Summer is approaching and you may have more time to spend with you child. You may want to take advantage of this time to help your child develop better communication skills. Because these skills are so important for success in school, every child can benefit from their continued development.
You can help anytime and anywhere-car trips, grocery shopping, making dinner, at a park. The following suggestions can be used with children at most grade and reading levels-and throughout the year as well as during summer.
Listening Is Important. When you listen, your child will be encouraged to talk more. When you listen, you also teach your child to listen-and listening is one of the main ways children learn.
- Show you’re listening by rephrasing what your child is saying or commenting on it. For example, your child says. “Barbie is my friend.” You say, “You like Barbie, don’t you?”
- Look at your child to show you are listening.
Talk With Your Child. Watch a favorite TV show together and then discuss it; ask your child the most important ideas and what he/she liked best in the show. Have a conversation with your child whenever you can-during a meal, on a walk, or doing an errand.
- Most children make some mistakes in speech. Try not to comment of the mistake. Simply repeat what was said using the correct words or sounds. For example, you child says. “I goed outside.” You say. “Oh, you went outside.”
- If you don’t understand what you child is saying, ask him/her to repeat it or ask a leading question based on what you did understand (“Tell me more about what you did.”).
- If you child omits words, you can help by expanding on what he/she said. For example, your child says, “Tommy shoe lost.” You say, “Oh Tommy’s shoe is lost.”
Encourage Reading. Read to your child. Let your child see that you read newspapers, magazines, and books. Keep magazines and books around the house.
- Go to the library together. Keep a list of the books your child has read.
- Subscribe to a magazine for your child. Give paperback books as gifts.
Enjoy Language. Help your child to be creative with language.
- Tell stories, play word games, give diaries as gifts.
- Write letters to friends and relatives on your vacation.
As the speech-language pathologist at your child’s school, I work with children who have problems with speech, language, and related disorders. If you have any concerns regarding the way your child speaks or listens, please call me in the fall.
Have a pleasant summer!
SLP puts their name here
- Carrying groceries from the car to the house
- Carrying laundry up and down the stairs
- Pulling a blanket with toys or pillows on top for added weight
- Jumping on a trampoline
- Animal walks
- Bike riding
- Jump rope
- Egg races
- Playing in a bin of raw rice or beans
- Finger painting
- Make a water bead sensory bin
- Play with non-toxic slime
- Play in the sand
Auditory Sensory Activities:
- Play Simon Says
- Scavenger hunt with sounds (instead of looking for objects, listen for sounds!)
- Make and play with sensory shakers
- Listen to calming music
- Fill the backpack or beach bag game (give simple 1 step directions)
Fine Motor Activities:
- Play travel size board games with tiny pieces
- Make beaded necklaces or bracelets
- Pipe Cleaner and Colander Activity
- Make origami or paper airplanes
- Trace objects using stencils
Visual Motor Activities:
- Sidewalk chalk art
- Paint or color by numbers
- Throw water balloons at a target
- Place action figures in plastic container of water and freeze—have them use a hammer to get them out later
- Writing with shaving cream
Visual Perceptual activities:
- I Spy Eagle Eye; I Spy Go Fish
- Spot It game
- Word search puzzles
- Connect the dots pictures
- Memory game
Bilateral Coordination Activities:
- Put big sponges in a bucket of water outside and squeeze them
- Punch holes with a hole puncher
- Make a marble maze with recycle materials like toilet paper rolls and paper towel rolls
- Make and play with playdoh– use cookie cutters, rolling pins, and scissors with it
- Go fishing
Have a wonderful summer!
May is here and It is always fun to bring awareness to the field of Speech and Hearing and let people know a little bit more about what SLPs do every day! Need ideas for how to celebrate Better Speech & Hearing Month?
• ASHA’s May is Better Hearing and Speech Month website has a screen saver, activity booklets, bookmarks, information packets, and more! – http://www.asha.org/bhsm/
• Speaking of Speech’s May is Better Speech and Hearing Month Materials (created/shared by speech-language pathologists) – http://www.speakingofspeech.com/May_is_BSHM_Materials.html
• Super Duper Publications’ Celebrate Better Speech and Hearing Month Handy Handout by: Robyn Merkel-Piccini, M.A. CCC-SLP – http://www.superduperinc.com/handouts/pdf/19_Celebrate_Better_Speech.pdf
• Michigan State University’s Better Hearing and Speech Month website with information, video links, and banners – https://www.msu.edu/~comdis/bhsm/
• LiveSpeakLove created free printable information sheets for various communication disorders – http://livespeaklove.com/2012/05/01/happy-better-hearing-and-speech-month/
• Speech Room News’ Better Hearing and Speech Month calendar and Vocal Hygiene flyer – http://www.speechroomnews.blogspot.com/2012/04/better-speech-hearing-month.html
• The American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery’s website full of hearing and speech handouts – http://www.entnet.org/AboutUs/betterHearingSpeechMonth.cfm
• ASHA’s Pinterest account full of Better Hearing and Speech Month related pins – http://pinterest.com/ashaweb/better-hearing-speech-month-ideas/
• ASHASphere’s Better Hearing and Speech Month Roundup Week 1 post identifying various websites promoting Hearing and Speech Month – http://blog.asha.org/2012/05/03/better-hearing-speech-month-roundup-week-1/
• Super Duper Publications’ Handy Handouts – http://www.superduperinc.com/Handouts/Handout.aspx
• Pedia Staff’s Better Hearing and Speech Month Resources Blog Post – http://www.pediastaff.com/blog/better-hearing-and-speech-month-resources-2011-3457
• American Academy of Audiology Worksheets – http://www.audiology.org/resources/consumer/Pages/kids.aspx
• Speech Lady Liz’s blog post – http://speechladyliz.blogspot.com/2012/05/happy-better-speech-and-hearing-month.html
• Consonantly Speaking’s Coloring Page With Suggested Homework Activities for BHSM – http://consonantlyspeaking.com/posts/2012/05/better-hearing-and-speech-month-coloring-page-with-suggested-homework-activities
We hope that you find these materials created by other speech-language pathologists and professionals helpful this month to share with your students, colleagues, and parents!
Not too long ago, on a trip to Colorado, I had the opportunity to go hiking with my children up a mountain in Chautauqua Park in Boulder. At the foot of one of the many trails, I looked up at the mountain, and became very overwhelmed. How was this Florida girl going to make it up and back down that mountain in this thin air? My adult children, one with a baby in a pack, bounded up the trail. I told them to go on ahead. This looked too hard and I didn’t think I could make it. I would stay down. Off they went without me. After I while, I thought that maybe I could go a little way up. So, I picked out a tree a short way up the trail and made that my goal. I reached the tree, gasping for air, with all of my muscles screaming at me. I stopped. I took some deep breaths, and then I looked back at where I had come from. It was much farther than I thought and the view was beautiful. Maybe I could go a little farther. So, I picked a big rock up ahead and huffed and puffed my way up the trail, stopping at each appointed goal, catching my breath and taking in the view, relishing how far I had come. I kept going this way until I had climbed up to the top of the mountain and back down again. My children were waiting for me at the bottom, cheering my success.
Our jobs as therapists in the schools can be a lot like this. All the things that we need to do can look like insurmountable mountains to climb. I’ve been talking to quite a few people about documentation and data collection. That seems to be a really big mountain for many of us. So, how do we climb Mount Data?
Here are a few strategies that come to mind:
Climb the mountain one small step at a time.
Right now, if you are having trouble taking any data at all, set a small goal and work to reach it. Maybe the goal is to take data on just your articulation students. Maybe the goal is to take data on a certain number of your groups, or maybe the first small goal is to figure out, and organize how you will actually document the skills being taught. If you are so paralyzed by the size of the task, find ways to break it down into small steps and move forward.
There are different trails up the mountain.
Data collection is not a one-fits-all type of activity. How and when you document progress will depend on the skill being taught, and the ability of the student to participate in monitoring his or her own progress. We are all familiar with taking frequency counts where you can compute the percentage of correct responses. With some skills, you may need to take speech or language samples, analysis of a story retells, pre-tests/post-tests, observations, work samples, or descriptions of student responses. One really effective way to document progress is by using learning scales (rubrics) to break down the smalls steps needed to achieve the overall goal, and to chart the progress towards the goal. It is basically a continuum of teaching behavior leading to student expertise. Learning scales can be used to track student progress, and used by the student to track his/her own progress. This data can be descriptive in nature or could be set up to be graphable data. Learning scales are very effective informal assessment tools used during the learning process in order to modify teaching and learning activities to improve student achievement. In fact, research has shown that tracking student progress using learning scales results in a 34% higher gain than when not using this strategy. I will be writing more about how to use learning scales to document student data at another time, so stay tuned for that. As you move up the mountain, pick the trail that will get you to the top.
Stop and evaluate your progress up the mountain.
It is important to remember the purpose of taking data. So often, we become so overwhelmed by all the tasks we need to do that we simply complete the activity, and then file it a way. The key to data is using it to drive your therapeutic instruction. It is critical to elicit evidence of the student’s understanding, and then give accurate and specific feedback to the student. What does your data tell you? Is the student making progress or not making progress? Do you need to add in more supports? Do you need to change the strategies you are using to teach the skill? If the student isn’t “getting it,” we need to dig deeper and analyze why they may not be making progress on the skill. Data gives you information to provide guidance to the students, and to help you understand when and if you need to alter or differentiate your therapeutic instruction to ensure all your students make progress. Stop, take a breath, and take of picture of what the data looks like by analyzing it and using it to guide you as you continue up the mountain.
Celebrate a Successful Journey.
You have conquered that mountain. You have developed ways to efficiently and effectively document student progress. You have provided feedback and the students are now documenting and taking pride in their own progress. You have differentiated and altered your therapy on an ongoing basis to meet the needs of your students, and, as a result, students are meeting goals and being successful in the classroom. Before you try to conquer that next mountain in front of you, be sure to celebrate! Take a look at your journey over the mountain. Stop and enjoy the view! Make sure you have a support team waiting at the foot of the mountain to cheer you on, or to make the climb with you!
The Heart of a Therapist!
We can have all the knowledge, know all the therapy techniques, and be highly skilled,
but we must have the heart needed to genuinely care for our students to be the best we can be!
We will never make it up those mountains without the heart to do the work!
At CRA Therapy, our therapists have heart!!
Jane Hastings, MMSc, CCC-SLP