Halloween Craft Fun!

Halloween is a fun time of year! It is great for decorating, make believe and crafting! I found this fun Halloween Craft Monster on Pinterest. I make it a bit differently than the website, using some different materials (Warning: I use a glue gun, but a glue stick should work as well), but it is a fun craft to make and can be used in speech therapy for many different targets.

Following Directions using this Halloween Craft

To make this craft, a child can follow directions.

Materials:

Empty tissue box

Egg carton

Googly eyes

Paint or different coloured construction paper/foam shapes

Construction paper for teeth

Glue gun or glue stick

Instructions

Here is an example of some 2 step Directions you could use,

  1. Choose a tissue box and take out the plastic part.
  2. Choose some eyes and choose some teeth.
  3. Glue on one eye and the bottom teeth.
  4. Choose some spots for your monster, then glue on another eye.
  5. Glue on 3 spots, then glue on the top teeth.

This can continue until the child has used up the supplies. I recommend having the child choose the supplies first, before starting to glue or the craft might never end!!

Using the Halloween Craft Monster to target speech sounds

When your Halloween Craft Monster is completed, you can draw and cut out and/or write out your child’s speech sound targets onto squares of paper. With the target words face down, the child/children can flip one over, say the sound/word/phrase/sentence and have the monster EAT IT!!! This can be used any time of year, but I find Monsters are a big hit at this spooky time!

Enjoy this spooky time and have fun creating, and imagining with your children!

Pretend play with your Halloween Craft monster

Halloween is the one time of year that you get to be someone else. This can be something funny or scary, whatever your heart desires! When you pretend play with your children they are learning so many wonderful things including lots of new language. Describing words like spooky, haunted, and slimy are just a few that we use around SpeechWorks at this time of year!! Imagining what might happen if your monster had no teeth or had 8 eyes can help develop your child’s inference and predicting skills. I like to have puppet shows and create stories that can help develop sequencing skills. Pretend play also gets your child to imagine and this skill in itself can help your child in all aspects of life including problem solving and reasoning.  I can’t wait to hear about your monster adventures!

LynseyWilson-220Lynsey Wilson is a Communication Disorders assistant with experience treating a wide range of clients with varying ages and disorders. She also has her Early Childhood Educator certificate and specializes in working with pediatric clients. Lynsey enjoys working with a variety of age groups to keep her on her toes!

The Key to Success: Professional Communication

picture for professional communication blog

Professional communication is very important in any field, but in the profession of speech-language pathology it is extremely important.  As SLP’s we communicate with many different professionals and clients we work with on a daily basis.  Here are some tips for making communication professional but still well understood by all:

Try to keep your message clear and to the point; don’t fill it with unnecessary jargon

Keeping language concise and clear versus filling it with “extra-fancy” language will help to get your point across in a clear manner.  Using jargon will only make you appear artificial and depending on who you are talking to, will only create confusion.

Written communication:  grammar, punctuation, and spelling are still important

In a world of texting where communication is made up of abbreviations and acronyms, professional communication should take on a different appearance altogether. When communicating professionally via email- greetings, closing remarks, proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation are very important. If a message contains a lot of spelling mistakes, misplaced punctuation, or uses poor grammar, this discredits the writer and the reader is less likely to take the writer seriously. As speech-Language pathologists, we want to model accurate grammar, spelling, and punctuation for our clients as solid role models for them.

Keep communication timely

Drawing out responses to questions or information requests, only makes you appear unprofessional or lacking knowledge.  Responding to inquiries, questions, or requests within 24 business hours is the best way to keep the lines of communication open.

Be mindful of who you are communicating with

Communication style can certainly change depending on who your audience is. Some factors that affect communication style include:  age, culture and nationality, relationship with communication partner (lawyer, team member, client, family member), and cognitive level. Remember to adjust your style to suit your partner’s needs and your communication will be much more meaningful that way.

Following these few tips will keep you on the path to professional communication in all your endeavors.

LindaSaarenvirta-220Linda Saarenvirta is a speech-language pathologist who has been practicing for over 20 years in the healthcare field.  She has worked with a variety of communication disorders and clients of all ages.  She is extremely passionate about voice therapy and enjoys helping clients achieve their vocal needs.  Her client centered approach to therapy ensures all clients maximize their potential and achieve their goals.

SPEECH THERAPY APP: BUILDING SPEECH AND LANGAUGE SKILLS WITH “NIGHTY NIGHT”

1SPEECH THERAPY APP: NIGHTY NIGHT BY FOX & SHEEP  

Nighty Night is a great app by Fox and Sheep for the iPhone or iPad, Android or Kindle. It is a simple story that keeps young children engaged with narration, music, sound effects and cute animals that come to life on the page. It tells the story of seven animals going to bed in and around a farmhouse. As the children visit with each animal, they can interact with it to help it settle in for the night. Children get to choose the animal that they want to put to sleep first and continue putting the animals to sleep one at a time.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

The story starts with a farmhouse with many areas that are lit up for children to explore. Children find each animal by touching a window with a glowing light. They then tap the animal to hear its sound and help it to settle down by finding and then turning off the light switch.  While the goal on each page is to help the animal fall asleep, there are lots of things to explore before turning off the light. This is a great speech therapy app for building speech and language skills because children get a chance to interact with each of the animals to make the animals do various actions and make different sounds. The app comes with seven animals (dog, pig, sheep, duck, cow, fish and chicken), and additional animals can be purchased.

Building speech and language skills

Nighty Night targets a variety of speech and language skills, suitable for toddler and preschool children:

Early speech Sounds – If toddlers are just learning to talk, animal sounds are a great way to practice early developing sounds (moo, baa, and woof). When your child picks an animal to put to sleep model the noise that animal makes and encourage the child to imitate you.

Answering Questions and Following directions – You can ask a variety of questions such as “Who do you want to put to bed next?”, “Where is the baby chick?”, “Where is the light? “, “What did the fish do?” You can give your child different directions to follow in each scene such as “Touch his tail”, “Tickle his ears”, “Turn out the light”, “Pop the bubbles”.

Vocabulary – Great way of modelling different types of vocabulary such as nouns (cow, sheep, pig, house, water, light) verbs (eat, swim, pop, scratch, jump, blow, bark, yawn, stretch) descriptor words (fast, slow, cold, hot, big, small, curly, long, short) and location words (in, on, under, beside, behind, up, down).

Saying More  – To help expand the length of what your child says you can model a variety of phrases such as “Good night pig”, “Fish is swimming”, “Wake up cow”.

Inferencing – Who is waiting next behind the light? Give your child clues to see if they can guess what animal that will come out next. “It is something that is pink, has a curly tail and plays in the mud” (Pig).

THERE’S A SEQUEL!

A sequel to Nighty Night, Nighty Night Circus starts by watching an owl settle down for a nap on a tree branch when the trumpeting of an elephant interrupts her. Following the sound, the owl discovers a circus caravan with their lights still on. The narrator asks the reader to help put the animals to bed by turning off their lights in seven locations.

It is fun to watch the scenes change once the light is turned off and the animations prior to turning the light out. When you meet the bear, he first growls at you and then giggles. If you tap him again, he pulls out a balloon, blows it up, and then makes an animal out of the balloon. When all seven circus animals are asleep, children will see that the owl has settled down as well.

 Inspired Printable 

You can also CLICK HERE for an inspired printable to go along with this app. This printable is created by David Sindrey, LSLS, Cert AVT.

CarrieWebCarrie Rosler is a registered Speech-Language Pathologist who has been practicing pediatric speech pathology for over 14 years. Carrie is committed to providing individualized family-centered therapy in a fun and supportive environment. Carrie has a special interest in Motor Speech Disorders and Auditory Verbal Therapy.

 

“Thankful” Thanksgiving Conversations

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For Thanksgiving dinner, try this family-friendly Thanksgiving conversation starter.

You will need….. some Fall coloured paper, a marker, leaf template and a jar.

Instructions

Cut leaf shapes out of coloured paper.

Write questions about thankfulness or gratitude on pieces of paper and put them in a jar.

During your Thanksgiving meal, pass the jar around the table and have each person pull out a leaf. They can either answer the question themselves or choose someone and ask them the question.

Why Thanksgiving Conversations are Great

This encourages many social language skills such as eye contact, using a person’s name to get their attention, initiating and maintaining a conversation, adding fillers, displaying appropriate facial expressions and body language as well as creating happy memories. These are great skills for young and old! For the younger family members, try giving them some choices to help get them engage in the conversation.

The Thanksgiving Questions

Here are some questions to get you started:

  •  What are you most grateful for?
  •  What invention are you most thankful for?
  •  What do you often forget to be thankful for?
  • Which season do you appreciate the most?
  • Besides saying “thank you,” how do you show your thanks?
  • What was the nicest thing someone else ever did for you?
  • What are you grateful for every day?
  • What activities are you thankful for?
  • Name something about a person here that you really appreciate.
  • What skills are you thankful you have?
  • Look around this room, what item are you thankful for?

Family meal times, especially over the Holidays are an excellent opportunity to stay connected with each other and practice good social language skills.

SandyMastoris-220Sandy is a dedicated professional with almost 30 years experience serving clients with diverse communication challenges.  Sandy’s expertise includes planning and implementing social language programs for school-aged, adolescent and adult clients, as well as workshops for parents and social communication opportunities for stroke survivors.

WHY IS PLAY IMPORTANT?

shutterstock_72711019Play for children is what we do and define as “work” as adults. Children begin to understand how the world works through play. If you ever take the time to watch a child play, you will see them concentrate, ooze with passion and show creative excitement.

Playing with your child is not only fun but it’s one of the most important ways you can nurture their development. There are no rules when it comes to play and you definitely don’t need fancy or expensive toys. You are your child’s favourite toy!

Every child is unique. Your child may have special skills or special needs. Follow your child’s lead. They will let you know what interests them. When they see the pleasures and delight you take in their discoveries, they will want to play more and more. You can benefit too! Begin spontaneous and having fun can relieve stress and create positive memories for both you and your child. Remember, when your child is engage and having fun, they are learning! Play is truly the work of childhood!

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Watch and Wait!

See what your child is trying to do. Provide just enough support for him to achieve his next step towards a new goal. You might bring an object your newborn is staring at closer so he can explore it with their hands. Or, you may encourage our toddler to try a different space where the puzzle piece might fit when they are getting frustrated.

Follow the Leader!

Some children love lots of bells and whistles, and others find a lot of noise overwhelming and prefer to explore with their eyes. Some crave lots of movement, rolling, crawling or jumping. Others are most interested in using their hands to figure out how a toy or object works. Follow their lead, and you’ll discover what kinds of activities are right for her.

CHOOSING A GOOD TOY FOR PLAY

Nowadays, parents will walk into the store and become overwhelmed by the video, computer games, and other electronic toys that claim to make babies smarter. Don’t be fooled by the “make your baby smarter” claims. There is no research that shows that these products boost a child’s brain power. In fact, bowls for filling and dumping, pillows for climbing or making a cave, and old clothing for dress up are great learning tools. Classics like blocks, dump trucks, stuffed animals, and objects that imitate, “real life” such as toy hammers and play kitchens are great for developing the imagination. And don’t forget about books! The more a child has to use his mind and body to problem solve and develop his own ideas, the more he learns.

Birth to 9 months

Toys that engage your baby’s sense, such as mobiles, rattles, chew toys and chunky board books. Toys that help him to learn cause and effect, such as pop-up toys and busy boxes.

Back and Forth

Coo and talk to your baby. You can imitate their sounds and wait for them to respond. Encourage them to copy you. Show them that pushing the button makes the toy dog bark or how they can turn the pages in a book.

Peek-a-boo

Try hiding behind your hands, a diaper or a onesie as you dress your baby. Early on, he may show their pleasure simply by paying close attention. Then they smiles, kick their legs and make sounds. By 9 months, they may pull your hands away from your face to “find” you.

9 to 18 months

Toys that imitate real life, such as plastic tools, play food and animal farms. Problem solving toys that help children learn how things fit together, such as shape sorters and nesting cups. Push and pull toys and balls also let toddlers move their active bodies.

Let’s Do It Again….and Again…and Again…

Through repetition, toddlers figure out how things fit together and work. They might fill and dump a pail over and over to learn about full and empty and in and out. They may want you to read the same book, and sing the same song, night after night. This kind of repetition helps children know what to expect. This gives them a sense of security and control over their world. It also helps them to master new skills, which boosts their self-confidence.

Busy Hands

Young Toddlers love to make things work. They use their hands and fingers for pushing buttons, opening boxes, and turning pages. This allows them to do everything from getting the music box to play their favourite song to exploring a treasured book. Many children also like to finger paint, colour, play with play dough or squeeze water out of a sponge.

18 to 36 months

Materials that help them use their hands to create, such as play dough, crayons, and finger paints. Objects that help children use their imaginations, such as dress-up clothes, action and animal figures, dolls, and stuffed animals.

Say it with Music

“Statue”, “Freeze”, and “Hokey-Pokey” are fun musical games. They offer opportunities to listen and follow directions. They also teach about words and sounds and allow children to move and exercise their bodies. Toy drums, tambourines and other instruments add to the fun.

Act it Out

Encourage fantasy play by providing dress-up clothes and other props. Use items like hats, scarves, backpacks, bowls and containers, music makers, and whatever else you and your child can find. Join the fun! Help them expand their ideas and learn about their thoughts and feelings as they act things out.

Children can learn so much through play. Play is also important because it involves you! Perhaps nothing is more essential and rewarding than the enjoyment your child experiences from the time spent playing with you!

AmyWebAmy Grossi is a pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist, practicing for over 10 years. Amy enjoys the area of early language, literacy development, apraxia and fluency. She has a passion for working with children with multiple developmental needs and implementing creative and interactive treatment sessions.