by Sarah Garman
My client, Trey, and I went to the Germantown Cricket Club (GCC) for some of our physical therapy sessions over the summer. Trey enjoys coming here with his family to use the playground, fitness center, or swim in the pool. One of the ways I try to keep physical therapy fun and interesting for Trey is trying new sports and activities out in the community. The indoor tennis courts at GCC are the perfect space to escape the heat and humidity for exercise during the summer months. During our therapy sessions, we focused on speed and agility training, in addition to spatial and body awareness – all important components to playing tennis! We used visual, auditory, and kinesthetic feedback to enhance Trey’s learning experience when performing various tennis drills. Trey and I had so much fun playing on the tennis courts this summer in our all white uniforms!
by Sandy Masayko
These beautiful customized chairs and slant boards not only meet children’s seating needs, they reflect the children’s interests and are very attractive. All of this adaptive design work has been done by our talented and valuable Cardboard Fairy, Dorothy Hess, who meets with the children’s therapists to determine best seating. Thank you, Dorothy, for continuing to work with the children who are served by Easterseals!
by Sarah Dubrow
I always love pairing a fun book with a sensory activity to get kids excited about speech therapy, and any ocean themed book will work! Stories that are repetitive are much more engaging for children, because they can feel confident about what’s coming next.
This book, Way Down Deep in the Deep Blue Sea by Jan Peck and illustrated by Valeria Petrone is an awesome repetitive story that keeps kids engaged with vibrant pictures and words that kids can learn quickly.
Skills to Target:
||– Ocean themed vocabulary
– 3 – 4 word utterances
(e.g., I see a __)
– Pragmatic skills like waving “hi” and “bye” to the animals
||– Various speech sounds
– Syllable pacing (Turning books into a songs helps kids follow and sing along!)
And… For the Sensory Activity!
Once we finished reading our ocean story, I let the kiddos find different sea creatures in a variety of sensory bins. They were able to find and label the various sea creatures they saw in the story. We also talked about the different kinds of textures and feelings in each bin (cold, rough, squishy, wet etc.).
From left to right, I used sand, water with blue food coloring, and water beads or Orbeez (you can get these on amazon or at Target).
by Sarah Dubrow
- Pick a simple recipe (Or add miscellaneous ingredients into a bowl)
- If possible, have toys that resemble the cooking supplies
- Or give your child safe real materials
- Decide what words or phrases you would like to target with your child
- Use the provided strategies throughout your cooking session to elicit communication from your child.
Techniques to Increase Language Use
- Modeling – Hold objects close your mouth and say the target word. Having them make eye contact with you will draw their attention to you and help with imitation
- Descriptive Play – Describe what your child is doing as they are doing it . For example, you might say: “You are putting the flour in the bowl”
- “More” – Give your child only 1-2 pieces of something or give them less of what they need. This will encourage them to ask for more
- Repetition – When your child wants a certain item (or you are giving them an item) model the word 2-3 times before proceeding. After you model the word 3 times, give them what they want
“Ingredients” (Useful Words)
- Adjectives: Big, Small, Cold, Hot
- Prepositions: In, On, Under, Behind
- Nouns: Mommy/Daddy, Spoon, Bowl, Cup, Food, Drink, Mouth, Fingers, Hands, Belly/ Tummy
- Social Words: More, Please, Thank you, All Done, Help
- Verbs: Want, Drink, Eat, Clean Up, Mix, Stir, Shake, Pour, Dump
Common First Words Adapted from: The Rossetti Infant Toddler Language Scale (2006)
Other Language Rich Situations
In addition to cooking, use other daily activities to enhance language development.
- Going Shopping: Line up empty boxes or toy foods and have your child “go shopping” for foods they want or enjoy
- Singing: Incorporate familiar songs or sound effects into your cooking routine. For example, using “Clean up” song when the activity is finished
- Daily Routines: If a cooking session is too complex or time consuming, the provided techniques can be incorporated into other daily activities such as snack time, brushing teeth, dressing etc.
Other Helpful Online Resources:
by Kathryn Wallace
I am constantly looking for resources for parents who want meaningful ways to engage with their children. I found this great idea tool to promote engagement through limited/supervised media time. You simply put in your child’s name and age. It sets you up with a media plan. The best part is that it was created by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Take a look and I hope you find it helpful!
by Sandy Masayko
The Cardboard Fairy, also known as Dorothy Hess, is still spreading her magic around to Easterseals children. Her latest creations include custom-made chairs, trays, benches and steps. Dorothy is not only a talented designer, she is also an artist who decorates her creations with pictures of items that have special meaning to the child or family. She has fabricated items for children in our schools as well as young children in the community. We are grateful for Dorothy’s work and dedication in creating beautiful and functional equipment.
Dorothy holding some of her work
A custom slant board
Decorated custom stool
by Sandy Masayko
Thanks to Project Vive, our wonderful volunteer partners from State College, Easterseals students will soon be driving their adapted vehicles again. After a year of hard use, the cars needed some repairs, and those repairs were beyond the abilities of our AT Team.
So Project Vive came to the rescue! Braving the perils of the Schuylkill Expressway at rush hour, Project Vive came by van in mid May to transport the adapted cars back to State College where the engineers at Project Vive could repair starters, switches and driving mechanisms. The engineers will be adapting some of the cars with new capabilities such as joystick control. The volunteers took a few other broken items with them as well as the cars.
Three cars have already been returned to the Yaffe Center. We are very grateful for the help we get from Project Vive staff.
We will be working with Project Vive to test out some of their unique augmentative/ alternative communication products. For more information about the exciting work that Project Vive is doing to design low cost augmentative communication, visit their website
Check out the pictures of the Project Vive volunteers loading up our kiddie cars into their van, and some of the refurbished cars upon return to Yaffe Center.