Speech Therapy Blogs

I have posted some of my favorite speech therapy blogs but one that has been started recently and contains lots of excellent information is in Advance’s e-newletter and is by Stephanie Bruno Dowling, MS, CCC-SLP. Her post of an interview with an occupational therapist explaining sensory integration dysfuntion is excellent and one that you can point to for parents to explain what it is and how it manifests itself in a child’s behavior. Her three part interview deals with the definition, what it looks like in kids and how to treat it.

What are your favorite speech therapy blogs? Let me know in the comments.

Posted in Blogroll, Speech and Language Delay, Strategies to Encourange Language Development | 3 Comments

Hans Wilhelm, The Story Behind the Illustrator

Hans Wilhelm, children's author and illustratorCan I just say that I love my public library??!! The Fairfield Public Library hosted “More Than Words,” tonight featuring four local children’s book illustrators showcasing their framed artwork, books and the story behind their work. Hans Wilhelm was one of the featured ilustrators who also authors many of his books.

I had the delightful opportunity to meet Hans and his lovely wife, Judy Henderson who is a talented ceramicist when they were part of an artists’ studio tour for the public this past winter. I was able to visit their adjoining studios and see their art. As a matter of fact, I told Judy that I drink my morning coffee out of her cups!

Judy Henderson's ceramics

Judy's cups

Hans briefly talked about growing up in Germany after World War II and only having what he called “dreadful” children’s books to read. Through a friend he got his hands on some Disney magazines sent from the US and he fell in love with the warm colors, in contrast to the drab German children’s books, and loved to see Mickey Mouse. He saw Christmas wreaths that were “full of colors” whereas in Germany, wreaths were used for funerals! Obviously his exposure to these lively colorful magazines Continue reading

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The Importance of Children’s Play

My son sent me an excellent article on “The Serious Need for Play” in Scientific American. Psychiatrist Stuart Brown has been studying the effects of a childhood deprived of free play. He has found that children who lack the opportunity to play freely in an unstructured environment, utilizing their imagination and pretend skills, can be hindered from growing into happy, well-adjusted adults. Free play is essential for children to grow into socially healthy adults. The article goes on to outline the benefits of a child’s free play–developing healthy social skills, relieving stress, and fostering creative thinking ultimately building academic skills.

Why be concerned about this? Because as a society we are slowly decreasing the time we leave open for free play for our kids. According to this article, “According to a paper published in 2005 in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, children’s free-play time dropped by a quarter between 1981 and 1997. Concerned about getting their kids into the right colleges, Continue reading

Posted in 3-6 year-olds, 6-8 year-olds, Birth-3 year-olds, Elementary School Age, play, Preschool, Strategies to Encourange Language Development | Leave a comment

Snowstorm in the East

Everybody enjoys a day off and yesterday was a day to go nowhere! We had 14 inches of snow overnight and schools were closed. Many kids went “sleigh riding” as they say in the East. I am from the Midwest where we call it “sledding.” In any case it was perfect snow for making a snowman or fort.

Snow days are Duke’s favorites–other than a trip anywhere near water–so I had to photograph him with the white stuff on his nose after tunnelling through the snow to fetch his balls. After shoveling the driveway (he was NO help, dropping his ball in front of my shovel, hoping to distract me) we took off along a stream snow shoeing. 

I love my work with children and writing to encourage languge development, but I also enjoy my breaks, taking in this beautiful place where I live.

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Reading Books to Babies and Toddlers

Toddler selecting books for readingOne of the tips I share with parents is to have books available to babies and toddlers. Have a basket or bag of books in whatever rooms you spend time. Usually the kitchen is a good spot so your child can explore the books while you get dinner ready. Get down on the floor and see the playroom or kitchen from your child’s perspective. Are her favorite books on a shelf that is just a little too high or can she help herself easily?

As she begins to move around 8 months, she can get to what SHE likes and make choices, taking a book out to explore. At first that might be just mouthing the book so make sure you have plenty of board books and not the special anthology of poems she got for Christmas from Grandma. Later she will turn a few pages, enjoying the pictures and learning that each page has something new and different on it.

Always read with lots of expression, sing-songing through the rhythmic lines Continue reading

Posted in Babies, Birth-3 year-olds, Books, Reading, Strategies to Encourange Language Development, Toddler | Leave a comment

Speech Therapy Materials, Preschool Books

preschool speech therapy book, I Can Do ThatAs speech therapists we are always looking for new materials to throw in our bag of fun to keep little ones engaged and entertained. I use toys as well as books to change up the action. I wanted to share 2 books that were authored and illustrated by speech-language pathologists for use with children with special needs as well as the general population.

I Can Say That and I Can Do That by Dr. Suzy Lederer, a professor in speech-language pathology with 25 years experience, are wonderful therapy tools for children learning beginning signs, gestures, nouns, verbs, sounds and single and two-word combinations. Each book has 2 stories each as well as an interactive CD ROM for your computer. The simple stories are aimed at beginning talkers with target vocabulary of common nouns and verbs, repeated in short rhyming lines to invite the child to chime in. 

See my full review of these effective tools for preschool speech therapy.

Let me know what you find helpful when working with preschoolers. Leave a comment and share.

Posted in 3-6 year-olds, Apraxia, Articulation, Autism, Birth-3 year-olds, Books, Preschool, Reading, Speech and Language Delay, Strategies to Encourange Language Development | Tagged | 1 Comment

New Educational Toys to Build Language

Boston Terrier playing with Yookidoo snailOne of my favorite relatively new brands in kids’ toys is Yookidoo. I was entertained at the International Toy Fair in New York City by the inventor displaying the new bath toys: “Flow and Fill Spout,” “Stack ‘n Stream Fountain,” and “Stack, Flap and Tumble.” The “Stack ‘n Stream Fountain” suctions to the bottom of your filled tub and provides endless fun as streams of water are diverted through three boats and two little people. Keep an eye out for these new toys to the Yookidoo line. Last year the three-in-one snail (examined with interest by Oreo on the left) h proved to be a favorite toy for the toddler set. A child can follow behind the rolling snail or take apart the stacking toy that rotates on the snail’s back. In a world of economic uncertainty, it is great to have a toy that can be played with in more than one way!

Last year, Yookidoo introduced their Discovery Playhouse that I reviewed before Continue reading

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How To Read to Your Baby and Toddler

Research shows the value of reading to your baby from day one. Infants are taking in language from books and hearing the rhythm of language as they do from conversation, activating brain cells that lead to eventual understanding and using words learned.

As your child enters the second half of his first year, he is on the move and listening to books of interest. Chose books that are appropriate for his age. Certainly try anything that will hold his interest. Some children will listen to a bit of a story but usually at this age they need catchy rhythm, repetition of words and phrases, simple rhyming lines about babies’ favorite subjects: love, hugs, body parts, toys, daily routines, animals and of course themselves. Clear simple colorful pictures hold their interest and relate to the words being digested.

When I was visiting Caroline, I fell in love with two of her favorite books that Continue reading

Posted in Babies, Birth-3 year-olds, Books, Sign Language, Strategies to Encourange Language Development, Toddler | Leave a comment

Grandma Must Be Coming–First Words

Reading books to toddlersI realized I am a full-fledged Grandma, known to the kids as Sheshe, when I packed my bag for North Carolina and had only a few items of clothing and the rest of the bag was filled with a baby doll, doll accessories, play diaper bag and doll accessories.

It’s fun to see my toy tester, 10-month-old Caroline, mouthing and exploring all her toys. As much fun as she has playing with her little Fisher Price piano and Learning House, she is just as happy crawling over to the book shelf and helping herself to a nibble of her parents’ books while ripping out the pages.

I am often asked how do you know when your child is saying her first words? Continue reading

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Children’s Authors’ Blogs Encourage Creativity

I love to expose kids to great authors and the stories behind them. Many authors have terrific blogs and websites with activities related to their books.

One of my favorites is Mo Willems’ blog  where today’s entry is all about his painting his dining room walls with chalk paint so the family could illustrate at whim. Who paints their dining room walls in chalk paint? Someone who is creative and inventive. Check out the pictures that his family contributed. Mo Willems’ website is a wonderful collection of activities related to his books, with PDF files to download. Go to the Barnes and Noble interview of the author and get the background to his genius. He was raised by immigrant parents and loved books by a certain illustrator. Since he didn’t understand the language, he “read” the pictures. He said he wants his books “to be played more than read.” 

Kids get it. I was with a 4 year old who is already starting to read. She ran upstairs to get her collection of first readers by Mo Willems and asked me to read for the Elephant while she was the pig! In her squeaky voice, she loved every minute of reading I Love My New Toy.

So check out his site and print out some activities to enrich your child’s reading experience. 

What websites of authors do you like or use with your kids or in the classroom. Let me know.

Posted in 3-6 year-olds, 6-8 year-olds, Books, Elementary School Age, Games, Preschool, Reading | Leave a comment