Making a Self-Care Plan

All of the clocks have finally all been changed  (except for one, there is always ONE clock in the house that just never quite makes the cut and is never changed), the Halloween decorations have been put away and what is that sound? Silence. The calm before the Holiday Season frenzy.

Take a few seconds of this ‘down time’ to focus on realizing the importance of self-care.  Parents and caregivers of individuals with special needs typically do not stop to worry about themselves. Not only is this pattern unfair to your loved ones, but more importantly, it is not fair to Y.O.U.

Consider the five minutes it takes you to read this blog post as the start of your self-care routine.  Consider taking this time to make a plan for yourself. Give yourself the opportunity to refill your tank so you can cruise into the Holiday Season ready and rejuvenated.  

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

“Are we there yet?”

While Cleveland is a ‘go to’ destination for many people during the Summer months, you may be leaving for a get away of your own.  Whether basking in the sun, sleeping under the stars or reading every historical marker/plaque across the country is your idea of a vacation, it’s easy to weave in a few moments of language enrichment or practice.

Enjoying time with family and friends does not necessarily mean you can’t work on your speech-language skills.  If your child is working on articulation, listen for correct production of sounds and use reminders to help correct errors.  If your child is working on language, use these games to practice vocabulary. If your child is working on following directions, these games are perfect for working on those skills (not to mention passing time in what can feel like and endless car ride!).

I Spy…“I spy with my little eye, something blue.” Directions: One person spies something and recites the line, ending in a clue. Everyone else takes turns trying to guess the mystery item.

I’m Going on a Picnic/Trip/Space Adventure….. Directions: The first player says “I’m going on a picnic/trip/space adventure (or whatever interests your child)  and I’m putting in my suitcase…” followed by something that begins with A (apple/air/ape). The second player repeats what the first person said, but adds something that begins with B (“I’m going on a trip and I’m putting in my suitcase and apple and bermuda shorts.”). And so on with C, D, and the rest of the alphabet. If someone forgets an item, he/she is out OR you can allow everyone to chime in to help OR the next person just starts over with A.

Add-on Storytelling…..One person starts a story with only one or two sentences and stops in the middle of the next sentence (“Once upon a time, there was a lovely princess.  The princess lived in a huge…..”). The next person starts their story where the previous person left off (“igloo on a mountain. The princess has long brown hair and her eyes were …..”) You cannot negate or poo-poo another’s idea, you can only build on the story (“on the top of her head.  She was a martian princess from the land of ….”)The stories are sure to start get everyone giggling. An adaptation to this game could be an adult tells the full story and the children add the descriptors/objects/verbs when the adult pauses.

20 Questions …… Directions: One person thinks of something (you may want to determine a category or area to narrow the choices for beginners), and everyone else has only 20 YES/NO questions to ask to try to guess what it is. If someone guesses correctly before the 20th question, that person get to think of an item and ANSWER the yes/no questions. If no one figures it out, the person answering gets to go again.

Category Naming Game…. Directions: The ‘announcer’ (typically a parent) sets a time limit (ie: 60 seconds), that person announces “Name all the pick a category you can think of starting NOW!” The player starts naming all the items in that category.  If the player names an incorrect item, the announcer starts counting down from 10, if the player cannot come up a correct item in the category by the time the announcer gets to 1, it’s the next players turn.

Safe Travels!

Yours in Speech,

Lakeshore Speech