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National Handwriting Day Contest

December 2016 Newsletter

 

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Fun While Learning??!!

We all have memories of fun learning experiences and some not-so-fun learning experiences. Usually, we learn best when we are interested in the topic. However, with the aid of a good teacher, it is possible to enjoy the learning experience even without a vested interest in the topic.

As a speech and language therapist, I teach many different children. None of these children have ever signed themselves up for speech and language therapy (except for siblings who see how fun it is and wish that they could join in)! No, therapy is usually recommended by a parent, teacher, physician, and/or therapist of a different occupation. Because these children aren’t always motivated by the topic, skill, or concept being taught, it is important to find ways to make learning fun for them. When learning is enjoyable and effective therapeutic strategies are employed, the children learn faster.

Each child learns in different ways, responds to different cues, and is motivated by different activities. Therefore, it is important to find what works best for each child. The following are examples of what has worked in my practice and in the practice of fellow speech pathologists. I hope this information will help parents to apply teaching strategies at home, which will likely result in even faster learning!

  • Sing songs! Many songs exist that teach good vocabulary and concepts, particularly for young children. However, you can make up your own song using any tune that already exists, or even your own tune. Well-chosen songs are very helpful to a child’s (and adult’s) learning because the melody and words remain long after the teacher is gone.
  • Create a challenge. Most of us enjoy a challenge, particularly when competing with another person. The challenge can be based on time or amount. For instance, while driving, the challenge can be to see who names the most items within a certain category by the time the light turns green (or by the time the destination is reached). Or, if the challenge is based on amount, a parent could say, “I bet you can say the word ‘get’ (or ‘chip’ or any other word that contains the sound the child needs to practice) for as many chips that are in that snack bag!” Sometimes, children keep practicing the sound or word after the goal has been reached, in part to obtain a reaction from the therapist. This generally works out well for both parties.
  • Make it silly! Practice the skill while bending upside down, while looking at oneself in the magnifying mirror, or while wearing a funny hat/mask. Make up silly sentences or stories, and laugh with one another.
  • Use gestures. Not only do visual cues help with learning, but they are also fun! For instance, some therapists slide their fingers up their arms when practicing the “s” sound, or some call the “p” sound the “popcorn” sound while making fun popcorn noises and gestures.
  • Make it active! Practice while standing on one foot, while bouncing on an exercise ball, while throwing a weighted ball back and forth, or while running to and from destination points outside.
  • Request ideas from the child. Some of the best therapy activities have been initiated by the children on my caseload. Because it is their idea, they are even more motivated to participate in learning.

Above all, make sure to use REPETITION, REPETITION, REPETITION! That is the key to the best success!! Enjoy teaching your fun-loving kiddo, and remember to have fun yourself!

By: Alissa Ketterling, MS, CCC-SLP

November 2016 Newsletter

 

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Autism Family Harvest Party

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Autism Family Harvest Party

October 25 @ 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm

This is a FREE event for autistic adults/children and their immediate family (spouse/children/parents/siblings) caregivers/therapists. However, donations to ASTV are always appreciated! Suggested donation: $3.50 per child for age 6 and younger, and $4.00 per child for ages 7 and up. For youths aged 11 and up participating in the big corn maze, add $2.00.

Linder Farms will open early at 3:00PM for our private event. Not all of the attractions will be open, but it will be more quiet, less crowded, and more low-key for our special families. Please check in at the weigh station canopy.

The Linder Farms “daytime field trip” includes:

* One small or medium pumpkin for each autistic individual

* Use of straw-bale maze

* Education station to learn about the life cycle of a pumpkin
* A wagon ride
* Use of giant corn box
* Visit to look at farm animals
* A trip through a small portion of the corn maze

Each family can choose which activities they would like to participate in (you may participate in as many or as few as you like). Please note that you will need to check in at the Autism Society Treasure Valley’s table located by the weigh station weigh station PRIOR to 5:00 in order to get in free. After 5:00pm you will need to line up with the general public and pay regular admission.

At 5:00 pm Linder Farms will open to the public. At that time all of the premium attractions will be available as well as the full concessions barn. Please feel free to stay past 5:00 to enjoy the premium attractions! Tokens for the premium attractions will be available for purchase when you first enter Linder Farms.

For more information contact Linder Farms

October 2016 Newsletter

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NOW HIRING! Speech Language Pathologist

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Send resume to info@childrenstherapyplace.com

TVDSA Buddy Walk

Join us for the 14th Annual Treasure Valley Down Syndrome Association Buddy Walk

TVDSA Buddy Walk

The 14th Annual TVDSA Buddy Walk will beSaturday, October 08, 2016
Boise, Idaho

Online registration is now OPEN.

Register NOW

Registration the day of the Buddy Walk starts at 8:30am, the walk begins promptly at 11:00am.  Festivities at Julia Davis Park will end at 2:00pm.

What is the Buddy Walk?

The Buddy Walk has become the premier advocacy event for Down syndrome in the United States. It is also the world’s most widely recognized public awareness program for the Down syndrome community.  The Buddy Walk program was established in 1995 by the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) to promote acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome and to celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness Month in October. The name Buddy Walk promotes inclusion between friends of every ability.  The National Buddy Walk Program has grown from 17 Walks in 1995 to over 250 this year!  This global event now has over 295,000 participants raising more than $12.1 million last year.

When you support the Treasure Valley Down Syndrome Association (TVDSA) Buddy Walk, you help create awareness and acceptance for people who have Down syndrome in the Treasure Valley.  And by supporting the TVDSA, you help us provide programs and education to families and advocate for those with disabilities.  Support a friend who has Down syndrome or come meet one that day!

 

Happy Father’s Day from Children’s Therapy Place

Building Play Skills for Healthy Children & Families

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What is Play and Why Is It Important?

Play can be defined as “any spontaneous or organized activity that provides enjoyment, entertainment, amusement, or diversion” (Parham and Fazio, 2008, p. 448). Play is one of children’s major jobs—how they occupy their free time and learn. It’s an important activity for your child because play helps to facilitate positive growth and development. Physical health, social and emotional well-being, and positive mental health are also promoted through play. When a child plays, he or she experiences new ways to solve problems and learn skills needed to become a healthy adult. Research has shown that children who participate in play frequently grow quickly, experience higher achievement in school, and develop healthy habits for adulthood. A study of 11,000 third graders found those who participated in more than 15 minutes of recess per day behaved better in the classroom and were more likely to learn than their peers who had little to no recess opportunities. (Barros, Silver, & Stein, 2009). Using daily routines and activities during the day, encouraging the happiness and joy that can be experienced through play, and simply allowing children to be playful can enhance their health and well-being.

How can families develop play skills to promote health and well-being?
Early Childhood
Play teaches infants, toddlers, and preschoolers about their bodies and about the effects of their actions on the world around them. Play promotes growth and development through movement and exploration. Family members are a child’s first playmates.

· During their first few months, babies enjoy colorful mobiles, rattles, vocal play such as talking and singing, and games involving moving their arms and legs. Encourage your baby to participate while lying on his or her back, belly, side, or while supported on your lap.
· As babies learn to reach, grasp, and sit on their own, they will enjoy mirror play, balls, and toys that involve squeezing, stacking, and pulling apart. Babies also enjoy interactive games like peek-a-boo, music, and books. Water play with toys that float and plastic letters to stick on tile walls provides bath time fun.
· Since babies enjoy and learn through putting toys in their mouths, make sure they play with toys that are age specific and are made without small parts.
· As children learn to walk and run, they enjoy climbing, chasing, hide-n-seek, and pull toys.
· Toddlers develop hand skills by dropping shape toys into slots and scribbling with crayons. They also enjoy books and toys that make sounds. They begin to imitate by using, for example, a toy telephone or hammer.
· Imitation and pretend play increases during the preschool years, through use of dress-up, puppets, and toy cars and trains. Preschoolers enjoy construction games such as building toys and puzzles, which further develop their coordination skills. Playground time and riding toys encourage large muscle movement. Playing with materials with different textures such as finger paints and sand allow sensory introduction. Games during the preschool years teach turn-taking and getting along with others. These activities also help children develop language skills.
Elementary school
The elementary school years are an important time for learning to play by rules and participating in cooperative activities such as sports teams. Motor skills are being fine tuned, and there is an increased interest in developing hobbies. Play often serves as a way of developing friendships and expressing one’s unique personality. Finding a balance between formal play (e.g., participating on a sports team) and informal play (e.g., participating on the playground) allows for play time to be both active and creative.

Try these ideas to build skills and expression:
· Participate in board games and sports activities with your child; this helps your child to learn to follow rules.
· Have various craft materials available to spark creativity and interest.
· Offer options for extracurricular activities that include both physical and creative exploration (e.g., sports teams or performing arts experiences).
· Provide play options that include both structured and less structured choices (e.g., being on a school team or playing soccer in the yard with neighborhood friends).
· Encourage your school to support recess as a necessary part of every child’s day. This is a good time for physical movement that can promote learning and positive behavior.
· Like recess, active play before homework time can prepare your child for learning.
· Don’t forget to keep play activities fun! If you lose that element, it is no longer play.
Middle School
The early teen years mark a time of exploring social relationships. This is a teens’ form of play. Teens tend to like group activities, such as spending time with friends, listening to music, talking, and going to the mall. This time with friends allows them to improve social, movement, and mental skills; gain an understanding of themselves as individuals; and practice new skills in different environments without continuous parental supervision. These opportunities can promote a sense of wellbeing. Young and older teens also enjoy after-school activities, such as clubs (drama, music, art, athletics) and work (volunteer and paid).

· Encourage your child to join school and community-based clubs and after-school activities.
· Participate in leisure activities with your teen, such as table tennis or biking, to help strengthen family ties and offer opportunities to build communication.
· Ask questions about your child’s preferences in movies or music to indicate your interest and to spark conversation.
· Consider your own habits and routines of leisure and whether they include physical activities and model a balanced lifestyle of work and play. You are a role model for your teen.
High School and Beyond
During the high school years, play promotes cooperation and opportunities for teamwork. Through play, older teens are able to get to know themselves better and pinpoint their interests and their strengths. As school and social pressures increase at the high school level and beyond, leisure activities can reduce stress and offer a sense of belonging and a chance to develop their goals.

· Encourage your teen to balance homework with leisure time to promote a healthy lifestyle that addresses both mental and physical wellness.
· Encourage limited screen time (TV, computers, and iPod/iPhones) and increased physical activity to help prevent or reduce problems that are associated with obesity and depression.
· Find a good fit between the demands of the leisure activity and the skills and interests of your teen. For example, depending on your child’s personality, physical abilities, and interests, he or she may prefer more physically demanding activities like swimming, whereas other children may prefer debate or drama clubs that challenge verbal and other cognitive skills.
· For all age groups, offer healthy, balanced meals as the fuel needed for physical activity.
· To prevent injury for all age groups, be mindful about the use and proper maintenance of appropriate safety equipment, such as helmets for biking. Know the signs of concussions. Encourage stretching before and after vigorous exercise.
· Low-cost, easily accessible leisure pursuits such as chess or basketball offer lifelong participation through community leagues and recreational centers.
Play shouldn’t stop in childhood. It continues to help build coordination and strength as well as creativity and social skills in all ages. Play also helps to develop emotional well-being and increases a child’s ability to explore, problem solve, and create.

What can parents do early on?
· Encourage sensory rich play by using balls, sand and water toys, slides, swings, finger paints, and magnets. During sensory play, children use their senses to incorporate smell, touch, sound, vision, and movement.
· Encourage manipulative play, such as using play dough, LEGOs, and board games. Toys such as puzzles, pegboards, beads, and lacing cards help improve the child’s eye–hand coordination and dexterity
· Promote imaginative or pretend play with things like dolls and stuffed animals, toy furniture, puppets, and telephones. Pretend play encourages creativity and role playing and provides an opportunity to rehearse social skills.
· Choose toys that are appropriate to the child’s age and/or maturity level. They do not have to be expensive or complicated to be beneficial. Common objects, such as pots and pans, empty boxes, spools of thread, shoelaces, and wooden spoons are readily accessible and encourage children to use their imagination.
What can occupational therapists do?
· Help modify the environment or adapt toys to provide optimal sensory input without overwhelming the child.
· Recommend toys and play activities that provide the right amount of challenge for the child, so he or she learns while having fun. The occupational therapy practitioner can also recommend ways to build on the child’s strengths and abilities.
· Offer play opportunities that encourage turn taking and problem solving. Consider family routines and priorities when recommending play strategies. Observe, identify, and develop play strategies that promote a healthy lifestyle and relationships.
References

1. Barros, R. M., Silver, E. J., & Stein, R. E. K. (2009). School recess and group classroom behavior. Pediatrics, 123, 431–436. Retrieved March 22, 2011, from http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/123/2/431

2. Parham, L. D., & Fazio, L. (2008). Play in occupational therapy for children (2nd ed.) St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.

Copyright © 2011 by the American Occupational Therapy Association. This material may be copied and distributed for personal or educational uses without written consent. For all other uses, contact copyright@aota.org.

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Contact Us

6855 W. Fairview Ave.
Boise, ID 83704

6429 W Interchange Lane
Boise, ID 83709

5640 E. Franklin Rd, Suite 180
Nampa, ID 83687

P.O. Box 27906
Panama City, FL 32411

Phone 208.323.8888
Fax 208.323.8889

MENTAL CRISIS LINE
208-761-2310


info@childrenstherapyplace.com

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Offices in Boise, Nampa, Emmett, Statewide Online and Now serving the Florida Panhandle

 

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