Get Cooking!

The weather stations are all predicting record cold in the next few days.  Record cold means staying in the house. Staying in the house means lots of ‘together time’. Use that time to promote language use and development and have fun as well.

These frosty days are perfect for working together not only on language use and practice, but beginning to develop some independent functional skills that promote a sense of independence and pride. You have all you need to accomplish this in your kitchen.   Cooking, baking, food prep….functional and filled with language.

Creating in the kitchen builds a sense of togetherness and promotes language development and use.  For most, food is a motivating force to decrease inappropriate behaviors, increase language use as well as social skills.  For loved ones that are not motivated by eating different foods, you may be surprised at their willingness to help in the kitchen and be around different smells, tastes and textures (all great ways to start introducing new foods to limited palates).

Below are links to wonderful resources that not only promote cooking and baking as therapeutic tools, but provide free materials for everyone (young and old and in between) to participate in together time in the kitchen.  

Collect and print your favorite recipes to make a special recipe book.

But on your favorite chef’s apron, roll up your sleeves, and get to creating delicious foods and of course – memories!

Yours in Speech,

Lakeshore Speech Therapy, LLC.

It’s Okay!

It’s Okay!  This week the message is short, but it comes with an assignment and that’s Okay.  

The book “It’s Okay to be Different” by Todd Parr is a favorite in some homes (the author of this blog to be exact).  The message is simple and speaks to everyone, young and old.

This week, go to your local library and take out a copy of “It’s Okay to be Different” and read it out loud every day.  It’s guaranteed to make you and your loved ones smile.

Some families (again the author of this blog) adopted a specific line as a reminder that it’s OK; especially when a loved ones difference cause frustration or hurt feelings.  “It’s Okay to eat macaroni and cheese in the bathtub.” was enough to calm those hurt feelings or frustration.

Go ahead, get the book. It’s Okay!

Yours in Speech,

Lakeshore Speech Therapy, LLC.

Practice makes permanent!

Practice – 8 little letters that require discipline and dedication.  Practice – 8 little letters that can enrage and irritate the most patient of souls. Practice – 8 little letters that have a profound effect on a life.  

Whether you yourself are learning a new skill or are helping a loved one learn a new skill, the time and dedication required can feel overwhelming and insurmountable. Practice provides the opportunity to try and fail and start again. Practice is part of the journey NOT the end goal.

Practicing speech and language skills may seem unnatural as these skills, for some, come naturally when communicating and engaging with the world.  Without knowing it, children who are developing language are ‘practicing’ these skills every time they engage with a person, a friend, or a toy. Sometimes loved ones require practice on a very specific element of language, one that may easily be taken for granted.  Be it eye contact, sharing, anticipating, or requesting, these skills may need practice toward mastery of communication.

Practicing communication skills should become a natural part of the day. Incorporating the practice of specific skills throughout the day may require a little planning, but eventually will become second nature. Clearly identify where and when the ‘practice’ could occur helps to create a less stressful and meaningful event. Start with a very manageable expectation, not only for your loved one, but yourself and eventually increase the expectation in small increments.  You will amaze yourself at how quickly these skills improve.

While the saying goes, “Practice makes perfect.”, a preferred saying is “Practice makes permanent.”

Yours in Speech,

Lakeshore Speech Therapy, LLC

Play Time!

2019 is underway….OK – 2 weeks into the New Year.  The rest of the holiday decorations are put away and celebrations are at an end.  Although there are 256,894 new toys in the house, the children are ‘bored’. The question of the day is, are the children really bored and do they need to be taught how to play?  For some of our loved ones, play is NOT as innate as it is for others. Play is definitely a skill that needs and should be taught from a very young age. Parents need to ‘teach’ and be part of the art of play.

Play is the ‘work’ of childhood.  Play is the official format of therapy for the majority of children as well.  The reasons are many but here are a few examples of how teaching to how play benefits a child’s language and overall development.

Play increases a child’s ability to process and practice emotions. Through imaginative play children can act out emotions of fear, anger, etc. as well as practice empathy and understanding.  Play also provides children with a sense of accomplishment and self-satisfaction, which help to build confidence and self-esteem.

Play increases a child’s social skills.  Through the art of play, a child learns to navigate turn-taking, sharing, and overall group dynamics.  Play provides the opportunity to develop friendships and practice compromise.

Play increases a child’s cognitive ability and brain development.  Through play a child gains reasoning, attention, and memory skills as well as problem solving skills – all important and crucial for success academically and socially.

Play increases a child’s communication skills.  Plays provides a safe, unassuming venue to practice sentence structures, sound effects and overall listening skills.  Plays helps to facilitate initiating, maintain and concluding conversations – with real or imaginative friends. Play also provides children with the opportunity to work on recognizing non-verbal cues and body language.

So much goes into playing.  It can be exhausting for both child and adult, but worth every glorious moment.  Now stop reading and get out there and PLAY!

Yours in Speech,

Lakeshore Speech Therapy, LLC

One Size Does NOT Fit All

Baby New Year has arrived!  The season of parties and changed schedules is coming to its end.  Back to the ‘normal’ routine! But what about those resolutions? The promises you make to yourself that come with the fine print that reads, “I maintain the option to not follow through with these resolutions because while I mean well, life truly gets in the way.”

A close friend shared her New Year’s resolution; she was NOT going to ‘sweat the small stuff’. My response was true to the bestie code: ‘Great idea!  That’ll really make a difference! I support you!’ And when we parted ways, I got to thinking how as adults we want our children to know and recognize the difference between small, medium, and large problems however lose sight of those as we become adults.

Sometimes we need to step back and take an inventory of how we categorize problems or issues.  While the resources I am using are predominately for children, it may be worth the extra 3 minutes to read through the rest of this post to reset your personal inventory and help your loved one manage his/hers.

Small Problems:

  • Affects 1-2 people
  • No one was physically hurt
  • Feelings were minimally hurt
  • Takes 5 – 15 min to ‘fix’
  • Problem can be solved by the individual OR can be ignored completely

Medium Sized Problems:

  • Affects 3-5 people
  • May be a small physical injury
  • Feelings were hurt, person/people upset
  • May take 15 min to a couple of hours to ‘fix’
  • Problem may need another adult to be solved

Large Sized Problems:

  • Affects 6 or more people
  • May be a significant physical injury
  • No easy or quick solution to ‘fix’ hurt feelings
  • May take days to weeks to ‘fix’
  • Assistance of other adults is required to solve the issue.

While these are definitely oversimplified for some of life’s problems, they do provide a pause when thinking of day to day situations.  Food for thought to start the New Year.

Yours in Speech,

Lakeshore Speech Therapy, LLC.