Posted: May 10, 2019
Posted: February 27, 2019
You can help build your babies’ communication skills as soon as they are born by talking and responding to them throughout the day.
Copy the sounds/movements they make, say what you think they would say (i.e. "interpret"), or talk about what is happening around you! By adding lots of language to your day, you can help your baby learn their first words! Add emphasis to the key words so that they know that the word is important.
You can respond to…
Baby: Moves their arms side to side and jumps up and down after seeing their favorite food.
Adult: Waves their arms and says "Avocado!", “Yummy avocado!”, "Let's eat avocado!"
What they are looking at
Baby: Looks at a bird outside the window.
Adult: Waves towards the window and says, "There's a bird! Hello bird!”
What they might be feeling (ex. tired, sad, hungry, happy, surprised, scared...)
Baby: Yawns and his eyes are slowly shutting.
Adult: Pretends to yawn and says, “You’re so tired!”
The sounds they are making
Baby: Says “Baaaaaaaa” during bath time while splashing the water.
Adult: Splashes the water, copies the sound "baaaa", or says “Bubbles!”, "Bath time"
Contact us if you would like to learn more about early communication milestones and language stimulation strategies! Our toll free number is 1-888-623-6363.
Posted: February 6, 2019
Young children love to play with sensory bins. They are a lot of fun and you can create bins for various themes or everyday bins. To make your own sensory bin, begin with a medium to large sturdy plastic container. Select a filler such as beans, rice, pasta, shredded paper, or any other material that would be fun to feel. Include a couple of "tools." Children love spoons of all sizes, measuring cups, and small shovels. With Valentine's Day approaching, try making a sensory including objects related to Valentine's Day. You can add things like heart-shaped stickers, blocks, small and large foam pieces, stirring sticks, glitter wands, beads, bracelets, squishy fidgets, muffin papers, and small cups. Be creative! But also be safe! Carefully supervise any child who still mouths objects to prevent choking
Sensory bins can be used to address a variety of goals in therapy. Here are some ideas.
A child will:
1. Build attention and participation. Include objects you know will appeal to a child's sensory preferences. If he’s a visual kid, pick cool things for him to look at and explore. If he's a kid who likes to pinch and pull, add squishy fidget toys.
2. Exhibit joint attention. Make yourself at least as fun as the stuff! Sit across from him and interject yourself into his space. Play along to keep yourself relevant.
3. Imitate actions to increase reciprocity and turn taking. Provide two sets of tools - one for him and one for you - so that you can dig as he digs and pour as he pours.
4. Find new ways to regulate his sensory system. Busy kids calm down with these tactile activities. Flat kids rev up their low arousal systems.
5. Improve cognitive skills. Include sets of small objects for sorting, matching, or counting (ugh!). Add separate cups for each set of material you'll sort.
6. Demonstrate fine motor skills. Stir. Pour. Scoop. This is super practice for kids who are also working on self-feeding. You can also practice all of those pre-writing skills - peel paper off stickers, operate tongs, stack smaller blocks, etc...
7. Understand new words. Go beyond labeling the nouns! Target new comprehension targets with prepositions (in, out, on, off, under), new verbs (pat, squeeze, squish, scoop, dig, dump, pour, shake, hide, etc...), and new descriptive words (BEYOND COLOR WORDS!). Try shiny, pretty, size words big/little, yucky, squishy, etc.
8. Imitate or say new words. Don't forget your exclamatory words: whee, wow, whoa, and boo (as you find hidden objects). Create verbal routines to build automatic speech so kids learn to fill in the blank with your cute routines such as "Scoop. In. Scoop. In. Scoop. ____." Target holistic phrases such as: I did it, I got it, Where (did) it go, There it is! Work on simple phrase patterns such as "My + ____" as you teasingly take an object a child wants or "Bye bye + _____ as you hide the objects."
Have fun! Your little one will love it!
Posted: December 17, 2018
As with all stages of child development, there is a range during which children develop their skills. So, if your child is not doing everything at every stage, it is not necessarily cause for concern.
However, a wait-and-see approach is not necessarily the best either, especially when early intervention can make a difference.
As a speech-language pathologist with the Talk With Me program, I often tell parents that a child’s language development can be compared to climbing a set of stairs, with a child at the bottom and moving up one step at a time.
Babies start reacting to sound right at birth. At around four to six months, they will start cooing or "talking," followed by babbling at around six to 12 months. You will usually hear your baby’s first words around his or her first birthday.
As your child continues up the steps, you should be seeing him or her using around 50 single words by 18 months. By 24 months, children start to use two-word phrases, such as "Ahdah mama" ("Alldone mama") or "Wawa peas" ("Water please").
The words and sounds of a two-year-old are not necessarily spoken clearly, but that is normal. From two to three years of age, you should be seeing a rapid change in speech and language development, with an increasing vocabulary and use of language. At this stage, you should be wondering, "Where did our child even learn certain words?"
By three years of age, you should understand your child’s speech 75 per cent of the time, and they should be telling you short stories and using three- and four-word phrases ("I goed to the pawk (park)," "Her is awdone (alldone) now"). Their speech may not be completely perfect yet, but that is still OK.
From four to five years of age, children are gaining more and more words, ideas and concepts, and should be able to express themselves with longer and longer sentences in a smooth, clear way. They are talking like mini adults now.
They should understand your questions and directions and their speech should be understood almost all the time by an unfamiliar listener. That is a lot of stairs, in a short time.
Here are a few tips to help your child’s speech and language development:
1) Limit screen time according to the Canadian Pediatric Society’s recommendations. That means no screen time (TV/tablet/phone) for children under two years of age and limited screen time (less than one hour per day) for children between two to five years of age.
We don’t talk much when we look at a screen and the same goes for your child. This is a tough one in this day and age, but children learn how to communicate through active play and engagement with the people and things in their world.
2) Provide lots of verbal input to your child. Talk to them all the time about what you’re doing, what they’re doing, what you’re seeing, hearing, and where you’re going. Talk throughout your day. Talk to them in the language you are most comfortable.
When you talk to your child, wait for them to do or say something in response. Mealtime, bath time, playtime, driving, walking and shopping are all opportunities for your child to learn words.
3) Use books right from birth with your child. Use them to snuggle up and enjoy some time together. Aim to read at least one book every day. Use the library. Don’t feel you have to read the entire book. Look at the pictures and name the items on the page. Even if your child is only interested in one page, that is still a great start and a great way to learn words and ideas.
If at any point your child’s speech and language seems to be "stuck" on a stair, or moves down a stair (regresses), or you have concerns, it is likely time to talk to a professional.
The Speech-Language Pathologists at Talk With Me are ready to answer your questions and can meet with you and your child for a consultation if requested. If you have concerns about your child's communication skills, don't wait and see, call Talk With Me at 1-888-623-6363.
We look forward to working with you and your child to help them take the next "step."
Posted: November 28, 2018
Posted: October 29, 2018
Reading with your child for at least 15 minutes every day right from birth is one of the best ways to help his language develop and set the stage for school success.
Posted: September 26, 2018
Can you believe it's already time for kindergarten registration? ...