Saturday, June 30, 2012

"Is My Child Behind?": 1 to 4 years old

Do you wonder if your toddler is developing normally?  Lots of parents ask me if their child is behind in speech or language, and the answer is never very clear-cut.  I took these charts from the ASHA (American Speech-Language Hearing Association) website and compiled them into one place for your reference.  Take a look and see if these confirm your concerns or if your child is doing pretty well for their age.  If you're still worried it's a good idea to consult a professional.  In the meantime you can try to implement some language-enhancing strategies.

1 to 2 years

Hearing and UnderstandingTalking
  • Points to a few body parts when asked.
  • Follows simple commands and understands simple questions ("Roll the ball," "Kiss the baby," "Where's your shoe?").
  • Listens to simple stories, songs, and rhymes.
  • Points to pictures in a book when named.
  • Says more words every month.
  • Uses some one- or two- word questions ("Where kitty?" "Go bye-bye?" "What's that?").
  • Puts two words together ("more cookie," "no juice," "mommy book").
  • Uses many different consonant sounds at the beginning of words.

2 to 3 years

Hearing and UnderstandingTalking

  • Understands differences in meaning ("go-stop," "in-on," "big-little," "up-down").
  • Follows two requests ("Get the book and put it on the table").
  • Listens to and enjoys hearing stories for longer periods of time

  • Has a word for almost everything.
  • Uses two- or three- words to talk about and ask for things.
  • Uses k, g, f, t, d, and n sounds.
  • Speech is understood by familiar listeners most of the time.
  • Often asks for or directs attention to objects by naming them.

3 to 4 years

Hearing and UnderstandingTalking

  • Hears you when you call from another room.
  • Hears television or radio at the same loudness level as other family members.
  • Answers simple "who?", "what?", "where?", and "why?" questions.

  • Talks about activities at school or at friends' homes.
  • People outside of the family usually understand child's speech.
  • Uses a lot of sentences that have 4 or more words.
  • Usually talks easily without repeating syllables or words.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

ApP LiSt

Today I wanted to share with you an app list that I've been creating.  Many parents ask me what apps they can try for their child so I hope that you find this helpful!  I know I am missing a lot - the world of apps is growing faster than the weeds in my backyard. ..(maybe I'll attack those tomorrow...)
If you know of a great app that is missing from this list, please comment and share with us all!

Phonological Awareness
-          Super Why
-          Dora’s Rhyming Word Adventure
-          ABC Pocket Phonics
-          Read & Write
-          Word Wagon
-          Interactive Alphabet
-          Alphabytes
-          Word Wagon HD
-          C is for cow
-          123 Color HD Talking Coloring Book
-          Rock ‘n’ Learn Phonics Easy Reader
-          ABC Pocket Phonics

-          Tumblebooks to Go
-          Alice for iPad
-          Dr. Seuss’ ABC
-          Reading Remedies 
-          eReading Gulliver’s Travels
-          Sight Words List
-          My word wall
-          K12 Timed Reading Practice
-          The Three Little Pigs StoryChimes
-          Jack and the Beanstalk  interative children’s book
--       WordWorld eBook
-          Toy Story Readalong

Reading Comprehension
-          Ithoughts HD
-          Popplet
-          Simplemind

-          StoryBuilder
-          Speech with Milo: Sequencing
-          Pictello
-          Story Patch
-          Simplex spelling
-          Clifford’s BE BIG with words
-          Spelling Bee
-          Miss Spell’s Class
-          Letter Writer Oceans

Social Skills:
-          Conversation Builder
-          iTake Turns
-          ABA Flash Cards and Games: Emotions
-          Model Me for kids
-          Social Skills
-          Stories2Learn
-          iCommunicate
-          Phonemes
-          Articulate It
-          Articulaton Station
-          ArticPix
-          Pocket SLP
-          Minimal Pairs Academy
-          Match2Say
-          SpeechTrainer3D
-          Smart OralMotor
-          Smarty Speech
-          /r/ intensive
-          All About Sounds
-          Pocket SLP Minimal Pairs
-          R App for Parents
-          Artik Phono

-         Speech with Milo: Prepositions
            Preposition Remix

-          Clean Up: Category Sorting
-          I Learn with Poko: Seasons
-          Name that Category
-          What does not Belong?
-          Let’s Name Things
-          Amazing Shape Puzzle
-          Puzzle Me
-          Magic Puzzles
-          Toddler Puzzle Shapes

Other Fun:
-          Curious George at the Zoo
-          PBS Kids Video
-          My PlayHome Lite
-          Animal Fun
-          House of Learning
-          Animal Memory Match
-          Flower Garden
-          Doodle Buddy
-          Glow Paint
-          Paint Sparkles
-          Uncolor
-          Handy Manny Workshop
-          Thomas & Friends
-          My Coloring Book
-          Pocket Pond
-          iloveFireworks

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer Activities and Language Suggestions

Hello!  Are you having a fun summer?  Are you taking it easy or are you starting off with a bang, trying to pack in as much fun as you can?  I am having a blast hanging out with my 2 boys.  We are trying to find a good balance between taking it easy together and also doing lots of fun stuff.  I thought I would share with you my list of summer fun activities!  And it wouldn't be a good speech/language blog if I didn't give you some language-enhancing tips!  So here are 5 language skills that can be targeted while enjoying these activities:

1) Vocabulary - Most any activity comes with new vocabulary for a child to learn!  Pick two or three words that may be unfamiliar to them and make a point to use them over and over in different contexts.  Never underestimate the words your child can learn.  For example, on your family hike, point out some plant names.  Discuss trees vs. bushes, talk about the parts of a flower.
2) Sequencing - Most structured activities require that you follow certain steps in a certain order.  Teach your child the words "first, second, then, next, and last" while you make cookies or write letters.  If you're into apps and really want to focus on this concept - check out the Pictello app.
3) Descriptions - I've worked with lots of kids who know plenty of nouns but when it comes to describing them, they would rather not.  :) Discuss words like: sticky, rough, smooth, clean, wet, hot, cold, spicy, sweet, loud, etc.  Make a contest to see how many words you can think of to describe something.
4)  Predicting - An important skill for social language as well as reading.  Ask your child questions about what will happen next: "What is going to happen when I mix these two colors?" or  "What do you think might happen if we didn't put a letter on this stamp?"  or "What if our boat gets really wet?" or "Those two ducks are going for the same piece of bread...what are they going to do?"  Encourage guessing and see if they can start asking you questions in return.
5) Developing Schema - A less-known concept but a very important one for all parents.  'Schema' refers to the child's own database of personal experiences.  It is crucial for reading comprehension, as children need to learn to make personal connections to events or places in books.  If a child encounters a book about fishing, and they just recently went fishing, they will have a much better understanding of what you need to take with you, how to use a fishing pole, and how you have to sit and wait.  Much of those things are not specifically mentioned in books and must then be inferred by the reader.  So basically any activity you do with your child this summer is theoretically helping your child's future reading comprehension abilities.  Good to know, right? :)

So here's my list: I tried to credit the ideas back to the original blogger/website so be sure to check out the links!

-          Swimming
-          Bowling
-          Watergun Fight
-          Water Balloons
-          ScavengerHunt
-           Fishing
-          Fly a Kite
-          Make cookies
-          Read books
-           Go on a picnic
-          Makeplaydough
-          Fingerpainting
-          Go to the zoo
-          Rainbow Volcanoes
-          BalloonTennis
-          Puppet Show for Dad
-          Watercoloring
-          Fun Things with Crayons
-          Write Letters to Family with lots of stickers
-          Geocaching
- Wash the car
-          Giant Bubbles
-          Homemadelava lamps
-          Marshmallows and Toothpicks
-          Bug Hunt (magnifying glass and tube found at Dollar Store)
-          Pillow Fights
-          Run through the sprinklers
-          Paperboats down the river (or even the gutter when it’s full)
-          Archeology Dig (plastic dinosaurs in dirt/sand)
-          MagneticPuzzles
-          CraftStick Letters with Velcro
-          Visit a farm
-          Makeslime
-          Family Hike
-          FrozenFigures 
-          Learn some new songs with actions
-          Mini Golf
-          Make a Spotting Scope or binoculars
- Edible Bird Nests (and read "Are You My Mother" just because it's so cute)
-          Go to a local splash pad
-          Feed the ducks
-          Play date at the park
-          Get snow cones
-          Cut out pictures from Sunday ads and make a collage
-          Storytime at the library
- Bike Ride
- Picnic
- Learn some new jokes and teach them to Dad
- Popcorn and Pajama Night

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Ling 6 Sound Test - An Overview

Have you ever heard of the Ling 6 Test?  It's a quick listening test devised by Daniel Ling, who was one of the foremost authorities on teaching children with hearing loss how to listen and speak.  The 6 refers to 6 speech sounds ranging across the speech spectrum, meaning that the frequencies of these sounds span the audiogram from low to high frequencies, 250 Hz to 2000 Hz.

Why is it important?  Well, if you are trying to teach speech to a child with hearing aids or a cochlear implant, you will need to make sure that their amplification device is working properly and that they can hear the sounds in speech.  No point in teaching them speech if they can't hear you, right?  I can't tell you how many times I have done this quick test only to discover that the batteries are dead.  It could even indicate a problem with the mapping of a cochlear implant.   It also provides an opportunity for younger children to practice play audiometry, which is crucial for them to be able to get their hearing aid appropriately adjusted or their cochlear implant properly mapped.

You can expect to be able to do this test in less than a minute after the child is trained.  You will have to start at the detection level - meaning the child simply has to respond that they have heard something, usually by putting a block or bead in a box or a cup each time they hear a sound.  Then as soon as you can, move on to the identification level, by having the child repeat the sound they have heard.  This way you know that not only are they hearing something, but also that they are hearing it accurately.

And now, I'll tell you what the sounds are, in order from lowest frequency to highest.


Here is a video of me doing the Ling 6 test with my two year old friend:

By the way, he's not looking at me - he's looking at his mom, which is fine as long as mom doesn't have any 'tells' that let him know he should respond.  Which she doesn't.  But you can also place a stuffed animal or poster or something in front of them for them to look at while they are listening.

Other considerations when conducting the Ling 6 Test:
- Do not let the child see you
- Speak at a normal loudness level
- Vary your distances, start close and go to 3 feet, 6 feet, and 9 feet
- Do not present the sounds in a rhythmical fashion, or else the child will begin to anticipate the sounds and may give you false responses.
- Present them in a mixed order each time
- I recommend that every parent who has a child with hearing aids or a cochlear implant administer this test on a daily basis.  Just make it part of your morning routine.

For fellow speechies:  Do you work with children with hearing loss?  Do you have hearing specialists in your districts? Do you only work with children with hearing loss if they have a speech disorder, like a lisp or something?  Our district has hearing specialists but I always was confused on how their role differed from mine.  We always seemed to be working on the same things. And many of my co-workers didn't realize that I do work on listening and language, not just articulation.  I would love feedback in this area.