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8 Ways to Help Children Transition in the Classroom, Therapy & Home

Transitions, moving from one activity to another, can be very tricky for many children with language delays. It can be a time of stress and confusion as they can be unsure of what is going to happen next.  If they are doing an activity they really enjoy, it can be hard to do something less engaging.  For those children who don't like change, even the small transitions in the classroom can be overwhelming.  Here are some suggestions to help them move from activity to activity more successfully.

7 Reasons to Use Songs in Therapy or in Your Special Education Classroom

At work, the staff and I sing all the time.  It's to the point were we joke that we are professional singers.  Now I will fully admit that I don't have a great singing voice and would never make it in any singing competition. I do, however, like to sing and songs are a great way to help children with language delays. Here are some reasons why you should incorporate songs into your day.

What's in Your Cart? #TpTCyberSmile Cyber Sale

It's that time of year again, TpT is having a cyber sale and that means Jenna from Speech Room News is hosting "What's in Your Cart?"   Thanks Jenna for hosting! There are so many products that I have been eyeing it's going to be hard to narrow it down.  First here are three products from my store that might interest you.

Santa's List for Speech and Language Linky Party

Well it's that time of year when many families are out buying gifts for their young ones. I want to thank Sweet Southern Speech for hosting this link party.  Every year, I have  families ask me about toys and/or apps to buy that will help their child(ren) develop their speech or language skills.  Here are some of my suggestions.  I feel that these are some great toys and do not have a financial interest in promoting them.

Boxes! Teaching Preschoolers In, Out, Around, Under, Close and Far

In my family it's common to hear, "One of the best toys to give children is a box." Some of my favourite memories as a child revolved around playing with large boxes (we moved a lot!)   At school I also try to incorporate boxes into play.  Nowadays, it's a little less cardboard boxes and a little more rubbermaid containers.  I have found that boxes are a great way to teach children about prepositions and work on play skills at the same time.  They are also portable so you can work in the therapy room, classroom, in the gym or outside.

Teaching Upside Down: Great for Halloween or Bat Theme Language Therapy

I want to thank the Frenzied SLPs and Doyle Speech Works for hosting this linky party. Halloween in the preschool classes, I work in, means a week or two of bats.  It also means I get to bust out one of my best and favourite circle activities (I'm in the classrooms 100% of the time).  During circle time, I'm always introducing or reviewing different vocabulary.  During bat week, my "word" is upside down. It's kind of a strange concept to teach but it is a concept that comes up throughout the school year and hey it's important to expand children's vocabulary.

Using Figurines in Language Therapy

Being an SLP, I have a lot of toys and games.  I have already talked about how much I love Orchard Toys to work on speech and language.  One of my other favourite toys is using figurines. Most specifically using animal figurines.  I have a wide range of animals and they pretty much live a school that is how much I use them.  One reason I like animal figurines so much is that children are constantly exposed to animals in the books they read and often in the activities they are exposed to at school. Children like animals. Another is, it is so easy to make a game using figurines.  They are more engaging than worksheets or even pictures of animals.  I believe that children need to manipulate toys.  I feel that it helps children learn the language skills they are trying to learn. Here are some of the ways I use figurines.

Those Crazy Pronouns: Working on He, She and They in Therapy

Pronouns can be very very tricky for children with language delays. Every year a good portion of the children I work with end up with pronouns as one of their therapy goals.  As usual the first step is to figure what they are doing and why they are doing it.  For some of the children, it's a problem with pronunciation.  They can't pronounce he, she or they.  They substitute another word that is easier for them to pronounce. For other children, it's the fact that they have difficulties distinguishing boys from girls and so they interchange "he" and "she." The last group uses the wrong type of pronoun. The most common mistake is using possessive pronouns for personal pronouns. These children will say "His is running" instead of "He is running." Okay, so now you have figured out what they are doing wrong. How do you help them use the correct pronoun? Here are some ideas that I use in therapy.

Considerations for Assessing Bilingual Children or English Language Learners

So you have identified a child you are going to assesses as either bilingual or does not speak English at home.  Now what do you do? If you're like me, you don't speak Korean, Urdu, Russian or the other dozens of languages the children you work with speak. Also, I don't speak French or Spanish well enough to critically analyze their language skills (I wish I did). Well if you do speak Spanish or French, you're in luck. Some of the language assessments have been translated and normed. But that is not the whole story. Here are some important factors to consider.

We Want to Speak Two Languages in the Home. What Do We Do?

This is another in a series on language delays and bilingualism/English Language Learners.  Last week, I talked about my thoughts on recommendations for speaking only English in the home when another language is spoken or introducing English into a non-English speaking home.  Often parents choice to have a bilingual home. This week I'm going to talk about the different ways to speak two languages in the home (another popular question at the beginning of the school year for me).  There are two general ways this happens:

What's in your Cart? Linky Party

Jenna Rayburn is hosting another What's in Your Cart Linky Party for the Back to School Sale on Teachers pay Teachers August 3-4.

Here are a few products in my store that may interest you!

Language Delays and Speaking a Second Language

At the beginning of the school year, one of the most frequent question parents ask me is "We don't speak English at home, what language should we use?" or "We speak both English and (insert language here). Should we stop and only speak  English?" This is a big concern for parents and often a topic we address and often re-address during therapy. I find that this is a topic where I have to have my "counselling hat" on, have a heart to heart conversation and listen to their fears and concerns for the future. 

An Important Side Effect of Speech and Language Therapy - Confidence

There seems to be a theme that runs through my practise every school year.  One year it was Apraxia of Speech, another was all things related to AAC. That's one of the things I like so much about being an SLP is that you are always learning and no two years/clients/teams are the same. This year the theme is confidence.  While I have always known how important it was to build confidence, this year has shown me just how much.  Confidence in a child is huge.  It allows children to go out and explore more of the world,  take risks, make new friends or try to talk to new people.  In therapy and in school it will let them keep working on those aspects of their lives that can be really really really tricky.  

10 Ways to use Groceries to Help with Language Development

Last post I talked a little about how you can use laundry to help language development.  This week I would like to talk to you about the many ways you can use groceries and grocery shopping to help with language development. 

10 Ways to Use Laundry to help with Language Development

I feel that it is important for children to be involved in chores around the house.  Of course, they need to be appropriate for the child's development. I would not want a two year old walking around with ceramic dishes!  It helps with supporting independence and a feeling of accomplishment.

A couple of years back an SLP friend of mine challenged me to come up with as many ways as I could to use laundry to help build language skills.  I came up with ten (well actually thirteen) and I thought I would share them with you. 

Using Orchard Toys in Speech and Language Therapy

First off I’m not benefitting financially in anyway from this post. I just love Orchard Toys.   These games are some of my "go to" games when doing therapy. Many of them are co-operative games which can eliminate the need many children have to be the winner and the subsequent tears, disappointment or anger when they don’t win. You can work on a number of goals at one time which is very helpful when you are doing therapy in groups.

Importance of Visual Supports in Therapy, the Classroom and at Home

 As an SLP who works with young children with significant communication needs, the topic of visuals is one that I continually re-visit throughout the school year.  Everyone’s definition of “visuals” may be (and probably is) slightly different.  Here is mine.  Visuals are objects, pictures or written words that helps a child understand their environment and live more successfully in it.  They are not communication books but, at times, may be used by a child to express themselves.  I will be talking about the classroom but really they can be used anywhere!