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Sunday, May 29, 2016

But All You Do Is Play!

I'm not sure how many speech-language pathologists have heard this from teachers, their friends and family, and others.  But I know it's a lot.  I used to hear this when I worked in the public schools.
And while most of my work with kids has involved more books than toys, there is some truth to that refrain.

Because the work of young children IS play!  Playing is how young children interact with and learn from the world.  Building language skills in children does, indeed,  involve a lot of play. 

But building language through play involves more planning and thought than you might think.  Play therapy involves creating an episode that unfolds; proceeds along a sequence, follows a set of actions that produces memorable experiences in the child's mind.  These memories are what help to cement in the child's mind the language attached to them.  

Much of our teaching, especially in language and narrative development, involves highlighting experiences that have emotion attached to them, so that children remember them and build language sets around them.

When using toys and games in therapy, we're always modeling the language we want to build, providing new vocabulary, expanding the child's responses to that next step up, and wearing that ever-popular "expectant look" that tells the child we're waiting for them to do/say something.

But play therapy does not only happen with young children.  Many students with more complex needs - such as those with autism - often haven't had the same kinds of play experiences as their typical peers.  They may not know how to play, and often have difficulty with the interactions involved in playing with another.

For these students, it is important to teach them not only the language of the activity but also social language and turn-taking.  Often, I am simply teaching the child to ask for "more," or "help," or to make it "go."

Playing is a crucial piece in teaching children to develop the language skills they need for life.  Embrace it.

Keep on talking!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

A Picture Builds 1000 Words

You have heard me talk before about creating personal experience books to use for building language and literacy skills.  It's not a new idea and it is something parents have been doing for many years.  I still have a book I created for my son about 30 years ago.

We took a trip to the San Diego Zoo (we were living about an hour away at the time) and I created a book for him very similar to one of his favorites; a Paddington book about a trip to the zoo.  My son loved seeing the pictures of himself while I read the "story" to him.

I have many clients whose children aren't crazy about typical storybooks, but who will sit for hours looking at and hearing about their own picture stories.

One of my previous posts was about using story-making apps on your iPad to create these stories digitally.  A great post I read recently from Child Talk reiterates the importance of building vocabulary, grammar, and narrative skills through children's own, personalized storybooks.  

And, I have another older post about building narrative skills through storybooks, that highlighted a resource I have for teachers and parents, and also a free narrative planning sheet

Have fun checking these out, while I recuperate from surgery.
And......keep on talking!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

40 Days of Summer Communicating

Do your emerging communicators need a little extra practice over the summer?  Every summer I put together communication calendars or activities to keep kids' language and communication skills from getting rusty.  This summer, I've run through the alphabet for ideas.  One page is available right here to download.  Just right-click, and save or drag and drop to your desktop.

To get the other free summer communication activities, go to my TPT store and find them here and here.  For Summer Wh-question practice, go here.

And for summer writing practice with visual cues, check out my Summer writing Journal.  There is a FREE trial here.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

I've been working on updating some older resources and creating some new one in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. I don't usually talk here about my store or resources for sale - I really try to keep this blog helpful and informative, not a platform for selling (unless there's a really good sale to catch). But recently I've had a couple of clients ask specifically about a couple of things so I'm going to let you know that there are two big new additions to my store.

One is an emerging grammar resource that moves from labeling to phrases, including use of articles and conjunctions, adjectives, and 2 - 5 word phrases. Here's a quick video link:

The other is part 2 of my Year of Core Words activity resources. The first - Activities and Games for a Year of Core - covers words from the first 6 months of PrAACticalAAC's year of core words. This covers the last half of that year.

Next time - back to information and fun
In the meantime, keep on talking.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Do You Like a Sale? 28 Reasons to Like This One.

It's Teacher Appreciation time at Teachers Pay Teachers.  While we're not exactly teachers - we're not in our own classes - SLPs are critical to many children's education and we do teach them speaking, listening, language, reading and writing skills.  So, we're showing some appreciation for them, too!
And the Frenzied SLPs are hosting a linky so that you can see some of the great speech and language resources for sale.

My store - like many others - is 20% off all resources for the 2-day sale May 3-4, 2016.  TPT adds 10% on top of that, giving you 28% off everything you buy with the promo code CELEBRATE.

My two favorite resources right now - because they're pretty new are Listening, Answering, Sequencing, Telling, which has 36 simple, brief paragraphs with visuals, asks Wh questions for each, then asks students to put what they heard in sequential order using the visuals.  Work on listening comprehension, answering Wh questions, and sequencing skills all with one product.    So far, buyers have loved it.

The other is Emerging Grammar, which is more than 200 pages, with 11 levels of practice; from labels (1 word) labels with articles (2 words), to be + article + label (3 words), plural labels and plural labels with the to be verb (1 and 2 words), then adding pronouns and adjectives, pronoun verb phrases with singular then plural labels,  What questions, Where questions with prepositions, and conjunctions.  There are a minimum of 9 stimulus items for each of the 11 levels; often more.  The resource is interactive.  It is brand, spankin' new!

I might also head on over to Looks Like Language and purchase her Social Language - Getting Along game and Conversation Game.

So, those are my recommendations for tomorrow. Check the rest of the blogs and see what else you might find.  Happy shopping, and....
Keep on Talking.