“Help! My Child Doesn’t Like Reading Books!”– The Benefits of Making Adapted Books

June 24, 2013

What is an adapted book?

Adapted books are any reading materials which have been modified  to make a book more accessible to a child’s physical needs and style of learning. The most common adapted book consists of color laminated pictures attached by Velcro pieces within the book, so a child can remove and replace the attachments for exploration. Adapted books are resistant to tears and heavy push/ pull movements within the pages, and are usually made of large, durable cardboard stock.  Most large board books can be ordered on-line for discount prices.

Who would benefit from reading an adapted book?

Although any child will likely enjoy an adapted book, Children diagnosed with sensory deficits disorders (the inability to process information through the senses), and language delays (the inability to process and express words) will especially benefit.  Adapted books can be used in all environments, including home, classrooms, and play groups.

Why are adapted books beneficial?

Adapted children’s books provide interactive fun, sensory input, and opportunities to engage in social pretend play. When children remove and attach Velcro pieces from within the book, more small and large muscle groups are engaged with the learning process, and language is stimulated through actions. Large, densely weighted books are helpful because they provide pressure to the muscles and joints when lap reading. Also, thick Velcro strips can be challenging to push and pull together, so a child’s range of motions will regulate speech rate, and increase clarity of thought processes. Additionally, attachable pieces can be moved close to the face, which encourages eye contact.

How would I use an adapted book?

Children can be great teachers in knowing how to use an adapted book.  The attachable pieces can fly through the air, sing a song, land on a flower, talk to characters on the next page, ride in a truck to the next destination, or walk across a leaf stem. Children will often match attachable pieces with items in the book, build fine motor skills as they rotate items like a puzzle piece, or play hide and seek with the items in the room. For older children, the following skills can be taught: Identification of objects and colors, sequencing steps, looking for missing objects, and following directions. When used with two or more children, attachable pieces can be used for collecting, trading, and pretend play.

How do I make an adapted book?

Step #1:  Purchase any size Board Books on-line, or buy one at the local book store.

Recommended Starter Books:

Eric Carle—“The Very Quiet Cricket” (which features a cricket sound on the last page of the book)

Eric Carle—“The Very Hungry Caterpillar”

Step #2: Photo-copy (black and white—Image Photo quality) each page of the book. *Note: Commercial office supply companies will not make color photo copies of the book, due to Copyright laws. All copies in commercial companies must be in black and white, then adapted, which is permissible for use with children who have special needs. Adapted books are not permissible to be resold.

Step #3:  Uses Dot Markers (or Bingo markers, sold in craft and supply stores) to quickly color the black and white images.

Step #4: Use scissors to cut out preferred characters and objects .

Step #5: Laminate (Local office supply store)and cut out the pieces.

Step #6: Attach Velcro strips (on-line for bulk)  within the book, and to the attachable pieces.

Although it takes some preparation to make an adapted book, the books are very durable and serve multiple functions of learning. Your adaptable book  will out-live paperback books, and will stack nicely on a shelf.  Have fun using your imagination, and follow your child’s lead!

-April Kumlin, B.A., SLP-A

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Early Intervention and Linguistically-Diverse Families

June 12, 2013

BLOG pic (2)Early Intervention, or the process of providing services, education, and support to young children and their families who have been identified as having a developmental delay and/or disorder, was designed to enhance the development of infants and toddlers with disabilities. Designing an early intervention program that is able to identify and meet a child’s individual needs can be challenging for a service provider, especially when providing services to linguistically diverse families. According to the research literature, service providers can do several things to ensure they are providing appropriate services to a linguistically-diverse group.

            Upon meeting a new client and their parents entering an Early Intervention Clinic, the service provider can ask themselves or the parent, “How does this parent’s background influence his or her perspectives about language learning and education for his/her child? What does this parent want for their child? What concerns does this parent have regarding their child, or the program?” By understanding that a unique culture is inherent in each family with which a service provider works with, they will be able to understand and respect how a family identifies itself.

            According to the research, providing parents and families with information regarding how children learn language and the benefits of bilingualism as well as the preservation of home language and culture, benefit the child’s language development. Parents and families also benefit from learning ways to enhance their child’s language and literacy at home, as well as how to navigate the educational system.

            Families have strengths that can serve as the building blocks for effective service, and service providers should foster those strengths in the family and their community.

Sarah Peters, M.A., CCC-SLP

 From the President: Working Early-Intervention Magic in Community Settings, Patty Prelock

 Roles and Responsibilities of Speech-Language Pathologists in Early Intervention: Position Statement, ASHA


Normal Speech Sound Development

June 4, 2013

One of the most commonly asked questions of a speech-language pathologist is “Are my child’s sound errors normal?”

If your child is unable to say certain sounds or cannot be understood by others, you may want to take them for a speech evaluation.  A speech-language pathologist would be able to answer your questions and determine whether your child’s sound errors are developmental (appropriate errors based on the child’s age) or non-developmental (not age-appropriate and would need intervention).  A speech-language pathologist would evaluate your child and use “speech sound norms” or “sound acquisition norms” to determine which errors are developmentally appropriate and which errors are not.

Results of a speech evaluation may help ease parent’s worries about their child’s intelligibility.  Speech sound norms give useful information about which sounds are typically developed in the first 2-3 years, which ones are not developed until 4-5 years, and which ones may not be fully developed until 6-7 years.  A commonly misproduced sound is /r/.  When setting expectations for their child’s speech, it is important for parents to know that the /r/ sound is not typically mastered by most children until age 5 or 6. Although, some children may master the sound as early as 3 or 4.

Below is a link to a chart that is used by speech-language pathologists as a guideline to help determine which sound errors are appropriate and which are not.  Please don’t hesitate to take your child to be evaluated if you have any concerns.

Speech Sound Chart

 

– Michelle Morgado, M.S. CCC-SLP

 

Information taken from: http://mommyspeechtherapy.com

 


Turning the “Terrible Twos” into the “Terrific Twos”

May 14, 2013

Many parents of two year-olds comment about the difficulty of having a two year-old.  The phrase the “Terrible Twos” is frequently used to qualify the feelings of parents about their frustration with their children’s temper tantrums and mood swings.  Whether or not a child has special needs, this period of time can be challenging.  I suggest that as we understand this unique period of growth in our children and have strategies to navigate challenging situations, we can turn this time period into the “Terrific Twos.”

Understanding: From the Perspective of a Two Year-Old

Being two years-old is hard. Children who are two are caught between having new self-help skills, leading to increased independence, and the reality that most tasks still cannot be done completely on their own.  They may have acquired a few new words and with language comes power.  Children quickly discover that the word “No!” is especially powerful.  But with this new-found power of communication, there is also realization that it is limited.  Two year-olds have limited verbal ability which leads to frustration. For children with delayed language, feelings of frustration can be even more intense.  Overall, children who are two have some ability, the taste of power, but, in the end, are relatively powerless in their situations.  That’s a very frustrating scenario.

Understanding: From the Perspective of a Professional

There is phenomenal growth and development occurring between 24 and 36 months across all areas of development.  In neuro-typical children, this is the time period of an explosion of vocabulary and language.  For children who are delayed in language, there is often significant change in language ability during this year.  With all of this growth and development, mood swing and temper tantrums are typical during this time period.

Strategies for Parents

  • Stay engaged with your child by talking with and playing with your child.  This is true in your home as well as when going out in public (to the grocery store, the doctor’s office, a restaurant).  Additionally, bring along a bag of engaging activities when going out in public.  Using a combination of engaging activities and staying engaged with your child’s interaction can go a long way to prevent a break down for your child.
  • When a child is having a temper tantrum, either offer comfort or ignore the behavior.  If you choose to ignore the behavior, ignore for a while, then offer comfort.
  • Distraction is a beautiful tool to use when a two year-old is upset.  Do something unexpected, be silly, or use humor.  Tickling sometimes works, if it is a generally desirable and engaging activity for your child.
  • When engaging in distraction, distract with interaction (tickling, being silly, etc.) rather than with another object (food or a toy). Giving a desirable food or a desirable toy can be seen as a reward and you can inadvertently reward an undesirable behavior.
  • Don’t be afraid of saying “No” to your child but reserve the firm use of “No!” for serious (i.e. dangerous) situations.  In other situations, redirect your child’s behavior to another activity instead.

By staying engaged, being prepared, and knowing ahead of time how to pull out of melt downs can turn this exciting period of development into a terrific time for you and your child!

Jennifer M. Adams, MA, CCC-SLP


Literacy Series Post #6: Supporting Your Child’s Reading At Home

April 10, 2013

“If you add a little to a little, and then do it again, soon that little shall be much.” -Hesiod

Listed below are some general suggestions for things that parents can do to help support the reading growth of their children. These are general suggestions, meant to be useful for almost any child, and there may be other things your child’s teacher will want you to do that are focused on the specific needs of your child. All of these suggestions come from research on the way children learn to read. If you do some of them regularly in a motivating and supportive way, they will help your child make faster progress in learning to read. Many of these activities, such as those that build vocabulary and teach children to think while they read, will also help your child ultimately be a much better reader than he or she might otherwise become.

Kindergarten

1. Create a special workspace and schedule daily quiet time for your child to do his/her homework from school. Be sure this is a time you are available to help if needed.

2. Schedule 15 minutes of special time everyday to read to your child. Before you read each book, read the title and look at the cover and pictures inside. Ask your child what she thinks the book may be about (prediction). After reading the book, review her prediction. Was the prediction right? If not, what happened instead?

3. Plan to go to the school library, public library, or the local bookstore once each week and read a new book together. After reading each book, talk to him about what happened at the beginning, the middle, and the end of the story.

4. Play rhyming games. Say two words that rhyme (e.g. cat, sat) and ask your child to say a word that rhymes with your words. Take turns. Ask your child to say a word and then you respond with a rhyming word. For example, child says “cat”, parent says “hat”; child says “chair”, parent says “pair”.

5. Take turns thinking of two words that begin with the same sound. Examples: mom, moon; dog, door; fun, fast; paper, pet.

6. Play the “say it fast” game. Say a word, one sound at a time and have your child say the word at a normal rate. For example, you say each sound in the word cat, “/c/ /a/ /t/.” Then your child says the word at the normal speed, “cat.” Play this game with about five to ten short words (e.g. am, is, it, in, on, sit, pan, sun, top, net, fin) each day.

7. Take every opportunity you can to help increase your child’s vocabulary. You can do this by pointing to things and asking the child to tell you what they are, or you can stop and explain the meaning of any words in your reading that the child may not understand. The more you talk to your child, the faster their vocabulary will grow.

First Grade

1. Create a special workspace and schedule daily quiet time for your child to do his/her homework from school. Be sure this is a time you are available to help if needed.

2. Schedule 15 minutes of special time everyday to read with your child. Take turns reading a page at a time. Or, read a sentence and then have your child reread that same sentence until you read through the whole book.

3. Plan to go to the school library, public library, or the local bookstore once each week and read a new book together. After each story is read, ask her to retell the story to you. Go back to the story to reread sections if she needs help retelling the story in sequence.

4. Play the “say the word slowly” game. Say a word at normal rate and then have your child say that same word slowly, one sound at a time. For example, say the word, “mat.” Then your child will say that same word slowly, one sound at a time, “/m/ /a/ /t/.” Play this game using about five to ten short words each day.

5. Fold a piece of paper into three parts. Let your child draw a picture of something he did in sequence. Then help your child write one sentence under each picture explaining what he did first, next and last.

6. Take turns thinking of two words that end with the same sound. Examples: mom, some; dog, rug; fun, ran; paper, feather.

7. Take every opportunity you can to help increase your child’s vocabulary. You can do this by pointing to things and asking the child to tell you what they are, or you can stop and explain the meaning of any words in your reading that the child may not understand. The more you talk to your child, the faster their vocabulary will grow.

Second Grade

1. Create a special workspace and schedule daily quiet time for your child to do his/her homework from school. Be sure this is a time you are available to help if needed.

2. Schedule 15 minutes of special time everyday to listen to your child read.

3. Go to the school library, public library, or to the local bookstore once each week and read a new book together. Read the title then look at the cover and pictures inside. Ask your child to predict what the book is about. After reading the book, review prediction then ask about the characters, setting, problem and solution.

4. Fact or Opinion Game: The parent says a sentence to the child then asks whether it is a fact or opinion. Ex: The weather is nice. (Opinion) A dog can bark. (Fact)

5. Encourage reading fluency by having your child read and reread familiar books. It can also be helpful to have your child read a short passage over several times while you record the time it takes. Children often enjoy seeing if they can improve their time from one reading to the next, and the repeated reading helps to establish a habit of fluent reading.

6. Pick out a new vocabulary word from one of the books you are reading with your child. Talk about what it means then make up a sentence with the new word. Try to use the word again that week.

If your child is a struggling reader and you want professional support in helping your child read, please visit our website to make an appointment for an evaluation.


Literacy Series Post #5: Multi Sensory Language Education (MSLE), Reading Instruction, and the Orton-Gillingham Method

April 2, 2013

Studies show that children with dyslexia or related speech sound disorders need a multi-sensory approach to reading. Multi-sensory education incorporates three learning pathways, which are: auditory (hearing), kinesthetic (touching or moving), and visual (seeing). This approach is beneficial not only for students with dyslexia, but for all learners. It can be implemented in a large group setting as well as with individuals, small groups and at-risk populations.

Multi-Sensory Language Education

The content of Multi-Sensory Language Education (MSLE) includes phonology and phonological awareness; sound-symbol association; syllable instruction; morphology; syntax; and semantics.  The method of instruction includes techniques that are simultaneous and multisensory; systematic and cumulative; directly taught; diagnostically taught; synthetic and analytic in principle.

Content

  1. Phonology and Phonological Awareness: this means the study of sounds.  A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in a language; to understand the internal linguistic structure of words one has to be able to distinguish these discrete pieces.
  2. Sound-Symbol Association: this is the understanding that arbitrary marks on a page stand for particular sounds in a language.
  3. Syllable Instruction: a syllable is a single burst of phonemes which must include one – but only one – vowel sound and a single consonant or consonant cluster, e.g., /sp/.
  4. Morphology: a morpheme is the smallest unit of meaning in a language.  Any suffix or prefix is a morpheme, carrying its own meaning, as is the base word or root word.  Thus, “run” is one morpheme; “running” has two morphemes.
  5. Syntax: this is the set of principles that dictate the sequence of words in a sentence a well as their function.  Grammar, sentence variation and the mechanics of language are syntactical elements.
  6. Semantics: the aspect of language that concerns itself with meaning.  Since comprehension is the goal of literacy, semantic information is included at every level of a lesson from the very beginning.

Method

  1. Simultaneous, Multisensory:  this teaching uses all available sensory pathways – visual, auditory, and kinesthetic-tactile; all are employed together to enhance memory and learning.
  2. Systematic and Cumulative:  teaching material must be organized to follow the natural order of language, beginning with the easiest and progressing methodically to subsequent elements.  Learning builds from simple to complex, never skipping steps.
  3. Direct Instruction:  instructors never assume something will be inferred.  Every element is presented directly, and involves continuous student-teacher interaction.
  4. Diagnostic teaching:  every instructional session is in a sense an assessment, and based on the daily assessment of a student’s needs, the teacher knows what to prescribe for the following lesson.
  5. Synthetic and Analytic Instruction:  teachers show how to bring the elements of language together to form a meaningful whole (synthetic – bringing together) as well as separately presenting the whole and showing how to break it into its parts (analytic – taking apart).  This is “critical thinking”.

Using the Orton-Gillingham approach, a multi-sensory reading method, our reading teacher systematically builds your child’s reading skills through tactile, kinesthetic, oral, visual, and auditory modalities. The Orton-Gillingham approach incorporates the five components essential to effective reading intervention: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary development, fluency, and comprehension strategies. These are essential skills to prepare for school and life-long learning. Your child will learn:

Left-right orientation

Spelling patterns

Word order

Encoding (writing)

Letter and sound association

Sight words

Word parts

Fine motor skills*

Sequencing

Sound and word patterns

Fluency

Letter formation

*CSLOT occupational therapists are available to provide support/consultation in these areas.

If you think your child needs Multi-Sensory Language Education, visit our appointment page to book a literacy evaluation.


Literacy Series Post #4: Fast ForWord

March 26, 2013

Fast ForWord
A critical first step in CSLOT’s literacy program is Fast ForWord, from Scientific Learning, Inc. Fast ForWord is a computer-based program that that takes your child through a series of age-appropriate, highly motivating computer games, building skills necessary for learning to read. Many speech- and language-impaired children have difficulty with the auditory perceptual task of discriminating between speech sounds. To remediate these foundational discrimination problems, the Fast ForWord software slows down speech so the brain has more time to perceive the acoustic differences between the speech sounds. Playing the games at home for 8-12 weeks, supported by weekly parent consultations with CSLOT’s Fast ForWord specialist, your child will learn to discriminate speech sounds, and as he progresses, the software gradually returns to natural sounding speech.

Fast ForWord Language v2

The Language series develops listening accuracy, phonological awareness, and language structures and moves elementary students who are reading below grade level toward grade level reading skills.

Fast ForWord Language to Reading v2

The Language to Reading series emphasizes the link between spoken and written language to guide young students to become proficient grade level readers.

For more information about Fast ForWord, please visit the Fast ForWord page on our website by clicking here.