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Articulation Therapy, Feeding, For Parents, Generally SpeechyThings, Language Therapy, Little Friends

Parent Roadmap to Therapy : Keeping Families in the Loop

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Photo By: Sylwia Bartyzel via unsplash.com

Think back to (insert number here) years ago when you were a young therapist. Now take it back to your CFY… and then grad school.. and then undergrad… and then back to a day before you knew anything about cueing hierarchies, Brown’s stages, or the alveolar ridge. That is where most of our parents and families are.

Let’s clue them in and teach the parents… not just the kids.

It’s easy to forget just how much we, as speech therapists, actually know. We can get lost in professional jargon and in our own thoughts during therapy. Sure, WE know why you chose that activity and the level at which you’re cueing your kiddo to answer a question…. but our families don’t. If they are present in the session, they will likely miss many of the nuances of your therapy.

There are 3 people who should always know a child’s goals: you, the child, and their caregiver.

When everyone works as a team, knows their job, and knows the goal… we are a cohesive unit. Of course there are exceptions, but this trifecta brain-share is the ideal. This way everyone can see the big picture and home programming is no longer a chore- it has a very specific purpose.

I recently had a chat with a ROCKSTAR parent. She is all on board with treatment and so supportive of both me and her sweet kiddo. I realized one day we had been in our groove for so long that I needed to check in with her and remind her of the big picture. In this  case, our little guy is a late talker. We have been working on songs with gestures, vocalizing during play, and adding a few signs to our expressive vocabulary. But I needed to remind mom WHY. WHY we needed to start with gross motor imitation and vocal play. WHY we weren’t hitting it hard and demanding words from him. WHY WHY WHY.

Of course, we can always ask parents if they have any questions…

but you can’t ask questions about things you don’t know exist.

 

(i.e. cueing hierarchies, Brown’s stages, or the alveolar ridge)

It’s our job to put ourselves in the parent’s shoes (or the child’s, depending on the situation) and anticipate their needs and questions. Some parents may feel like it’s not their place to question our methods… even though maybe they don’t understand why we’re having their child do something that seems counterintuitive to them. Some may just feel so overwhelmed that they don’t know where to start.

We are part therapist, part playmate, and part hand-holder.

It’s easy to forget that we literally have a masters degree in COMMUNICATION disorders. We should be *awesome* at communicating… but we’re also human. I’m sure we could all take a little more time to explain the intricate process of speech, language, and feeding development now and then.
(OH DARN, we have to talk more about the most wonderful field on the planet? )

Yes.
-Lindsey

Language Therapy, Older Friends

Strategies for Unfamiliar Words

So our kids are reading their class book or listening to NPR (that’s what kids do for fun nowadays, right?) and they come across a word or phrase they don’t know.

Do they…
A. panic
B. ignore
C. figure out the new word

Even though we WANT the answer to be C, the reality is they most often choose B.
Sure with us by their side, they can work through these new vocabulary words with thought-provoking followup questions…

but my kids need tools they can whip out in the middle of class or worse…. standardized testing. Furthermore, they need an easy way to remember these strategies.

So here we go. A 2-step strategy for conquering unfamiliar language *WITH HAND SIGNS* (wahoo!) as a memorization strategy. So many of our kids will remember the motor plan or pneumonic given to them before they will remember the strategy itself. When we make it goofy, we make it memorable. Adding multiple modalities (I’m counting cheesiness as a learning modality) will only increase our friends’ success.

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Step 1: Think When

Think when you have heard this word or phrase before.
Perhaps you can remember the situation in which you heard it? That may give you insight as to the definition.
Maybe you can think of another word that sounds similar- one you do know the meaning of?

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Point to your head, then point to your invisible watch.

(I guess we could also point to our head and then unlock our invisible iPhone? Or we can keep our fingers crossed that watches are still relavent enough that kids have at least seen them in movies.)

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Step 2: Try Out

Try out different words in the unknown word or phrase’s place.
Help your kiddo figure out whether the word serves as a noun, verb, or adjective.
Find a possible synonym for the unknown language and try it out!
If it makes sense, you win! If it doesn’t make sense, keep trying out new words.

The good news is even if you didn’t find the exact synonym or meaning, you likely have gotten close.

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Hold your imaginary “puzzle piece” and keep sticking a new piece in your “sentence” until you find the right match.

 

And there you have it! My kids have had a lot of success with this strategy so far- I hope yours find success too! They can use these gestures and concepts on vocab words, figurative language, and any other ol’ piece of language our kids come across… AND they can do it without you. That is the best part.

Have fun with it!
Lindsey

For Parents, Language Therapy

Teaching Pronouns with Snuffleupagus

This will be short and sweet:

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“Snuffleupagus woke up early in the morning and brushed Snuffleupagus’s teeth. Then Snuffleupagus made a cup of coffee to help start the day off with a bang. Next Snuffleupagus got on the train to visit some family. On the way, Snuffleupagus met a new friend. After talking for hours, Snuffleupagus finally arrived at Aunt Sally’s house.”

That. Sounds. Ridiculous.

I like to use this example when explaining to my kiddos what pronouns are and why they’re important. We use pronouns so that we don’t have to say a noun’s name again and again (and again). It is much easier to tell and listen to a story where pronouns are used. It was a little obnoxious to read that blurb, correct? Your students will agree. But when we add our handy dandy pronouns…

“Snuffleupagus woke up early in the morning and brushed his teeth. Then he made a cup of coffee to help start the day off with a bang. Next he got on the train to visit some family. On the way, he met a new friend. After talking for hours, Snuffleupagus finally arrived at Aunt Sally’s house.”

Much better.

It’s a silly example but that is exactly what makes it memorable. Use this little concept to teach your kids why we need to work on pronouns. They allow is to be efficient in our communication and make it easier for our friends to listen to what we have to say.

See? Short!
-Lindsey