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December 2016 Newsletter

 

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Books, Baking, and Beats: Encouraging Speech & Language Development During the Holidays

With everyone’s busy schedules during the holiday months, it may be hard finding time to practice speech exercises at home during these eventful months. Luckily, the holidays present a great amount of opportunities to encourage speech and language development outside of therapy. Here are a few ideas to incorporate at home to practice speech while also having fun celebrating the holidays!

Books

Research has shown that reading aloud stimulates language development. Holiday breaks are a perfect time to head to your local library and check out some seasonal and holiday books to help build your child’s vocabulary, listening skills, ability to answer questions, and grammar. Here are a couple of holiday book ideas to target speech and language at home:

Llama Llama Holiday Drama by Anna Dewdney

This book tells the story of a little llama who is excited for Christmas but is exhausted by all the activities surrounding the holiday. This is a great book to work on answering questions and basic concepts. You can ask simple questions such as “Where did llama and mama go?” or “What is llama and mama doing?” This book is also written in a lively rhyming format. Reading books that rhyme allows children to memorize familiar words and helps them develop skills to predict rhyming words, which is an essential step in the process of learning to read.


The Mitten by Jan Brett

When Nicki loses his mitten in the snow, a number of animals find it and crawl inside. This book is a great story to discuss illustrations or use it to target sequencing. You can discuss the order that animals crawl into the mitten and also target special concepts by discussing which animals are in/out of the mitten.

 


There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell! By Lucille Colandro


This time the hungry old lady swallows a bell, gifts, a sleigh, and many other Christmas-themed items. This is a great book to work on predicting, story retell, or sequencing. You can also work on basic concepts such as counting to count the number of items the old lady has swallowed.


Baking

You may find yourself in the kitchen more often during the holiday season baking or cooking for various parties or events. Baking with your little one is a great opportunity to work on their speech & language skills. You can target following directions by giving your child specific tasks or narrating simple steps and then asking him or her to recite the steps (“First we are going to add the sugar, then butter, and then eggs. Can you tell me what we are going to add?”). There are many opportunities to target responding to questions while engaging in a cooking or baking activity with your child.

You can target “where” questions by having your child help you locate specific ingredients in your kitchen and “what” questions by having your child help you identify utensils you need (or don’t need). You may have an item on the counter that you don’t need such as a mug, banana, toy, etc. and you can have your child tell you what you do not need to roll out dough or mix the batter. You can also target spatial concepts during a baking activity such as the word “in” (“Can you help me put the chocolate chips in the bowl?”), “on” (“Let’s put sprinkles on the cookies”), and “off” (“Now we need to take the cookies off the baking sheet”). There are limitless opportunities to target speech and language while engaging in a fun activity like baking!

Beats

Music is an essential part of a child’s speech development. Through singing, children can achieve improved articulation skills. In addition, singing combines repetition, rhythm, and rhyme, which help to develop speech and language skills. What better time than the holidays to sing fun, festive songs with your little ones?!

By: Bianca Minniti, M.S., CCC-SLP

 

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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Halloween Party

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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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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!

 

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