10 Ways to Encourage Handwriting Practice Without a Pencil

When handwriting is challenging for a child, getting a pencil in their hand can be a difficult task. There are many ways to practice letters without using a pencil. The motor planning component of handwriting can be reinforced through the following activities.

10 Fun Activities For Practicing Handwriting:

  1. Pour cornmeal onto a cookie sheet. Then an adult draws a letter in the cornmeal. Have the child trace the letter a couple times. Then the child can draw the letter in the finger paintingcornmeal themselves. If needed, an adult can guide the child’s hand to make the letter appropriately.
  2. Buy cheap hair gel and put it in a large Ziploc bag. Lie the bag on a flat surface and the child can use their finger to draw letters.
  3. Put shaving cream on the bathtub wall and have the child write letters with their finger.
  4. Use sidewalk chalk or a paint brush with water to make letters outside.
  5. Use blocks to make large letters on the floor.

 For the following five activities, click here to print out large letters as a guide if helpful.

  1. Create letters out of playdoh.
  2. Use Wikki Sticks or pipe cleaners to make letters.
  3. Make letters out of a snack food, for example, raisins, cereal or marshmallows.
  4. Make letters using push pins in a cork board.
  5. Have the child crumple tissue paper, then glue the tissue paper on to cover the letter.

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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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Sensory Strategies for Kids with ADHD

Sensory strategies are one of the most common and least invasive suggestions made to assist children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder  (ADHD) function more successfully in their day to day lives. Because of the increased awareness surrounding ADHD, it has become a popular topic for many adhd boyprofessionals. While this means that there is an ever-growing supply of research and increasing amount of resources for parents, teachers and medical professionals to reference; it also has the potential to be both overwhelming and confusing. Many of the professionals researching ADHD publish articles, books, and research papers with strategies they have found to be beneficial to children with ADHD. This has potential to be very informative and helpful but there is no unified terminology being used, and thus, the same suggestions are being made using different terms, creating a difficult system to navigate. Sensory strategies are included in some form in almost all approaches suggested for children with ADHD. Sensory strategies are also often referred to as “movement strategies,” or other similar titles, but provide the same suggestions and at their core are truly sensory strategies.

Sensory Strategies for kids with ADHD:

  • Allowing the child to take a 2-3 minute break every 10-15 minutes. This break should involve intense movement when possible, such as jumping jacks, pushups, jumping on a trampoline, etc. When intense movement is not appropriate, breaks may involve the student walking to the drinking fountain, getting up to sharpen his/her pencil and/or walking to the bathroom.
    • If an assigned task involves intense academic work, such as testing, lengthy projects or problem-solving assignments the child should be given the opportunity to take a longer break (approximately 10 minutes) to allow time for more intense physical exercise.
  • Provide a toy or item for the child to manipulate during solitary work. These items are often referred to as “fidgets,” and provide the child with an outlet to release their restlessness. Rather than continuously moving his/her body, the child can move his/her hands quietly in their lap or on their desk while manipulating the fidget.
  • Another way to incorporate physical work into settings where children are expected to be able to sit and attend to a task is to adapt the child’s seat. There are a variety of seating options available that involve the child working to maintain balance and an upright posture. Exercise balls are often provided in the classroom as an alternative to a standard chair, this allows the child to slightly move and requires him/her to use their core muscles to maintain seated. A T-stool is a flat, bench-like seat that is mounted on a single upright post. This provides similar sensory input to the child, without the possible temptations surrounding a ball. Rocking chairs have also been used both at a child’s desk and during circle time, and prevent much of the “disruptive” behaviors that teachers often observe during these quiet sitting periods of the day.
  • Gum is often not allowed in the school setting, but it can be an invaluable tool to a child with ADHD. Oral-motor input is something many children crave, hence why so many kids stick their pencils in their mouths or chew on their clothing. Providing gum to a child with ADHD provides them an outlet for their restlessness. The constant chewing/movement of the jaw and flavor options can act as an alerting stimuli as well as a grounding force, helping the child have the ability to better focus on the task at hand.

These sensory strategies can be implemented in the classroom, at home and in most other settings where a child is expected to be able to sit and attend to a task (church, Sunday school, music lessons, camp, etc.). Incorporating these strategies into particularly difficult parts of the day can also have an immense positive impact on the child; for example, incorporating physical exercise into transitional periods may lessen the stress that these times put on both the child and the adult. These sensory strategies are not strict rules to abide by, but are general guidelines to be expanded upon or adapted to fit each child’s individual needs.






3 Things To Help A Child Focus With Sensory Processing Disorder | Pediatric Therapy Tv

A Pediatric Occupational Therapist shows us 3 things that can help a child with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) sit and or focus more.

In This Video You Will Learn:

  • What a weighted blanket can do
  • How a fidget toy can help your child with Sensory Processing Disorder
  • What product can help your child sit in a chair

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 am your host,
Robyn Ackerman. Today I’m standing with Lindsay Miller, a
pediatric occupational therapist.

Lindsay, can you show us three things that a child may benefit
from using who has Sensory Processing Disorder?

Lindsay: Sure. I’ve got to start off with showing you a weighted
blanket. A weighted blanket is great for kids with Sensory
Processing Disorder who need a lot of movement to function to
their maximum ability. I think using a weighted blanket is a
great option. It’s basically just a regular blanket that’s much
heavier. They can put it on their lap, or when they’re lying
down they can put it on top of themselves.

It provides a lot of deep pressure input to their muscles and
their joints, which is very calming for the body. It decreases
the amount of movement that they need so that they can sit and
do homework or play a game, or whatever it is that they need to
do.

The next thing is a fidget toy. A fidget toy is also good for
kids who like to touch a lot of things or like to move around a
lot. It’s a really simple thing. It could be something like a
koosh ball or a stress ball. They can keep it in their pocket or
hold onto it. It’s to help them have something they can play
with and keep their hands busy while they’re doing homework or
when they’re supposed to be listening so that they can attend to
a task.

Robyn: And those are good for circle time, right?

Lindsay: Yes, great for circle time. It’s also good for when they are in
school and they need to be sitting and doing their work. They
can have something to play with while they’re writing.

Robyn: Wonderful.

Lindsay: And the other thing is a Move-n-Sit Disc. This is essentially a
plastic desk that has a textured side on one side and the other
is a little bit smoother. You put it right on their chair and it
allows them to wiggle around so that they get the movement that
they need instead of wandering away from their chair or rocking
in their chair.

Robyn: Great. Thank you so much, Lindsay, 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.

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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Dyslexia Signs and Characteristics

Dyslexia, also known as developmental reading disorder, refers to child’s difficulty with reading, writing, and spelling due to the brain’s decreased recognition of symbols (such as letters and numbers).  Read below for more information on Signs and Characteristics of Dyslexia

Signs of Dyslexia:girl reading

  • Difficulty reading single words, such as a word on a flashcard
  • Difficulty learning the connection between letters and sounds
  • Confusing small words, such as at and to
  • Letter reversals, such as d for b
  • Word reversals, such as tip for pit
  • Frequently adds and/or forgets letters in a word
  • Remembering simple sequences, for example names of people, telephone numbers
  • Difficulty understanding rhyming words
  • Recognize words that begin with the same sound
  • Easily clap hands to the rhythm of a song
  • Show understanding of right-left, up-down, front-back
  • Sit still for a reasonable period of time
  • Have difficulty with handwriting
  • Other members of your family having similar problems
  • Dreads verbal instructions
  • Difficulty keeping place when reading

Common Characteristics of Dyslexia Include:

  • Often gifted and creative
  • Difficulty rhyming words and sounds
  • Poor sequencing of numbers (12 for 21) and words (was for saw)
  • Poor spelling
  • Avoids reading aloud
  • Difficulty organizing ideas to speak or write
  • Avoids writing tasks
  • Left/right confusion
  • Slow to memorize alphabet and math facts
  • Reading comprehension difficulties
  • Trouble following oral instructions
  • Appearing restless or easily distracted

For more information on Dyslexia Treatment, please click here.

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Checklist References:
http://www.interdys.org/SignsofDyslexiaCombined.htm
http://www.plymouth.ac.uk/files/extranet/docs/SWA/dys%20checklist.pdf

iPad and iPhone Apps For Autism

What a difference one year makes in the world of technology!!.

Recently, everywhere you look, people are on their iPads, iPhones, iPods. Imagine if there was a way to help your child improve his/her social skills by using these technological advancements… well NOW THERE IS!  iPad and iPhone application developers have tons of applications to help children of all developmental levels. These applications offer a new method of teaching social and communication skills. Below are a few of my favorite applications that I use almost daily with clients here at North Shore Pediatric Therapy!

Application Name

Description of Application

Benefits

KINDERGARTEN.COM

Here you will find flashcards that help with language building. Most of (if not all) of the images are realistic images.* Actions   * Vehicles  * Rhyming Words  *Feature  * Healthy Habits * Functions  * Foods* Emotions  *Science  * Shapes  * Clothing * the Alphabet * Pretend Play *Zoo Animals  * Sports  *Instruments  * Places * Problem Solving* Receptive Identification. What I like most about these apps are how easy and beneficial they are. Many of the “receptive identification are Feature/Function/Class combined and it is from a field of three.

iTouchiLearn

Puzzles, matching games and various word games. This application really helps with morning routines by using an interactive approach with cartoon characters.

Reward Charts

Here you can add multiple charts, configure chart numbers, add behaviors/activities. This is especially good for families with multiple children and also can be very useful in our social groups.

TapToTalk

This is a starter album to help increase communication Parents can also download their own pictures and sounds. It is very similar to a communication device/pecs

Who Am I?

This provides the learner with 4/5 clues and the learner has to guess which animal you are describing This is great to help promote social conversation while also helping the child with clues about topics.

Animal Fun

This app says the name, the sound the animal makes, and how to spell the name It is great to help prompt social conversation while learning about animals.

iTakeTurns

A tool to help children learn the concept of taking turns Helps children cope with taking turns while practicing this skill

123 dominoes

 

This is a great way to teach colors, color matching, shapes and shape matching. It also has fun music to go along with it.

Learn to Talk

Helps teach children how to speak while using the natural progression of sounds and words. This application really helps with the natural progression of acquiring sounds and words.It begins with high impact words, then expanding meaning by changing intonation of speech, adding vocabulary (nouns and verbs) the developing early syntax and simple word combinations

TimeTimer

Visual Timer This is a great tool to help children with transitions to and from any activity

Conversation Builder    

Allows your child to chose which response they feel would be the correct response and then they get to record their own voice Discriminate between subtle differences which can negatively or positively impact a conversation.
First Then Visual Schedule    Create digital visual schedules with several format options

Avakid: See Me Go Potty

This unique potty training app provides a simple cartoon avatar that resembles your child/children, and then reinforces your child to repeatedly use the potty It teaches your child to go potty . and also has “Go Potty”  narrative showing him/herself successfully complete the whole process of using the potty step by step instructions. There is also an accident scene.

 

 

All of these apps are available to download in the iTunes store. Prices are subject to change. All apps are regularly updated so be sure to check for updates!! If you find an app that you absolutely love, check out the section “Customers Also Bought” and “More iPad Apps from…”  Have fun with these!

If you know of a great app that other parents would benefit from. please leave a comment here with the details!

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10 Ways to Encourage Gross Motor Skills at the Playground | Grammar School

1. Play with your child, instead of being an on looker, be an example of what certain movements

look like.

2. Praise small accomplishments, they may not be doing the monkey bars by themselves just yet, but hanging from the bar for 5 seconds and then 10 seconds, is a place to start.kids on playground

3. Play catch, although it may seem like a simple activity, children benefit greatly from planning their movements, tracking the ball with their eyes, and the repetition the activity provides. Switch up the difficulty level if they are ready for the challenge by changing the size, weight or texture of the ball or distance between you and your child.

4. Challenge your child to an obstacle course race with the entire family.

5. Start with an activity your child is comfortable with, and encourage to expand from there. If your child enters the playground being asked to do something they are not comfortable with, they may shut down before getting anywhere.

6. Schedule play dates at the park with same age peers to encourage age appropriate skills in this setting.

7. Add “park time” into your families weekend routine. Frequent trips to a familiar park will help familiarize your child with the equipment and build endurance for gross motor activities.

8. Play “hot lava” encourage your child to navigate the park equipment without touching the ground.

9. Visit your child’s school playground on the weekend to help them practice what they are having difficulty with at recess.

10. Participate in animal walks (including bear walks, crab walks, frog jumps, etc.) to encourage strengthening, endurance and coordination.

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Imagine Being a Parent of a Child with Apraxia of Speech (CAS)

Guest post By: Leslie Lindsay, R.N., B.S.N. and a mother

At two years old, Kate was a beautiful, energetic, and happy toddler. With the exception of one word-hi-Kate was as quiet as a mouse. We wondered if something was wrong. Even as a baby, Kate rarely babbled and cried; she was beautiful and unique with red hair and bright blue eyes. She was, in a word, apraxia“perfect.” So why were we worried? After all, she could understand everything we said, even the big words. And what was so wrong with having a quiet, happy toddler?

But there were times my heart would sink. Gaggles of women who had all been in the same childbirth class a year or so earlier met up for our summer book discussion. They were chattering about how their children were saying new words every day. One mother proudly shared, “Oh, Maddie said elephant yesterday at daycare. I hate that I missed it.” I pulled my lips into a tight line and let out a sigh. If only my baby could say, ‘mama’ I thought.

Fast-forward a year or so. We learn Kate has Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS). Characterized by a child’s inability to express themselves verbally, CAS is a complex neurologically-based motor speech disorder. It is serious and requires intense and frequent speech therapy by a licensed speech-language pathologist (SLP). Part of me was relieved: now we know what to call this “reason” for Kate’s lack of verbal communication. But another part of me was overwhelmed, nervous, and anxious: now what and why?

It was time for me to put on my proactive parenting cape (forget Supermom), this diagnosis called for a little more. I started gathering any and all information I could on the subject of CAS. I joined listservs and read old text books on the subject. I picked my SLP’s brain. I worked with my daughter at home, in the car, and everywhere in between. I enrolled her in the special education preschool. And she improved. Yet in the meantime, we dealt with so many quizzical looks, unwanted advice, and clueless peers.

Imagine going to the grocery store with your toddler. The clerk makes small talk with you and your child. Your child can’t answer when asked, “What’s your name, cutie?” Instead, she grunts and smiles. The clerk turns to you, perplexed as if to say, “doesn’t your kid know her name?”

Try taking your 4-year old to see Santa at the mall. He can’t tell the big man in red what he wants for Christmas, even though you know he’d love a new bike with training wheels. Instead, he makes a spinning gesture with his hands and goes vroom, vroom. Santa chuckles, “Oh, a toy car!” But you know that’s not it. So does your son.

What will you tell the kind, grandmotherly babysitter who tells you, “Oh, don’t worry. Some kids are just late-to-talk. She’ll catch up. Maybe you aren’t reading and singing to her enough? Do you go to mommy-and-me classes so she can interact with other kids?”

How will you know what your child wants when he just stands and points to the top of the shelf at the many items it could be? You ask, “Do you want the blocks? No. Do you want the farm book? Oh, I know…you want your car!” But, instead he breaks down in tears and walks away.

How does your heart break when you overhear her peers say, “Julia can’t talk. Let’s not ask her to play with us.”

What’s a parent to do?

  • Love and accept your child for who he is. Of course you didn’t ask for your child to have CAS. Neither did your child. Focus on finding the resources your child needs the most-a qualified SLP.
  • Talk to your child. Speak with her as though you expect an answer. Just because she can’t speak back in a way you understand, she understands you. Make your communication with her matter.
  • Provide opportunities for your child to absorb speech and language. Read to him, study the illustrations; illuminate the details. Point out everything you can about the environment. “Look at the birds. Do you see the blue birds? Beautiful blue birds. Can you say bird?”
  • Be patient with your child. Having a child with CAS takes time to remediate. It’s not over in a matter of a couple of speech therapy sessions. It can take years to get your child speaking at developmentally-appropriate levels. Talk with your SLP about ways to monitor progress. It’s all about baby steps.
  • Be patient with yourself. Take a deep breath or a give yourself a time-out when you find yourself losing patience. Allow yourself to do other things besides parent a child with CAS. It’s important for your mental health.
  • Allow your child to be a “regular” kid. This may mean “coaching” social play. You may have to introduce your child to a group of peers, “This is Max. He’s a fun kid, but he’s still working on his words. Can he play with you?”
  • Bite your tongue or educate-diplomatically, of course. When someone asks you about why your child isn’t talking like every other child, you can grin and bear it, or you can simply tell them, “Brooke has Childhood Apraxia of Speech. She sees an SLP each week. We’re working on it.” Most folks don’t need or want more details than that.

Soon, you’ll be hearing things like, “Mom, can I have twelve bucks?” like I did the other day when my daughter with apraxia came home from school one day and wanted to go to Disney on Ice. You’ll be hearing words and phrases like, “Whatever,” and “I didn’t do it.” But the most touching of all, is when you hear these precious words: “I love you, mom.” Imagine being a parent of a child with CAS.

About the Author:

Leslie LindsayLeslie Lindsay is a former staff R.N. in child and adolescent psychiatry at the Mayo Clinic. She is the author of “Speaking of Apraxia: A Parent’s Guide to Childhood Apraxia of Speech,” available from Woodbine House, Inc. in March 2012. This is the first-ever book written by parents for parents specifically on CAS. Leslie blogs daily on apraxia, parenting, child development and more at www.leslie4kids.wordpress.com. She lives in Chicagoland with her two daughters Kate and Kelly, her husband Jim, and a basset hound named Sally where she writes full-time. Feel free to contact her at leslie_lindsay@hotmail.com

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The Importance of Teaching Self-Advocacy Skills to Children with ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a neurological condition associated with under activation of the frontal lobe. This area of the brain is also associated  boy with ADHDwith the executive functioning skills such as organization, time management; planning, impulse control, cognitive flexibility, and ability to self monitor one’s work. Children with ADHD without a doubt demonstrate poor executive functioning. These children have difficulty initiating action on tasks, organizing materials appropriately, managing time effectively, etc. These are all skills that can be developed and improved; however, they are also areas that need be accommodated in order for the child to perform to his or her ultimate potential. Many articles and blogs (link to my past blogs on EF) have been published regarding teaching executive functioning skills. There is also ample work out that there that provides accommodations that teachers may utilize in the classroom setting. We can teach the child the skills, we can accommodate the child; however, if the child is not a self advocate than it is all for naught.

 Step 1 To Teaching Children To Advocate For Themselves:

The first stage to begin to develop self advocacy skills is for the child to be able to recognize that he or she exhibits weaknesses or deficits with particular skill sets. Explain to the child (in child friendly terms) what it means to lack organization skills, have difficulty planning, and struggle with time management. Use daily examples from the child’s life (e.g. how long did homework take last night? How long should have it taken?). Once the child identifies that there is a problem he or she can then work on solving the problem.

Step 1 To Teaching Children To Advocate For Themselves:

The next step is to target one task at a time. Work with the child to create a list of areas that can be improved (e.g. morning routine, homework, organizing his/her room). Once the list is created, have the child number them in order from the biggest problem to the smallest problem. Self advocacy skills are developed by the child being able to develop the solution to the problems through Socratic dialogue with parent and not by parent simply providing a list of what needs to be done (e.g., what do you have to do first? …., well, that is one step, but is there something that needs to go before that?). This process is time consuming and will create headaches for many parents on a daily basis. However, if you ultimately want the child to develop the skill set, he or she must develop the solutions. After the first problematic behavior is tackled, the parents and child should then target the second one on the list in a similar manner. There are many strategies and devices (use of timers, checklists, etc) that are way too exhaustive to be explained in this blog that are wonderful tools to help with task completion; however, the first step is for the child to identify that he or she needs help.

The ultimate goal of childhood is to develop independence and skills necessary to live in society. One of the most important skills to develop is self-advocacy; to be able to identify that one has a problem and also to know when to seek others out for help and guidance.

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