Easter Speech Activities

Easter eggs

Speech Word Easter Egg Hunt

Choose one sound that your child struggles with and find pictures of words that have that sound in it. Print off those pictures on pieces of paper and fold them up so they fit inside one of those plastic Easter eggs. Hide the Easter eggs inside or outside of the house and have your child go find them. Every time he/she finds an egg, have them open it up and say the word that’s inside. If your child has trouble producing those sounds in words, you can just have particular letters written on pieces of paper and have your child say the sound that letter makes when he opens up the egg. It may be a good idea to have a few with chocolate or money as well just to spice things up!

Dying Eggs or Coloring Paper Eggs: Following Directions, Colors, Letters

 

You can even work speech and language into your egg dying routine! If you dye eggs with your child, have them practice writing letters on the egg with a white crayon before you dye it. The dye won’t stick where you put the crayon so you’ll be able to see it once the egg is dyed. If your child can’t write yet or has trouble seeing what he/she is writing, you can write it for them. Once the eggs are dry, you’ll be able to see the sounds and you can have your child practice the sound as they find them or before they eat it. You can also create written or picture instructions for the steps to dying the eggs so your child can practice following directions as well. If you don’t plan on dying eggs with your child, you can always print out Easter egg coloring pages (like from Google Image Search) and have your child decorate them. You can even write letters on them just like you would have real eggs.   Don’t forget while you’re dying or coloring to be talking about the colors you’re using as well! If you have multiple children, you could have each child in charge of one color so you can talk about who has which one.

Christine Wilson Speech Language Pathology wishes everyone a happy Easter!

Important Milestones at Two Years Old

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How your child plays, learns, speaks, and acts offers important clues about your child’s development. Developmental milestones are things most children can do by a certain age. Check the milestones your child has reached by his or her 2nd birthday. Take this with you and talk with your child’s doctor at every visit about the milestones your child has reached and what to expect next.

What most children do at this age:

Social and Emotional

  • Copies others, especially adults and older children
  • Gets excited when with other children
  • Shows more and more independence
  • Shows defiant behavior (doing what he/she has been told not to)
  • Plays mainly beside other children, but is beginning to include other children, such as in chase games

Language/Communication

  • Points to things or pictures when they are named
  • Knows names of familiar people and body parts
  • Says sentences with 2 to 4 words
  • Follows simple instructions
  • Repeats words overheard in conversation
  • Points to things in a book

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Finds things even when hidden under two or three covers
  • Begins to sort shapes and colors
  • Completes sentences and rhymes in familiar books
  • Plays simple make-believe games
  • Builds towers of 4 or more blocks
  • Might use one hand more than the other
  • Follows two-step instructions such as “Pick up your shoes and put them in the closet.”
  • Names items in a picture book such as a cat, bird, or dog

Movement/Physical Development

  • Stands on tiptoe
  • Kicks a ball
  • Begins to run
  • Climbs onto and down from furniture without help
  • Walks up and down stairs holding on
  • Throws ball overhand
  • Makes or copies straight lines and circles

Act early by talking to your child’s doctor if your child:

  • Doesn’t use 2-word phrases (for example, “drink milk”)
  • Doesn’t know what to do with common things, like a brush, phone, fork, spoon
  • Doesn’t copy actions and words
  • Doesn’t follow simple instructions
  • Doesn’t walk steadily
  • Loses skills she once had

It’s important to notify your child’s doctor or nurse if you notice any of these signs of possible developmental delay for this age.

If you have any questions contact Speech Therapist, Christine Wilson.

Important Milestones at One Year Old

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How your child plays, learns, speaks, and acts offers important clues about your child’s development. Developmental milestones are things most children can do by a certain age. Check the milestones your child has reached by his or her 1st birthday. Take this with you and talk with your child’s doctor at every visit about the milestones your child has reached and what to expect next.

What most children do at this age (1 year old):

Social/Emotional:

  • Is shy or nervous with strangers
  • Cries when mom or dad leaves
  • Has favorite things and people
  • Shows fear in some situations
  • Hands you a book when he wants to hear a story
  • Repeats sounds or actions to get attention
  • Puts out arm or leg to help with dressing
  • Plays games such as “peek-a-boo” and “pat-a-cake”

Language/Communication

  • Responds to simple spoken requests
  • Uses simple gestures, like shaking head “no” or waving “bye-bye”
  • Makes sounds with changes in tone (sounds more like speech)
  • Says “mama” and “dada” and exclamations like “uh-oh!”
  • Tries to say words you say

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Explores things in different ways, like shaking, banging, throwing
  • Finds hidden things easily
  • Looks at the right picture or thing when it’s named
  • Copies gestures
  • Starts to use things correctly; for example, drinks from a cup, brushes hair
  • Bangs two things together
  • Puts things in a container, takes things out of a container
  • Lets things go without help
  • Pokes with index (pointer) finger
  • Follows simple directions like “pick up the toy”

Movement/Physical Development

  • Gets to a sitting position without help
  • Pulls up to stand, walks holding on to furniture (“cruising”)
  • May take a few steps without holding on
  • May stand alone

Act Early by Talking to Your Child’s Doctor if Your Child:

  • Doesn’t crawl
  • Can’t stand when supported
  • Doesn’t search for things that she sees you hide
  • Doesn’t say single words like “mama” or “dada”
  • Doesn’t learn gestures like waving or shaking head
  • Doesn’t point to things
  • Loses skills he once had

Tell your child’s doctor or nurse if you notice any of these signs of possible developmental delay for this age, and talk with someone in your community who is familiar with services for young children in your area, such as your state’s public early intervention program. If you have any questions contact Speech Therapist, Christine Wilson at www.newtampaspeechtherapy.com

The Importance of Prosody

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The Importance of Prosody

Written by Rynette R. Kjesbo, M.S., CCC-SLP on Handy Handout

Prosody refers to the set of variables in speech that affect how a message is communicated and understood. Prosody includes:

  • Rhythm – the flow of connected speech that comes from
    the combination of stressed words, unstressed words, and pauses in a phrase or sentence. A steady, unvarying rhythm makes speech sound unnatural and robotic.
  • Loudness – the amount of volume used when speaking. Whispering requires very little volume while shouting requires considerably more volume.
  • Stress – the force or emphasis used on a sound, syllable, or word in comparison to other sounds, syllables, or words. A stressed syllable in a word has more emphasis than other syllables in the word.
  • Speed – the pace of speech, or how fast or slow we speak. A fast rate of speech can have a negative effect on a listener’s ability to understand the message we are trying to communicate.
  • Pitch – the degree of highness or lowness in a person’s voice. Men usually have a low pitch while women and children tend to have higher-pitched voices.
  • Intonation – the rise and fall in pitch that occurs when we are speaking. We often use a rising pitch when we ask a yes/no question.Prosody helps us differentiate questions from sentences, but it also helps us to recognize a speaker’s emotional state (through his/her “tone” of voice), clarify communication (e.g., “I asked for the time – not a dime”), understand sarcasm… and the list goes on! Prosody (like language) is usually acquired naturally as children grow and listen to prosody being modeled around them. However some individuals such as those with Childhood Apraxia of Speech, Autism, cochlear implants, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s may need assistance in learning to use prosody appropriately.

 

Here are some activities you can use to work on prosody:

  • Read or Tell Stories – Using character voices gives you an opportunity to try lower pitches, higher pitches, louder voices, and softer voices. For example, in Goldilocks and the Three Bears, use a low, loud voice for Papa Bear and a high, soft voice for Baby Bear.
  • Sing Songs or Tell Rhymes – Music and rhymes are great ways to work on rhythm. In addition, if you sing a song that repeats itself (such as The Song That Never Ends or Be Kind to Your Web-footed Friends) you can practice loudness, speed, and pitch by singing the verses softer, louder, slower, faster, higher, or lower.
  • Play a Game of “Copycat” – Have your child imitate phrases or sentences that you say or read from a newspaper (or other type of written material). Say or read the phrases/sentences using different intonation and stress patterns.
  • Ask and Answer “WH” Questions – Say a simple sentence such as: “Jimmy washed his dog.” Then ask simple “WH” questions that can be answered by repeating
    the sentence while stressing different words in the sentence. For example, “Who washed his dog?” “Jimmy washed his dog.” “What did Jimmy do to his dog?” “Jimmy washed his dog.” “What did Jimmy wash?” “Jimmy washed his dog.”
  • “What Does It Mean?” – Think of a simple sentence such as: “I didn’t take your pencil.” Have your child think about and describe how the meaning changes when different words in the sentence are stressed. For example, if I said “I didn’t take your pencil,” that suggests that someone else did. If I said “I didn’t take your pencil,” that implies that I did something else to your pencil. If I said “I didn’t take your pencil,” that indicates that I took someone else’s pencil. And if I said “I didn’t take your pencil,” that hints that I took something else that belonged to you.

Using an Appropriate Volume

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Volume is the loudness or softness of your voice. Is your child having difficulties in using an appropriate volume? Use the steps below to help teach your child how to use an appropriate volume. You can start the discussion with your child by asking him/her this question: What are some situations in which you had to adjust your volume level?

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1. Know the difference between a soft voice and a loud voice: Have your child practice using soft and loud voices at home in order to learn how each one feels and sounds.

2. Know your habit: Many people typically talk too softly or too loudly. If your child is aware that they talk softly or loudly, they can adjust their volume to make it easier for a listener to hear them.

3. Consider your environment: It’s important for your child to be able to decide how softly or loudly he/she needs to speak by listening to the noise level of his/her surroundings.

4. Look at the distance between you and your listener: Inform your child that if they are standing a couple feet away from their listener, they can speak in a softer voice than if they are standing several yards away.

5. Recognize when you are excited about a topic: When we are excited, we tend to speak louder and quicker! When your child is able to recognize that he/she is speaking too loud due to excitement, your child will learn how to control his/her volume.

Going over these steps with your child will help him/her understand when it is appropriate to talk softly and loudly. They will be able to adjust their volumes in no time! If you have any questions about volume control, contact Christine Wilson.

St. Patrick’s Day Speech Activities

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St. Patrick’s Day is this Saturday, March 17th. This day was dedicated to Saint Patrick, the foremost patron saint of Ireland. The day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, and celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish in general. Celebrations generally involve public parades and festivals, cèilidhs, and the wearing of green attire or shamrocks. Checkout these fun and festive St. Patrick’s Day activities that target speech! Brought to you by Speech and Language Kids.

St. Patrick’s Day Activities:

A Green Party-Teach Your Child the Color Green

Many children with language delays have trouble with learning their colors.  Why?  Because color words are language-based concepts.  If your child has trouble learning language, he probably has trouble with his colors as well.  One of my favorite ways to teach colors is to focus on one color at a time.  Often when children are presented with many new concepts at a time, they have a harder time learning them.  This is especially true of children who have language difficulties.  I like to think of it in terms of things I’ve tried to learn as an adult.  For example, let’s say two new people get hired at your job and start at the same time.  If I’m trying to learn their names at the same time, I often get their names mixed up and call one by the wrong name, even though they look nothing alike.  It’s not that I can’t tell them apart, it’s because I learned both names at the same time so they seem to be stored in the same part of my brain.  When I try to retrieve them, it’s kind of a gamble as to which one I’ll come up with, at least until I know them better and have more practice.  Maybe you’re super awesome at names and this doesn’t happen to you, but surely you can see how it might.  This is what happens when we try to teach our children their colors all at the same time.  Try focusing on one color per week or even per month.  This will allow your child tons of practice with that one color and it won’t get as confused with the others.  One great way to teach a single color is to have a party all about that color.  Let’s pick green for now since it’s the official color of St. Patty’s Day.  Tell your child that you’re going to have a green party that only uses the color green.  Help your child pick out green clothes to wear and make some green pictures for decoration.  You could even find a green tablecloth for the table.  Ask your child to collect some green toys from her room to play with at the party.  You could even have a green snack full of green foods!  Try to put as much green into this party as possible.  During the party, say the word green a lot.  Remember, our language-delayed kids need things repeated many more times than other children before they start to learn a concept.  You can get your child involved by asking her to point to something green (should be pretty easy since everything is green) or ask her what color the green things are in your party.  Don’t ask her about other colors yet, just green.  Throughout the rest of the week, point out things that are green wherever you go.  See if she can find things that are green in books you are reading and in her environment.  Take pictures of green things and put them together in a book.  Do whatever it takes to completely bombard your child with green.  Eventually, it should start to stick but it may take a while.  You can keep doing this one color until she gets it and then move on to a different color.  While you’re working on the second color, occasionally go back over green so she doesn’t forget it.

Make a Pot of Gold and Fill it With Sounds: Speech and Following Directions

Since St. Patrick’s Day always makes me think of leprechauns and their gold, let’s make a pot of gold and fill it with sounds!  For this you will need something to serve as the pot.  You could get a cheap kettle-looking pot from a party store (they should be pretty cheap the first week after St. Patrick’s Day) or you could just use a bowl, pot, or anything else you have laying around the house.  You’ll also need some paper.  You can use this activity to practice following directions by writing or drawing out the directions for creating the coins and rainbow.  Then, have your child follow the directions to improve language skills.  Here’s what you’ll want to do:

  1. Draw some circles on paper to represent coins.
  2. Have your child color the coins and write the letter on each coin that represents the sound your child needs to work on.  If your child needs to work on a lot of sounds, you could make many different letters on different coins.  If your child can’t write yet, you can write the letter for him but tell him what it is.
  3. Have your child cut the coins out or do it for him if he’s too young.  Make as many or as few as you want.
  4. Draw a rainbow on paper and have your child color it in however he wants.  You could also type in “rainbow coloring page” in Google Image Search and find some ready-made coloring pages to use.
  5. Place the pot at the end of the rainbow.  You could tape the rainbow to the wall and have the pot at the bottom or just lay it all out on a table.

Now that you have the rainbow and pot made, it’s time to put in the coin.  Each time your child puts a coin in, make sure he says the sound that is on the coin.  If it’s a long sound (one you can hold out like /s/ and /f/), have him move the coin along the rainbow as he holds out the sound.  If it’s a short sound, he could say it several times while he moves the coin along the rainbow and drops it in the pot.  If you need help teaching your child how to say the sound, check out my article on teaching new sounds.

St. Patrick’s Day Scavenger Hunt: Vocabulary, Sequencing, Recalling Past Events, Past Tense Verbs

Get excited, this one’s going to be fun!!  For this hunt you will need a collection of St. Patrick’s Day items.  If you just so happen to have a bunch of Irish-themed toys like leprechauns, coins, rainbows, etc. then you’ll be all set!  If not, which I’m assuming most people don’t have those things, you’ll need to do a quick Google Image search and print of some pictures of St. Patrick’s Day-Themed items. Now, sit your child down and show her all the pictures.  Talk about what each one is and teach her the name of it if she doesn’t know.  Next, have her close her eyes while you hide the pictures around the room (or in another room if she’s a peeker!).  Have her go find one picture and bring it back to the table.  Then, have her find another one and lay it next to the first.  You will want these to be in the same order she found them.  Finally, have her find one more picture and bring it back.  Now you will have your child describe to you what happened in the hunt.  Make sure she uses full sentences with the correct past tense verb to tell you what she found.  Also, help her tell you the items she found in the correct sequence.  For example, you might want her to tell you: “First, I found the clover.  Next, I found the leprechaun.  Last, I found the gold.”  This will work on vocabulary (naming the right thing), sequencing (telling the order she found them in), and recalling past events using past tense verbs.  Now, for some children this activity may be too hard or too easy.  If it’s too hard, try backing it down so all your child has to do is name the things she found.  You could say “What did you find?” and have her tell you what they are called.  Or, you could just have her point to something she found.  You could say “Where’s the gold?” and have her point.  If the activity is too easy, you could make it harder by holding onto the pictures for your child and having her use her memory to recall what things she found.  If it’s still too easy, have her find several things and then try to recall.  As with all of my activities, it’s all about adapting it to be as hard or as easy as your child requires.

Brain Injury Awareness Month

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Did you know that March is brain injury awareness month? The green ribbon signifies mental health awareness. Since a traumatic brain injury is a mental injury, it falls under this scope. A traumatic brain injury is a brain dysfunction that was caused by some outside force, usually a violent force to the head.

The Brain Injury Association of America for more than three decades has proudly led the nation in observing Brain Injury Awareness Month by conducting an engaging public awareness campaign in March of each year. The theme for the 2018 to 2020 campaign is Change Your Mind. The #ChangeYourMind public awareness campaign provides a platform for educating the general public about the incidence of brain injury and the needs of people with brain injuries and their families. Individuals who join us to help raise awareness with the #ChangeYourMind campaign are essential to:

  • De-stigmatizing brain injury through outreach within the brain injury community
  • Empowering those who have survived brain injury and their caregivers
  • Promoting the many types of support that are available to people living with brain injury

Remember, no brain injury is too small to ignore or too severe to lose hope. If you or a loved on has experienced a traumatic brain injury, see if your town is hosting any awareness activities!