Thursday, May 3, 2018

Play by the numbers

All my toys are in cupboards in my treatment room. Recently, one of my parents was delighted that their child had “moved to a new cupboard!” I sort my cupboards by age and ability After all, language and play go hand in hand up til age five. Here are a few favorites:

6 months: Such a simple toy, but this easy grab-it ball for little hands is perfect for bilateral hand skills. Midline work increases the likelihood of sound production. 

2 years: Gearation! Probably the most popular of all toys in the cupboard. Great for bridging the gap between direct cause-effect and indirect cause-effect play.
Kids are moving from one to two words. As they begin to combine toys, they begin to combine words. 

3-5: Any Fisher price, Imaginext, playmobil or other symbolic play toy. Get those narratives going. Once they combine toys they are combining words. 

Marbles. I can sort them, do science and verbal reasoning, make predictions with them (light? No light?, how many little marbles will it take to equal big?). If I have a marble maze to put them with, I can create an activity while working on speech sounds. 

Rush Hour: Play using
the answer key. For receptive task, the child must listen and follow 2-3 elements correctly with spatial directions. Ask for more info, find out if they missed something if the car can't drive out at the end. For a tougher expressive task, the child decodes the answer key (QL3 for green truck left 3) and provides the directions to the SLP or other kids if in a group.

For the complete, detailed list check out the handout on my website.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

It’s a thing, you know

Cocktail speech: when a person uses generic words to ask or answer a question. 
Word retrieval difficulty: when a person has difficulty finding and retrieving the desired word. 

Cocktail speech is a common strategy for the child with a language learning disability with word retrieval difficulties. Using non-specific words often works for them in conversation because the listener tends to fill in the missing information.  When writing or providing specific information, generic words lead to confusion.
A fun way to address this is to work on those “bottom-up” *strategies. Create a situation where the child realizes on their own that they didn’t ask for more information or they didn’t provide accurate directions. This barrier game for mid-elementary kids is the last part of an activity where we have first:
1) pre-taught key words/concepts
2) classified attribute blocks in as many ways as possible and the child has labeled the big idea (size, shape, color,etc) 

Then I grab my super super magnetic board and we take those same attribute blocks and do a receptive and expressive language task. 
Did the child understand when I said “Put the blue triangle in the middle of the board” or “Place the large yellow square below the blue triangle”? If the items don’t match, then we need to figure out (and recall) what needed clarification. Sometimes it’s me that needed to provide more information. 

Then the child gets a turn at providing directions. I translate their left/right on my side so we match up. Did they tell me the shape they meant to say? Did they mean below or did they mean under? 

Easy peezy , lemon squeezy.  But so powerful! 

*bottom-up strategies are when the child is taught something without direct instruction. They learn from the activity. This method has more opportunity for acetylcholine  activation! Those epiphanies provide an extra kick.

*top-down strategies are direct instruction. Someone is telling the child how to do it.