In December of 2008, I wrote a post entitled: In the Spirit of Giving...Toys! , which offered a long list of great gift ideas for the speech student(s) on your list! Ideas ranged from simple toys such as bubbles to more language enriched ideas such as a play farm set and baby dolls to help build vocabulary and social interaction. Reading back over my list from 5 years ago, I still remain particularly fond of the alphabet toys and those that build phonemic awareness, the audio recorder with microphone and just simple flash cards and books. These are timeless toys and tools that nurture communication development and are perfectly appropriate for any young child on your list!
Today I would like to share an updated 2013 list of toy suggestions that are perfect for the little one(s) in your life and can remain with them through the years as your child grows and changes:
- A Mirror - I tell parents all the time to buy an over-the-door mirror, hang it somewhere where your child will have access to it, and let them stare at themselves, make funny faces, talk, dance, whatever they want to do in front of it. What a great way to build self-awareness and natural curiosity about what their mouth can do!
- Tunnels - this is a hot item and a fun way to play peek-a-boo and roll-the-ball through the tunnel. Or create an obstacle course - what a wonderful way to work on prepositions (on, under, through) as well as get some exercise!
- Tents - another hot item and for many children, a tent can offer a safe cozy space that is theirs alone for learning and imagining. Some children really need the quietude to settle and focus and a tent is a fun way to provide that opportunity. You can also sit in there with your little one, bring in a flash light and some glow in the dark toys and let the fun begin!
- Karaoke Machine - this really is self-explanatory. Kids love music and what a great way to encourage speech and singing!
Are Friends and Family asking what to buy your little one?? If you own an iPad, iPhone, etc. ask for an iTunes gift card so you can purchase speech and language apps on the devices your child uses.
Join me next week for some additional gift ideas
that will build both articulation and language development!
Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! If you are anything like my family, we enjoyed so much food yesterday and now we are blessed with plenty of left-overs! Last year on the day after Thanksgiving I shared two delicious kid-friendly recipes: Potato Tots and Simple Veggie Frittata which you could easily make using your Thanksgiving meal leftovers. This year I have a few more tasty treats to offer using your turkey day tid-bits!
Mini-Turkey Pot Pies
2 tablespoons butter
3 fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 can of cream of celery soup
1 cup chopped cooked turkey
1/3 cup of left-over vegetables, such as peas, corn and/or green beans sliced small
day-old biscuits left over from Thanksgiving
salt and pepper to taste
- 1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
- 2. In a large skillet over low heat, melt the butter until golden brown.
- 3. Add in the mushrooms and sauté until they are tender.
- 4. Stir in flour until smooth.
- 5. Slowly whisk in chicken broth, and cook until slightly thickened.
- 6. Stir in the creamy soup, turkey and vegetables. Reduce heat to low, and cook until thickened.
- 7. Season with salt and pepper.
- 8. Cut a round opening in the top of your left-over biscuits/rolls/buns and carefully remove the top so that it remains in one piece like a lid or hat.
- 9. Spoon in a few scoops of the turkey leftover yummies, put the top of the roll/bun/biscuit back on and place in the oven for approximately 10 minutes or until the bun is warm. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Creamy Baked Potato Soup
At least 3-4 leftover baked potatoes, peeled and diced
12 slices bacon (cooked)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
7 cups milk
3 green onions, chopped
1 1/4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon of both salt and ground black pepper
1. Cook the bacon in either a large, deep skillet or bake in the oven on high - 400 degrees, so that it becomes crispy. Crumble it into small bits and put aside.
2. In a large pot, melt the margarine over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth.
3. Gradually stir in milk, whisking constantly until thickened.
4. Stir in the potatoes and onions. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
5. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Mix in the crumbled bacon, cheese, salt, and pepper. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until cheese is melted.
6. Serve with crackers, pretzel logs, etc. so that your little one can enjoy dunking into the soup. This is a great way to ease a child into tasting a new food!
Join me Tuesday for the perfect holiday "speech" gift ideas for both students and little ones on your list! Share with parents you work with in homecare and
Today I would like to share some fun Turkey Day Early Intervention speech and language therapy ideas. These can be easily implemented in your therapy sessions or play at home while on vacation this coming weekend with your own little ones. No matter how you use these activities, you will find them easy to implement and fun with the children in your life! Enjoy!
Preposition Bingo Game: This game can be printed out and used in your preschool speech and language classes. Help your students build sentences to describe each picture: "The turkey is ON the table," "The turkey is UNDER the table," "The turkey is NEXT TO the corn."
"On My Thanksgiving Plate, I Would Like ______ Please": This is a fun activity that could be used around the dinner table or at circle time to help children think about and practice what they will ask for and eat on Thanksgiving Day. To take it a step farther, have the children draw a picture of the food they want or help them look through cooking magazines for foods they recognize and prefer!
"Thanksgiving Directions": Here is a very simple activity that can help children who are working on their listening skills and ability to complete 1 step commands. You can also join 2-3 directions together to challenge them and adapt the activity for what the child's current level of performance.
Pictures and Directions: Here is a free download of colorful and cute pictures that you can use to work on following directions, spatial concepts and picture matching with your students and your own children during the Thanksgiving holiday.
"Five Little Turkeys": This is an adorable Thanksgiving version of the Halloween favorite "Five Little Pumpkins." It is a repetitive rhyming poem that teaches children about counting and language. This is a great choice for children who are working on sentence expansion and language development.
"Thankful Wheel": My daughter made a "Thankful Wheel" or "Pumpkin Pie Spinner" at her preschool and now it is part of our dinner prayers. What a wonderful way to help children reflect on the blessings and good things in their life. The key sentence is also repetitive ("I am thankful for ___") which aids children who benefit from consistent prompts and sentence starters.
Happy Thanksgiving to YOU and Your Family!
Enjoy the holiday and some time with those you love!
This week in our language-based cooking lesson at school, the students made a delicious Homemade "NO Bake" Pumpkin Pie in preparation of our upcoming Thanksgiving Feast! The students were really excited and enjoyed measuring, shaking and scooping in the ingredients and of course, mixing it all together into a delicious creamy dessert! This is the perfect fall recipe for a classroom especially if you do not have access to a stove.
The pie will need to be refrigerated so it can harden, so if you would like the students/children to taste the mixture during the activity, make a little extra as we did this week, pour some into a little cup for each student and let them enjoy! The filling is safe to eat - no raw eggs or anything that needs to be baked AND it tastes like a pumpkin milkshake - outstanding! We gave the students a graham cracker sleeve to dunk into their pie filling and they loved it!!
To Make this Recipe at Home you will need:
2/3 cup milk (use 2% or whole milk)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed (We used Cool Whip)
1 (9 inch) pie shell (baked) or use a graham cracker or shortbread crust, which will not need to be baked ahead of time. (We used shortbread!)
*Note: DO NOT use a hand mixer for this recipe. Everything should be mixed gently and by hand to keep the fluffy, airy quality to the filling.
- 1. In a large bowl, mix the milk and pumpkin until smooth.
- 2. Next, add the dry instant pudding mix, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon. Mix these ingredients until they are well combined.
- 3. Finally, fold in the whipped topping gently.
- 4. Pour into the pie shell. Refrigerate until serving.
Special Speech and Language Note:
BEFORE making our pies, we talked about the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and read a book entitled "The Old Lady Who Swallowed a PIE" by Alison Jackson - it is a rhyming book and the children loved it!
Looking for ways to enhance therapy during the days leading up to one of our most special and sacred American holidays? Here are 5 Thanksgiving books appropriate for young children filled with stories about turkeys and pilgrims and being grateful for your family and friends!
- Thanksgiving Is for Giving Thanks by Margaret Sutherland and Sonja Lamut
- Appropriate for preschool and ages 3-6
- Summary: This book celebrates on the true meaning of Thanksgiving using cheerful illustrations and simple text in a celebration of family, friendships, and the holiday that brings them all together.
- Rating: 4 ½ stars on Amazon.com
- The First Thanksgiving A board book by Kathryn Lynn Davis (Author, Illustrator)
- A simple "left the flap" book for children ages 2-4
- Summary: This book explores the first Thanksgiving--how the pilgrims came to America and how the Native Americans taught them to plant and then joined them in a Thanksgiving feast. Parents and teachers can use the simple text and bright, illustrations to introduce young children to the Thanksgiving holiday!
- Rating: 4 ½ stars on Amazon.com
- T is for Turkey: A True Thanksgiving Story by Tanya Lee Stone, Illustrated by Gerald Kelley
- Appropriate for preschool and ages 3-5
- Summary: Delightful book that uses the alphabet and rhyming couplets to bring the Thanksgiving holiday to life. Great way to reinforce articulation skills as well as language. This adorable book is also known for its gorgeous artwork. A wonderful read for children preschool to kindergarten age!
- Rating: 4 ½ stars on Amazon.com
- Thanks for Thanksgiving by Julie Markes and Illustrated by Doris Barrette
- Appropriate for preschool and older
- Summary: This book reminds us that Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks and that what is most important is being able to share time with family! The illustrations are striking - perfect for using descriptive language and talking about the importance of relationships at home.
- Rating: 5 stars on Amazon.com
- The Littlest Pilgrim by Brandi Dougherty and illustrated by Kirsten Richards
- Appropriate for preschool
- Summary: This is a sweet story about Mini, a pilgrim who wants to help, but everyone is too busy and she's too little. What makes this book unique is the setting: She wants to stack wood, mend dresses, fish and bake bread ... all of these activities can lead to a great discussion about early Americans. In the book Mini makes a friend which is also ideal for children working on social skills.
- Rating: 5 stars on Amazon.com
Do you have other Thanksgiving book favorites for young children?? Please share!
Visit Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com for many more wonderful reads!
Today I'd like to share one of our family favorites for this time of the year! These bars are soft and cake-like with savory cinnamon and sweet cream cheese on top! It's a delicious dessert for the whole family and a perfect way to top off your Thanksgiving Feast on November 28th!
For the pumpkin bars, you will need:
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon of nutmeg
(Optional: Juicy raisins!)
For the cream cheese icing, you will need (Use an electric mixer to achieve ideal texture):
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a medium bowl, measure sugar, oil and canned pumpkin. Add in the 4 eggs and blend with an electric mixer until the batter is light and fluffy.
3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
4. Stir this mixture slowly into the pumpkin batter until thoroughly combined.
5. Spread the batter evenly into an ungreased 10x15 inch jellyroll pan.
6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in preheated oven. Cool before frosting.
7. To make the frosting, cream together the softened cream cheese and butter. Stir in vanilla. Add confectioners' sugar a little at a time, beating until mixture is smooth.
8. Bars can be iced 1 of 2 ways: 1). Spread icing evenly on top of the cooled bars. Cut bars into squares OR 2). Cut the bars into squares and use a decorator to squeeze a fancy dollop of cream cheese icing on each one!
9. Sprinkle the top with a light coating of cinnamon sugar.
10. Enjoy with your little ones and a warm cup of apple cider or hot chocolate!
Join me next week for a "no-bake" pumpkin pie recipe that can easily be made
with your students in a language-based cooking lesson!
The past two weeks I wrote posts offering "Tips on Managing Behavior" when working in therapy with children and for the parents reading these posts for you to use at home!
As you skim the 7 tips listed and described, notice none tell you to simply manage behaviors by telling the child "no." Although this is a strategy many of us often use ... "no more ice cream," "no hitting!" and "no talking back!" there are parents and professionals who do not support the use of the word "no." They feel that adults may be limiting a child, holding them back from their true potential and harming their confidence and fragile self-esteem by saying "no." I strongly disagree.
Now, before I continue I would like to add that saying "no" all the time to everything is definitely not healthy either. Letting the negative rule your discourse, parenting and teaching will not be effective and I do believe that over time, it will become damaging. That being said, I believe balance and good judgment are crucial when shaping a little one's behavior.
There are times when NO and STOP are the best and most appropriate and loving responses. For example, if a child is in danger or is engaging in something that could hurt them or someone else, then you need to tell them "NO, this is not ok." I believe that sometimes things are ok and sometimes they are not and it is our job as parents and as educators to teach children the difference. To me, this is a loving response and the way we help children grow into responsible older children and eventually teenagers and adults. Being overly permissive and never setting boundaries and restrictions causes confusion and a blurred line of appropriate versus inappropriate.
If children do not have a barometer of right from wrong, how can you expect them to grow up and make wise decisions for themselves? Fast forward to when your toddler is in middle school and offered drugs and alcohol. Do you still want them to think anything goes and be unfamiliar with the word NO? If they never hear "NO," how will they know when to tell someone else "NO"? How will they know that something is dangerous and that there may be negative, even life-changing repercussions for dangerous decisions and behavior? I believe it is our job as adults to keep children safe and by telling them yes when it's appropriate and no when it's appropriate, you are teaching them healthy boundaries, love for self and others and smart decision-making!
What do you think about telling children "NO" when you feel it is appropriate?
Please share your thoughts!
Today's recipe comes right from the kitchen of my sister-in-law. She grew up on a farm in western PA and has years of jelly-making experience. She recently made a delicious batch of this amazing homemade grape jelly for our family and we can't get enough! It is definitely worth the little bit of extra work and time! My 16 month-old makes an audible "mmmm" sound every time she has some smeared on a cracker or crescent roll!
You will need:
2 cups of unsweetened grape juice
1 cup of water
3 ½ cups of sugar
1 package (1 ¾ ounces) of powdered fruit pectin
Special devices recommended:
A Dutch Oven/Casserole Dish - a thick-walled (usually cast iron) cooking pot with a tight-fitting lid. Dutch ovens have been used as cooking vessels for hundreds of years. They are called casserole dishes in English speaking countries other than the USA ("casserole" means "pot" in French)
A Canner - a special device used for canning various foods. Can be found at stores/sites that sell basic kitchen gadgets, such as Walmart, Amazon and Canning supply companies.
Magnetic Lid Lifter
1. Boil 6 clean 1 pint canning jars in the canner along with the lids and rings.
2. While waiting for the jars and lids to come to a boil, combine the juice and pectin in a non-reactive Dutch oven. Stir consistently until it comes to a boil.
3. Once it boils, add the sugar and continue boiling on high heat for one minute.
4. Remove from the heat and skim off any foam.
5. Quickly ladle into hot jars, wipe the rims and put on the lids and rings.
6. Put the jars into the canner again for 15 minutes to boil.
7. Take the jars out to cool and listen for the pop sound the lids make as they completely seal airtight. (Once it seals, it is good for a couple of years!!)
8. You can use special canning tongs to lift the jars in and out of the hot water, as well as a special funnel to ladle the hot jelly in to avoid a mess. They also sell magnetic lid lifters to get the lids and rings out of the hot water...well worth it if you don't want to get burned!
This is an ideal homemade Christmas gift or stocking stuffer for your little ones!
Enjoy some with Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas morning with toast and butter!
I have introduced three of several techniques I use when managing behaviors during my speech sessions in school, in home care and in my own home with my own children. As I stated in my last post, "I also share these techniques when working with parents in the home care setting who are struggling to control and manage the behaviors of their children. We talk about these ideas and concepts and we discuss ways parents can incorporate them into their routine."
Here are additional techniques that I find helpful and worth sharing!
4. Say what you mean but don't say it mean - Do your best to keep your cool, even when the child(ren) is not. Use a calm, firm voice to state what you want them to do. Screaming and yelling and showing excessive anger will give too much attention to the negative behaviors. If the child(ren) is looking for attention, which they often are, focusing on the bad behavior will indirectly reinforce it!
5. Redirect when appropriate - Instead of always telling the child, "NO, don't do that" and "STOP doing THAT!" try redirecting them to an activity or task you DO want them to do. For example, if you don't want your 16 month old pulling all the Tupperware out of your kitchen cabinets while you are making dinner, give them a handful of safe toys and kitchen tools they can sit on the kitchen floor with while you cook. They probably just want to be near you but don't know what to do with themselves while you are busy.
6. Say what you WANT them to Do - (This is an extension of #5). Many times we find ourselves saying what we DO NOT want our students/children to do. "Please don't touch that," "Don't jump on the couch," "Don't run away from me in a parking lot", etc. Instead, verbally state what you DO want them to do: "You can play with the trucks and the blocks," "Sit down and look at your books," "Hold my hand in the parking lot." Clearly state what the child SHOULD be doing so that they KNOW! Repeat the directions as needed to ensure that they both heard you and understand what is expected of them.
7. Catch the Good - Praise your students/children WHEN they are being GOOD. The idea behind this is that when you give attention to their good decisions and behavior, you are reinforcing it and helping it to grow! Praising the good will hopefully make it multiply!!
Hopefully you will find these tips helpful!
Join me next week for my thoughts on the importance of the word "NO"!
This is a delicious recipe that my sister-in-law makes every year for her Halloween party! The original recipe came from Woman's Day magazine in 2008; however she has since changed it a bit. Adults and children both love these tasty morsels! They are perfect for little fingers to hold and yet flavorful enough for adults to crave!
You will need:
1 box (15 oz) refrigerated pie crusts
6 oz of Virginia Baked Ham
8 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese
1 large egg, lightly beaten
A 3 inch pumpkin shaped cookie cutter
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick foil.
- On a flat, clean work surface, unroll the pie crust and cut each of the two crusts into 12 pumpkin shapes with the 3 inch pumpkin cookie cutter. Cut 24 rounds from the sliced ham and 24 rounds from the sliced cheese.
- Put 2 slices each of ham and cheese in the center of each of the 12 pumpkins.
- With a small brush, brush the beaten egg around the edges. Top with the remaining pumpkins pressing on the edges to seal.
- Using a spoon, make ridges on the pumpkins by pressing in a few places on top.
- With a small knife, pierce the ridges in a couple of places to vent.
- Place on prepared pan. Brush tops with beaten egg to help give a glossy glow. Bake 10 - 12 minutes until light golden. Let cool a couple of minutes before serving.
Here are a few of my own ideas on how to make these little delights even better! Try adding these appetizing combinations to your pumpkin-shaped pie crusts:
- Sliced mozzarella cheese, thin slices of tomato, spinach and a pesto spread.
- Sliced turkey breast, cheddar cheese, bacon and sliced tomato
- Melted brie cheese, thin apple slices and honey mustard
Also, consider using various cookie cutter shapes. Turkeys in November, Trees and Stars at the Holidays, Snowmen in January and Hearts in February! This is a delicious way to make a simple sandwich delicious and fun for children to enjoy!
Last week I wrote a post entitled: Handling Behaviors in Home Care. Today's entry is a follow-up post sharing my own go-to list for how to manage behaviors during my speech sessions in school and in home care, as well as in my own home with my own children. I also share these techniques when working with parents in the home care setting who are struggling to control and manage the behaviors of their children. We talk about these ideas and concepts and we discuss ways parents can incorporate them into their routine.
I am by no means a behavior specialist or expert. That being said, I have attended numerous behavior-based trainings over the years and for me, much of this list is a common sense approach to behavior management.
- 1. Be Consistent - Children will test adults over and over to see if the rules have changed, have you changed your mind, etc. Keep your rules consistent. If you don't want them jumping on the couch on Monday, don't say it's ok on Tuesday, but not ok again on Thursday. That is confusing for a child. Stay consistent so they understand the expectations and what they should and should not be doing, not just some of the time, but all of the time.
- 2. Be fair - Pick your battles. Try not to be too rigid and then the child may want to rebel. It's important to be realistic given the child's age, ability, etc. If there is a sibling or two present, remember to keep the rules and expectations consistent for everyone.
- 3. Be a Good Example - Children learn more by watching what you do, then by being told what to do. They are always observing to see and hear what you have said and done. For example, if you do not allow your child(ren) to eat in the living room, then it is important that you do not eat in the living room. Be a good role model - if you want your children to say please and thank you, clean up after themselves, etc., then it is vital that you model this behavior. Children will repeat what they see happening on a daily basis.
Join me next week for MORE ways to help manage behaviors at home and school.
What are some rules you live by both in the classroom and in your home?
This is a recipe that needs to be shared! My sister-in-law made this recipe from scratch a few weeks ago and sent over a large container for our family when I came down with my back-to-school cold in mid-September. I thought the soup was absolutely fabulous but more importantly, so did my little girls! Both my daughters gobbled it up - even my older daughter who is the often the picky one.
Now, this soup is not an easy spur-of-the-moment type of recipe. There are numerous ingredients and it will take time for you to dice, slice and chop all the delicious vegetables and herbs. However, it is truly worth the work and extra minutes!
The recipe is from Joy Bauer's "Skinny Soup" Recipe.
You will need:
4 clove(s) garlic, minced
1 cup(s) onion(s), diced
3 stalk(s) celery, diced (1 1/2 cups)
8 ounce(s) mushrooms, sliced
8 cup(s) broth, reduced-sodium chicken, or vegetable broth
2 carrot(s), sliced (about 1 cup)
1 zucchini, diced (2 cups)
3 cup(s) cabbage, roughly chopped (1/2 cabbage head)
1/2 medium cauliflower, chopped (fresh or frozen)
1 cup(s) beans, green, chopped (fresh or frozen)
1 can(s) tomatoes, diced, 15 ounces (preferably no salt added)
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoon vinegar, red wine, or may use balsamic vinegar
*Next, there are 3 possible versions to this soup, so choose the one you prefer. My sister-in-law made the Italian version, so that is the one that my family and I enjoyed!
Option 1: Creole: 2 teaspoons basil, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 tablespoon paprika, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon thyme
Option 2: Italian: 2 teaspoons dried parsley, 2 teaspoons basil, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 1/2 teaspoon sage, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Options 3: Garden Herbs: 2 tablespoons chopped thyme, 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley, 1/4 cup freshly chopped basil
In a large stock pot coated with non-stick cooking spray, sauté the garlic, onion, celery, and mushrooms over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until tender.
Add the stock, remaining vegetables, canned tomatoes, and bay leaves. If you have chosen one of the dry seasoning blends (Creole or Italian) add it now. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.
Add the vinegar and cook an additional 2 minutes. If you have chosen the fresh Garden Herbs seasoning blend, add it now. Remove bay leaves before serving or freezing.
A Serving Tip for Children: If you have a picky eater who may be resistant to eating/trying soup, try giving them just the broth first. I often do this with my girls, as it helps to ease them into the somewhat complex textures of soup by introducing the delightful taste first. This entices them and makes them willing to taste more! Enjoy!
Today's post is more of a reflection and not a clinical report about how to address challenging behavior issues encountered in the home care setting.
I am a speech-language pathologist, not a behavior specialist. My training, education and background have all focused on the area of speech-language pathology. Although, I have attended numerous behavior trainings through my work and have also been schooled on the benefits of positive behavior supports, managing challenging behaviors in home care is still somewhat out of my comfort zone.
Handling behaviors in a classroom, a therapy session and of course within the walls of your own home can often be challenging, but in those situations we as therapists and as mothers/fathers are expected to be in control. We are on our own "turf" so to speak. It is up to us to set the stage and maintain control. We are able to create the expectations of the children we are responsible to care for, teach, love and oversee.
In the home care setting, the scenario is much different. In this situation, you are entering into someone else's home and long before you showed up, rules (or no rules) were set. The biggest challenge for me occurs in this setting when I see a child's true potential not being met because of how behaviors are or are not being handled. We have been sent to this person's home to address their child's speech and language delay/disorder, not their behavior. However, as any seasoned therapist knows, how a child behaves can and will directly affect their ability to communicate and vice versa.
Recently I was in a house that I had visited several times before; however at this particular session I saw a whole new side to the family's home environment. I quickly realized that the family's disorganized living space and inability to tell their child "no" had created an intense level of chaos in the home and their child who to me seems quite capable of thriving in an environment of clear boundaries and consistent guidelines realistically has the benefits of neither. What seems consistent in this home is that the rules and consequences or lack thereof are always changing. In addition, my observation during this session was that when the challenging behavior(s) would rise, the child's communication and all their foundational building blocks such as eye contact, attention and focus would fall.
Are you experiencing challenging behavior during your home care visits???
Join me next week as I share some of my own survival techniques
when behaviors flare in home care!
I love adding fruit, nuts and raisins to oatmeal. These little morsels plump up the texture and the taste! However, for picky eaters and your average toddler, adding ALL these extras may not be a realistic option. So, this time of year when you may have some extra apples sitting in your refrigerator crisper, use them to add a little variety and flavor to one of those simple everyday meals.
You will need:
1 cup water
1/4 cup apple juice
1 apple, cored and chopped (remove the apple peel as well if preferred)
2/3 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Have your little one help you measure out the water and apple juice and pour both carefully into a sauce pan. Slowly warm on the stove.
- (Peel), Core and chop the apple into small pieces and place in the saucepan.
- Bring to a slow boil over high heat and stir apples to help them soften.
- Measure out and then stir in the rolled oats and cinnamon. Stir so it seasons evenly.
- Return to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Allow to simmer until the oatmeal thickens - about 3 minutes.
- Sprinkle with a teaspoon of brown sugar for some added sweetness!
Looking for some fun kitchen gadgets to speed up your apple prep?? These two are perfect for the fall and holiday season!
- Try a simple apple slicer! They core and slice your apple with one steady push!
- Looking for a way to CORE, SLICE and PEEL your apples?? This fun tool can easily help you and your little one create the apple dish you desire! It slices the apples in a spiral design and is ideal for children who prefer skin-off when eating their apples. Makes dipping your fruit into caramel and peanut butter just a bit more exciting!
If you are anything like me, you too love bringing the holidays into your therapy sessions! Not only is it practical and supports the classroom curriculum, but it also adds amusement and interest to your therapy sessions. Children love the holidays and are often intrigued by the decorations, colors and images that go along with each special time of year. So, now that October has arrived, I am gearing up for Halloween activities that are language-based and age-appropriate. In the meantime, my older daughter is about to turn 4 and has chosen a Halloween theme for her birthday party this year. Needless to say, I am in hot pursuit of Halloween games perfect for the preschool population! Here are a few:
- Halloween BINGO - I found an inexpensive pack of 25 Halloween BINGO cards at a local retailer. Very excited to try these out in my group sessions at school! Perfect for listening comprehension and picture identification.
- Halloween Cookie Cutters - Looking for a fun sensory activity?? Try using playdough in Halloween colors: black, orange, green and purple and encourage your students to get hands-on! Feeling extra ambitious? Try making your own pumpkin or cinnamon scented playdough - this will really get all the senses involved and can even be used as a step-by-step therapy activity! Here is a recipe I posted in 2011 for Pumpkin Spice Playdough
- Pin the Spider on the Web - or the nose on the pumpkin, or the eyes on the ghost! This is a Halloween version of the ever famous "Pin the Tail on the Donkey" game that has been popular for decades! These are hot items in many local stores right now but you could even make your own! Buy a fairly large Halloween pumpkin decoration, draw eyes and a mouth on it. Now cut out black triangles for the nose. Blindfold the students and see if they can "pin the nose on the pumpkin!" Perfect for learning to take turns and answering "wh" questions, such as describing what they did and where they put their triangle!
- Homecare Halloween - If the family you are working with isn't quite sure how trick-or-treating will go with their little one this year, ask them to have their costume ready ahead of time for your therapy session. Have them practice dressing up and then pretending to go trick-or-treating. This is a great way to make your visit practical and fun!
Please share other ways YOU are making your therapy sessions SPOOK-TACULAR!