Category Archives: Tips from therapists

Ocean Themed Speech Day

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.

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Skills to Target:

Language –       Ocean themed vocabulary

–       3 – 4 word utterances

(e.g., I see a __)

–       Pragmatic skills like waving “hi” and “bye” to the animals

 

 

Speech –       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).

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RECIPE FOR LANGUAGE – Incorporating Language Into Cooking for Developmentally Delayed Children

by Sarah Dubrow

Recipe Steps

  1. Pick a simple recipe (Or add miscellaneous ingredients into a bowl)
  2. If possible, have toys that resemble the cooking supplies
    • Or give your child safe real materials
  3. Decide what words or phrases you would like to target with your child
  4. 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:

http://mtbt.fpg.unc.edu/morebaby-talk/10-ways-promotelanguage-and-communicationskills-infants-and-toddlers

https://www.zerotothree.org

http://www.asha.org/public/speech/development/Parent-Stim-Activities.htm

http://www.talk.ku.edu/materials/

Tool for monitoring media time

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!

blog pic media-1

Skating through physical therapy

by Sarah Garman

My client Trey and I, went on a field trip Tuesday, January 16th, 2018 to the Independence Blue Cross River Rink. Trey had never been ice skating before and we spent several weeks training in order to prepare for the day. During his therapy sessions, we focused on Trey challenging his strength, balance, and coordination during a variety of therapeutic exercises. I also created activities that simulated ice skating to increase Trey’s self-confidence prior to being out on the ice. With each therapy session, our excitement grew in anticipation for the field trip.

Trey and his mom, Katrina, arrived to the River Rink fully prepared for a day on the ice with hats, gloves, and scarves in addition to protective elbow and knee pads. The River Rink supplied the ice skates, popular music, and fun environment. Trey had a blast ice skating with his mom and I. Even though he was well protected- he didn’t fall once! With a little help, Trey discovered that he can ice skate! Trey looks forward to participating in more field trips and even wants to go ice skating again!

10 Spooktacular Apps for Halloween 2017!

This blog was originally published on the website Playful-living.com

by Jo Booth

Halloween is just plain fun for kids of all ages. Dressing up and trying out new roles and rules for pretend play gives kids a chance to take on another’s perspective. Young children often have a blurred line between reality and make-believe, so putting on that princess’ dress is the way to being royal – at least for a while. In addition, scary stories, movies, and playthings help us practice self-regulation by challenging our comfort zones and exploring the unknown. If you look up Halloween apps for kids, there are a plethora of apps, most are silly and ridden with inappropriate content, IAPs (In-App Purchases), and ads. Here is a list of our must play games and apps that will keep it challenging, but most of all playful. Many apps companies put out holiday versions – to be updated during a special holiday, i.e. Sago Mini, Highlights, Lego, and Edoki – so be sure to check out your update section at the app store or google play for these classic apps that include a holiday theme.

Weirdwood Manor is a series of 6 interactive books by All Work, No Play. What makes this series so exceptional is the sheer fun of original storytelling with a spooky theme, beautifully rendered animation, and interactive puzzlers that give rise to creative problem-solving. It is a perfect blend of reading and gameplay that immerses you in the world of Weirdwood. The story centers on the lives of three talented children who are unique – and have been misfits at home. They’ve won a prize to come to Weirdwood to meet Arthur Weirdwood, an author, and inventor, but soon things get a little weird… This is a must-have series for elementary and tweens as it celebrates the unique and talents of all – and that is a message worth repeating.

Ravensburger’s Whoowasit? is a play on the classic game of Clue. It’s a “who done it” with an interactive punch! There is a bit of a learning curve to play, and it is worthwhile to go through the tutorials. The story centers on the children of a castle finding a lost ring hidden by the evil wizard. To find the ring, a room to room search must be undertaken. In each room, participants can either find hidden foodstuffs to bribe the animals into talking or keys to unlock a chest of a suspect. Oh, and there is a pesky ghost to deal with…

Highlights Hidden Pictures is a subscription model that is updated frequently to remain current with the season. Who hasn’t known and loved these puzzlers? Hidden pictures add challenges of timed and sequential order for finding objects hidden from view as well as the time-honored standard of finding them at leisure. I love how the app grades the complexity within a level. In settings, a parent or teacher can modulate what type of clues are given – by a visual – picture, auditory – word, or to hide the clues altogether and have the child discover the hidden pics on their own. In addition, by adding a black and white picture to the mix, it makes it a little harder to find the objects and is reminiscent of the Highlights magazine. These are great games for visual scanning and learning to think outside the box.

Another Highlights Halloween App is Highlights Puzzletown. It is also based on the subscription type service, however, as in the Hidden Picture app, the holiday puzzles are free to download. The puzzlers include hidden pictures, mazes, interlocking puzzles, and a find the difference within 2 pictures. I love these kinds of challenges for kids as it teaches early spatial and visual discrimination skills that are so important for reading and writing. Highlights is a well-researched and trusted brand that parents can rely on. There are no IAPs for secret gems, hints, or advertisements. The subscription model is for bringing in new content to keep their app fresh and challenging.

Lego Scooby Doo Escape from Haunted Isle couldn’t be more fun than as it contains two long-standing kid favorites – Legos and Scooby Doo. Lego Scooby Doo is a fast runner type game that helps build eye-hand coordination, challenges spatial abilities, and problem-solving adapting to environmental needs. Play centers around completing missions and solving a mystery. It would be super to have this sold as a set with Legos to build the items that are in the app to extend play. Now that would be grand!

Monster Park – Dino World Walking with Dinosaurs by Vito Technology is a load of fun by putting a wee scare into you. Made with Apple’s new ARKit, the two dinos are lifelike and it is unnerving to see T-Rex prance about your living room. Currently there are a T-Rex and a Pteranodon – hopefully, more dinos will be added in a future update or add-on pack. Some of the activities are walking with a dino, taking pictures with your dino, and even making a video. The coolest part of the app is to open a portal into the time of dinosaurs. Once opened, walking in is a snap and it is a wondrous scene taking you back into the time of dinosaurs.


Trick or Treat Little Critter
is an interactive storybook by OceanHouse Media that explains the customs of Halloween to little folks. It describes in detail the expectations and roles to play at Halloween as well as all the great benefits to Trick or Treating. It always amazes me how a few kids have no idea what is going on during Halloween because no one has explained it to them. Often there is not an older sibling or friend that explains what the holiday is like in Kid’s Terms that would make it remotely interesting and something that they should invest time and effort into participating. Too many kids, the thought of dressing up in something uncomfortable, staying out late, and all the noise is just too much. Once they have an idea of the benefits to be reaped in terms of attention, candy, and fun…they are all in. OceanHouse Media is a company that always comes to the rescue in explaining the world and its customs to kids.

Peek-a-boo Trick or Treat by Night and Day Studios is a classic app for beginning iPad users. The app itself is an open play invitation to investigate further and gives kids time to process what they need to do to explore the characters inside a haunted house. A gentle tap or swat for kids on the iPad opens a door to a Halloween denizen. The simple but bold graphics on each page enhances vocabulary without unnecessary visual or auditory clutter – making the labels clear. Once the doors are opened, kids are treated to an animation. Repeat play reveals a hint of who is behind the door – and builds good listening skills. I like that you can choose between an adult or child’s voice.

Go Away, Big Green Monster! Is an action-packed app that can be Read Along with the exciting author and narrator, Ed Emberley, Read Along with a child narrator, Read by Myself, or have the Story Sung in an upbeat jazzy tune.  The benefits to this playing are both learning about the vocabulary for body awareness, but the ability to anticipate and sequence a story. We use this app in therapy all year round as its liveliness is simply infectious.

 

I look forward to Sago Mini Monsters Halloween update every year. This is an app that can be used for children that have mastered single causation in play, and need more of a challenge. The Halloween version has kids bring up a monster face from the green slime pits. He is then dusted off and painted, given new accouterments, and then feed all sorts of treats and goodies. There is a price to pay – and if you eat a lot of treats – you need to brush your teeth! I love how daily routines are reinforced in this app. Brushing teeth is often hard to incorporate in a young one’s day. And practicing this in-app presents an opportunity to familiarize them with the sequence to the task and make it non-threatening.

In Summary

Take a peek, trick or treat, and download an app or two. You can’t go wrong with any of these selections. Halloween is a play time for one and all!

 

Masterpiece Mix by Roxie Monro

by Jo Booth

This post originally appeared on the blog Developmental Play and Learning

Masterpiece Mix by Roxie Munro has been an enormous hit at Easterseals in our preschool. The book is beautifully written and the author is speaking directly to children in the language that is developmentally understood. Of course, the artwork is fantastic and done in Roxie Munro’s award-winning style of realism with just a wink of whimsy. The book consists of extra-large and thick pages that are perfect for repeated readings and the handling of preschoolers.

Inside Masterpiece Mix

The story begins with Roxie trying to decide what to paint. She readies her canvas giving kids a peek at the life of an artist and what an art studio might look like. Should she paint a landscape – which we learned was a picture about places, a still life, or portrait? It is most impressive how she speaks with ease and explains the different categories of paintings. Scattered throughout the pages are classic paintings covering all the surfaces of her workroom – some even hidden on mugs and calendars! I had one boy who is dependent on a ventilator and probably had not been to an art museum before sitting in rapture, staring at the paintings on each page. At one point he grabbed my arm to get a closer look, and in that moment I knew his life had been changed by the exposure to art from this book. He had experienced beauty and the notion of creativity was planted. The last page of the story displays what Roxie chose to paint. The kids loved all the hidden works of art contained in her painting and enjoyed seeking out paintings they had seen previously. In the back is a key to all the artwork in the book, explaining both the piece and a little bit about the artist.

Extension activity

After our classes read and explored the book, we decided to make our own masterpieces. We got out the tools of our trade – markers, pencils, and crayons and went at it. It was exhilarating to see the kids so inspired. We then framed each one and displayed them for all to see. A follow-up session gave each child the opportunity to describe their masterpieces. We used a plastic microphone and gave everyone a turn to say something about their work. It was fascinating to hear the depth of answers to poised questions from their peers. It boosted the spirits of all for not only the day but for all the days to come. The message was clear – There was a masterpiece inside of them too. And what a message that is!

This video was filmed at the Friendship Academy, inclusive preschool program. We believe that everyone contributes, and through our shared experiences that we all are stronger.

This post was originally published at http://www.playful-living.com.

Build, Engage, and Change with Adaptive Design Association Inc.

by Jo Booth

On Friday, July 28th, I had the good fortune to be able to attend a training sponsored by the Adaptive Design Association Inc. in New York City. Through a grant, the Adaptive Design Assoc. hosted a training for designers, therapists, and skilled craftsmen from the Philadelphia region on the construction of adaptive equipment for people of all abilities. Gratefully, EasterSeals of SEPA was well represented! The goal was to spread both techniques for making products as well as to set up pockets for collaborators to continue this important work by consulting and constructing items of need within their home communities. It doesn’t really matter what “the norm” is, as we all have needs and will most probably require an adaptation at some point in our lives. You see, sometimes it may be to change the angle or view for an individual so that they can complete their work, provide postural support, or be able to complete daily routines or activities of daily living by changing the structure up a bit. If you begin to presume competence in others, you may find yourself pleasantly surprised by what a person is indeed capable of doing or understanding.

About ADA

The Adaptive Design Assoc. was founded by the vision of Alex Truesdale so that the designs and their construction could improve the quality of life for individuals to simply function within their environment. ALL items are customized for EVERY CLIENT and can be made from simple tools and construction materials. Many of the adaptations were made from tri-ply cardboard, glue, and “wooden nails”. The lifespan of the adaptive devices made from these simple but humble materials far outlasted many commercial materials, and in fact, many could be adapted quickly as a person’s needs changed rather than purchasing new equipment altogether. Alex in her overview of her life’s work described the unique relationship between the designers, creators, and clients. She stated that this relationship was the ground or heart of the creative process. When pieces were made from mutual respect, open communication, and yes – love; they could address the needs of the client in a more organic and direct manner. One of my favorite pieces was a stairway to assist a child in independently getting in and out of his wheelchair painted in a Spiderman motif that was totally awesome! When viewing pictures of the designs from the past, it was fascinating to see that what stood out was the individual, and not the design itself. The technology had simply fallen away from view. The Motto for this community of makers is: “Build for One, Engage Everybody, Change Everything™” . At ADA, anything is possible.

Participating with the Adaptive Design Association

The ADA encourages active participation from all as they believe that by using many hands, no detail goes unnoticed. Improvements spontaneously arise from collaborative efforts. The ADA offers many opportunities for learning and involvement. Visiting their website is not only inspirational but also a source for people to learn – tutorials on the process of making adaptations are offered on the website. Workshops, intern positions, and opportunities to volunteer are all ways to become involved and so that you can make a difference in your community. Over the next few months, I hope to show you in more detail, the process of learning to fabricate adaptations that are made with cardboard.