Archive for June, 2014

Visual Aids for Pronoun Practice

Does you child sometimes use “she” for “he”? Use these great visual aids for practice when reading books, telling a story, or having a conversation at the dinner table! Practice them out loud so your child can grasp the concept of correct pronoun usage!


Posted by on June 30th, 2014 Comments Off on Visual Aids for Pronoun Practice


Are you worried about a stutter?

Playing with Words 365 gives these GREAT tips for parents who are worried about their children possibly presenting a stutter. They recommend to have a speech evaluation if your child appears to have these signs:

  • Your child stutters frequently – There could be cause for concern if your child is stuttering more than 10% of the time. These behaviors include: repeating sounds, syllables, and words, prolonging sounds in words, or tense vocal “blocks” (when they try to produce a word but it seems to get stuck in the throat).
  • You have a family member that stutters – Research shows that those who have relatives that stutter are at a greater risk for stuttering than those who do not. Though the exact cause is still unclear, about 60% of those who stutter chronically were found to have a family member who also stutters.
  • Your child has been stuttering longer than 12 months – Phases of typical stuttering usually last no longer than 6-12 months. A person is more likely to stutter chronically if it has lasted longer than a year.
  • Your child has visible tension in their face and neck – Sometimes you can see the struggle and difficulty those who stutter have with getting out words. You might see their eyes squint, lips quiver, or muscles tighten. If the stuttering instances are easy and loose with no tension, they are more likely to be exhibiting normal disfluency.
  • Your child has difficulty with breath control – Those who stutter at times appear as if they were “out of breath” when talking. They might be trying to talk as quickly as possible and say their message all in one breath. Or the very act of speaking may be causing such exertion that they feel out of breath.
  • Your child began to stutter after the age of 3 1/2 – Kids who develop disfluent behaviors later may be more likely to stutter chronically.
  • Your child displays fear and avoidance of speaking – Sometimes kids have a difficulty time dealing with their difficulty speaking. They may realize that a certain sound or word is hard to say and avoid it altogether.
  • Another risk factor – being male – Research has shown that boys are 3-4 times more likely to stutter than girls.

Also, take a look at this chart to see some tips for working towards stutter-free speech. While reading with your child, try some of these phrases and self-check questions to create self-awareness:


Posted by on June 26th, 2014 Comments Off on Are you worried about a stutter?


Rainbow Slime Activity!

For those days when it is just too hot outside, here is a fun activity for you and your child to do indoors!


What a fun way to follow directions, work together, and integrate some sensory input into their day!

Read how to make rainbow slime HERE!

Rainbow Slime (10)

Posted by on June 25th, 2014 Comments Off on Rainbow Slime Activity!


Swimming and Autism

With summer coming around the corner, swimming is a fun activity for many children. Super Swimmers Foundation talks about the physical benefit children with autism get from swimming.

Super Swimmers Foundation states:

“Children with autism experience a great deal of benefit from physical activity, which can include:

  • Ease repetitive behaviors
  • Act as a positive social outlet
  • Increase attention span
  • Reduce risk of later adult health conditions of obesity and heart disease”

The article also says that “People with autism experience levels of sensory perception that most of us wouldn’t know or understand,” Dr. O’Connor said. “It overloads them, so they engage in behaviors that distract them. Exercise gives them the same benefits but it doesn’t have the negative social connotations.”

So this summer, take your child to the pool! See the benefits of swimming come to life! Swimming will give them the sensory input they need and exercise that they may not typically get. What a fun activity to endure!

Posted by on June 23rd, 2014 Comments Off on Swimming and Autism


Awesome ASD Fact Sheet

The Child Development Institute has developed fact sheets for many disorders an disabilities for parents to help explain their child’s condition to others. These fact sheets also serve as a parents guide to children with autism. This website has fact sheets on many topics including eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and behavior disorders. Go check out the website for a free printable fact sheet. Below are the Frequently Asked Questions on autism that parents may get from people about their child.

  • What is autism?
  • What are some of the common signs of autism?
  • How is autism diagnosed?
  • What causes autism?
  • What role does genetics play?
  • Do symptoms of autism change over time?
  • How can autism be treated?

You can also subscribe to their newsletter!

Posted by on June 19th, 2014 Comments Off on Awesome ASD Fact Sheet


Adaptive Tricycles and Bicycles

Now that summer is coming, it is a great opportunity to get outside and get some exercise! Look at adaptive trikes and bikes to make a successful trip around the neighborhood or to the park! Most include seat belts and handles to create a safe trip for both parents and children. The Special Needs website states: “Special needs tricycles and bicycles are available to accommodate a vast array of special needs. Hand-pedaled recumbent tricycles make it possible for those without the use of their legs. Children, teens and adults with cerebral palsy and similar disorders can select tricycles specially designed to increase strength and coordination. Caregivers to autistic children can ride with their child on tandem special needs tricycles built to accommodate one adult and one child rider.” Check out the Special Needs website for more information! You can also purchase training wheels and helmets!   toddler amtryke - thumb-01adultseries2700-thumb-21 riftonLargeTrike-thumb

Posted by on June 19th, 2014 Comments Off on Adaptive Tricycles and Bicycles


New Classifications for ASD

The Diagnostics and Statistics Manual is releasing their their fifth edition. With this new addition is coming some new changes relating to Autism Spectrum Disorder. The writers of this manual are starting to categorize ASD with a simple number system based off severity. Thus, the term “Aspergers” is essentially non existent and is now considered “Autism 1”. Michelle Garcia Winter describes her thoughts on the changes that have been put into affect since May 2013. To read more, click HERE. Below are some of her responses:

What are my thoughts on this?
From the time my professional focus shifted to working with people with “higher level” social communication challenges, I struggled with the lack of diagnostic clarity when addressing this specific group of clients. For this reason I never aligned my work under any specific diagnostic category and in my writings and training sessions always referred to our students as having Social Cognitive Deficits. I now prefer the term Social Learning Challenges.

I have had the opportunity to hear two members of the DSM-5 ASD committee, Dr. Catherine Lord and Dr. Amy Weatherby, address audiences on the proposed changes. In both workshops they presented various research studies demonstrating the inability professionals experienced in distinguishing Asperger Syndrome, PDD-NOS, and Autism in a sub-group of our students. This certainly aligns with my observations.

What happens to all those individuals diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome? Will this descriptive label really go away?
None of us know the answer to this question for certain, but my best guess is that Asperger Syndrome as a diagnostic description, even if it is not officially included in the DSM-5, is here to stay. High functioning autism (HFA) has never been an official diagnostic descriptor sanctioned in previous or the current edition of DSM (DSM-IV) yet is a commonly used descriptor not only by us lay people but also by researchers who use it to define their study subjects. Furthermore, Asperger Syndrome is more than a diagnostic label; it has become a cultural identifier for many of our students and adults who recognize themselves as AS and have sought networks of support, friendship and collaboration within it.

Learn more about the new diagnostics manual at some of these websites:

Posted by on June 16th, 2014 Comments Off on New Classifications for ASD


The Sparkle Effect

The Sparkle Effect is a program with a mission to get kids with disabilities involved. It was founded by a girl by the name of Sarah Cronk. She started the program in hopes to create inclusive cheer squads all around the world.

“The Sparkle Effect is an innovative program that helps students across the country create inclusive cheerleading and dance teams in middle schools, high schools, and colleges that bring together students with and without disabilities. We provide everything that’s needed, including our Quick Start Kit and peer mentoring. We also have grants available for uniforms and we provide free on-site training. More than 120 Sparkle Effect teams have formed in 26 states, so learn more and get started today!”

What an incredible story! Check out how you can learn more AND start a team today HERE.


Posted by on June 12th, 2014 Comments Off on The Sparkle Effect


Apps for Apraxia of Speech

Since we listed a few apps for children with autism (check it out HERE!), here are a few for children who have apraxia of speech!

Try them out and let us know what you think!

  • Articulation Scenes – This app contains over 1200 practice words all centered around a cinema theme. It was created by a speech language pathologist and has a variety of engaging and fun activities for kids to try!
  • Apraxia Ville – This particular app is for children with more severe to profound speech sound disorders and for childhood apraxia of speech. This app targets both consonant and vowel sounds and you can also customize the  structure of the word to work on your specific target.
  • Articulate It! – This app is fantastic for working on speech sounds and articulation delays. It is designed for multiple players (up to 6) and is the perfect tool for both parents and speech pathologists.
  • Match2Say – This is a matching game used to work on children’s pronunciation skills. Adults can also use this app!
  • Smart Oral Motor – This app provides practices for mouth positions in order to correctly articulate words. For adults AND children, this app benefits those with apraxia of speech and speech sound disorders.
  • Speech Trainer 3D – This app actually provides a 3D image form the front and the side on how your mouth should look when you are making certain sounds. Designed by a speech language pathologist, it is a perfect visual for people with apraxia of speech.

Posted by on June 11th, 2014 Comments Off on Apps for Apraxia of Speech


Garden with Your Kids this Summer!

Gardening with your kids this summer can make for a lot of learning and a lot of fun! Try different vegetables and flowers. You can decorate your house with the pretty flowers and you can eat the yummy vegetables. Eartheasy gives some great tips for gardening with your children!

They state that “Working in a garden, a child can experience the satisfaction that comes from caring for something over time, while observing the cycle of life firsthand.”

What an awesome opportunity to observe, bond, and learn about sustainability and healthy eating habits!

Here are the top ten recommended crops for children:

  1. Sunflowers
  2. Lettuce
  3. Radishes
  4. Snow peas
  5. Cherry tomatoes
  6. Nasturtiums
  7. Bush Beans
  8. Carrots
  9. Potatoes
  10. Pumpkin

Some recommended tips include:

  • Give them their own garden beds. Whether you use raised beds, containers or ground plots, be sure to give each child his or her own separate plot. Keep it small, very small for young kids. Put their plots right in the middle of the action, with the best soil and light. Set them up for success.
  • Reuse the sandbox. If your children have grown past their sandbox years, consider converting the old sandbox to a garden bed. This gives the child continued ‘ownership’ of a familiar space and encourages a sense of responsibility to the gardening project. Of course, a productive garden bed needs to be in good sunlight and soil should be free of tree roots. It may be necessary to relocate the sandbox if growing conditions are less than ideal.
  • Give them serious tools. Cheap plastic child’s gardening tools are worse than no tools at all; they break easily and frustrate the user. It can be hard to locate good tools for kids, especially work gloves that fit a small hand. With some garden tools, like a hoe or spade, you can easily saw the handle shorter. Let them use your tools if need be; in this way you’re acknowledging the importance of the work they’re doing.
  • Engage them through the entire process, from seed to table. Children learn better when they understand the context of their activity. They will learn that gardening can be fun, but far more than idle play; they are contributing to the family well-being. Besides planting and nurturing their garden beds, be sure they alone do the harvesting and preparation of their crop for the table, no matter how modest the offering.

For some more tips and tricks on gardening, check out! Try out gardening this summer and let us know what you think!

Posted by on June 9th, 2014 Comments Off on Garden with Your Kids this Summer!