How to Prepare for Gift Giving and Receiving

Getting and giving gifts can be exciting but hard for some individuals. Preparing for this time of the year helps to make everyone’s celebration special.

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Teletherapy Tips for Families

drawing of therapist performing teletherapy

As we are all beginning to adjust to teletherapy as well as online or elearning, we thought it best to share some tips to make you and your loved ones time in therapy, albeit significantly different than ever before, more successful. 

  1. Count on some sort of technology failure – if you count on the fact that the mic won’t turn on or your wifi will be running slow, you won’t panic when it does happen.  If there is a technology failure (on your side or on the therapist’s side), the first thing to do is breathe. Next calmly begin to troubleshoot. Prior to the appointment, you may want to trial the mic and speakers on the device you intend to use for therapy.  If your bandwidth on your wifi is slow, as those in your home to stay off the network or not engage in activities (streaming videos) that use a lot of bandwidth. If the session can’t happen, you can reschedule. Flexibility is key.
  2. Create a “Therapy Space” or designate a “Therapy Space” for the duration of the session.  You may want to create a ‘Therapy in Session’ sign with your loved one and hang it on the door of the room you are in for the session.  If you will be in a shared living area, you may want to consider the use of a headphone and mic combination. This will decrease the amount of background noise your loved one will hear as well as the therapist. Consider scheduling therapy at a time when others in your family would be napping or engaged in more quiet activities as well.  Creativity is key. 
  3. Count on staying with your loved one for the onset of the therapy session. For individuals that may need support to pay attention, consider this time extra snuggle time.  Have your loved one sit on your lap or very close to you during the session to help guide her/his attention to the therapist. This is time for your loved one to receive the critical therapy services needed as well as a time for YOU to better understand the techniques used to elicit specific behaviors, actions, and sounds from your child.  Teamwork is key. 
  4. Listen to the therapist and therapy session.  Remember, this is your loved one’s therapy time, not necessarily yours.  While it may be hard, refrain from answering the therapist’s questions for talking for your loved one. You may consider the situation/task that the therapist is asking your loved one to do is too difficult, but creating these situations to ‘push’ your loved one to the next level is necessary in progress towards mastery of goals. Trust is key. 
  5. Carryover of all the new skills learned during the therapy session (both for you and your loved one) is extremely important for everyone! You will have new skills to support your loved one as he/she works on speech-language skills.  Share what you have learned with others in your family. Help everyone realize the necessary supports to help your loved one succeed. Practice is key. 

Keeping in mind the importance of flexibility, creativity, teamwork, trust and practice will ensure your loved ones success with this different approach to speech-language therapy.  

More information about the telepractice services offered at Lakeshore Speech can be found at www.lakeshorespeech.com/telepractice or by calling 1-440-417-4190.

Yours in Speech, 
Lakeshore Speech Therapy, LLC

Costume Creations!

Dressing-up, costumes, masks and make-up….some would say these are the best parts of Halloween and others would beg differ significantly.  While the stores are filled with the newest versions of costumes, consider making one that best ‘fits’ your loved one. One that ‘fits’ her/his physical body, sensory needs, and emotional needs.

Consider costumes that follow the ‘less is more’ theory.  Less different pieces of a costume, more focus on making the pieces ‘scream’ exactly the theme or character of the costume. 

  • Jeans, t-shirt, bandanna around the neck  – you have a cowgirl/boy
  • Jeans/leggings, t-shirt, bandanna around the head – depending on your fold the bandanna, you now have a rocker or a pirate
  • Larger sized white t-shirt (your going to want a pair of pants of sorts under it :)) 
    • draw a face on it – you have a ghost
    • Add black dots on it – you have a die
    • Add black lines on it – you have a zebra 

Consider costumes that do not have tags or items that will distract your loved one to the point where she/he is unable to focus on walking, the party, etc.  While adorable and fun, things like fringe, beads, sparkles, and sequins can create an entirely different issue. In this category lives masks and make-up. While both of these items bring a lot to a costume, please consider staying away from these if you know your loved one will be distracted or upset by these additions. 

Consider costumes that can go over the layers of possible winter gear that may or may not be part of your evening.  Given the weather, being prepared to add or take away a layer on a moments notice will make the difference on the stress level of the evening. 

Consider incorporating the phrase “Trick or Treat” on the costume itself if your loved one is non-verbal or might ‘freeze’ .  Somehow, someway, make the words part of the costume – add a simple button to the costume with the words ‘Trick or Treat’.

Consider practicing wearing the costume around the house – remember practice makes permanent.  This gives your loved one not only the time to become familiar and comfortable with the costume, but will give you time to troubleshoot potential issues (ie: costume too long and possibly a tripping hazard, costume too tight/loose, etc.).

Prior planning with the costume will prevent unneeded stress and potential unexpected behaviors so you can all enjoy a fun evening being together. 

Yours in Speech, 
Lakeshore Speech Therapy, LLC.

Let the Music Play

We welcome September with a song! September is not only Classical Music Month but National Piano Month.  An individual’s language development as well as overall development can be positively influenced by music. Listening to a variety of music genres builds an appreciation of the art that lasts a lifetime.  

An individual’s reading comprehension can also be positively influenced by listening to music.  Celebrate this month by brushing off those old LPs, 8-track, cassettes, and CDs and fill your world with music.

Can Listening to Music Help Your Child with Language Development and Reading Comprehension?

Yours in Speech, 
Lakeshore Speech Therapy, LLC.

Sweet Dreams

Preparation for the start of a new school year is well under way for many.  As you may have noticed, the sun is setting a little earlier as we inch our way from summer into fall.  Late nights chasing fireflies and roasting s’mores gives way to sports practices, music lessons, and therapy sessions. There are many ways to begin to prepare you and your family for the inevitable change of schedule, none as important as remembering the critical role SLEEP plays in our lives.  Young and old, sleep is one of the more overlooked aspects of healthy living.  

Please take a moment and read through these two articles not only to understand the role sleep plays for children learning, but some techniques that make help increase your loved ones sleep (as well as your own). 

Children and Sleep

12 Sleep Tips for Kids with Special Needs

Sweet dreams!

Yours in Speech, 
Lakeshore Speech Therapy, LLC.

It’s All Routine

This month we’ve focused on schedules and free activities to fill those schedules. This week we are discussing routines and the importance of routines related to speech-language development.  Personal, familial, classroom, or therapy routines provide a framework of certainty. Within these routines are the skills and expectations that help to introduce and maintain speech-language skills, social pragmatic skills and increased independence with executive functioning skills.

Take a moment and replay your morning routine back in your head.  Do you brush your teeth before you wash your face? Do you take a medication right away or do you take it with your first cup of coffee? It’s easy to picture yourself completing your morning routine and if something is off, you know it immediately.

Routines for infants and toddlers provide a number of opportunities to practice important speech-language and social skills. Anticipating the steps, sequencing steps, learning the vocabulary associated with the steps are all skills infants and toddlers need to develop meaningful associations with language and action. Daily routines provide the repetition of vocabulary and actions leading to independent participation in these routines.

Routine for school aged children can provide a calming environment for anticipating activities as well as expectations throughout the day.  Similar to infants and toddlers, sequencing steps, learning vocabulary and making associations provides the foundation for increasing successful independence throughout the day.  Routines also give the child the opportunity to learn the expected behaviors and unwritten social rules in a repeat practice setting. Daily routines facilitate conversations between child and adult to specifically explain and model appropriate social and behavioral expectations.

Routines for older children and young adults create a setting where focus can be more on new skills and independence versus the actual steps.  These routines are not only part of the day, but provide the opportunity to increase independence and demonstrate expected behaviors and social skills which should be the focus of mastery for young adults.  Routines at this age also provide opportunities for increased independence imperative for vocational and secondary education settings.

Individuals who have tendencies to become rigid regarding implementation and execution of routines, such that any variation creates adverse behaviors need to have their routines continuously changed.   This does not mean the target task or activity needs to change, however change when the task or activity occurs. For example, night time routine might go tv time -change in pjs – brush teeth – book time – lights out. Consider changing to book time – brush teeth – change in pjs – tv time – lights out or some variation.  You know your loved one best and will be able to determine how often the change needs to occur.

If you have any questions or need a sounding board regarding routines, please reach out to your speech-language pathologist.

Yours in Speech,

Lakeshore Speech Therapy, LLC

Plan for the Day

note book with daily routine

It’s finally here…. JUNE!  Days are longer…much longer. Weather it warmer…. much warmer. Everyone is home… school’s out…..everyone’s home…. all day.  Did we mention the days are longer?

While June ushers in a time a carefree days and weeks, pay attention to just how important a daily routine (dare we say schedule) is for your loved one’s success, ease of mind, and ability to manage behaviors.  

“But we just finished a school year worth of schedules!”

We hear you, but these summer routines and schedules are a lot less time specific.  Summer routines and schedules make the ‘unknown’ day more concrete. They also provide the adults with a reminder or recap of the day.

Resources for creating schedules are available online.  Use simple pictures of places and events or if your loved on is literate, use text.

There are many different types of set-ups for schedules or routines you might want to consider.  Ultimately, create a combination of different types that suits your family’s needs best.

Object schedule: Using objects that represent the events throughout the day may give your loved on the visual support needed to easily transition from one activity to the next.  This also provides a concrete explanation of the expectations throughout the day so there is no ‘arguing’. It’s so much easier to ‘blame’ the schedule for completing a non-preferred task. “I’m sorry, but the schedule says it’s time to clean-up. Check the schedule.”

Picture schedule: Simple clipart pictures or actual photos can serve as  visual reminders for the schedule or routine of the day.  Providing a method of indicating the event is complete provides a very concrete message for your loved one.  Some suggestions to show an event is complete include turning the picture over, removing the picture from the schedule, or placing a check-mark next to the picture.

Text Schedule: If your loved on is literate, consider a simple checklist for the day’s events or using a white boards to catalogue the schedule for the day. These types of schedules can include exact times as well as specific locations.

High Tech: If your loved one is more comfortable using a ‘smart’ device, consider using the calendar built in to the operating system or a daily planner app (free ones are the best when trialing this support). Work with your loved one to set up the calendar, make sure to include alarms or notifications for each event. Using a ‘shared’ calendar provides everyone the flexibility to add or change items accordingly.  

 

Providing visual supports and schedules to loved ones gives everyone the opportunity to enjoy the lazy days of summer more successfully and with much less stress.  The speech-language therapist at Lakeshore Speech Therapy, LLC will be happy to provide more ideas and assistance with developing visual supports specific to your loved one’s needs.

 

Yours in Speech,

Lakeshore Speech Therapy, LLC

Lakeshore Speech Therapy Summer 2019 Programming

Every summer, we at Lakeshore Speech Therapy work to provide our clients and families with programming that meets everyone’s needs.  This year we are excited to offer programs for everyone from toddlers to teens. Please take a moment to see all that we have to offer.  Share this information with friends and family that may benefit from these amazing programs.  As always, please share your ideas for future programs.

Yours in Speech,

Lakeshore Speech Therapy, LLC

 

Imagine…Create….Language

We are a quarter of the way through 2019 already!  Hard to believe how fast time flies…..especially when you are having fun.  March ushers in a month of leprechauns and basketball and the strange time of year when it’s still not warm enough to go outside but staying inside isn’t the best option either. It’s that time of year when ideas and creativity to keep our loved ones engaged and busy don’t come as easy as they did a few weeks ago.

We have your back and hope our ideas spark new life into your family’s March schedule.

Introduce basic S.T.E.M. activities like making your own bubbles or making your own robot.  Spending time to create opens the door for imagination as well as language. You don’t need to be a computer programmer to build your collection of S.T.E.M. activities.

  • Idea #1: Build a Robot
    • Collect different boxes, toilet paper tubes, plastic containers, etc.
    • Grab a few rolls of tape and string or yarn
    • Create a ‘problem’ that requires your loved ones to have to make a robot to ‘fix’ the problem. Problems like too many socks are getting lost in the wash or nobody knows when the garbage is full.
    • This activity will work on helping your loved ones better understand directional and location concepts, follow directions, ask for help, name items, work with others, share, etc.
  • Idea #2: Practice Continuing Patterns
    • Collect different dried foods – pasta, beans, cereal, dried fruits
    • Create patterns (basic to complex) and have your child continue the pattern
    • Flip roles and see if you can continue the patterns
    • This activity will work on helping your loved one with sequencing tasks, vocabulary, patterning, following directions, etc. – skills needed to master math and language goals.
  • Idea #3: Build a Roller Coaster
    • Collect paper tubes from toilet paper, paper towels, and wrapping paper, tape, and marbles or small toy cars.
    • Explain to your love one you are going to create the next big roller coaster for the summer!
    • Tape together some tubes, cut other in half and create a roller coaster to go in your cardboard amusement park!
    • Use a marble or small toy car to test out your coaster!
    • This activity will work on helping your loved one with shared attention, vocabulary, directional concepts, following directions, listening, taking turns, etc.

Your S.T.E.M. activities do not have to be complex or expensive.  Play with some of these ideas and if you and your loved ones create a masterpiece, share it with us on Facebook!

Yours in Speech,

Lakeshore Speech Therapy, LLC