Homework Station Planning | Pediatric Therapy Tv

In today’s Webisode, a pediatric occupational therapist explains techniques on how to setup the ideal homework environment for your child.  She will cover various techniques that will help kids to enhance their homework corner at home.

In this video you will learn:

  • What setup will help the child to concentrate better when doing homework
  • What materials to use to setup the homework station
  • Long term setup for the child when doing homework

Video Transcription:

Announcer: From Chicago’s leading experts in pediatrics to a worldwide
audience, this is Pediatric Therapy TV, where we provide experience and
innovation to maximize your child’s potential. Now your host, here’s Robyn.

Robyn: Hello and welcome to Pediatric Therapy TV. I’m your host, Robyn
Ackerman.

Today I’m standing with Lindsey Miller, a pediatric occupational
therapist. Lindsey is going to show us exactly what a homework
station should look like. Lindsey?

Lindsey: Today I’m going to show you what a homework station should look
like that will maximize your child’s ability to complete their
homework.

The first thing to keep in mind with a homework station is that
ideally you want it to be in a separate location from their
bedroom and from other things going on in the house so that they
know that when they go to this place, that’s where I do my
homework.

Another thing to keep in mind is the location of the desk. It
would be best if it was up against a blank wall so that there
are no visual distractions, no pictures or clutter so it can
allow them to really focus on what they’re doing.

Another consideration is the actual layout of the desk. You want
them to have just their homework and a pencil on the desk and
nothing else. We want to decrease the clutter so that they can
focus on what they’re doing. It’s also a good idea for them to
have their backpack nearby so if they need anything from their
backpack they can just grab it and use it right away rather than
getting up from their chair and going to a different room to
find other items they may need. Also, if your desk has drawers
it’s a good idea to put all of the materials that they may need
in the drawers, such as a calculator, a ruler, extra paper,
markers and things like that so everything is in one location.

They can also use a move-and-sit disc. This is just a circular
disc that they can sit in on their chair. It allows them to
wiggle around in their chair so if the child likes to move
around a lot they won’t have to get up and move around. They can
just sit in their chair and wiggle around. Also, when they’re
sitting it’s a good idea for them to sit with their hips, knees,
and elbows at a 90 degree angle because this will help them
write better, more efficiently, and a little bit easier.

Another thing to keep in mind is good lighting. You want them to
be in a room with good lighting so they can see what they’re
doing. If your child gets very distracted by noises, sometimes
it’s a good idea to use headphones that cover their ears and
play some calming music that will help them focus on their
homework.

Robyn: Thank you, Lindsey, and thank you to our viewers for watching.
And remember, keep on blossoming.

Announcer: This has been Pediatric Therapy TV, where we bring peace of
mind to your family with the best in educational programming. To
subscribe to our broadcast, read our blogs, or learn more, visit
our website at LearnMore.me. That’s LearnMore.me.

Speech and Language Apps From Duck Duck Moose

If you have read my last few blogs, you will probably know that I love finding new apps to use in my speech therapy sessions. I am also cognizant of which apps my families could use at home to reinforce the skills I work with their children on. The descriptions below will give you a good idea of what each app entails. Items listed under “Use this app to work on” relate to speech and language skills that I found I could target with the specific app. If you have any more ideas, please be sure to leave a comment so that we can continue to learn together!

Enjoy exploring the following apps:

Parents with a child holding an iPad

Draw and Tell HD – $1.99

Description: This is by far the coolest drawing app I’ve seen for children of all ages! Children can choose between making their own picture or coloring one of 18 pictures stored within the app. If your child opts to create their own drawing, they start off by selecting the paper they want to use, with all sorts of colors and patterns to choose from. Once they get to the main drawing page, they can either draw (using colored pencils, crayons, paints, and patterned markers) or put fun stickers on the page. There are TONS to choose from. For example, pick the cute yellow puffer fish or the purple garbage truck. Then put a fancy black top hat on the puffer fish and feed him a delicious cupcake!

Other fun features include stencils, a record button, and an undo button.

Use this app to work on:

  • Answering and asking wh- and yes/no questions
  • Formulating sentences
  • Story construction – Have your child make up a story about their picture, including important story elements such as characters, setting, events and problems/solutions.
  • Articulation
  • Improving vocabulary –both receptive and expressive
    • I.e., Letters, numbers, food, animals, clothing/accessories, transportation
  • Following directions with spatial or sequential concepts

Peek a Zoo – $0.99

Description: This is a great interactive app for the little ones, between 2 and 5 years old. In this app, children are asked a question (the question is read out loud and is written on the screen), and the child is asked to identify the animal that answers the question. For example, “Which animal is sleeping?” This app incorporates vocabulary such as animals, emotions, actions, descriptive adjectives, and clothing.

Use this app to work on:

  • Improving receptive vocabulary
  • Answering who questions
  • Identifying colors
  • Producing animal sounds

Musical Me! – $0.99

Description:  This is a wonderful musical app. It teaches children all about rhythm, pitch, notes and creating music. In the first activity, there are 2 animals and a monster that dance and move when touched. In the next activity, the child is asked to tap out the rhythm to different songs by touching the birds as they fly by. There are 3 different levels within this particular activity. The next activity is a memory task. The child hears a pattern and sees 3-5 planets, depending on the level (again, there are 3 levels). When a note is played, the corresponding planet gets a bit bigger. After the pattern is played, the child has to touch the planets corresponding to the notes in the right order. As we continue onto the next activity, the child gets to create his/her own music by moving the notes up and down on the scale. After he/she makes a song, they can choose to play it back to them. Animals move around on the page and do silly things when they’re touched! The last activity has a variety of instruments to choose from and when touched, they make their sound. You can tap them to play along with the song!Use this app to work on:

  • Following directions and auditory processing
  • Recall of information
  • I will most likely use this app as reinforcement or as break activity as it does not relate directly to speech and language.

Word Wagon HD – $1.99

Description: This app has 4 different levels: letters, phonics, spelling I, and spelling II. The words that are targeted in this app come from the following categories: animals, around the house, numbers, colors, food, vehicles, and Mozz and Coco. It should be noted that some of these words are Dolch sight words. You can choose which category of words to work on or click “all” to get a random assortment!

As reinforcement, children earn stars and stickers. The stars form different constellations that turn into animals! The stickers can be moved around and make sounds when you touch them.

Level Breakdowns:

Letters: Children have to match uppercase letters to form a word which reinforces learning letter names.

Phonics: Once the child matches the letters, they hear the sounds each letter makes.

Spelling: Children spell words up to 4 letters.

Spelling II: Children spell words up to 6 letters.

Use this app to work on:

  • Letter recognition – uppercase only
  • Spelling – 3 to 6 letter words
  • Phonemic awareness skills – while this app does not target rhyming, manipulation of phonemes (i.e. sounds) or other reading readiness skills, you can take the phonics level a step further and work on these!

Old MacDonald HD – $1.99

Description:  This app takes a children’s song and nursery rhyme to a whole new level!! It is a very interactive and engaging book. I think it’s called a book because you have to “turn the page” to get to the next animal or vehicle. The song is always playing in the background. There is only one word per page, which labels the target object (i.e. “dog”). There are 12 pages in the book. Animals and sounds included are: chicken, dog, cat, pigeon, cow, sheep, duck, frog, bear, and pig. Vehicles included are: a tractor and a bulldozer. The best part of this book is that the objects on the pages are all animated. They all do different things when touched. For example, when you click the barn doors, the doors open and ducks come out!     

In the settings, you can choose from different languages or instruments to play while the app is being used. The child can even record himself/herself!

Use this app to work on:

  • Producing animal sounds
  • Labeling animal names
  • Action vocabulary
  • Singing and joint attention 

Be sure to check out other apps by Duck Duck Moose!! Don’t forget to leave comments if you find other useful ways to use the apps! Thanks for reading!

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HOW TO ENCOURAGE YOUR CHILD TO DO HOMEWORK | Pediatric Therapy Tv

In today’s Webisode, a Pediatric Behavior Analyst explains techniques on how to encourage your child to do homework. She will cover various approaches to help the parent understand the child’s behavior and assist him to want to do homework as a result.

In this video you will learn:

  • What goals can a parent set to help the child do homework
  • The significance of adaptive behavior with the approach to homework
  • Ways to help your child want to do homework

Video Transcription:

Announcer: From Chicago’s leading experts in pediatrics to a worldwide
audience, this is Pediatric Therapy TV, where we provide experience and
innovation to maximize your child’s potential. Now your host, here’s Robyn.Robyn: Hello and welcome to Pediatric Therapy TV. I’m your host, Robyn
Ackerman. Today I’m standing with Behavior Analyst Katie
Sadowski.

Katie, can you give us some pointers on how to encourage a child
to do homework?

Katie: Yes. To help your child get more involved with their homework,
some things that you can do are create a schedule in which
there’s an exact day and time that your child will do the
homework. Looking at weekdays, they can do their homework right
when they get home from school or maybe they want to do it after
dinner.

Another thing is the weekends. It is usually best to have your
child do homework on Friday so they’re not rushing on Sunday
night trying to get it done. With this schedule of the time, you
definitely want to have your child involved. Have them pick out
the time and just be creative with that. With that being done,
you do want to stick to having that schedule and always do
homework at that time.

Even with a schedule, there might be situations where your child
will want to do something else. He might want to go play
basketball or play Wii. In those situations you want to use
‘first/then’ directives. You’re still going to stick to that
schedule. You’re going to tell your child, “First you can do
your homework, and then you can go play basketball.”

Another thing that can be helpful is having a designated area to
do homework. To do that, pick an area in the house. You want to
find somewhere where there aren’t a lot of distractions, maybe
in the kitchen doing it at the table or at the computer or
office studio. Those would be great choices. Even going to the
library and having his homework be done there. With your
designated area, you do want to go ahead and have all the
utensils that the child would need; pencils, paper, markers,
whatever they would need, so they’re not wasting time and
prolonging the homework process.

Another thing that can be done is providing praise for your
child and giving them encouragement, “Great job doing your
work,” and, “I like how you’re being so studious.” With more
challenging things, you can do things in regards to giving them
tangible reinforcement. Maybe they had a really big task or a
really big project that they spent a lot of time on and were
nervous about. You can do an extra little, “Let’s go get some
ice cream,” or, “You got an A on that test. I’m so happy. I know
you wanted this toy,” just a little more reinforcement. You
don’t always want to give that reinforcement because you want
them to be doing their homework on their own, but that’s just
helpful for harder subjects or things that they might struggle
with.

Another thing is that when your child is doing homework, you
should also be quiet. You don’t want to be doing things that are
going to be fun and exciting that your child would want to do.
Try to avoid playing on the computer, doing Wii Fit, and things
of that nature. At that time you can be paying your bills or
responding to emails, something that’s just a little more low-
key and your child won’t want to be involved with.

Robyn: All right. Thank you so much. Those are actually really
wonderful tips. Thank you to our viewers, and remember, keep on
blossoming.

Announcer: This has been Pediatric Therapy TV, where we bring peace of
mind to your family with the best in educational programming. To
subscribe to our broadcast, read our blogs, or learn more, visit
our website at LearnMore.me. That’s LearnMore.me.

HOME SPEECH PROGRAMS FOR BUSY FAMILIES

Home programs are important for the generalization of speech and language therapy goals. With today’s busy lifestyles, families need to be taught how to practice with children without putting life on pause. There are common goal categories that SLP uses to create clients’ individual goals. These include the improvement of: expressive and receptive vocabulary skills, production of specific sounds, reading and writing, problem solving, and pragmatic conversational skills. It is always important to keep in mind that the ultimate goal of therapy is to help children communicate successfully outside the therapy setting.Busy mother communicating with child

Here are some activities that build on each category:

  1. Parents can build children’s vocabulary skills in any setting by thinking out loud. Identify objects, people,  activities, pronouns, and adjectives. Asking “what’s this?” then allows the child an opportunity  to practice new vocabulary. A good game to play for this is “I Spy.” Challenge the child by choosing less obvious items.
  2.  For production of specific sounds, parents can find objects that contain the target sounds. For example, street signs, grocery store aisles, and shopping lists all provide good opportunities to practice specific sounds. Parents need to adjust their amount of help based on the child’s skill level. This also improves reading and writing by increasing letter to sound awareness.
  3.  To improve problem solving skills, give the child clues to identify objects. A great game for this is “20 questions.” This is a good game to play while driving in the car or waiting in line. This game can also strengthen question formation and description skills.
  4.  Finally, pragmatic and conversational skills can be improved at home as well. Practice and provide a model for the child for greetings , asking for help, appropriate volume levels, appropriate eye contact, and body position during interactions.  Role-play is a good way for a child to practice conversational skills. For example, ask the child, “If you were the coach, how would you teach me?”

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What is Echolalia and How Does It Relate To Autism | Pediatric Therapy Tv

In today’s webisode, a pediatric Speech and Language Pathologist sheds some light on what Echolalia is and it’s connection to Autism.  For more information on Echolalia, read this blog: https://www.nspt4kids.com/parenting/echolalia-what-is-it/

In This Video You Will Learn:

  • What Echolalia is
  • How Echolalia relates to Autism
  • When Echolalia is developmentally appropriate

Video Transcription:

Announcer: From Chicago’s leading experts in pediatrics to a worldwide
audience, this is Pediatric Therapy TV, where we provide experience and
innovation to maximize your child’s potential. Now your host, here’s Robyn.

Robyn: Hello and welcome to Pediatric Therapy TV. I’m your host, Robyn
Ackerman. Today I’m standing here with pediatric speech and
language pathologist Deanna Swallow. Deanna, can you explain to
us what is echolalia and how does it relate to children with
autism?

Deanna: Sure. Echolalia refers to the imitation of spoken language. To
a certain extent, echolalia can be typical. For example, when
you have a child under the age of 12 months, we want them doing
a lot of repeating of our gestures and our speech sounds. You
might see children repeating words and phrases up until about
age four.

After a certain point, echolalia is considered atypical. For
children with autism, one of the salient features of autism is
deficits or weaknesses in understanding and use of spoken
language. Oftentimes, children with autism will use echolalia,
and that can be an indicator of weaknesses in spoken language.

There are many different reasons that children will use
echolalia. Sometimes it can be to help them process language.
For example, if I ask a child, “How old are you,” and they say,
“Old are you,” they may be rehearsing that question in their
head to help them answer it. If they do rehearse the question
and then give me an appropriate response, then I know they may
have been using echolalia to help process language.

Some children might use echolalia because they simply don’t know
what to say. They know something is supposed to go here but
they’re not sure what, so they might just repeat what you said
as a means to communicate.

Robyn: Thank you so much for clearing that up, and thank you to our
viewers. And remember, keep on blossoming.

Announcer: This has been Pediatric Therapy TV, where we bring peace of
mind to your family with the best in educational programming. To
subscribe to our broadcast, read our blogs, or learn more, visit
our website at LearnMore.me. That’s LearnMore.me.

When it’s more than a case of “The Mondays”: Motivating your Child when School Is Challenging

“I hate school, I’m never going back!” “I can’t do it!” “ I’m not smart like the other kids.” “My teacher hates me.”

If you’ve heard these comments from your child, you are not alone. Children with learning differences in particular are at risk for school burn-out. girl hates schoolThe work is challenging and the battle seems mostly up-hill; once he or she masters one skill, the next, more difficult lesson poses yet another daunting challenge. You can’t take your child out of school, but here are some ideas to make the time they spend there a bit more relaxed and motivating.

5 Steps To  Motivating Your Child In School:

  1. Appeal to your child’s sense of fun!
    1. Surprises: Try to do something at least once a week to remind your child that you care at school. This can be a notecard with an interesting fact tucked in his pencil holder, a note that says you love him, or some words of encouragement in his Spelling folder on the day of a test.
    2. Extra-curricular Activities: Finding the activity that suits your child’s interests and abilities can foster a connection to a teacher and other students. Be supportive and positive in letting your son or daughter choose one activity that appeals to him or her!
  2. Talk it Out: Get out of the one-word answer rut by asking a different question each day. You can ask questions such as:
    1. What is something that you did really well today?
    2. Who made you laugh today and why?
    3.  What did you make in Art class?
    4. What songs did you sing/play in Music?
    5. If it was a bad day you can ask: What can you do differently to make tomorrow better?
  3. Set Realistic Goals: Give your child practice setting goals by making a specific plan each week for what they can do to improve the school experience.
    1. The child should be involved in the process, rather than having you tell him what he needs to do.
    2. Be sure that the goals you set together will be met with success by creating the goal at or just above the child’s current ability level. For example, if your child got 60% correct on his last math test because he didn’t study, you could set a goal that he will get 70% on the next one and make a plan study one hour in advance of the next test.
    3. If he meets his goal, recognize that at dinner for the whole family or find another way to reward his efforts.
  4. Break it Down: There is a mountain of research since Hermann Ebbinghaus’ 1885 discovery that spacing learning out over multiple practice opportunities results in better retention and recall than cramming. If your child is going to study for an hour this week, help him break it down into smaller, more focused sessions that will take place throughout the week. Recognize and praise him as he follows the plan.
  5. Positive reinforcement works: Rather than punish your child for mistakes, and further contributing to his sense of failure, look for progress everywhere, including in subjects you may not find as important. If your child sees that you recognize his effort in his favorite subject, and he gets a reward for doing well where he can, this is an opportunity to gradually begin to reward more difficult areas. Depending on your child’s age, rewards can be anything from a certificate of recognition to a formal plan with monetary, tangible, or other meaningful rewards such as special privileges. Consistency is the key with reinforcement systems; be sure to seek the help of a trained professional if your child has substantial barriers to learning.

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The Use Of Visuals For Speech Development | Pediatric Therapy Tv

In today’s webisode, a Pediatric Speech and Language Pathologist gives details on how different visual aids can help children develop speech.

 In This Video You Will Learn:

  • What is a speech visual
  • What types of visuals can help with the development of speech
  • What ages and conditions the visuals work best with

Video Transcription:

Announcer: From Chicago’s leading experts in pediatrics to a worldwide
audience, this is Pediatric Therapy TV, where we provide experience and
innovation to maximize your child’s potential. Now your host, here’s Robyn.

Robyn: Hello and welcome to Pediatric Therapy TV. I’m your host, Robyn
Ackerman. Today I’m standing here with Deanna Swallow, a
pediatric speech and language pathologist. Deanna, can you tell
us what visuals are and how they help children with speech?

Deanna: Sure. A lot of research has been done to find out which ways
children learn the best. It’s been well-documented that children
learn well with a multisensory approach. Because speech and
language rely so heavily on an auditory system, we try to use
the visual system to help enhance a child’s ability to process
and use spoken language.

There are a lot of different ways and reasons that visual
support can be used, depending on the child’s needs. I’ll show
you an example that I made for one of my kids who has difficulty
following directions. I made a schedule for them that had each
different step visually presented so I could speak each step to
the child and then point to it as I spoke. In this example
visuals are used to help process.

For developing toddlers, oftentimes people will use baby sign to
enhance their development of speech. For older children or
children who don’t have means to verbally communicate at all,
sometimes we will use an entirely visually-based communication
system such as PECS, the Picture Exchange Communication System.
This system was developed for preschool-aged children with
autism.

There are a lot of augmentative communication devices that rely
wholly on visual input. Here’s an example of a binder I made for
my kids that has a lot of different activity choices. I’ll use
these in a variety of ways to help children to let me know
different activities they want.

Robyn: Thank you so much, Deanna, and thank you to our viewers. And
remember, keep on blossoming.

Announcer: This has been Pediatric Therapy TV, where we bring peace of
mind to your family with the best in educational programming. To
subscribe to our broadcast, read our blogs, or learn more, visit
our website at LearnMore.me. That’s LearnMore.me.

iPhone and iPad apps to Promote Reading and Language Development

The number of iPhone and iPad apps related to speech and language continues to grow every day! This can be both exciting and overwhelming, however. That’s where I come in. I’ve downloaded a bunch of different apps, and I’m here to let you know which ones are definitely worth looking into and why. I have also provided ways in which you can use the apps to target different skills.Child with iPad

Based on my experience, children are inherently motivated by devices like the iPad. While I absolutely love using my iPad, I always make sure that when I do use it in a session that I also include traditional therapy activities too. Below you will find apps that target reading readiness and literacy skills and language skills. I have used all of these in a number of my sessions and I think they would make a great addition to your iPad. I’ve included the prices as well; however, these are subject to change (every now and then there are some great sales).

Apps for Promoting Reading Readiness and Literacy Skills:

  1. The Monster at the end of This Book and Another Monster at the end of This Book: $3.99 This super fun and interactive book helps with spatial development and encourages good listening skills. The reader/listener has complete control over the book and thus enables him/her to make the appropriate decision of when to go on to the next page. The words are highlighted as they are read out loud which helps beginner readers learn that there is an association between letters and spoken words. It’s also great for working on different emotions!
  2. Dr. Seuss Books: $2.99 Works on rhyming skills.
  3. ABC Phonics Rhyming Bee: $2.99 Appropriate for preschoolers and kindergarteners. This app is great for children who are learning to recognize rhyming words and how to sort words by sound. You can pick from a number of different sounds (i.e. –ad, -ag, -ed, -ob).
  4. ABC Phonics Butterfly Long Vowels: $2.99 Appropriate for 1st and 2nd graders. Start off by choosing two long vowel sounds. Words are presented orthographically and auditorily. The child then learns the words by hearing the sound of the word. Then they match the word to the right vowel group. You can also hide the word.
  5. Dora hops into phonics: $3.99 This app facilitates learning to recognize that letters can be organized in a specific sequence to represent words. In the first level, children are asked to identify the picture that matches the given word. If the child can’t read the word, they can tap the letter to sound it out! Depending on the level he/she is in, they are asked to change the beginning, final or middle letters of the words to turn it into another word. Mini games are embedded within which provides great reinforcement! Manipulating sounds is an important skill to becoming a proficient reader.
  6. Dora’s rhyming word adventure: $3.99 In this app, Dora and Boots want to go over the Troll Bridge, but the Grumpy Old Troll challenges them. There are 4 different levels: rhymes, first sounds, last sounds and inside sounds and you can select a different level at any time. This app helps preschoolers to learn rhyming and letter sounds, which is important pre-reading skills.
  7. Rock ‘n Learn Phonics Easy Reader 1 Practice: $1.99 using the following phonics material: short vowel sounds, consonant-vowel-consonant combinations, words ending with ll, ss, ff, s, and plural s. 3 stories included.
  8. Step by story: 2.99 each 500 creative story combinations – children are able to build their own stories.
  9. Booksy:  Learn to read platform K-2; Free app (comes with 2 books) additional books are $0.99 eachLearn to Read Platform K-2 AWESOME APP! Designed for children between pre-kindergarten and second grade. The platform has a number of different features. You can choose to have the book read out loud or you can touch individual words. Your child can even record himself/herself! At the end of each book, there is a comprehension quiz. Another unique feature is called “Parental Dashboard.” This allows parents, or SLPs to see statistics related to the child’s progress. Stats include reading speed, quiz scores, words that are tapped and dates. There are also 3 different awards that can be given. If you want to buy additional books, you can do so within the app and you can preview every book there is!
  10. TJ’s Picture Dictionary: $0.99 A very easy to use picture dictionary. Using this dictionary can help build a child’s vocabulary and knowledge. The definitions are straightforward and the pictures are bright and colorful. Pictures enlarge when you click on them, as well as appropriate sound effects.
  11. Funny alphabet: $0.99 Helps with preschoolers’ ABCs! There’s a voiceover for every object on the page and some are even animated. When you touch the letter it says its name, not the sound. Includes a page of all of the letters and by clicking on a letter, it jumps to that page. Otherwise, it’s like a flipbook. This app is great for little ones who are learning to talk – use it to label early objects. For older kids, you can even use it took work on describing and other vocabulary skills!

Apps for Promoting Language Skills:

  1. More Fun with Directions: $9.99 This app focuses on 12 different concepts which include: up, down, in front, behind, put in, take out, above, below, turn on, turn off, on, under. You can select from 3 different levels (easy, intermediate and advanced) and you can choose whether or not to have direction written out for the child.  Features that I particularly like: option to “hear again,” change the concept when you want to, and turn the voice command on/off.
  2. House of Learning: $6.99 There are a variety of skills you can work on using this one app. You can use it to help children understand prepositions (i.e. in, on, over, under, next to, etc).” It is great for targeting 1, 2 or 3 step directions. I’ve found it particularly useful for kiddos who need to work on formulating stories as well answering wh- questions. This is definitely an app you can get creative with!
  3. Speech with Milo – Sequencing: $2.99 There are over 30 3-step picture sequences in this app! The pictures are presented in a random order and the child has to drag the picture to spot 1, 2 or 3. You can choose to have the text show (which I prefer to leave off). When the child has put the cards in the correct order, you can click “play” to watch an animated clip of the story. Use this app to work on sequencing, temporal concepts (first, second, last), sentence formulation, syntax and answering/asking wh- questions.
  4. Speech with Milo – Interactive story book:  $1.99 A very cute interactive story! Use it to target wh- questions, vocabulary skills, animal sounds, formulating sentences and grammar. You can record what the child says and play it back to them right then and there! If you prefer to have them listen to the story, there is both text and audio. The animations are great and very reinforcing.
  5. Splingo: $2.99 There are 4 different levels in this app.
    Level 1 – instructions contain 1 main word Examples include: 
    Which apple is dry?
    Put the spider next to the house
    Which tiger is running?
    Level 2 – instructions have 2 main words 
    Put the clock in the box
    Bring the clean tractor to the sheep
    Level 3 – 3 main words 
    Put the plate in front of the big castle
    Level 4 – 4 main words
    Put the girl’s little dustbin behind the school
    After completing a few directions, there’s a mini reinforcing game.
  6. Sentence builder: $5.99 Designed to help children learn how to build grammatically correct sentences. The child is asked to make a sentence about the picture. The child has to choose each part of the sentence from a few choices (i.e. subject, helping verb, verb, object). You can choose to have answer reinforcement and answer animations. In addition, there are 3 levels to choose from (i.e. 1, 2 and 3).

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iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch Apps to Teach Kids Social Skills

As a licensed clinical social worker, I have worked with hundreds of kids and teenagers since 1994. For many, social skills do not simply come Child with iPadnaturally; they need to be taught, just as they need to be taught spelling, reading, mathematics, social studies, and science. Kids with ADHD, learning disabilities, and autism spectrum disorders often find learning social skills to be especially challenging.

Throughout time, kids have learned through play. Kids as young as one year use pretend play to learn about their world. And, as any kid will gladly tell you, kids like to learn when we make it fun for them. When I was growing up, video games were emerging, but now the tiniest little ones can be observed effortlessly playing with their moms and dads’ iPhone, iTouch, and iPad.

Since the kids are interested anyway, why not teach them something while they play? There are many apps that teach kids social skills in a non-threatening, engaging manner.

The following is a list of some apps to help children with social skills:

1. Model Me Going Places– Free is a visual teaching tool to help children navigate common challenging locations in their community. Each location incorporates a photo slide show of children modeling appropriate beahvior. Locations include: hair salon, mall doctor, playground, grocery store, and restaurant.

2. Responding Social Skills– $0.99 teaches how to listen and respond to others, give directions, understand others’ feelings and perspective-taking.

3. Initiating Social Skills– $0.99 includes practice in greetings, starting conversations, giving information, and introducing oneself.

4. Everyday Social Skills– $0.99 Teaches basic social skills needed for everyday activities in the child’s community, including common activities like walking down the street, using a public restroom, waiting in line, asking for directions, asking for information, and joining a group.

5. Personal Social Skills– $0.99 Teaches responsibility, dependability, accepting consequences, maintaining personal hygiene, grooming, dressing, and more.

6. Hidden Curriculum for Kids– $1.99 Real-life scenarios spur conversations about the many unwritten social rules that we encounter daily that can often cause confusion and anxiety for those who cannot read these cues well.

7. Small Talk App– Presents conversation fillers for those awkward social moments, allowing users to choose between conversation: starters, jokes, factoids, “would you rather” questions, etc.

8. Look in my eyes– There are a series of apps that address eye contact as a social skill. Choose one of high-interest to the child: restaurant, car mechanic, undersea, dinosaurs, etc.

9. How would you feel if…–  Allows children to discuss their feelings about a variety of situations to promote emotion awareness.

10. Eye contact toybox app–  Helps kids practice eye contact while earning fun rewards.

11. Body language app–  Offers full-body illustrations of body language to help kids become aware of gestures, postures, handshakes, and other body cues.

12. Conversation Builder– Teaches elementary-aged children how to have multi-exchange conversations with their peers in a variety of social settings.

13. Social Skills– $6.99;  Offers social stories complete with photographs and sound to help children with social skills such as: attention, non-verbal communication, greetings, structured game play, turn-taking, imitation, and classroom rules. For the iPod Touch, one will need an external microphone to record the sound.

14. Super Duper What Are They Thinking?– Children can listen to 180 entertaining “thoughts” or answer “what are they thinking?” questions to teach perspective taking.

15. Stories2Learn– $13.99 Offers social stories that can be personalized using photos, writing, and audio messages. This allows stories to be created that show targeted social cues.

New apps are added frequently and as this industry grows, we will update you with the latest technology and apps.

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*North Shore Pediatric Therapy, Inc. (NSPT) intends for responses to the blogs to provide general educational information to the readership of this website; all content and answers to questions should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).  Questions submitted to this blog are not guaranteed to receive responses.  No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by NSPT  to people submitting questions.  Always consult with your health professional first before initiating or changing any aspect of your treatment regimen.

7 Things Every Parent Should Consider When Hiring a Tutor

Whether your teacher suggests you seek additional tutoring services to help your child or you are faced with the diagnosis of a learning or behavioral disorder, finding a tutor can become an intimidating experience.

An academic tutor can be the solution to tackling reading and writing difficulties or mastering skills, but with so many tutoring centers, private tutors, on-line sources, what is the best solution for your child? What kind of tutor will best address your child’s needs? Who will best help your child become academically successful and happy?

7 Things Every Parent Should Consider When Hiring a Tutor

1.  Experience & Credentials:

How long has he or she been a teacher or academic tutor? What is his or her educational background, degrees, additional training and/or professional experience? Is his or her teaching method(s) based on proven research?

2.  Rapport:tutor reading with girl

Sounds basic, but does your child like the tutor? No one wants to please someone they don’t like or respect and this is the same for your child and their tutor. An open, caring relationship is vital to ensure your child’s dedication to achieve hard to reach goals and provide the motivation needed, especially to a child who could be lacking in faith. Oftentimes, when a parent is seeking out a tutor a child knows failure all too well. A tutor is an opportunity for a child to not only gain knowledge, but also be successful. Success will lead to more confidence and a greater intent on learning. Tutoring can be a great step in helping your child achieve his or her academic goals and become a happy, confident learner.

3.  Academic Plan:

Ask for an overview of what the tutor plans to do with your child.

Is it a computer based program or individual instruction? What materials or program will be used? What assessment will be used to create a tutoring plan that is specific and unique to your child? What feedback will be used to keep you informed of progress?

4.  One-on-One:

Does the tutoring take place one-on-one or in a group setting? One-on-one tutoring may cost more but far outweighs a group setting in terms of academic progress. Every child is different and one-on-one tutoring provides direct, focused instruction. This is especially important if your child has a condition such as ADHD and/or dyslexia.

5.  Commitment:

Is the tutor passionate about helping your child reach their goals? Are they dedicated and determined to make needed changes, accept feedback, and adjust instruction according to your child’s needs?

6.  Location & Environment:

Where does the tutoring take place? Is it in your home, at the library, in a tutoring center? Is the location convenient for you and conducive to your child’s learning?

7.  Cost & Fees:

Ask the tutor or tutoring center about costs and fees. How long is a session? What is the cost? Be sure to find out about payments and any miscellaneous fees for supplies or testing. What is the policy for missed appointments?

To meet with a trained and certified tutor, click here!

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