters, here are some concrete suggestions and resources available for you:

Is your child interested in music:  Tuesday and Wednesday online music classes  https://www.musicbrains.net/book-online

and from Daniel’s Music Foundation in NYC there are other virtual options https://www.danielsmusic.org/virtual-lessons

 

Continue reading

SLP Activity Suggestions

With credit to Lisa Chattler, SIG 16 associate coordinator
Seal Beach, CA      I provide the list below and thank her on behalf of all of my readers for this wonderful resource!

***SIG=special interest group (language, learning and education) of the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association

Continue reading

Before Technology

Sometimes same events re-occur.  Years ago, families had rules about the use of television with children and now things have gotten more complex with the emergence of social media,  smartphones, and computers for example.

The Family Media Plan-published by the American Academy of Pediatrics talks about the fact that at the age of fifteen months, the use of media is okay so long as a parent watches with the toddler.  The controversy around this area is a fascinating one that should be considered by parents and caregivers.  In visiting homes it becomes apparent that there are varying opinions and reasons for or against its use being voiced.  Research about the use of technology is telling us more and more.  The fact that it is showing that there is an influence on brain development is not surprising. How does this affect your children and parenting style around this issue?

THE CHECKUP

Screen Use Tied to Children’s Brain Development

In a study, preschoolers who used screens less had better language skills.

 

Credit…iStock by Getty Images

Navigate Special Ed

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Navigating Special Education

So frustrating… your child enters the world and you are not aware of the hand that you will be dealt with.  You have a child – a wonderful child whom you love so much – but they have a different style of functioning. They may respond to the world differently. They may need accommodations in school so that they have an untimed exam. They may need related services such as Speech Therapy and/or a paraprofessional to provide support in the “least restrictive environment least restrictive environment

LRE continuum pyramid levels

Photo credit: https://adayinourshoes.com/iep-lre-least-restrictive-environment/?utm_source=copy&utm_medium=website&utm_campaign=SocialSnap

Your child is evaluated to determine what needs they may or may not have.  You go to your local school district office to discuss the plan based on these reports and an Individual Education Plan is developed.  The law states that you have rights as a parent to both participate and agree or disagree to an outlined plan for your child.  I am not a special education advocate, but I work with children of different ages. Part of my work involves assisting parents with written reports to present at IEP meetings/CPSE meetings and speaking with professionals in terms of suggesting supports from which those whose skills I have evaluated may benefit.

You may be scheduling a meeting with educational attornies and trying to answer the question of “what’s next?” An attorney may advise you that your child is entitled to free appropriate education.  What is that? http://www.nyedlaw.com/blog/2018/02/what-constitutes-free-appropriate-public-education.html

Over the years, I have seen children fall through the cracks and not get the services that they need.  It’s in the best interests of your child to advocate on behalf of your own.

In the NYC area there are organizations such as

The Parents League   

IncludeNYC

available to help guide you as well.  Similar programs are offered in other areas so check with parents organizations supporting the needs of children such as your own.

Additional Resource https://magazine.parentingspecialneeds.org/publication/?i=646946&ver=html5&p=24

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Add Routines to Your Day

Kids love routines.

The dictionary definition tells us that routines are a “sequence of actions regularly followed. Why are routines important?  Without giving it away, here are 18 reasons:  http://www.skilledatlife.com/18-reasons-why-a-daily-routine-is-so-important/

Elmo, from Sesame Street, gives us an idea of what a routine for a young child may look like https://autism.sesamestreet.org/daily-routine-cards/

The need to assist families with children who have disabilities to embed tasks into their routines each day may be exasperating.  What can you do???   https://www.autismspeaks.org/sensory-issues

Examples of accommodations for hyper-sensitivities

  • Dimmed lights
  • Incandescent versus fluorescent lighting
  • Sunglasses or visor to block overhead fluorescent lighting
  • Ear plugs or headphones in noisy environments
  • Closed door or high-walled work areas to block distracting sights and sounds
  • Avoidance of strongly scented products (perfumes, air fresheners, soaps, etc.)
  • Food options that avoid personal aversions (e.g. intensely spicy, textured, cold, hot, etc.)
  • Clothing that accommodates personal sensitivities (e.g. to tight waistbands and/or scratchy fabric, seams and tags)
  • Request for permission before touching

Examples of accommodations for hypo-sensitivities

  • Visual supports for those who have difficulty processing spoken information
  • Sensory-stimulating toys (e.g. safe chewies and fidgets)
  • Opportunities for rocking, swinging and other sensory stimulating activities
  • Strong tasting and/or textured foods, cold beverages, etc.
  • Firm touch (according to preference)
  • Weighted blankets
  • Fun opportunities to practice physical skills (catching, dancing, jumping, running, etc.)
  • Furniture arrangements that reduce chances of bumping into sharp or hard surfaces

 

Becoming Bi or Tri-Lingual

woman reading book to toddler
Photo by Lina Kivaka on Pexels.com

Speaking more than one language at home enriches communication for children with autism

Neuro-typical and-atypical learns a language in the same way. Rather than a detrimental task for them, you are actually creating new pathways in the brain AND enabling more of the brain to develop. The fact is that anyone can learn a language, but it is simply easier to do so at an early age as the brain is initially developing. Over time, the language that a child is most comfortable with may change. The key will be to give a child lots of practice.

For special needs parents who have voiced this concern: Current research does not support the idea that raising a child with autism in a bilingual learning environment will delay language development or cause a language disorder. In fact, based on recent studies, we encourage parents to expose their child with autism to bilingual language environments.www.marcus.org › autism-resources › autism-tips-and-resources › autism…Autism & Bilingualism | Marcus Autism Center For sure – with these children you will want to have social pragmatic group involvement – defined here: https://www.autismspeaks.org/social-skills-and-autism. It’s just important for you and the group leader to understand that the child who learns two languages will typically develop skill function in the same sequence but at a slower rate. The fact that language development is slower will also slow down the rate of social skill development. Here is a list of the sequence https://www.apa.org/act/resources/fact-sheets/development-10-years. You may wish to discuss this with the social skills group leader, identifying with your child’s team where they are at.

Key Suggestions for How to Teach Your Child

One person’s parent or caregiver speaks on language and the other parent speaks the second language

At school – one language i.e. English and at home i.e. Mandarin

In the morning one language is spoken and then at night a second language is spoken

Some parents send their children to language classes after school. In NYC for example https://infohub.nyced.org/in-our-schools/programs/english-language-learners-programs-and-services

Keeping within the guidelines of your Family Media Plan you may want to incorporate these television programs for your younger child https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/5-bilingual-tv-shows-for-preschoolers or as they are older https://www.commonsensemedia.org/app-lists

No-Tech Activity for Teaching Dual Languages:

  • Reading Rockets

  •  

https://www.readingrockets.org/article/learning-two-languages

  • Bosley

In this reading series, Bosley may be a helpful addition for your child’s quiet reading time at home; because you can Follow Bosley on his adventures and learn a new language This dual language book is designed to teach your child new words and phrases. Techniques that are used include Repeat words Simple phrases Opposites Highlighted vocab words

Paperback Bosley Sees the World : A Dual Language Book in Mandarin Chinese and English Book

 

https://www.thriftbooks.com/w/bosley-sees-the-world-a-dual-language-book-in-spanish-and-english_tim—johnson/9469358/#isbn=1470171155&idiq=35837160

 

Technology Initiative:

Just published this week on the American Speech-Language Association website:

The Healthy Communication and Popular Technology Initiative is an effort led by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association to safeguard healthy communication in a technology-driven world. We’re a force for moderate tech use that encourages conversation, human interaction and practicing safe listening.

JOIN US

THE SITUATION

We are texting, emailing and posting more than ever – but are we truly communicating?

person-woman-hand-smartphone
Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

The technology we use every day has helped us accomplish great things, but it’s also had a profound impact on how we communicate. If current habits continue, experts are concerned overuse of popular technology could lead to diminished speech, language and hearing abilities”.

I agree. 

Within the context of home care intervention, I may walk into a family’s home with a child who has a diagnosis of receptive and expressive language delay. Apparent are different scenarios related to this phenomenon

*****I am not trying to be critical of any parent or parenting style, but merely pointing out what has been observed

  • a parent on the phone and a child pulling at their clothes, but the parent ignores them.
  • the parent is on the phone and the child is playing on a tablet or phone and neither acknowledges each other or after opening the door – a newcomer in the home.
  • While speaking to a parent all of a sudden Elmo across the room starts to dance.  When asking how that happened, the parent pointed out that their daughter had learned to push a red button on a cell phone that then activates Elmo.  That’s what happened.  Inquiring as to whether or not the child could actually manipulate the toy and make that happen or request help in doing so, you could feel the tension in the room.  I never got the answer.

You get the idea……

Perhaps consider this article published today  https://blog.asha.org/2020/01/17/asha-president-is-parents-smartphone-use-the-new-secondhand-smoke/ 

and this

Adapted from The Gap: The Science of What Separates Us From Other Animals by Thomas Suddendorf, out now from Basic Books.

Like many a scholar before and since, Bertrand Russell confidently asserts that certain traits—“speech, fire, agriculture, writing, tools, and large-scale cooperation”—set humans apart from animals. Although we appear to excel in many domains, such claims are not typically founded in any thorough comparison. In fact, if you set the bar low, you can conclude that parrots can speak, ants have agriculture, crows make tools, and bees cooperate on a large scale. We need to dig deeper to understand to what we owe our unique success—what separates us from other animals in the domains of language, mental time travel, the theory of mind, intelligence, culture, and morality. In each domain, various nonhuman species have competences, but the human ability is special in some respects—and they have much in common.

Only time will tell if this continues to be the case.

Continue reading

How Does Assistive Technology Assist People With Communication Need? — Autism Connect

The frustration of not able to communicate or express their wants can have a negative effect on individuals with autism. They may tend to stay aloof, throw tantrum and indulge in negative behavior For autism, assistive technology can benefit individuals (of all age groups) in promoting communication and social interactions. Assistive technology refers to hand-held gadgets such […]

via How Does Assistive Technology Assist People With Communication Need? — Autism Connect

For school aged children, a caregiver can request the school district for an AAC assessment through the IEP process. Here is an example of how to request through DREF.org
https://dredf.org/…/uploads/2016/02/AT-AAC-Assessment.doc

 

Types of Language

alphabet letter text on black background
Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

Functional language is exactly that.  Functional language is the communication that is used in order to effectively obtain what you want or need.  It is purposeful.  Without its use, language has no true meaning so this is a goal that we want to see achieved in anyone who is learning to speak one fluently. If you were to learn a foreign language in an online course, here is an idea of how it might be taught and learned.  https://www.netlanguages.com/blog/index.php/2017/08/28/what-is-functional-language/

Scripted Language may not be as familiar a term to you:

Scripting is a parent-directed way of teaching children to use functional language to meet their needs and wants.  It may be used in children who are diagnosed with Central Auditory Processing (CAPD).  Here is a link to give you examples of how this works and as well, how you could use this as a teaching tool for your child at home who is diagnosed with this deficit.  https://www.friendshipcircle.org/blog/2014/05/13/building-speech-language-practice-into-your-childs-day/

Scripted language can manifest itself in the repetition of words, phrases, intonation, or sounds of the speech of others, sometimes taken from movies, but also sometimes taken from other sources such as favorite books or something someone else has said. 

People with Autism often display scripting in the process of learning to talk and I mention it because if you are a parent who is reading this or a professional interacting with a person who is “scripting” you want to understand it and not necessarily become neither irritated nor confused by this type of behavior. There are different types of scripting: echolalic and social.  Consider the following resource: http://www.thespeechmama.com/2011/10/07/how-to-teach-a-child-with-autism-to-talk/

Memory and Autism

photo of girl sitting near christmas tree
Photo by Jonathan Borba on Pexels.com

For those who see that all in their child with Autism is bleak – please see a light of strength that they may possess.  The challenge to consider is how to use this productively:

“Visual memory for some types of material has been found to be an area of strength for children with autism but complexity of the stimuli appears to affect memory function in this modality as well. Interestingly, the right hemisphere may compensate for Visual memory for some types of material that has been found to be an area of strength for children with autism but the complexity of the stimuli appears to affect memory function”  (Prior & Chen, 1976).

With this knowledge – take a look at the text and alphabet letters that were duplicated from memory by an autistic individual who had viewed this page in the book Chicka Chicka Boom https://www.amazon.com/Chicka-Boom-Board-Book/dp/1442450703 Book/dp/1442450703    Hayden Gonzales posted this to Facebook on December 26, 2019. Thank you for bringing this to light!

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is an easy story whose words are marvelous for teaching young children the alphabet. In fact, the following link provides some information about how the book can be used to elicit language development http://doodlebugshomeschool.blogspot.com/2011/08/chicka-chicka-boom-boom-with-l

No photo description available.No photo description available.

 

https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/neu-20121.pdf   “memory in autism appears to be organized differently than in normal individuals — reflecting differences in the development of brain connections with the frontal cortex”.

The post brought to mind my first cousin. Jerry was diagnosed with autism at a very young age and at a point when not much was known about the disorder.  He would memorize calendars and could tell you what day of the week you were born on, for example, four or even five years ago.  How remarkable, I thought. I wondered why – perhaps research now is answering that question.

What Is Declarative Memory? This is an area of strength in those who are autistic.  \

Your ability to recall addresses, locations of parking garages, intersection names, phone numbers, and an experience that you had at a restaurant are all a part of declarative memory. Declarative memory, also referred to as explicit memory, is the memory of facts, data, and events. For example, let’s say that you know that your favorite restaurant is only open until 6 PM on Sundays. The time that the restaurant closes is stored as a declarative memory. We can consciously recall declarative memory. Declarative memory is a type of long-term memory.  Here is a functional strategy that may be useful for daily activities that require this:

http://autism.sesamestreet.org/daily-routine-cards/?fbclid=IwAR0VKcWb_ZAHzheWdgT7ekqhwG_NuW8JLOMtCHZyT4PnolRXeyq6oeXxLSw

Declarative memory seems to help individuals with autism compensate for social deficits by memorizing scripts for navigating social situations. It supports the learning of strategies to overcome language or reading difficulties not only in autism, but also in SLI and dyslexia. And it appears to help people with OCD or Tourette syndrome learn to control compulsions and tics.

black and white blackboard business chalkboard
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

References:

https://study.com/academy/lesson/declarative-memory-definition-examples-quiz.html

https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2006/01/autism

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autism_and_memory

Read the journal article

Prior MR, Chen CS. Short-term and serial memory in autistic, retarded, and normal children. Journal of Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia. 1976;6:121–131. [PubMed[]

http://www.judyendow.com/sensory-solutions/autism-and-the-sensory-system-part-6-of-8/

 
 
 

  Lindsay Strachan Fofana Thank you for this! My almost 4 year old son is receptive and expressive language delayed but loves to learn and seemingly has photographic memory. Yesterday he spelled his name backwards. I explained to him what he had done and he was tickled! It’s very promising and always exciting.

A Decade of Changed Communication

pexels-photo-769525
Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on Pexels.com

Welcome to a new decade!   Where have you been and where you will go this year. I hope my readers will be able to increase their connectivity to others and opportunities to engage with those in many different venues.  As you do so- pause and think about how we are doing so. My question to you is where did talking face-to-face vs. FaceTime go?

Changes Over a Decade in How We Talk:  

Absolutely fascinating how it seems that social media has taken over so much of our means of communicating with one another! Take a look at the statistics https://www.oberlo.com/blog/social-media-marketing-statistics and recall that social media only became a phenomenon of the late 1900s.  Remember the movie “Social Network” and how famous Mark Zuckerberg became as a result?

Now he has new plans https://time.com/facebook-world-plan/

Cell phone usage has changed us too.  At the very bottom of this post, there is a link noting the evolution of this type of communication.

July 14, 2015, the following was published http://attentiv.com/we-dont-speak/  Text messaging leads to abbreviated speech. We can avoid faces by merely looking at a screen.  Fewer verbal productions are heard, and the duration of these discussions is shorter.  The way in which we “talk” has changed  and is different cross-generational groups October 17, 2016, the following was published:  https://www.languagetrainers.co.uk/blog/2016/10/17/with-texting-and-social-media-are-people-really-speaking-less/

August 24, 2018, an article was published indicating that ADHD as a diagnosis may not be linked to technology use.  I learned that as I was writing this post and was surprised by the finding.  https://www.psychcongress.com/article/has-easy-access-technology-increased-rates-adhd  Why?  I’ve seen it in my travels at work – children looking into computer screens-not acknowledging parents, becoming highly active with the rush of adrenalin-fueled by the use of the screen.   Digging further, I found this video    https://www.wsj.com/video/silicon-valley-renegades-take-on-tech-obsession/2D3A120C-C88F-4C81-A005-1439E464A507.html

What Can We Do Right Now to Positively Use Technology?In this upcoming second week of school vacation (at least in NYC, NY) there are some very useful apps that may be of help to use with your child.  When used, please consider the fact that you will want to implement their use under your supervision and guidance.https://ilslearningcorner.com/2015-09-15-kids-apps-for-learning-disabilities/?fbclid=IwAR2PGx4WLPViOnmxB6vFbCmpdtirsR293kzBThNHWy5ap7TvkHfmlo0cHu8

As well, you might want to include the use of age-appropriate school workbooks https://www.highlights.com/store/workbooks?gclid=CjwKCAiAuqHwBRAQEiwAD-zr3Zbarrj_KcVvfduGbsezrdoCgGZTzB2ARwgB-hm0_3Gc3040nL-75RoCIOEQAvD_BwEandr

and reading materials from the local library.

I’ve posted other potential activities that do not involve screen time so please scroll back for those and please don’t forget to look up at each other and look!

activity adult adventure backpacking
Photo by VisionPic .net on Pexels.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Sensory Friendly Holiday

Changes in routine can affect children and think about how it affects you as well. All the excitement of the upcoming weeks is upon us and perhaps an overlooked thought is how to deal with your special needs family member.  Maybe it is foremost in your mind. It may be in that of your child as school holiday gatherings occur this or next week before school vacations.

PRE-PLANNING:  With credit to the Sensory Processing Disorder Parent Support Group which can be reached at the link below, I noted that although labeled for Xmas that many of the ideas could be adapted to suit your own family’s holiday celebrations.

The following is from https://sensoryprocessingdisorderparentsupport.com/tips-for-a-more-successful-sensory-christmas.php

Tips For A More Successful Sensory Christmas!  

 

1. Keep a routine as much as possible. Using visual schedules can be helpful so they know what is next. 


2. Enjoy short and simple activities.


3. It’s ok to have a personal family only Christmas.


4. If you do go out for Christmas, explain sensory challenges to everyone ahead of time.


5. Have a quiet room or space for your child to be alone when they get overwhelmed.


6. Take your child’s weighted blanket and sensory tools.


7. While you are out remember that it’s ok to leave early; watch your child’s signs.  


8. Shopping for children with SPD can be unbearable. Try to shop without them if possible or shop in smaller shops with less people.


9. Try to make Christmas day last for days or a week, not everything all on one day.


10. Most areas have a sensory Santa, it’s better to schedule a time as a visit to Santa can be too much for children with SPD.


11. If you are going out to dinner bring your child’s choice foods because most will not eat what is served for Christmas dinner.


12. Read social stories to prepare your child for Christmas events.


13. When you notice your child is coping well, praise them as much as possible.


14. Stick to your child’s sensory diet as much as possible during the holidays to keep them regulated. 

15. Allow time for scheduled sensory breaks and exercise.


16. Don’t forget your child’s noise-canceling headphones.


17. Bringing an IPad if they use one will be helpful to keep them busy or they could listen to earphones to avoid most noise.


18. Lower expectations as most children with SPD will have meltdowns during holiday events and dinners as they get overwhelmed.


19. If your child has several gifts, open them gradually so they don’t get overwhelmed.

(a few a day)


20. Include your child with decorating the tree but remember flashing lights or musical decorations can be too much for a child with SPD.


21. Keep Christmas decorations on the walls and in doorways limited and simple. Gradually add them to your home.


22. If your child doesn’t want to open gifts in front of others, try to respect that.


23. I know as a parent that you want your child to enjoy Christmas events but how everyone else enjoys it will be different from how your child enjoys it.


24. Before attending events, make a signal or sign that your child can use to let you know when it’s too much for them.


25. Don’t be afraid to say no to having visitors over. If you do have visitors it’s ok to have a time limit.


26. Don’t force the Christmas on your child that you want to have.


27. Let your child run, jump, spin or swing as much as they need too during the holidays.


28. Think of the human senses. Smells at Christmas can be strong, sounds can be too loud and lights can be too bright.

29. Less can be best. Too much of anything is usually going to be overwhelming.

30. Enjoy yourself! Have a glass of wine and have a Christmas that works for your family, it doesn’t need to work for everyone else!

If you are having a child over for Christmas dinner that has SPD or plan to attend an event with a child who has SPD….. PLEASE be understanding.

 

Toy Selection:  

A few posts ago, I wrote about some ideas for toy selection.  An article in my e-mail box is something to consider in terms of guidelines for teens and tweens especially with (NAON TECH) toys in mind

https://blog.asha.org/2016/11/29/10-non-tech-holiday-gift-ideas-to-promote-kids-language-learning/

The speech-language pathologist in me ran across a video in an e-journal disseminated to professional members of the national organization regarding the noise-factor produced by some of those toys that you might select

 

GIFT WRAPPING: 

The advantage of a sensory-friendly gift packaging with a novel and eco-friendly packaging options.  

  1.  The sound of wrapping paper may be noxious to some.  I searched for eco-friendly fabric gift bags and found these holiday-specific and general gift wrap ideas https://www.etsy.com/listing/254960158/custom-hanukkah-gift-bags-party-favor?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=fabric+gift+wrap+bags&ref=sr_gallery-1-28&pro=1

https://www.etsy.com/listing/717961454/christmas-fabric-gift-bag-in-traditional?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=fabric+gift+wrap+bags&ref=sr_gallery-1-21&cns=1

https://www.etsy.com/listing/707127055/fab-gift-bag?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=fabric+kwanza+gift+wrap+bags&ref=sc_gallery-1-13&plkey=146e719b1b76c2698fc21d6373933564e0af18c9%3A707127055&frs=1

For those who love textures and need stimulating gift wrap, Amazon had an idea when i searched there.  If you type the following:  textured+wrapping+holiday+paper+for+kids

Another idea would be to wrap gifts in colored bubble wrap.  Search online for your desired color.  If you have a gift that could fit into a bubble mailing envelope, that would be another alternative.

uBoxes, Red Bubble Small 3/16" Wrap x 12" Wide (30-Feet)  https://www.amazon.com/Red-Bubble-Small-Wrap-Wide/dp/B019ZU3KDO/ref=asc_df_B019ZU3KDO/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=198080987010&hvpos=1o3&hvnetw=g&hvrand=17620725630839429984&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9060354&hvtargid=pla-386417161357&psc=1

or blue:

https://www.amazon.com/Offitecture-Cushioning-Perforated-Stickers-Included/dp/B07TD4KB61/ref=sr_1_5?keywords=blue+bubble+wrap&qid=1576084346&s=office-products&sr=1-5l

Grass textured gift bags are another option

https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1CAFA_enUS777US777&sxsrf=ACYBGNSvzZH2LSijBOSblXAT6JgQk0W1pA:1576085470957&q=grass+texture+gift+bag&tbm=isch&source=univ&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjQ24b1j67mAhWOxFkKHf0wDfQQsAR6BAgIEAE&biw=1920&bih=888#imgrc=f9GOl9r39Q3fvM

Instead of a bow, put a card so that you know who the gift is from into a sensory bag such as this pencil case which may provide some sensory input afterwards

https://www.playtherapysupply.com/sensory/discreet-fidgets/sensory-bag?gclid=CjwKCAiAxMLvBRBNEiwAKhr-nGvVe6B0VlxQOmpUoks2BsrXQLnxq7p_Gb7tpht956lJUqBHYWkG2RoCCYwQAvD_BwE

If you want to use traditional gift wrap, perhaps attack a colorful squishy bag with a label indicating from whom the gift is

https://www.etsy.com/listing/725352973/colorful-squishy-bag-sensory-bag-texture?gpla=1&gao=1&&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=shopping_us_low-low_e-toys_and_games-toys-learning_and_school&utm_custom1=27272a7c-2672-4036-b680-03b8c430baf0&utm_content=go_6721326207_78232985694_388251268231_pla-352859725646_c__725352973&gclid=CjwKCAiAxMLvBRBNEiwAKhr-nLl5St30w4VJOqQTK7hxTIO7bQ640JoBdVtA-CuChOp3TjF778uBKxoCH10QAvD_BwE

I think that this gives you a fair amount of food for thought.  If you want to make a sensory bag, just search for that online. Etsy has some nice ideas for these.

Most of all – have a lovely time!

Feeding Senses

  Picture from:     http://wisdomthroughmindfulness.blogspot.com/2010/03/

Continuing from the theme of earlier this week in terms of preparing for the holidays, part of doing so is to think about meals and what will be served, how many people are coming, what ingredients you will need and then cooking.  If you have a child who can’t tolerate eating different foods then YOU have an additional layer that is so emotionally ridden.  If you have a child who cannot tolerate the smell of foods cooking or the site of those which you have on the counter how will you prepare them?  Food is such a basic thing that we need for every day.  Working with parents each week with children who have feeding challenges reminds me of the emotional influence that problems in this area pose to families. Having taken Dr. Toomey’s training this past fall, I became aware of information that might be able to help you and I have already found its benefit during my daily practice. It is known as a sensory-based feeding therapy approach, building on each of them.  http://autism.sesamestreet.org/daily-routine-cards/?fbclid=IwAR0VKcWb_ZAHzheWdgT7ekqhwG_NuW8JLOMtCHZyT4PnolRXeyq6oeXxLSw

“The SOS Approach to Feeding program was developed by and copyrighted by Dr. Kay Toomey.  Please note, all materials, documents and forms taken from the SOS Approach to Feeding program are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced in any form without the written permission of Dr. Kay Toomey. For more information on the SOS Approach to Feeding program, please visit http://www.sosapproach.com.”     

This article can describe what can be done When-Children-Wont-Eat-Understanding-the-Whys-and-How-to-Help.pdf

and in her blog post, a parent relates how her child benefitted from its use https://singingthroughtherain.net/2013/03/tips-for-children-with-feeding-disorders.html

The SOS Feeding approach is appropriate for children that are “problem feeders” and not “picky eaters”, which can sometimes be difficult to distinguish between. Picky eaters are those that have a limited variety of foods and will not easily eat, but they often will reluctantly touch or taste new food. Picky eaters do not need SOS feeding therapy. A problem feeder, however, has an even more restricted variety of foods with more severe reactions to interacting with non-preferred foods and is a candidate for SOS feeding therapy. Here are some questions to consider if you are concerned about your child’s eating:

  • Does your child have a decreased range or variety of foods (less than 20)?
  • If your child gets “burned out” on food and takes a break from it, will they refuse that food still, after the break?
  • Does your child refuse entire categories of food groups (proteins, vegetables, etc.) or texture groups (hard foods, soft cubes, puree textures)?
  • Does your child almost always eat different foods at a meal than the rest of the family?
  • Have you reported concerns about your child’s feeding across multiple well-child check-ups?
  • If you answered “yes” to several of the above questions, talk to your child’s pediatrician about a referral for an evaluation to determine if feeding therapy would be warranted for your child.

Please note, the term “problem feeder” is used by the SOS Feeding approach program to delineate children who are outside the normal range of age-appropriate feeding behaviors, i.e. only being a “picky eater”.

Is your child a red flag for a referral?  Know that in this season of giving that you can be given the hope of improved ability to help your child enjoy eating!

Red-Flags-w-logo

Halloween with a Special Needs Child

Halloween is tomorrow! Are you ready??

Typically families with young children may be approaching them with excitement. In my experience, families with children who have disabilities may have apprehensions. How can you proactively approach Halloween? How can your family prepare for dealing with stimulating settings and create a more meaningful/less stressful day in this Halloween week? Here are some resources that may be of help. Firstly:

Here is a wonderful blog post with suggestions for reducing stimulation, creating costumes and preparing for the big day www.familyeducation.com .

Do you want to have a party indoors with snacks and decorations. Perhaps kids movies www.halloweenmoviesforkid would be a nice activity

Literacy is an area of interest to those of us in the area of speech-language pathology. Here is a link to some books with the Halloween theme https://www.google.com/search?q=halloween+books&rlz=1C1CAFA_enUS777US777&oq=halloween+books&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.2855j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

The best of all may be arts and crafts that are thematic for the holiday so that you can spend face time with eachother and be creative. Here is a link for some quick and easy activities to give you some ideas https://crazylittleprojects.com/halloween-crafts-for-kids/

Have fun!

SPD Awareness Month

 

This month is another “Awareness” month. We not only become aware of ADHD but one of the concomitant conditions: Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).

The need to have an understanding of the sameness and difference between the conditions is very important as it can have an impact on planning for treatment and perhaps the type of testing that needs to be done. According to the STAR Institute

“many of these kids have both disorders. A national stratified sample of children suggests that 40% of children with ADHD also have SPD (Ahn, Miller et. … Causes: In very simple terms, ADHD and SPD are both disorders that impact the brain. “.

STAR Institute doesn’t talk about adults, but I cannot imagine that there is not a large population of adults who have ADHD + SPD as well…

The discrete differences according to the STAR Institute are found at https://www.spdstar.org/node/1114

Being empowered with knowledge and having that increased awareness about individual differences will only help us as individuals -neuro-typical or not to interact with one another. That I believe is the goal of awareness months- so it behooves us all to take a look.

How to Recognize a Sensory Processing Disorder in Your Child | ilslearningcorner.com #sensoryprocessing #sensoryplay

Taken from the below-noted website, you can both read more about SPD and obtain this “sensory processing chart without cost:

https://ilslearningcorner.com/2015-10-how-to-recognize-a-sensory-processing-disorder-in-your-child/?fbclid=IwAR2pUGvV3vYYIbYqtt3zY68GocZPbEKSsEfKzV8fFN6i0-lDLxyZLZo-NAg

SPD Awareness Month

 

A Journey in the Understanding of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Well… this is ADHD awareness month. I had no idea! In acknowledgement of this fact I am structuring this post with videos embedded and links. I narrowed this post down into four sections with resources in each category and there is one closing section. i tried to include resources for both adults and children My hope is that this blog post will give you some basic strategies for functioning during the day and maintaining health:

  • SYMPTOMS
  • STRATEGIES TO HELP WITH ORGANIZATION: ROUTINES
  • MAINTAINING FOCUS AND SELF SOOTHING
  • SLEEP ISSUES AND RESOURCES THAT MAY HELP
  • CLOSING STATEMENT

SYMPTOMS

ADDITUDE MAGAZINE is published on a regular basis throughout the year. A link to the signs and symptoms of this disorder are found. This particular article is quite detailed and the magazine extremely informative.

https://www.additudemag.com/what-are-the-symptoms-of-adhd/?gclid=CjwKCAjwlovtBRBrEiwAG3XJ-yPMIrV5H1w1cnI0Id297yfLAJjIP283Vj0LztNQpX1dhGtQKNi0wRoClUIQAvD_BwE

ORGANIZE KIDS AND ADULTS EACH DAY

Finding out that a family member has ADHD or ADD depending on the type is overwhelming as it is challenging to find out to whom you can turn to get help. For starters you can do something at home


Create routines! Consistency and predictability is helpful http://Kid Routine Printables- http://girlinthegarage.net/2014/08/ki…

Are you an adult who suspects that you have the symptoms or perhaps a known diagnosis of ADHD or ADD. Organizational strategies are imperative for you as well. Take a look at this blog post https://psychcentral.com/blog/9-tips-for-creating-a-routine-for-adults-with-adhd/

MAINTAINING FOCUS AND SELF SOOTHING

Problems at home getting your child or you as an adult having trouble calming yourself down to focus. Help is available with some resources available at this link https://www.amazon.com/s?k=fidget+items+for+adhd&gclid=CjwKCAjwlovtBRBrEiwAG3XJ-0Me8Bqv5d4H_ybXopbLbd3fDDQVTuFuuiBdbvW-6Ns4tqhoQHcWYxoCF58QAvD_BwE&hvadid=213954863905&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=9067609&hvnetw=g&hvpos=1t2&hvqmt=e&hvrand=14588173531033197546&hvtargid=kwd-295234017326&hydadcr=4120_9338763&tag=googhydr-20&ref=pd_sl_ldzonec9t_e

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SLEEP HYGIENE: KIDS AND ADULTS

MEDITATION:

Some may complain that they do not have the patience to listen to them; but guided meditation apps abound as an aid to get to sleep – for adults and kids. Here are kid friendly scripts that can be loaded at no charge https://www.greenchildmagazine.com/free-meditation-guided-relaxation-scripts-kids/

For adults and children: you can try a free app url=https://www.calm.com/&utm_medium=paid&utm_source=google&utm_campaign=1603556317+61837906998+378906119265&utm_term=calm%20app&utm_content=CjwKCAjwlovtBRBrEiwAG3XJ-yd86OQDr3R6uCveBMjQjm5KP22M4p2cjdLo18M_KjqoYvjL8BNuDhoC_VsQAvD_BwE&gclid=CjwKCAjwlovtBRBrEiwAG3XJ-yd86OQDr3R6uCveBMjQjm5KP22M4p2cjdLo18M_KjqoYvjL8BNuDhoC_VsQAvD_BwE

Taken from https://www.tuck.com/sleep-resources/ here is a list of materials that may be of help

Sleep Health and Wellness

Sleep Medicine

Sleep Products

Mattress Guides

CLOSING RESOURCE

In closing: The organization CHADD (Children and Adults with ADHD http://www.chadd,org provides a wealth of information including support groups – local chapters around the country which are amazingly helpful. Good luck!

Teaching Emotions to Those Who May Not Express Them Easily

There is a valued importance for social learning. “Social Interaction surrounds us as we move through our lives. Even when we aren’t actively engaged in interactions, we’re still exposed to it” according to Anna Vagin, PhD in her a book (see link at the bottom of this post) which outlines a curriculum that she developed using online videos to help teach social learning. Highly recommended for clinicians, teachers and even parents. It’s outline is written in very straight forward and presented in non- clinical terms

https://www.autismparentingmagazine.com/lego-and-emotions/

Almost every child falls in love with Thomas the Tank Engine. With Black Friday coming next month and holiday shopping – you may want to consider adding this to the list if you have a child unable to do so. Research shows that the first emotions to develop are “happy”, “sad” and “mad” . Look at just this one character and the link below to a Thomas book that may be useful as a part of your home library

SAD

HAPPY

MAD

https://ttte.fandom.com/wiki/How_do_You_Feel,_Thomas%3F?file=HowDoYouFeel,Thomas%3F.png

In her text (see link below), Dr. Vagin lists these as helpful resources to help children learn about emotions

Emoti Plush toys are dolls with moveable facial features (mouth, eyebrows) that allow children to be shown and themselves demonstrates changing feelings www.emoti-plush.com

Kimochis-characters that can be used as a playful way to help children identify and express feelings www.kimochis.com

For older children-why not act out more lengthy scenarios with materials from those described at this link https://www.smartfelttoys.com/ . The house may be a particularly good one for acting out a scene that may be of meaning for your individual family.

Reference

Anna Vagin Ph.D text: YouCue Feelings:Using Online Videos for Social Learning:

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=youcue+feelings&i=stripbooks&gclid=CjwKCAjwxOvsBRAjEiwAuY7L8uy2mC8MOJL6o2am_o69lw8oQq04qSWVYkH_sRWZMkaMTCz1n6izmBoCYUQQAvD_BwE&hvadid=241626664073&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=9067609&hvnetw=g&hvpos=1t1&hvqmt=e&hvrand=3578291734155525261&hvtargid=kwd-263732575109&hydadcr=20777_10173310&tag=googhydr-20&ref=pd_sl_6hadcfm4ei_e

How Do you Define and Describe Sensory Processing Deficits in a Meaningful Way, What Can You Do About Them and How Do You Help Others to Understand?:

I personally have a dislike of labels being put on people, but on some level, they do enable us to understand what we see or experience ourselves. The area of Sensory Processing Disorder is not that commonplace of a condition and not as familiar as the “flu” or “stomach virus” for example. So the importance of understanding and then conveying to others that which you know about the condition has meaning. It allows for the potential of gaining the understanding of others around you and empowers others to be more empathic of the needs of those with SPD.

The below five systems are typically those that we learned about in school… keep reading – there are additional ones:

Image result for sensory systems
In addition to these five, we have proprioception (sensation of muscles and joints of the body), vestibular (sense of head movement), interoception (these provide the sensations that tell us how we feel-hungry, tired, need to feel the bathroom and the following link explains this new sensory system in more detail) https://www.facebook.com/STARInstituteforSPD/videos/1540367686031185/

In a visual manner, we can take a look at the neuroanatomy of the disorder which adds greater understanding of the fact that there is a REAL reason for why the behaviors exist and what may cause disturbances in self-regulation.

***Many thanks to Bill Nasen who is the author of a book being published in October 2019 https://www.amazon.com/Autism-Discussion-Anxiety-Shutdowns-Meltdowns/dp/178592804X/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=bill+nason&qid=1553451610&s=gateway&sr=8-3&fbclid=IwAR2SU44pGAPb3sZLBqTGrNWJbNXKIs0tSToC1C9aPPLxnLJgAlkPzXzCFg0 for providing these valuable photos on Facebook’s The Autism Discussion Page @AutismDiscussionPage there is a book series and a wealth of information on this topic. there.

There are also resources available that may be of assistance for adults or children:

For Children With SPD:

The book called The Out of Sync Child helps identify strategies to help children. Potentially, strategies can be useful are related in this book, https://www.amazon.com/Out-Sync-Child-Recognizing-Processing/dp/0399531653

The STAR Institute gives both professionals and parents a number of resources such as home activities and books connected with the topic of SPD. Another helpful resource if you navigate here is one about how to handle dental visits! https://www.spdstar.org/basic/resources-for-parents-and-professionals

Checklist of symptoms in children who have SPD https://www.spdstar.org/basic/symptoms-checklist

Sensory Items that may be helpful https://inyardproducts.com/blogs/blog/117708293-15-amazing-sensory-products-for-your-child There are many more available online.

Issues at school? If these are potentially going to come up or are reported in the upcoming school conferences in your child’s fall meeting consider navigation to this site beforehand https://childmind.org/article/school-success-kit-kids-sensory-processing-issues/

Adults with SPD:

Knowledge and awareness don’t stop after you grow up. To help others find resources the guide at this link might be helpful. http://www.sensoryprocessing.info/books-adults.html

Sensory items that may be helpful :https://harkla.co/blogs/special-needs/sensory-products-adults

Assistance is available at the STAR INSTITUTE as well as resources pertaining to treatment https://www.spdstar.org/landing-page/treatment and readings connected with this condition are available for adults if you peruse this link https://www.spdstar.org/basic/resources-for-parents-and-professionals

Children or Adults with SPD

** this above link to me appears to be related to anyone with sensory issues and not just with the ASD or SPD diagnoses

Self Regulation
https://funandfunction.com/goals/sensory-regulation.html?fun_age=58%2C1478&utm_medium=search&fbclid=IwAR0x_jcpBP6aaY66IH4doN-X1qVMriGZUKwJM_WyfJnvKlRsgYffQlWpsSA
*this link has toys and other items to use in self regulation

What Can You Do When the Screen Goes Off??”

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The blog post https://blog.asha.org/2019/05/13/the-best-toys-for-slps-are-the-toys-that-do-nothing/ that recently appeared in the ASHA Leader resonates with me. I put individual links to which the author refers at the bottom of this post, So does the book “If You Give a Mouse an iPhone (of course available on Amazon in print). Here is a link to the story being read https://youtu.be/S3nVxt6_lAc If you can’t get it otherwise and are not familiar with it – the mouse is given an iPhone.. he uses it (viewing something that is not defined) and is unaware of his surroundings on a trip. The battery of the phone runs out and the result is a tantrum.

With the new American Academy of Pediatrics Guidelines for Family Media Plans that i talked about in a recent post, I really did not give any suggestions for the way to redirect your child when the screen is not visible. That led to this post and the awareness that there are so many things that you can do together. Indeed as my colleague wrote you can really be “the best toy!”.

First of all… TURN THEM OFF.  

New research according to a report on CNN reveals significant differences in brain development

https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/04/health/screen-time-lower-brain-development-preschoolers-wellness/index.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=fbCNN&utm_content=2019-11-04T22%3A00%3A09&utm_term=link&fbclid=IwAR2kl7JF5e1BDeY6-j-BGQiGqpT1t5BA4dVM4yVIpZsbSpNZ7pZRuopXkQ0

This video is presented to parents with children on the Autism Spectrum but these principles can apply to so many of us that i wanted to share it with you

 
 

Here are some fun seasonal activities that you can do at home that will be enjoyable and something to do with your family, especially as the days get shorter.

SEASONAL FUN:

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Carving a pumpkin-adapting the activity for your child based on their abilities an differences in managing textures in a child-friendly way https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sX6OIhqFZ8o

Write a story about carving the pumpkin, use educational workbooks that are consistent with your child’s age https://elemental.medium.com/bring-back-handwriting-its-good-for-your-brain-fe22fe6c81d2

Read stories (actual books) together. For adults look at the book The Reading Brain https://elemental.medium.com/bring-back-handwriting-its-good-for-your-brain-fe22fe6c81d2 which gives you documentation of how doing so, as opposed to reading books electronically with your children can affect your brain!

 

 

RAINY DAY/WEEKEND OR VACATION DAYS:

Instead of going out for a Halloween costume try to make it yourself. Here is something that i found that might be of help in terms of suggestions: https://www.mother.ly/child/no-sew-diy-kids-halloween-costumes?rebelltitem=9#rebelltitem9

 

Here is a youtube video to consider: Paper-Mache

SUNNY/FUN DAYS: STEP OUTSIDE YOUR DOOR:

In NYC https://www.nybg.org/learn/kids-teens/childrens-gardening-program/ and in other cities there are most likely similar types of activities. Novel – if this is not the case is using an avocado seed, allowing it to sprout roots by soaking it in water and allowing it to grow in a pot with dirt. Plant peas from the pods or use others from fruits.

INEXPENSIVE AND SPECIFIC FOR THOSE WITH SENSORY CHALLENGES:

https://www.fatbraintoys.com/special_needs/sensory_integration_disorder.cfm

Leisure time and family functioning in families living with autism spectrum disorder (Autism, August 2019, Vol. 23 Iss. 6)

Additional Resources from Emily Ferjencik May 13, 2019 ASHA LEADER article which I put a link to at the beginning of this post are worth a look!


WOW: THE BIG DIFFERENCE A TINY TOY CAN MAKE
INEXPENSIVE, READILY AVAILABLE OBJECTS CAN TURN TREATMENT INTO A FLOOD OF SENSORY EXPERIENCES FOR THE YOUNGEST OF CLIENTS.
TACKLE FOUNDATIONAL COMMUNICATION SKILLS—NOT JUST LANGUAGE SKILLS—BY INFUSING FUN AND SILLINESS INTO SESSIONS.

Preparation for Schooling After EI, If not Done Already

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Parents tell me that in one moment the services are all in your home and you have a coordinator keeping very close touch with you who will organize everything. Parents are being required to research schools that may be available to children when they prepare to research appropriate programs for their child. Now it is all up to you and it is “so overwhelming. This appears to be the biggest cooncern during the transition period. I’l hear from parents that “I am so stressed about this right now…how will I ever find a school?”

GET INVOLVED: CONCERNING HEALTH ISSUES

Some parents have found schools but now the laws – at least in NY State and I believe others have changed. You are being required to have your child vaccinated; but are choosing not to do so – for any of a number of reasons. Here is what the law indicates https://www.cdc.gov/phlp/publications/topic/vaccinations.html

http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/preschool/program-list-nyc-region.html

As a result of not vaccinating your child and for those in the NYC area this is a youtube video that may help you understand how to get home schooling for your child. I found it on youtube – searching for home schooling in my city and you may be able to find this for your locale.

.

Maybe your child is starting or has started already. They HAVE been vaccinated.

Here are sometips .

Please do not rely on the school system to have uploaded all of the information about your child into their computer system. NYS Education Department has its own requirements and must be both FERPA (Family Education and Rights Privacy Act) and IDEA (Individuals With Disabilities Act) for their maintenance. Familiarize yourself with what they should have on file, but keep a record of them on your own at home. It is in your interests to have these on file from the very beginning of your child’s education and transition to CPSE or Kindergarten

http://www.acces.nysed.gov/bpss/schools/requirements-organization-student-records-provided-department

  • Go to school and introduce yourself, bringing the IEP in person and any of the other paperwork that they should have there, based on what you read from the above link.
  • Connect and get to know your special education supervisor, your child’s teacher and related service providers. In my experience – those who do so are those whose children get the most out of the school experience.
  • You may be given a packet of information- a welcome letter on that first day. Recognize that there are ways to get involved and stay connected with the educational team, as well as the administrative staff.
  • Joining a parents group at school is a great idea.
  • Home activities are a great thing to get ahold of from each professional as you can support yor child’s work and perhaps even praise them for their school accomplishments. Request them!
  • If your schedule allows for it you may want to volunteer to act as a chaperone for school trips.

Enjoy the experience! Recognize that you are now your child’s advocate! It’s great to become their cheerleader now.

Finally – just a fun idea: A colleague posted this and I could not resist sharing it with you. You may want to consider sending this snac k to school, especially on day one: They look great! https://www.romper.com/p/rice-krispies-sensory-love-notes-is-making-love-more-accessible-brb-i-need-tissues-18648897

Back to School?

What a challenging prospect in times of a pandemic.  It’s a tough decision in terms of how to educate your child whenever schools open up. Both kids and parents will have feelings. Nobody seems to be considering that, in my opinion.  There are novel CDC guidelines. In case you missed them, here is a link CDC Guidelines   Other thoughts are outlined by the  American Academy of Pediatrics. 

For starters:  How do you explain coronavirus?  In very simple terms

Your child is entitled to additional services in terms of having lost much therapy time if they have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP)? Check with the school special education supervisor and/or the principal.

and finally, how do you deal with the emotions that kids may experience when potentially planning for the first day back if that is your decision?  There are some ideas below:

Resources:

Know Your Rights for a Special Needs Child https://www.familyequality.org/2020/03/30/special-education-rights-during-covid-19-pandemic/

Dealing With Anxiety-Helping Kids Cope:

Give toddlers tools to ease anxieties and worries and feel better again. It’s normal for toddlers to worry and feel anxious—they have enough …
 
For older children
 
 

Speaking About Unspeakable History

What King said in a 1967 speech, titled “The Other America,” was:

Certain conditions continue to exist in our society, which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? … It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met.

Yesterday morning, my now adult son came in and asked if I had heard about those who had been looting at stores a few blocks from us.  “No”, I replied.

Fast forward to Monday evening at about 8:15pm.  It HAD BEEN silent for about an hour prior to this. Curfew was about to fall for the first evening, at 8pm.

silencce redefined

There were no car horns, no busses, no people talking, nobody at the college across the street, no street vendors, or people talking as they exit the subway below me.  You could hear a few birds outside the window and feel the wind. The city air was crisp and fresh.  Then… the roar of protestors outside and all around my home in NYC. The noise was so loud that I had to check outside. I took my camera and recorded this moment in history that will be written about and talked about in years to come.  I then went back to resume attendance at a Zoom meeting in which we were having a discussion around processing the impact of the death of George Floyd this week. I shared what I had witnessed.  All this while hearing protestors outside

The silence of a few minutes earlier had been shattered.

How do we explain racism and injustice to others?  It is as perplexing as the time on 9-11 when my then six-year-old son asked what happened? I had walked across Central Park to pick him up from school where he had not been told anything. That was another point in time when you didn’t know how to explain events.  The first thing I could think of without a second thought was the truth. It was hard to hide since all around us was the smell of smoke.  Helicopters were overhead. Simply said for a six-year old’s comprehension “bad guys in airplanes hit the world trade center and it is on fire”.  He knew what the buildings were. He had seen them in the skyline a few weeks earlier from the Statue of Liberty.   This was a fact.

Here are some ideas for explaining the concept to  explain racism to kids

For adults ..LEARN because the more you know and internalize, the easier it MAY be to explain this within your family.  For starters, the NYT published an “anti-racist” reading list   

For kids on June 6, 2020

standing tall

Home Friendly Preschool Activities

Continuing with information about language activities at home during this Better Speech and Hearing Month is an article that i am sharing from https://www.asha.org for your review.

At Home With Young Children? Build Preschoolers’ Speech and Language Skills With Everyday Interactions and Activities

At Home With Young Children? Build Preschoolers’ Speech and Language Skills With Everyday Interactions and Activities

As families around the country shelter in place, parents of preschoolers can help build their child’s speech and language skills during everyday activities at home.

Strong speech and language skills are key to kindergarten readiness and a precursor for reading, writing, and social success. Below are some key communication skills for children ages 3–5, and suggestions for how parents can help their preschoolers:

1. Following Directions

Teach or reinforce ways to follow directions throughout the day. Get your child’s attention, make sure they are looking at you, and go over the steps you take when getting dressed, washing hands, brushing teeth, or cleaning up toys. You can even create a picture or sign with the list of steps for common daily tasks. Some easy at-home practice opportunities include the following:

  • Cooking and baking. Pick a simple recipe, and have your child help gather the ingredients. Some recipes have pictures of ingredients, making them easier to find. Talk about what you do first, second, and so on. Children can also learn about numbers and measurements while cooking.
  • Scavenger hunt. Hide 10 of your child’s favorite items throughout your home or yard—and create a simple checklist. Can they find and mark them off the checklist of pictures and/or words? Help them as they hunt to find all 10. You can give clues like “move five steps closer” and “move forward.”
  • Classic games. Games such as Simon Says or Red Light, Green Light help your child listen, pay attention, and move while following one- and two-step directions.

2. Learning Songs and Rhymes

Young children love music. Singing nursery rhyme songs like Row, Row, Row Your Boat and Wheels on the Bus teaches them about different sounds and words. Singing songs and hearing rhymes will help children learn to read.

3. Building Vocabulary and Describing Objects

The more words a child is exposed to, the more words they’ll know! Keep the conversation going all day long, regardless of your activity. Some great vocabulary-building opportunities include the following:

  • Puzzle time. Have your child pick out a puzzle. Talk about the pictures on the box. What new words can be found in the puzzle? Find puzzles that have different themes, like holidays, animals, or foods.
  • Crafting. Set up a station with art materials, and talk as you make a craft. Discuss what they want to make, color choices, and the feel of the materials (like Play-Doh or clay).
  • Nature walk. There is so much to talk about outside! What do they see and hear? Do they feel a breeze? How do flower petals smell? How many colors do they see? What are the birds and squirrels doing? Ask them to tell you more.

4. Telling Stories

Set the stage for a story by naming a place, character(s), and activity. Encourage your child to create a story from those details and to make up adventures for each character. The funnier or wilder, the better.

You can also pick a familiar book and have them describe how the characters feel. Magazines and newspapers are also great for this purpose. Make up a story about a picture, and describe what happens. Role-play the stories by pretending to be the characters.

5. Describing Emotions

Help children to express their own feelings and to talk about how others might be feeling. Some ideas include the following:

  • Host an arts-and-crafts show for family members you live with, and display your child’s creations. Use household items (e.g., coffee filters, paper towel rolls, or clothespins) or items from outdoors (e.g., sticks, leaves, rocks) to create the crafts. Ask your child to describe their art, why they chose their subject, and how it makes them feel.
  • Show your child photos of family gatherings or events, and talk about the people in the pictures—who’s who, what they’re doing, and how everyone may be feeling. Talk about how it feels when you are with friends. What makes a good friend?
  • Use dolls or make puppets out of household materials, and stage a show. Use funny voices, and talk about the characters—who they are, what they like or want, and how they feel.

6. Sequencing and Predicting

Sequencing is breaking down something (e.g., a task or story) into steps or parts—and then putting them in a logical order. Ask your child to select a favorite book. Read it together, and then talk about it. What came first? Next? Last? Have them draw a picture to show you. As you read, you can also ask them what they think will happen next—or what they think the story is about before you read by looking at the cover (this is called prediction).

7. Persuading

Children use many tactics to get their way. Although these tactics may include crying or whining, you can help them learn to persuade with their words. Have them draw a picture of their favorite book and tell you about it—are they able to convince you to read it? Or if they want to watch a TV show or movie, ask them to persuade you—to give you good reasons why they should get to watch the show.

8. Summarizing

Schedule a call (or video chat, if you can) between your child and their grandparent, other family members, or a friend to talk about their daily activities or a book they’ve read. Can your child talk briefly about the highlights of the day or the main events in a book?

Additional Resources for Parents are available at https://www.asha.org under these terms:

Communicating With Baby: Tips and Milestones Birth to Age Five

How Does Your Child Hear and Talk?

Preschool Language Disorders