Prior Planning Goes the Distance!

Changes in schedules and routines are completely expected if not expected.  As we approach the July 4th holiday, evaluating the changes in schedules and routines – PROACTIVELY – will provide for a much more enjoyable holiday experience for everyone! 

Last year, one of the blog posts was dedicated specifically to preparing for the July 4th holiday.  We invite you to revisits that post as the information continues to be ever important.  These proactive steps do not end with just the holiday. As you are devising your summer plans, it is helpful to be aware of the resources within different venues and activities that are designed to meet the needs of individuals with special needs.  

If you are visiting the Cleveland MetroParks Zoo, you should be aware of these services available to you and your loved ones.

Going to an Indian’s game at Progressive Field? Check out these resources and these and these

Headed to the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse?  You are going to want to be aware of this information.

And if your summer plans take you to Cedar Point, you definitely are going to want to read this information

In general, before you head off to any vacation or stay-cation destination, check with the facility to inquire of what materials and resources are available onsite to address the needs of individuals with special needs. 

Yours in Speech, 

Lakeshore Speech Therapy, LLC.

It’s Fun and It’s Free!

Last week the blog focused on creating schedules (If you didn’t get a chance to read it, feel free to do so now, we’ll wait.).  This week we will mention some of the fun and FREE opportunities in the Greater Cleveland Area you might consider adding to your schedules.

Our area libraries are a treasure trove of fun, educational and for the most part FREE activities to fill the days of summer. Don’t forget for older children – most schools assign summer reading projects, inquire if the library is running a special group specific to your school’s summer reading.

Cleveland’s Metropark system is amazing and offers so many activities for young and young at heart. Besides the free concerts throughout the area, the Cleveland Zoo is FREE on Mondays!

Recess Cleveland is offering a free and fun event every Tuesday through the month of June!

Cleveland Public Square offers free events throughout the summer! Of particular interest is the Summer Splash. This free, family event in Cleveland Public Square is designed for children 2 to 10 years old. It takes place every day of the week from June 1-August 31 from 11am-4pm.

Great Lakes Science Center is offering FREE admission on June 23rd!

Let’s not forget the many FREE festivals throughout the area this time of year!

There are many adventures waiting for you and your loved ones! Pick one or twenty and prepare to share wonderful experiences together!

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


Language in the Sun and Heat!

It’s getting hot out there! It’s a great time to  turn the heat up on your child’s language skills in everything you do.

No need to put down your ice cream cone or even get out of the pool; you have everything you need to enhance your child’s language skills!  Language is everywhere, so working on language skills is always at your fingertips. Whether you are camping, at the pool, at the beach, at the amusement park or coloring with chalk on the sidewalk, working on direction following skills, vocabulary skills, sentence development and articulation skills is a snap!

For your own sanity, set aside a small amount of time (5-10 min) to focus on a specific skill during an activity.  As you become more comfortable incorporating these therapy moments, you can expand on the amount of time. Choose a small part of the larger skill your child is working on in speech therapy (ask your Speech Therapist to help identify these specific skills if you need help). In the time span you have allotted,work with your child on the language skill and when the time has expired, STOP working! Over time, ‘working’ on the skills will become second nature.  Your child won’t even realize she/he has been ‘doing their speech homework’. Here’s a little example to give you a more clear idea.

Location – ice cream stand/shop

Speech Skill – closing lips for the M sound (the larger speech goal is producing words with B, P, and M).

Time allotted: 5 minutes


Parent: “Let’s play an ice cream game after 5 licks, you tell me how it tastes.  You say, ‘mmmm’.”

Child (in a perfect world, where ice cream doesn’t drip down arms and onto shoes): licks ice cream 5 times, says ‘mmmm’.

Parent: “Great!  Now, after 5 licks you tell me again how it tastes.  You say, ‘mmmmmmmm’.”

Child (again in the same perfect world):licks ice cream 5 times, says ‘mmmm’.

5 minutes is up!

Parent: “That was a fun game!  Let’s finish our ice cream.”

There is a high probability that your child will continue the ‘game’ without being prompted.  Chances are high that others, especially siblings, will want to ‘play the game’ too. Now the 5 minutes you had set aside will grow to 10 minutes!

Remember to be kind to yourself!  Don’t try this suggestion when all forces are against you!  Once a day, twice a week, whenever you can sneak in a few extra minutes of practice–it will pay off quickly!

Yours in Speech,

Lakeshore Speech Therapy, LLC

Sit down, Stay a while!

Summer not only is a time to travel, but a time when others may be traveling and staying with you!  While these visits are important and eagerly anticipated, having Gramma and Papa or Auntie and Uncle staying in with you can really create situations where you and your child may not be at your best.

For some children, upsetting the routine at home can create a rather unsettling feeling that may last for the day, the week, or the month.  Children may ‘express’ these feelings verbally, vocally or physically. Working through daily meltdowns is not a vacation for anyone – parent or visitor.

Proactively planning for visitors, no matter the length of the visit, should not only include cleaning and food prep, but working with your child AND your visitors so everyone can enjoy the time together.

Location….. If you child will be sacrificing their bedroom to Gramma and Papa or Auntie and Uncle you may want to :

  • Weeks ahead of the visit warning your child verbally of the change
  • Having a ‘pretend’ visitor (a nice use of that entirely too large of a stuffed animal living in your attic) stay in your child’s room; giving them the opportunity to sleep in the location they will be sleeping in when the ‘real’ visitor is in town.
  • Have your child help in preparing their room for the visitor
    • let them pick out the color sheets that will be on the bed
    • Make a ‘game’ of hiding toys/games, etc.

Routine…. Without a doubt your child’s routine is going to be ‘off’ while there are visitors in your home.  You may want to consider:

  • Getting the daily routine down on paper (use pictures, words, etc)
  • Reach out to your visitors and share the ‘typical’ daily routine and explain to them the importance of them understanding the routine, not that they will need to follow it minute to minute, but to realize how or why your child might be acting differently (ie: Typically after lunch, your child has rest time, however while visitors are in town, he/she may not get rest time until later in the day – this change MAY result in a meltdown.)
  • Practice changing up the daily routine weeks prior to the visitors arriving.
  • Give ample time for your child to process the ‘change in routine’ (some children will require a warning days prior to a major changes, others manage the change given a moments notice).

Have a Plan…. Life is life, so anticipate there will be a time and place while your visitors are in town when everything is going along well and BOOM your child unexpectedly melts down. You may want to consider:

  • Having an “emergency melt-down kit” at the ready.  A small bag that contains a favorite snack, fidget toys, favorite smells (ie: cinnamon candy, cotton ball with your perfume/colgan, etc), a ‘lovey’ or stuffed animal), etc.  
  • A playlist on a device (probably your phone) with favorite or soothing music
  • Willingness to leave a location until your child is feeling better (ie: go to the restroom, go outside, take a walk away from the area)
  • Talk less, act more – less is more in these instances. When your child is experiencing difficulty managing, having everyone talking to them could actually increase the confusion and escalate the melt-down. Stay calm, talk less, and move quickly to enact the plan may result in a shorter less dramatic event.
  • Let EVERYONE know the plan.  If you do not want or need help to execute the plan – LET EVERYONE KNOW.  Your visitors, while meaning well, may try to help and in doing so create a larger issue.

Enjoy your time together and create memories that last a lifetime!

Yours in Speech,

Lakeshore Speech

“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

FREE in the CLE!!!

Free!  That’s correct….FREE!!!! Finding fun and FREE ‘field trips’ for you and your family!  Check out these resources to find a different museum or playground. Let’s not forget local theaters providing free movies or our amazing libraries providing incredible free programs for young and old.  These ‘field trips’ are a great way to introduce new vocabulary, interact with others, practice speech-language skills, and most importantly, spend time TOGETHER! Unplug for a few moments, call a friend or family member, pack a lunch and spend some time exploring all the Cleveland Area has to offer.  

While this may sound like a travel ad, language is built around the events one experiences.  Practicing going out in public places and building on those experiences are a amazing way to build those shared memories and language base. AND because admission is FREE, visiting some of these places is a great way to build up the time for which your child can tolerate a location.  Let’s take the Mondays at the Zoo: Since admission is free, plan on seeing only 1-2 animals, having lunch or a snack and then leave.  The next Monday, plan on visiting the same 1-2 animals and add 1-2 more, have lunch/snack and leave. Repeat.

It’s Fun and It’s Free!  Enjoy your time together! Don’t forget to share with your SLP where you will or did visit.  She or he can easily weave the vocabulary into therapy and/or preview what may occur, vocabulary, etc. Most of all……..have FUN!!!!!

Links for suggestions of FREE events:

Free in the CLE

Cuyahoga Library System

Cleveland Library System

Westlake Porter Public Library

Lakewood Public Library

Rocky River Public Library

Avon Lake Public Library

Summer Movie Express ($1/movie)

Free Outdoor Movies

Free for young and young at heart

15 Free things to do with Kids


Yours in Speech,

Lakeshore Speech Therapy

Summer is HERE!!!

School’s OUT …….Summer’s HERE……and within two  seconds, the kids are bored! Nothing says Summer like the sweets sounds of “There’s nothing to do” and “I’m bored” seeming on loop from most children’s mouths.  AND if they are not outright saying it, you know they are thinking it by the glazed look in their eyes when they are offered a suggestion of how to fill the ‘endless’ hours of a day.  

Believe it or not, most children crave schedules and structure.  Seems completely against all that the lazy days of Summer imply, but on the whole, children (and most adults) are more productive and have fewer meltdowns when a schedule is in place.  I have no empirical data to offer on the previous statement, just years of experience at home, in school and in the clinic watching the change in those around when even the simplest schedule is laid out.

Toddlers to Teens to Twenties and older benefit from knowing what’s happening, what is expected and how long it will last. This is not to say every minute of every day of every activity needs to be spelled out, but here are 2 techniques that might be worth a try in mapping out the days of Summer.

The Verbal Set-up: Simple, easy and always with you.  This schedule techniques is used by millions, yet has never been given the credence  it deserves. At breakfast (no tv on, no digital devices, just their little eyes focused on Y.O.U), lay out how the day is going to roll. Chunk the day up because that’s a lot to think about and chances are you will not have had all the necessary cups of coffee yet for maximum functioning ability!

“Good morning, here’s our morning: We are going to finish breakfast. Then change – don’t forget to brush your teeth. We have 2  places we need to go to – the store and the library. First we’re headed to the library – this will be a SHORT visit. We need to run in and get the books I have on hold.  We will not be going to the children’s section, THIS TIME. I will need someone to help carry my library card going in and someone to carry the books – volunteers? Then we are headed to the grocery store.  I will have a list of what we need. This isn’t a LONG visit, we should be able to get what we need and get out quickly. I will need help finding some of the stuff and I know I can count on you all. After the grocery store, we are coming right home.  We will all put the groceries away. Once the groceries are put away you can go outside (or play or whatever they can do at that time).

Pictures Speak Louder than Words: A little more involved, but might be just what is needed. You know the type of pictures your child tunes into most (photos, your artistic renderings, clipart, etc.).  Spend some time gathering these pictures (ie: get the old 35mm camera out use your phone and take pictures of your car, the stores/locations you visit most), print and laminate (easiests cheapest lamination is clear contact paper or packing tape). Start the same way as the ‘Verbal Set-up’, in a calm undistracted situation (typically when eating 😉) and lay out the schedule, again chunking it.

“Good morning, here’s our morning: We are going to finish breakfast. [photo of empty plate (can stand for finishing any meal)] Then change – don’t forget to brush your teeth. [photo of closet or draw with clothes (can stand for change clothes anytime)] We have 2  places we need to go to – the store and the library. [photo of car and specific buildings]. First we’re headed to the library – this will be a SHORT visit.  We need to run in and get the books I have on hold. We will not be going to the children’s section, THIS TIME. I will need someone to help carry my library card going in and someone to carry the books – volunteers? Then we are headed to the grocery store.  I will have a list of what we need. This isn’t a LONG visit, we should be able to get what we need and get out quick. I will need help finding some of the stuff and I know I can count on you all. After the grocery store, we are coming right home. [photo of home] We will all put the groceries away.  Once the groceries are put away you can go outside (or play or whatever they can do at that time). [photo of playroom/outside, etc.].

If you would like more information or need help in getting started using these techniques, ask your Speech Therapist.  If you don’t have one to ask, give Kelly a call at Lakeshore Speech (1-440-471-7190).

Yours in Speech,

Lakeshore Speech Therapy