by Sandy Masayko
READ with your child!
The most important thing is to have fun.
- Take time to talk about the pictures and ask questions of your child. What do you think is going to happen? Who is doing what? Where are they? What are those? Do we have some of those? What do you think is going to happen next?
- You don’t have to read the story word for word.
- Make your own books. Make up stories about your child, your family and pets. Use family photos or draw simple stick figures; download pictures from the Internet.
Here’s a great website for guidance on reading with a young child:
SING with your child!
Your voice is the most beautiful voice in the world to your child. You don’t need be Beyoncé to sing with your child.
And, do you know that singing rhyming songs helps to get your child ready to read?
- All the old favorites, from ABC’s, Twinkle Twinkle, Wheels on the Bus, Happy Birthday, Old MacDonald to BINGO are good. Think of songs you liked as a child and sing those.
- Personalize songs by putting your child’s name in the song instead of the usual name.
- Spell out your child’s name by singing it to a favorite tune. For example, sing the Happy Birthday song with your child’s letters.
Here are some more ideas:
COOK with your child!
Cooking can be play—show your child how you make foods. This will take some planning for safety, and you don’t want to be in a rush.
- Show your child how you open, pour, chop, cut, slice, stir, bake, fry & more. Talk about these things as do them.
- If your child can help stir or participate in any way, let them help.
- Make Jell-O and see what happens if you leave some outside of the refrigerator, and what happens if you put some in the freezer. Talk to your child about the changes that happen. This is food science!
- Have taste tests: try out new tastes and talk about sour, sweet, bitter, salty, crunchy, smooth, soft.
Here is a website with more ideas:
Have fun and let us know about your favorite activities. We will be waiting to hear from you!
As we all find ourselves at home to help flatten the curve of COVID-19, Easterseals would like to help provide some helpful resources.
Our Director of Behavioral Support Services, Danielle Franchini-Muir, MS Ed., BCBA, is developing a video series to help families implement positive behavior intervention supports at home.
In this first video, Danielle gives an overview of what positive behavior intervention supports (PBIS) is and how you can begin to implement this helpful tool at home.
by Molly Fischman, MS, CCC-SLP
As you now know, Easterseals programs and community-based therapies are closed until March 27th in correspondence with the school district and state policies regarding the outbreak of Covid-19.
In the meantime, if you find yourself at home looking for therapeutic games or activities for your child, here are some ideas of things to do while keeping everyone healthy and safe.
- Make a sensory bin by putting dried beans or rice in a tupperware bin with other small objects/figures like the ones here. Have your child dig through and name what they find.
Make slime with your child. Here is a recipe with items you might have. If you don’t have those ingredients, make “Oobleck” with cornstarch and water.
Tape pieces of paper together and create a mural with your child using paints, crayons, or markers.
Work on sorting shapes: Put tape on the floor in the form of different shapes and have your child sort objects from around the house into piles according to shape. Or, have your child sort small items by color into muffin tins. If you have a printer, here is a free printable that targets the same skill. (If your child is able, they can cut out the pictures with help!)
If you have access to a printer, print some worksheets and have your child name pictured objects, practice making circles and Xs, and work on visual attention with search-and-find or connect-the-dots worksheets.
Bake cookies with your child. Talk about and name the ingredients, help your child measure the ingredients and count scoops. Here is a simple cookie recipe with ingredients you might have around the house.
Go on a scavenger hunt around the house. Work on vocabulary for different rooms of the house, furniture, clothing, appliances etc. Run around and see who can get to each item first.
Read, read, read! With the books you have, read to your child as much and as often as they will attend.
Preschool Learning Games
Zingo: Have your child name and match the pictured objects. Practice saying “I got a [object]”, asking “Do you need a [object]?”, and answering Yes/No questions in response.
Pop The Pig: Roll the dice and match the color burger to the color on the dice. Practice recognizing and naming numbers 1-4 and then counting the target number when you press down Pop’s head.
Zimbbos: Work on saying “[color] + elephant” and fine motor dexterity as you stack elephants.
Uno Moo or Uno: practice matching and naming colors/animals or matching colors/numbers.
Memory Match games: flip over two cards per turn and say if they are the same or different. If they’re different, flip them back over. If they’re the same, you got a match!
If you have a deck of cards and your child is able, teach them to play Go Fish or a modified version.
Stay safe, and don’t be afraid to get creative with your child during this trying time!
by Nequetta Alfred
Pediatric Physical Therapists (PT) are aware of the joy they bring to children and families who achieve great strides even under difficult circumstances. Pediatric PT’s find creative ways and techniques to work with our kiddos who struggle with walking, running, or even jumping. Alex is one of our amazing PT’s at Easterseals who invests her sessions into each child by developing that one to one relationship with the goal of reaching maximum potential. She is patient with our children and consults with all team members involved including our teachers, teacher assistant’s, personal care assistants (PCA’s), behavior therapists, nurses, and the entire team at Easterseals.
Every week she is on time for classroom meetings which start as early as 8:15 am and she is consistent in reaching out to the team to assure an holistic approach. She works well with anyone who comes in contact with and our kiddos love the fun and joy she brings to each session. We see positive results when our therapist are just as excited to work with our kids. If you see Alex please give her a high five or hug for a well done job on simply being amazing at what she does.
During the session in the picture the student received a ride from the PT room back to the classroom while stretching her muscles which was quite funny to the student. The PCA (Tama) was very helpful in assuring safety and consistency with the sessions. One thing we know at Easterseals is a framework that’s built on teamwork surely gets results with the kids who are near and dear to our hearts. It’s so cool to see kids return to class happy and ready for their next session. The student transitioned straight to music and had a great day throughout the remainder of the day. The students day may have started with her teacher or PCA, but clearly ends with understanding it takes a village to keep those beautiful smiles in place while assuring our therapeutic goals are being met.
Health conditions that pediatric physical therapists address include:
- Cerebral palsy
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Chronic pain
- Cystic fibrosis
- Developmental delays and movement disorders resulting from premature birth
Resources for parents with kids with PT’s:
by Jeanine Johnson
Very often I talk about the exemplary work Easterseals teachers, teacher’s assistants and therapists perform on a daily basis. The way they care and connect with each and every student is truly something special. The children and their families are supported by Easterseals on so many levels that go beyond the academic. You know I could go on and on about the importance of what we do and how we serve our families, but today I want to talk about how we support each other!
Earlier this year I was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. It was one of those calls you never want to receive. I quietly underwent the slew of testing that needed to be done before the surgery was finalized. I didn’t tell anyone what was going on at the time because I wasn’t ready for questions. I was very fortunate because I feel I had best case scenario, caught it early, minor surgery, radiation and medication. Ultimately I knew I’d be fine, but it was still a lot to process. I decided to take some time off after the procedure just to get my head and emotions together. No one was aware of what transpired until after I went out on leave.
Well the outpouring of support I received from my co-workers was overwhelming. The cards were beautiful but the sentiments were something special. There were personal notes from the teaching staff, transportation staff, nursing staff, therapy staff and corporate staff. The cards and poster boards were decorated by the students. The personal notes (and there were many) that each person wrote brought joy to me. Sometime you don’t realize how much we get used to each other’s routines, likes and dislikes. I received a package in the mail that contained boxes of tea bags and three fresh lemons. It is known that I have to have my hot cup of tea with lemon every morning. This made me laugh and my heart light. The box also contained a gift for both my dog and my cats. A Grub Hub gift card was sent to me. It was another thoughtful gesture. What a novel idea and one I plan to duplicate! That’s a great gift for someone who’s recovering.
When I returned to work there was such a warm welcoming from everyone. People were checking in with me periodically to see how I was making out with the radiation treatments. After I completed my 4+ weeks of radiation, I got to ring the bell. I came into work the next morning to an announcement written on the bulletin board congratulating me for finishing my cancer treatments. I felt very cared for and loved. So when I sing the praises of the people I work with, it’s because they are inherently good people, with great hearts. I’m sure that’s what drove them to work in this industry where their love and talent could have the most impact.
by Jennifer Eubanks
Easterseals has been an integral part of my life as I have been an educator here for the past 13 years. I receive such joy, feelings of accomplishment and pride when I see my students’ progress year after year. I was thrilled when earlier this year an opportunity presented itself to contribute to the organization on a larger level. My brother-in-law, Kevin Eubanks, was picked to appear on Celebrity Family Feud. He was debating what charity to choose to represent and wanted it to have a local tie. Well, needless to say, I wholeheartedly suggested Easterseals as the perfect charity to choose! Much to my delight, he was onboard with that choice.
It was wonderful to be able to get the Easterseals name out in the public in front of a large viewing audience. The trip was wonderful and the game show was a blast. It was Team Kevin Eubanks vs. Team Ryan Lochte. While I cannot tell you the outcome, you can watch and see for yourselves. The episode is scheduled to air on September 22, 2019 on ABC from 8:00 pm – 9:00pm EDT.
by Danielle Franchini-Muir
Danielle is not only our Director of Behavioral Support Services, but she is also a Friendship Academy parent. As her son began kindergarten this morning, she wrote this lovely note to the staff at the Friendship Academy and the entire Montgomery County Division.
Hi Montco Staff!
I wanted to send a note of thanks on this special day. My son Joey has been attending Friendship Academy at Easterseals Montgomery County for two wonderful years and had his last day just a couple weeks ago. He gets very nervous with new people, places, and things, but school soon became his favorite place to be! Not only were his teachers phenomenal, but all the staff there including other education staff, child care staff, therapists, and even Mr. Steve (on all our late days!) all also made him feel as special and loved as he is to me. There is no better feeling as a parent. He was so sad to leave and even shed a few tears leaving the parking lot on his final day.
As sad as it was/is for both of us, I knew putting him on the bus this morning for Kindergarten he was READY! He was nervous, but smiling. And I know he has the skills to really make it in Kindergarten thanks to all of YOU 🙂
Hope this note and pictures brighten your day! Just know all your hard work really does pay off – you all make differences in the lives of kids and parents every day.