So, unless you have been living under a rock, on a luxurious tropical vacation (can you tell I'm tired of this COLD?!) or lead a technology free lifestyle you HAVE probably seen the twin boys "talking" to one another. If you haven't seen it, go to our FB page and you will find it there. Completely hilarious and if you are an SLP I know you love it for more reasons than it just being cute.
The reason I wanted to write a few lines about this video is because it is such a PHENOMENAL example of joint attention, appropriate inflection (even without words) and gesture use. It illustrates that even toddlers using very few words can communicate quite well and use appropriate responses to others' communication attempts (the baby laughing appropriately at his brother's antics when there is a pause in the gibberish).
So many times, I am asked by parents what we as SLP's look for when we evaluate a toddler. We often hear "they are so little and barely talking, how can you "tell" that there is a delay or problem?" Well, THESE are the things we look for; joint attention, inflection, gestures etc(the very things this video demonstrated so beautifully)...this tells us many things about not only the current level of the child's speech/language skills but also what the problem might be and if they would be a good candidate for therapy.
When I do an evaluation with a child if I don't see the "back and forth" and joint attention when I speak with them or when they speak with a parent or other familiar adult, this raises "red flags" and tells me that the child isn't "using" what speech they DO have in an appropriate way. It also tells me that one of the reasons they are likely delayed is BECAUSE they aren't understanding the very foundation or purpose of words etc... Further, if the child uses few gestures to try to supplement what they do say this is another "red flag" that there could be motor delays (speech is a motor skills) in addition to the speech delay.
"Gibberish" has always been and will always be my very favorite stage that a child goes through on the road to becoming a speaker. Watching a child who is very obviously telling you a story, but sounds as if they are speaking a foreign or made up language, is not only entertaining but a VERY important step in the stages of speech and language development. Having said that, it does not always indicate that the child is doing FINE either so if your child has few words even IF they are using gestures and inflection you should still contact a speech language pathologist for an evaluation.
Should you wish for more specific examples of what your child should be doing at different stages of their development, please feel free to contact us and we would be happy to help.
As always, I welcome your comments and input to my blog posts.
Once again the fans on our FB page came through and suggested some great things, commonly found in a home with children, for me to blog about with regard to reinforcing speech and language skills. I selected two items this time (because only two people responded! LOL) No matter, they were great suggestions.
Hands down, Play-Doh has got to be one of my ALL TIME favorite therapy materials. It is so versatile, cheap, FUN and selfishly the smell takes me to my "happy place" so I use it often. The only BAD thing about Play-Doh is that you can't sanitize it so, if you see 5 or 6 kiddos in one day....you go through ALOT of Play-Doh. So, here we go..ways to use Play-Doh to enhance speech and language skills;
*colors (make different sized balls and sort into the correct colored containers, make your own color creations and name them or ask you child for a certain color)
*choices (do you want the red or yellow?)
*sequencing tasks (roll out the dough, then press the cookie cutter in and put the cookie on the sheet)
*vocabulary development (make pretend foods, make shapes, make cookies etc)
*prepositions (hide a ball under the container, in the container, over the container)
*sizes (make a big ball, little ball, medium sized ball)
*directions (take the blue ball and put it in the bowl, take the BIG blue ball and put it in the little yellow cup)
*verbs (squish, roll, press, smack, slap, push, pull, open/close (container), poke, pinch, share etc)
*articulation practice (make items with the play doh that have the child's error sound)
There are so many more but this list should get your ideas flowing.
Ways to use Legos to enhance speech and language skills;
*colors (sorting, patterns etc)
*sizes (big/little, tall/short, thin/fat, long/short) also sorting sizes
*make a tower and knock it down-GREAT fun for early speech fun (BOOM!, READY, SET, GO! CRASH! UH- OH! FALL DOWN!)
*for older children who need practice on verbal expression they could explain "how" to make something to another "take the little, red brick and put it on top of the blue brick"
*articulation (give a Lego as a "reward" each time a child says their word, phrase, sentence using their speech sound correctly)
*more articulation practice (have the child read directions or explain how to make something to practice their speech in structured conversation)
*concept of same/different
*concept of matching ("Can you find a match for this one?") or trace the legos and see if the child can find a "match" based on the outline.
Like with the Play-Doh there are many more uses but this list should get you started!
As always, I'd LOVE to hear your comments/ideas for how to use these items to enhance speech and language skills.
Well, I had three cancellations today which allowed me some extra time to get a Starbuck's and cruise through Dollar Tree for fun therapy tools/toys. Dollar Tree is, hands down, one of THE best places to find things to use for feeding or speech/language activities. Today, I was on a mission to find fun food tools for our spring Much Bunch group(s).
Here is what I found today; drink parasols, bunny "picks", plastic multi-colored appetizer(because I have no idea how to spell the French word for this and am too lazy right now to look it up) "toothpicks" , Easter muffin cups,a green harmonica, and multi-colored crazy straws. How will we use these you ask? I'm happy to tell you....
For tomorrow's Munch Bunch, we are having a "rainbow of foods" complete with pot of gold (gold foiled Reese cup) at the end. The green "picks"(in honor of St. Patrick's Day) will be used to skewer some of our rainbow foods for FUN and also because some kids just don't like to picky up wet, textured, slimy foods. :) Plus, food just looks so cool when it is served on a skewer!
The crazy straws will be used for children needing to strengthen their "suck", tongue retraction (tongue moving back), lip rounding (important for many sounds) or just to help some of our kiddos "prepare" for eating by working the mouth a bit by waking it up. Different shaped straws work the mouth in different ways (the more twists and turns the harder the work) and are a great, inexpensive and fun way to get your child to do their "speech" homework.
The Bunny "picks" will be used, closer to Easter, to skewer foods. A fun idea is to make a sandwich on a stick....cut small pieces of bread in a shape and then do the same with cheese and meats. Have the child assemble their "sandwich on a stick" using the bunny "pick." Who wouldn't want to eat a sandwich served on a cool bunny stick? Bigger sandwich? Use a bamboo skewer or Shish Ka Bob skewer.
The Easter muffin cups will be used to serve our foods for our Munch Bunch activities. Why? Because food looks way cooler and less scary when it is in a muffin cup. Further, food that comes in a muffin cup is usually very yummy and not scary at all. Probably why I LOVE cupcakes and all kinds of muffins! :)
The harmonica will be used in a therapy session with a chid who needs to work on cause/effect, respiratory control (breath control) and oral motor awareness (figuring out how their mouth works). Horns are great tools for these skills. They don't necessarily help someone to "talk" but they CAN increase awareness of the mouth which you definitely need before you can form sounds for talking.
Lastly, I really don't know how I'm going to use the drink parasols yet.....they just looked really, really neat and I thought I'd figure out some way to use them other than the obvious!
So for a grand total of $6 I have feeding and therapy tools to share with clients that they will actually use. :)
How about you? What fun things do you get at Dollar Tree that you use in therapy or at home?
Here goes nothin'.... so I had this bright idea that I would ask for fans of our Twitter and Facebook pages to suggest toys or common household objects and I would randomly (LOVE random.org) select one and blog about the different ways to use the item to enhance speech and language skills. Wouldn't you know that the very first item selected was SPATULAS (second guessing my love or random.org right now)? The "spatula suggester" was kind enough to start us off with a suggestion....below find all that I personally can think of....
*blowing bubbles with different shaped spatulas (thanks to our poster on FB for this idea)
*sorting different colored spatulas
*tracing spatulas and then matching them to the "pictures"
*hide the spatula (work on location phrases "look, it's ON the table, UNDER the couch etc..)
*size concepts (do you want the big spatula or the little; can also use for above "sorting" activity but sort by size
*pretend play (practice questions by asking your child "what are you making? or "are you making a hamburger or grilled cheese?"
*one to one correspondence ("can you give one to everyone? or counting each of the spatulas together)
*pronouns ("can you give one to him? her? me? Where is YOUR spatula?)
*possessives ("Where is Dad's spatula? Mom's? Yours?)
*painting pictures (dip into finger or washable paint)
*verbs (flip the sandwich, turn the sandwich)
*actually cooking with one (cooking with toddlers and preschoolers is an excellent language and speech activity AND most children will at least TRY what they cook/make)
*speech articulation (common errors are /s/, /sp/ blend, /t/ and /l/ (would go nicely for a child working on /sp/ blends in spontaneous speech in above "hide the spatula game")
Now it's YOUR turn...how would YOU use a spatula to work on speech or language skills? Come on, don't be shy!
This was fun! Don't forget to watch for our announcement next week so we can do this again.