My husband's family is a family that sings... a lot.  They take tunes that they know and change the words to fit the situation.  It can really be quite funny - either the lyrics themselves... or just how bad the song gets butchered.  It's one of those that are you are either laughing with them or at them, but either way, we are laughing.

My son just recently started singing songs and remembering them.  It has been a slow progression since he was about 2 1/2 years old, but I noticed the other day that he really does know most of the lyrics of songs now!  Of course, he's singing: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Jesus Loves Me, Baby Beluga, Row Row Row Your Boat, etc.  These are not top 10 hits (except for in our mini-van).  One of his favorite songs in the Spiderman theme song (the original, from the 1960s).  That one always cracks me up.

It made me start to think about when kids started to sing.  Of course, every child is different.  However, kids should usually start to sing songs and follow along with a tune between ages 2 and 3.  That doesn't mean that you start introducing music at age 2.  Kids need to have music around them from the time they are infants.  When I saw music, I mean lullabies, praise and worship songs (if you are religious), kids songs with catchy beats, instrumental music, etc.  There are so many benefits - learning to tap out of beat (first you will tap it out on their leg or bounce them as they listen), rhyming, variation in pitch, etc.  You may not be a world class singer, but your child doesn't mind and he/she needs to hear your voice.  Sing to your child/children when you put them to bed, wake them up, in the car, etc.  Music development 
Has it really been two weeks?  That's what happens when I get out of my routine.

I made a mistake.  

Timothy discovered a Thomas app on the ipad.  He is obsessed with Thomas the train.  One of the games on the app is a matching game. He quickly figured out how to play the matching game.  He was able to navigate the game by touching the cards and would get excited when he found a match.  If he found Toby (for instance) and he had already seen Toby somewhere else, he would immediately touch the correct card and say "TWO TOBYS"!!  

Here's where the mistake comes in.  I thought he had learned how to play a matching game.  He had not.  He also didn't know what same, different, or match meant.  

Timothy pulled out the game Memory yesterday.  He wanted to play it.  I stopped what I was doing and sat down to play with him.  I figured it would be a breeze since he's so good at it on the iPad.  I was wrong.  He turned over two cards (Nemo and Thumper) and the following exchange occurred:
Me:  Are those the same?
Timothy: Yes!
Me:  That's Nemo and this is Thumper.  Are they the same or different?
Timothy:  Same!
Me:  No, Nemo and Thumper are different.
Timothy:  Different

There was no fight.  There was no tantrum (from him at least ... I was kicking myself for being so foolish).  We simply turned over the cards and I proceeded to play the game teaching him about same, different, and match. 

It just shows you that technology can only bring you so far.  One-on-one teaching with your child can't be replaced by a computer, tv, ipad, DS, etc.  Now, do I think Timothy would go to college not understanding same, different, and match?  No.  However, I'm glad to catch it early and to be the one to teach him.  

Recently, my son has started to attempt to imitate just about everything he hears.  It's so cute!  My father-in-law calls it "Pete and Repeat".  However, I noticed that he is struggling with multi-syllabic words.  Therefore, I went into "speech therapist" mode.  Here are some easy ways to work on multi-syllabic words if your child is dropping one of the syllables.

1.  tap on your child's hand for each syllable (can - dy would be two taps).  
2.  Pull out blocks or toys of some kind and place the correct number of toys to correspond with the number of syllables (3 syllables = 3 blocks).  You would then touch each toy or block while saying each syllable (to-mor-row).  Always model before you have the child attempt it.

Here is a short video to show you how it's done.

Remember that we are always trying to make sure to try to present information in more than one way.  This will help by giving your child a tactile and visual stimulus!
This tactic can be used with young children who are learning to talk and imitate words.  It can also be used with kids who are working on articulation, the phonological pattern of syllable reduction, or kids who are learning to listen.  For those who are learning to listen, this gives them a visual aid to help them know how many parts of the word that they should be hearing.
Let's continue with idea of what to do if you have too many toys that are just lying around and don't have a home.  These toys CAN be useful!  Click here to see the previous blog post about activities for older kids.

First off, I suggest that you begin by going around your house and collecting up stray toys that seem to get lost in the shuffle and just don't have a spot to reside.  Put them all in a big box.  It doesn't matter what you collect since there are so many different things you can do with the toys.  You don't really have to have a "mental checklist" of "must haves" for your box. In my box I have:  3 cars, 2 trains, 2 small balls, 3 plastic animals, 2 puzzle pieces (the puzzle no longer has all the pieces and was going to be tossed), 1 whistle, and 1 noisemaker.  I could've collected more, but I have a young child and didn't want to overwhelm him.

  1. Name the items as you pull them out of the box.  Try to make your face look excited to see what is coming out next.  That will help get your child to engage in the activity.  Let him/her hold the objects.
  2. You can tell your child about the objects.  Describing things will give them a great model for language!
  3. Simply take an object out of the box and say "out" and hand him/her the object.  When they are all out, then put them all back in saying "in" with each one.  You can do this same thing with any preposition set (on/off using a table or the tray on their high chair, up/down and move the objects up and down in the air, etc)

Early Language:
  1. Have your child name the objects.
  2. Have your child to try to name one aspect of the objects - i.e. color.  This will start to get them to begin to learn how to describe.
  3. Teach them prepositions using the objects.
  4. Have your child receptively locate items (if naming them is too hard).  You can make it easier/harder depending on the number of options you let them choose from.

Listening Comprehension:  Depending on your child's level of sophistication with listening comprehension, you can:
  1. Have your child find a specific item when named (remember, don't let your child see your mouth moving because he/she should be learning to listen.  Position yourself directly behind your child and have your mouth close to his/her head).
  2. Describe an object using two or three descriptors and see if your child can find the object that you are requesting.
  3. Tell your child a sentence about the object and see if he/she can find the target object.

  1. You can have your child work on requesting in an appropriate manner.  Have your child look at you and then request in an appropriate manner (i.e. "May I have a toy" or "May I have the car" or "May I have the blue car").  You will know what the appropriate level is for your child's language capabilities.
  2. If you have two children playing, then teach them about sharing by having them share one of the toys from your bin.  You could also have them swap toys after they have had a few minutes to play with them.  A timer could really help with this activity so that they have equal time with the preferred object(s).

  1. Have your child practice his/her "smooth" speech by naming, describing, or requesting the items in the box.

  1. Try to find objects that have your child's target sound or past target sounds that have been mastered in order to change up your speech "homework" practice time!
Learning to re-tell a story is a skill that is hard to teach and even harder to master.  However, practice practice practice and more practice will help kids learn to re-tell a story.

I like to use a simple formula with my kids.  I start off instructing them to tell me the information in 1-2 sentences.  Then, as they are able to master that, then we are able to add more sentences with greater detail.  This form is one that I used with my speech therapy kids to help them remember what information they needed to tell and a way for them to write it out before telling it to the group.

You always want to know WHEN it occurred, WHAT HAPPENEDWHERE the event took place, and WHO was there.  Of course you could always insert more information, but these are the basics.  It becomes a great formula for simple sentences: 

  1. In July, I built a sand castle at the beach with my family.
  2. Yesterday, I shopped for clothes at Kohls with my mom.

Also, as the kids become more comfortable with the information, they can move the information to any order in the sentence (that is grammatically correct).  Simply cut out the parts on the WS and move them around to help keep a visual aid:
  1. My family went to the beach in July and we built sand castles.
  2. In July, I went to the beach with my family and we built a sand castle.
  3. Yesterday I bought school clothes at Kohls with my mom.

You get the idea... 

If your child is working on listening comprehension, then make sure to ask him/her questions about what other people did over the summer.

Oh... and if you need clarification that these activities actually happened over the summer, you may want to send a note home to the parents to write 3-5 major events that happened over the summer.  This way if a student can't think of anything he/she did over the summer, you are armed with a few ideas.

If your student is working on pragmatics, then this can be a great activity to have your student work on maintaining eye contact (with the whole group or pair that student up with one person so the audience is only one person), speaking loud enough for others to hear, remaining on topic, asking a question about someone else's story (and remaining on topic), etc.

Click here to download the pdf file.

Teach Speech has some exciting news!  We have recently become part of the Teachers Pay Teachers world.  This website is designed for teachers to be able to upload things they have created for FREE and for SALE!  Then, teachers (or homeschooling parents or parents who love to do activities with their kids, etc) can log on and look for pre-made activities and pay the TEACHERS who have created them rather than the CORPORATIONS who put them out!  How neat is that?  We will continue to be creating materials for FREE, but we have also been working on several BIG projects that we will now have a forum to sell on.  We are not quite ready to debut our thematic units (based on favorite children's books), but will start putting up some of our smaller projects - check it out as we hope to have new and exciting things up each day!

Click here to find the link directly to our store!
To follow up from yesterday's blog (June 18:  Letter Boxes), here's another great activity/resource!  Don't put the objects from your letter box(es) away yet.  Follow the simple activity below to extend the life of your letter box(es)!

Let's continue with the letter A since that's what we did yesterday.  Write out a large letter A (you could do upper and lowercase if you would like), then arrange the objects around the letter A.  Take a picture.  Once you have all 26 letters, you can put the pictures into a photo album or photo book and you have made your own letter book!  Now you can save it for years to come and look through it from time to time.

Again, if you are focusing on your child's articulation sounds, then you can make a book of all his/her artic sounds.  This will be a great way for continued practice.  Once he/she has graduated from speech, the book becomes another great way to prove to your child that hard work pays off!!  

For you speech therapists out there, this may be a great thing for you to create and add to your articulation materials!!

If your child is working on listening comprehension, then you can use the book to have your child find the pictures of the things you request.  The possibilities are endless!
A colleague recently told me about this website and I just got up this morning to take a look at it.  Wow!  Was I impressed!  

Help Kidz Learn is an interactive site with games, stories, activities, and a parent section.  What I really liked was that most of the games and stories are switch activated!  For those of you who don't know what "switch activated" means, very briefly it is a way for non-verbal, limited verbal output, and limited mobility children have in order to access toys.  You would use a large switch (looks like a big button that you can press) and set it up with the computer (or toy or whatever is switch activated) and the switch, when hit, will make the game/toy do something!  

Once you sign up with the website (free for membership), then you have access to the games, songs, stories, and activities.  They have a great little counting song with awesome counting activities on there, some social stories (without words) for older kids, etc.  Some of the social stories may be good for older kids who are on the autism spectrum and benefit from social stories.

One of my favorite "games" is "pick and play".  You select an instrument (there are three to choose from) and then you get to hear what it sounds like!  This is a great activity for kids who are learning to listen.  It's also a great activity for kids who are working on listening comprehension if you sit with the child and tell them which one to select.  It can also be great for kids who are learning the vocabulary of instruments.

Another great aspect of this website??  It's FREE!  They have ipad apps to download.  The apps cost money, but could be a great investment if the site works for you.  
You want your child to learn matching... but you also need to fold the laundry and put it away.  There's a great way to combine both activities!  Pull out all of the socks and have your little one try to match them.  You may first need to show him/her a pair of matching socks and teach them that when they are exactly the same, they are called a match.  

You could also have the kids sort the clothes before folding them!  Put all the t-shirts, shorts, underwear, and socks in separate piles.  You could also have them sort by color BEFORE you do the wash.  This may help you sort out the loads before loading them in the washer.  There are so many great learning opportunities - even when it comes to laundry.  (Plus, then they are helping with chores - score!).

Is your child working on listening comprehension?  Ask for something specific in a pile of clothes.  This will keep your child occupied while you fold laundry
Crafts are always a great way to get kids talking.  They need to tell you what they need, anticipate the next step, ask for a specific color, request items, describe what they made, tell the function of what they made, etc.  Here are some links to some great Memorial Day crafts.  This is not an exhaustive list... this is simply what I found with a quick search:

The following are from:
Star Wreath
Craft Stick Flag
Patriotic Windsock
Patriotic Pot

The following are from:
3-D Star Paper Craft
Stained Glass Craft
Patriotic Tissue Flowers and Vase

Memorial Day Coloring Pages from