Super Pop-Up Picture Book of “Peter Pan”

peter pan pop up bookWhen I was first given Peter Pan, I was amazed at the beautifully crafted cut out models of pirate ships, Peter Pan and his friends flying over the clock tower, and the crockodile opening his chops to chomp on Captian Hook. As I opened the pages, music, clock chimes, children’s laughter, Captain Hook’s hounting laugh, and the crock’s clock ticking accompanied the story. I wasn’t sure if that would be distracting to children listening to the story of Peter Pan.

Children showed me that the sound effects and musical accompaniament to the story actually drew them into the book. Their interest and attention span seemed to grow with each showing of the book. First we just opened each page, looked at the pop-ups and listened to the voices, music or sound effects. We talked about them a bit. My littlest friend, a 2 year-old, kept saying, “Can you do peter pan pop up bookit again?” as I opened to a new page. Then we started to read part of the story as they lingered on a page. Finally, I was able to read the whole book as I filled in the story between the beautiful illustrations.

The strength of this book is the amazing three dimentional renderings of the scenes from Netherland, Captain Hook’s pirate ship and Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, and the kids flying out the nursery window over the city and the sounds bringing Netherland to life.

The opinions expressed in this review are solely those of the author. “Peter Pan” was provided for review by Silver Dolphin Books .

Posted in 3-6 year-olds, 6-8 year-olds, 8 years and up, Books, Language | 1 Comment

Encouraging Articulation Practice

If you want a child you are working with to make progress in his/her articulation goals, you have to inspire them to practice between sessions. Make some fun stationery to list their practice words or sentences on and encourage parents to post it in a prominent place. Have parents and kids post stickers or write stars after each practice so they can “show off” their hard work the next time the therapist sees them. One Mom added “Speech” to her child’s responsibility chart and it became part of her daily routine.

Often I tell parents to keep practice sessions short, fun and frequent. It can be helpful to “warm up” a child’s speech before they head off to school. A reminder of using that /s/ or /r/ sound while talking at the breakfast table helps a child key into their sound. Let them listen to you and point out good and bad productions of their sound. They love to catch adults doing it wrong and it builds their auditory discrimination skills to monitor their own speech.

I realize I have an advantage over a school therapist in that I see parents during or after each speech therapy session AND they are paying for my services so I tell them, “If you want to spend less and finish speech faster, make sure your child practices!” It seems to work. They are anxious to get “new words” for practice after each session and the parents get more invested in the process. If kids are older, let them take responsibility for practice. I have some 7 year-olds who are working on /r/. They are motivated to practice simply by my offering to bring a special game of toy if they comply. One mom was to e-mail me the night before to tell me if her son practiced that week and I would bring the Playmobil Egyptian pyramid. Certain toys are reserved for good speech  behavior:)

Posted in 3-6 year-olds, 6-8 year-olds, 8 years and up, Apraxia, Articulation | Leave a comment

Recommended TV Shows for Boys on the Autism Spectrum

Last week I was in a collaborative meeting regarding a 5 year-old boy I work with on the autism spectrum. We discussed what play topics were hot among his typical peers so we could introduce them in a way that he would find interesting and therefore be an engaging play partner with his peers.

Since many little boys and girls talk about and act out scenarios or pretend to be characters seen on TV, we got on the topic of what TV shows were popular with boys his age. His mom said he had started to outgrow Diego and had started watching Looney Tunes. She asked for other ideas for shows that would be creative but not silly for her 5 year-old to watch. I wanted to know what you, my readers, might suggest?? What interests your boys at that age?

Posted in 3-6 year-olds, 6-8 year-olds, Autism, Strategies to Encourange Language Development | Leave a comment

Conversation in Pretend Play

tea party with toddlerWhen parents and therapists model conversation in pretend play, kids start to imitate them and learn to take turns in conversation with their little toy pets or people.

Caroline’s mom had asked me what things she could be doing with 2 year-old Caroline to build language during play time. I told her to take a toy figure and and talk to the figure that Caroline was holding to model a conversation. Caroline has learned the art of conversing. I gave her some cute dog characters, called Randy Candy and Coco Coconut from PetCakes, stuffed dogs with a cupcake home and frosting tops. Caroline immediately took to the characters, grabbed one, gave me the other and commanded, “Talk!” She wanted me to start the conversation. My dog, Randy, said, “Hi,” and hers responded. Then she said, “You have a cherry on top,” which indeed he did on the top of his frosted head. I asked Coco what she would like to do and she said, “Eat a tea party,” so we proceeded to the little doll table where Caroline offered sprinkle cookies.

Kids learn to take turns conversationally but also expand the story telling as they request and comment to their pretend friends, whether they are a stuffed animal or Fisher Price little people character. When your child is carrying a favorite dinosaur, snake or Barbie, start up a conversation with the friend and see how your child responds. At first, you might need to model both sides of the conversation to give them the idea of how it works.

The opinions expressed in this review are solely those of the author. “Petcakes” were provided for review by Well Made Toy Manufacturing Corporation.”

Posted in 3-6 year-olds, Autism, Birth-3 year-olds, Language, play, Preschool, Speech and Language Delay, Strategies to Encourange Language Development | Leave a comment

Baby Hears First Sounds After Cochlear Inplant

Maybe I am a little sensitive to stories about triumphs with babies since I am visiting my latest newborn grandchild. I am always amazed at God’s creation in such a tiny form and the love you feel for them instantly.

My son sent me the video of little eight-month-old Jonathon who was deaf and received a cochlear implant. The video records his hearing his first sounds. He turns to his mother, stops sucking on his pacifier and smiles at her, watching her face and listening to her voice for the first time. What a miracle.

Celebrate little miracles in your day today.

Posted in Babies, Birth-3 year-olds | Leave a comment

The Influence of TV on Preschoolers

When I  was visiting 3 year-old Will, he requested that we have a “scavenger hunt.” Now I have been known for my “candy hunts” I conduct on family vacations where I send kids off with a set of clues to find the final tin can of candy. But, I wondered how Will knew what a scavenger hunt was. It turns out that he has been watching “Dinosaur Train,” a clever kids’ show that teaches about plants and animals from the dinosaur age through a set of interesting clues delivered in rhyme.

On the left are my clues. Next time I will give them in rhyme but I wanted Will to be able to “read” them. The final clue, “Go to the Rescue Center” is a little blurred because it was hidden in the bath tub! Will loved the adventure of going up and down floors and finding his clues to his prize. Try making up clues that rhyme, leave off the last word and let your child guess the rhyming word. Now it becomes a literacy activity too.

What stories do you have about kids bridging the information from a TV show to their experience? Share them below.

Posted in 3-6 year-olds, Birth-3 year-olds, Language, play, Preschool, Strategies to Encourange Language Development, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

When to Correct Kids’ Speech

I get this question a lot. Just yesterday I was at a house and the mom asked me whether she should be concerned about her 3 year-old Eli’s speech. I asked about specific sounds, saying he should be able to say, t,d,p,b,m,n,w, but other sounds aren’t established until he is older, like s,l,r.

Often, parents are expecting too much of a preschooler–that he should be speaking perfectly and understood all of the time. The fact is, he isn’t expected to correctly produce all sounds yet and we shouldn’t correct him or call attention to the mispronunciations or he might feel like he isn’t a good communicator, and even start talking less.

In the case of Eli’s mom, she was noticing that he was mispronouncing sounds that she knew he could say. Mom said, “He says, nilk for milk, and I know he can say “m”. Sure enough, little Eli said he wanted more “nilk.” Sometimes kids hang on to random words that they have mispronounced since they were little and even though they are capable of saying those sounds, the word persists for a while. In this case, continue to affirm him with, “Yes, MMMilk.” Emphasize the mispronounced sound in your own speech. Later when you are brushing teeth or playing around, make some fun sounds and include the “m” with a few “milks” thrown in.

Never draw attention to these sounds that your preschooler can’t make. Maybe they are in a word as a blend which is much harder to say and will take a while for him to learn. If you are still concerned, find a speech language therapist through your school system, ASHA’s website or your pediatrician’s recommendations.

Posted in 3-6 year-olds, Articulation, Birth-3 year-olds | 2 Comments

Speech Therapy at McDonalds

One thing I like about my job is that no two days are the same! Yesterday, I had a first. I got a message on my phone as I was going to Reagan’s house for speech therapy. Their house is on the market and a realtor had called to make an appointment to show the house during our speech time. Would I mind meeting the family at McDonalds for therapy? Sure.

I arrived and my little friends were waiting. I brought lots of games and toys for Reagan and a bag of dinosaurs for her 2 year-old brother (who would really rather play with us). At first Reagan was a little self-conscious but I told her to look around. I pointed out that it was a bunch of grandmas and grandpas in there with us and they probably really enjoyed seeing her.

We got chocolate milks for the kids and a vanilla shake for me and we were on our way. The session went very well and I would recommend McDonalds to anyone in a bind for a place to play with your clients.

Mom graciously took a picture with the golden arches behind us to mark the event!

Posted in 3-6 year-olds, 6-8 year-olds | Leave a comment

Putting Little People in Preschool Play

I have several parents who encourage me with their application of ideas that I have taught them. I am always trying to teach parents what to look for in a toy that builds language and how to set up great toys so a child can narrate stories and play creatively.

Yesterday I was with one of my favorite moms who shows me she “gets it!” She had bought two little vehicles from the “Cars” collection–the helicopter and mail truck. She and her son had been playing with them before I arrived. She mentioned that they didn’t come with people which is one of my first criteria for an effective language toy. Children need people, animals or figures that they an animate to get the conversation going. They practice dialogue, taking turns, formulating sentences and questions and narrate solving problems.

This mom stated that there weren’t any people that came with the truck so they made their own. I looked over at the truck and there was a stick man drawn on a little piece of paper, sitting int he driver’s seat! If only toys manufacturers were so ardent about providing people for kids to play with.

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

Building Flexible Play with Children on the Autism Spectrum

One of the challenges of working with children on the autism spectrum is to model, encourage and teach flexible play. Children with ASD tend to get “stuck” on a topic, toy or animal so they want to continuously play with that object or play out the same scenario. Since I work with several preschool boys, I want to introduce topics that typically developing boys are interested in so my little clients can be appropriate play partners.

What boys aren’t fascinated with dinosaurs? One little boy I work with is very interested in marine animals, particularly sharks and seals. In order to move him to new topics, I started out playing with him on the playground as we acted out marine animals of his choosing. Then I told him we were going to be dinosaurs. I got out my little books that briefly described different dinosaurs and asked him to pick which one he wanted to be. Then I had him select one for me. WE read a few facts about each on so we could act out their life. I was to be the stegosaurus with the bony plates up my back and the spike on my tail. He was a T Rex, the large meat eater who I would have to watch my distance with since I was a plant eater. Our other play partner was a Triceratops with his “frill” which got caught on the beam above the slide when he was at the top, ready to come down. I was wielding my spiky tail if anyone came near me.

These little books offered just enough information to fill in our pretend play scenario and add some relevant information for this little boy to play with his peers. The next day we read about some other dinosaurs and added a new one to our group.

To round out the dinosaur theme, we read, I Wish I Had a Dinosaur by Anggabratra and When Dinosaurs Came with Everything by Lise Broach.

Posted in 3-6 year-olds, 6-8 year-olds, Autism, Books, Language, play, Speech and Language Delay, Strategies to Encourange Language Development | Leave a comment