Archive for July, 2014

Incredible “Welcome to Holland” Story!

Below is an INCREDIBLE story about how Emily Perl Kingsley describes her life as a mother of a child with a disability. What an inspiration!! Please read and share! 

Welcome to Holland

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this…… When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting. After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.” “Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.” But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay. The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place. So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met. It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts. But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.” And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss. But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.

Posted by on July 31st, 2014 Comments Off on Incredible “Welcome to Holland” Story!


Work on 2-Step Directions!

Does your child have trouble following 2-step directions? Do they do them out of order? Work on following directions and listening carefully with your child and have some fun! Here are some simple suggestions from!

  • Put your hands on your shoulders then count to eight.
  • Put your hands over your eyes and stand up.
  • Shake your head and say hello.
  • Put your elbows on the table and wave at me.
  • Pretend to take off your watch and then point to a corner in the room.
  • Turn around in a circle and say “Look over there!”
  • Stand up and then jump up and down two times.
  • Clap your hands 3 times and walk to the door.
  • Pretend to wash your hands and then cross your fingers.
  • Shake your head yes and name a color
  • Pretend to put on a shirt and name a shape.
  • Pretend to comb your hair and name a number.
  • Count to 10 and pretend to tie your shoe.
  • Wiggle your fingers and snap your fingers 4 times.
  • Wave your hand and then wink at the person next to you.
  • Count the chairs in the room and then put your hand over your mouth.
  • Pat yourself on the head and say your ABC’s.
  • Lift both hands up in the air and then tap your foot on the floor.
  • Name something you see that is red and then sit on your hands.
  • Name 2 of your friends and then sing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”
  • Pretend to drive a car and then close your eyes.
  • Give someone a thumbs up and then touch your shoulders 3 times.
  • Pretend to sneeze and then touch your toes.
  • Give someone a high five and take a deep breath.
  • Point to a light in the room and touch your knees 2 times.

Need a challenge? Try these 3-step directions!

Posted by on July 30th, 2014 Comments Off on Work on 2-Step Directions!


Try an Experiment!

Check out this awesome experiment from Steve Spangler Science! Talk to your child about colors and science! A fun activity for the summer! All you need is milk, dish soap, and food coloring! Enjoy!   images-7

Posted by on July 29th, 2014 Comments Off on Try an Experiment!


Marble Runs Teach Crucial Concepts!

Thanks to Schoolhouse Talk, we learn multiple ways that children can learn from such a simple toy, Marble Runs! You can find them online (click here for an 103-piece set off Amazon) or in toy stores. Schoolhouse Talk discusses ways to make playing with Marble Runs fun AND functional! Check it out!

  • Basic Concepts: talk about the colors of the marbles and the maze pieces; the number of marbles being used; count the marbles at the bottom of the maze; discuss the shape of the marbles; construct different shapes out of the maze; talk about which marbles were first and last; are the marbles going fast or slow?
  • Emerging Language Skills: Marble mazes are excellent because there is a definite start and a definite end, and it doesn’t take long for the marbles to reach the bottom. You will have lots of chances to elicit “ready…set…” and wait for your student to yell “GO!”. Marble runs are also the perfect opportunity for students to practice requests: more, please, my turn, more marbles, all gone
  • Turn-Taking and Pronouns: Some of my preschoolers have a behavior goal for turn-taking. Marble runs are perfect practice for this. We also get tons of opportunities to practice pronouns: my turn, your turn, we go at the same time, his turn, you do it, etc.
  • Prepositions: up, down, around, bottom, top, inside, through, first, last – they’re all covered here! (We work on this lots with our young ones at CLASS, Inc.!)
  • Following Directions: You can instruct your kiddos how to build the marble maze, or have them practice telling each other directions. Since the maze pieces are different colors and shapes (curved, straight, wheeled, etc), it’s perfect for adding describing words to your sentences: “Put the curved red piece on top of the short purple piece.”
  • Articulation: I have my articulation students practice their target sounds a designated number of times before they can shoot a marble down the run. Or they earn the marbles as we practice and enjoy sending them all down at once 🙂
Marble Run Example

Marble Run Example

Posted by on July 29th, 2014 Comments Off on Marble Runs Teach Crucial Concepts!


Teach Your Child Not To Interrupt In One Simple Step!

Can it be true?! Check out this awesome simple step from An Everyday Story! Enjoy!

“Well they used to. That was before I saw this truly genius little technique from a friend.

I was chatting with her one day when her (then 3-year-old) son wanted to say something. Instead of interrupting though, he simply placed his hand on her wrist and waited. My friend placed her hand over his to acknowledge him and we continued chatting.

After she had finished what she was saying, she turned to him. I was in awe! So simple. So gentle. So respectful of both the child and the adult.

My husband and I started implementing this straight away. We explained to Jack and Sarah that if they want to talk and someone is already speaking they need to place their hand on our wrist and wait. It took some practice and a few light taps on our own wrists as gentle reminders but I am so happy to report that the interrupting has all but stopped!!

No more, ‘wait’. No more, ‘Please don’t interrupt’. Just a simple visual gesture; a little touch of the wrist. That’s all.

Give it a try. It works!”

Posted by on July 23rd, 2014 Comments Off on Teach Your Child Not To Interrupt In One Simple Step!


5 FUN Water Activities!

Now that it is summer time, make play FUN with water! So many things to talk about and lots of fun to be had outside. Try these ideas from No Time For Flash Cards and let us know what you think!

Color Mixing Activity!

Color Mixing Activity!


Posted by on July 22nd, 2014 Comments Off on 5 FUN Water Activities!


Auditory Training Programs

Check out these Auditory Training programs all kinds! Auditory Training programs helps those with hearing loss and cochlear implants in working on their language discrimination skills as well as their comprehension skills. Listed below are auditory training  programs, computer related programs, and web-based programs. With so many opportunities available, everyone can receive therapy!

ASIPS _ Auditory Skills Instructional Planning System
Post Office Box 82289
Portland, OR 97282
Phone: 503-653-2614

CASLLS – Cottage Acquisition Scales for Listening, Language & Speech
Sunshine Cottage103 Tuleta Drive
San Antonio, TX 78212
Phone: 210-824-0579 ext. 244 or TTY/ 824-5563

CHATS, the Miami Cochlear Implant, Auditory & Tactile Skills Curriculum
Intelligent Hearing Systems
7356 S.W. 48th Street
Miami, FL 33155
Toll free: 800-447-9783
Phone: 305-668-6102

DASL II _ Developmental Approach to Successful Listening II

Cochlear Corporation
400 Inverness Drive South, Suite 400
Englewood Colorado 80112
Toll free: 800-523-5798
Phone: 303-790-9010

SPICE _ Speech Perception Instructional Curriculum and Evaluation
CID Publications
4560 Clayton Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63110
Toll free: 877-444-4574 (ext. 133)

Computer Related

Visi-Pitch III
Kay Elemetrics Corp.
2 Bridgewater Lane
Lincoln Park, NJ 07035
Phone: 973-628-6200

This device is only good for use with children who have useable vision. This is a device that provides visual feedback to sounds the child produces, but it can aid the child in paying attention to speech sounds.

Earobics Software (Home version and Specialist/Clinician versions)
Cognitive Concepts
990 Grove Street
Evanston, IL 60201
Toll free: 888-328-8199

This device is only good for use with children who have useable vision. This software has games and activities to work on higher level auditory training skills.

Reader Rabbit
Riverdeep – The Learning Company, Inc.
399 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02116
Phone: 617-778-7600

This device is only good for use with children who have useable vision. This software has games and activities to work on higher level auditory training skills.


Here are resources for practicing listening skills. The one I have been using most is Randall’s ESL Cyber Listening Labs. If I am missing anything, add it to the comments or contact me. You can also search for more read aloud stories, read along stories, and listening practice.

Podcasting’s popularity has led to a boom in free audio files for downloading and syndicating. However, these are usually home-produced and may not be the best quality and speakers may talk too fast. If a specific subject or hobby interests you, then it can be a way to practicing listening to something you love and recognizing terms. Robin Good’s Lastest News has a long list of places for finding and submitting podcasts.

Aeosops Fables

Assistive Media

Audio (children’s) Stories

Basic English Class Listening Practice Page

The English Listening Lounge

Grimm Fairy Tales


Medline Plus: Interactive Health Tutorials

Randall’s ESL Cyber Listening Labs

Read Along Adventures

Read along stories

Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic

RIF Reading Planet: Read aloud stories

Speech Accent Archive

Story Nory

Story Plus…

Tellitagain Children’s Stories

Web Sites for Independent Listening Practice

White House speeches on the radio

Posted by on July 21st, 2014 Comments Off on Auditory Training Programs


6 “Smelly” Activities for Kids!

Try these fun smelling activities with your kids this summer! Have the kids use your senses to describe what they smell and talk about and discuss the end result! These fun activities are from! Gather your kids and see if they can pass the “smell” test!!

Smell and Go Seek
Test your kids’ power of odor detection by spraying a washable object, like a clean sock or towel, with a strong scent (perfume or room deodorizer works well). While your child closes her eyes and counts to 20, quickly hide the sock in the room—and see how long it takes her to find it by using her nose as her guide. For an extra challenge, blindfold your child, guide her around the house, then see if she can tell where she is just by the smells in the air. Since our noses quickly grow accustomed to familiar odors, she’ll have to pay close attention to discern the lingering scent of spaghetti that tells her she’s in the kitchen, or the hint of detergent that says laundry room.

Blind Taste Test
To make the point that your sense of smell is closely linked to your sense of taste, try an old-fashioned taste-test as a mini-science experiment. Blindfold your child, have him plug his nose, then see if he can taste the difference between foods with similar textures. Try apples vs. raw potatoes, orange soda vs. lemon-lime, banana yogurt vs. strawberry, purple jelly beans vs. green. Keep track of his guesses as you go. Then have him take a stab at identifying the flavors simply by smelling them. Which was easier? Did he get more right by taste or by smell? How does our ability to smell things affect our ability to taste them? The takeaway: Without a sense of smell, everything would taste pretty much the same — one reason it’s no fun to eat when your nose is stuffed up.

Smell Matcher
Make a Memory-style card game that relies on your child’s sense of smell. On 3×5 index cards or pieces of cardstock, swab on a thin patch of white glue. While it’s still wet, sprinkle on a powdered herb or spice, such as cinnamon, pepper, or the more exotic coriander or Spanish paprika. Each spice should appear on two cards, with at least twelve cards total. To play the game like Memory, shuffle the cards and lay them upside down — then challenge your child to find the matches. Although appearance will offer a clue, make sure you smell each card. (Don’t be surprised if your child comments on the presence of basil or oregano in your next meal!)

Scent Scrapbook
Studies have shown that your sense of smell can enhance your working memory and evoke long-ago experiences — one reason a whiff of bonfire smoke instantly transports you to your childhood summer camps, or cinnamon rolls make you think of your grandmother. Play up that memory power by helping your kid create a scent scrapbook. Talk about the smells that remind her of happy times and beloved people — like the waxy new crayon smell that makes her think of preschool, or the scent of strawberries that reminds her of her favorite snack. Afterward, use a small notebook to create your own scratch-and-sniff scrapbook by spritzing on a perfume or essential oil, gluing on bits of spice, or attaching plastic bags with small bits of the item (like a handful of backyard dirt). After a bad day, inhaling some of her favorite smells can instantly boost your child’s mood.

DIY Stink Bomb
Kids love this one! For the old-fashioned method, use a long needle to prick a hole in an egg. Place it in a ventilated container — like a shoebox with holes punched in it — and wait. Within a couple weeks, bacteria will have broken down the egg’s protein, producing the hydrogen sulfide that creates the classic (and awful!) smell. Release the horrible odor by breaking the egg; just make sure to do it somewhere outside, far away from houses and humans who’ll be stuck smelling it!

Hound Dogs
Know why dogs have such an acute sense of smell? They have between 125 and 200 million olfactory receptors — the cells that detect scents — compared to the 5 million that humans generally have. To see how sharp your little bloodhounds’ noses are, fill a few small lidded jars with different strong scents — a cotton ball soaked in perfume, a 1/4 cup of vinegar, some vanilla, and so on. With your kids standing about 15 feet away, remove the lid from a jar and see who can identify the scent first. Playing around with the variables by diluting the vinegar, moving your kids farther away, or doing the experiment outside can provide different results and lead to some interesting discussion. May the best snout win!

Posted by on July 17th, 2014 Comments Off on 6 “Smelly” Activities for Kids!


Benefits of Board Games!

Playing board games with your kids can be a great way to spend time together – and learn at the same time! shares the benefits of board games and some to choose from, below:

What your child most wants — and needs — is to be with you with no goal in mind beyond the joy of spending time together. He wants you to take pleasure in him, play with him, and listen to him. Nothing bolsters his self-esteem more! So why not pull out an old board game tonight? Playing games is an easy and excellent way to spend unhurried, enjoyable time together. As an added bonus, board games are also rich in learning opportunities. They satisfy your child’s competitive urges and the desire to master new skills and concepts, such as:

  • number and shape recognition, grouping, and counting
  • letter recognition and reading
  • visual perception and color recognition
  • eye-hand coordination and manual dexterity

Games don’t need to be overtly academic to be educational, however. Just by virtue of playing them, board games can teach important social skills, such as communicating verbally, sharing, waiting, taking turns, and enjoying interaction with others. Board games can foster the ability to focus, and lengthen your child’s attention span by encouraging the completion of an exciting, enjoyable game. Even simple board games like Chutes and Ladders offer meta-messages and life skills: Your luck can change in an instant — for the better or for the worse. The message inherent in board games is: Never give up. Just when you feel despondent, you might hit the jackpot and ascend up high, if you stay in the game for just a few more moves.

Board games have distinct boundaries. Living in a complex society, children need clear limits to feel safe. By circumscribing the playing field — much as tennis courts and football fields will do later — board games can help your child weave her wild and erratic side into a more organized, mature, and socially acceptable personality. After all, staying within the boundaries (not intruding on others’ space, for example) is crucial to leading a successful social and academic life.

Some board games suggests to play with your kids are and their prices on Amazon:

Posted by on July 16th, 2014 Comments Off on Benefits of Board Games!


Games that Include Physical Activity

With all this nice weather, it is time to get outside and play! Check out these games from! Outdoor games are a positive way to encourage physical movement! Make the games exciting and GET MOVING!

Tag — You’re It!
There are countless variations of the game “tag” with the same basic concept, where one person person is “It” and chases players until he tags someone else to be “It.” Freeze tag operates the same way but when tagged that person becomes frozen and must be “melted” by another player crawling through their legs. During TV tag, when “It” is coming for you, the player ducks down and yells out a favorite show before they are tagged.
Red Light Green Light
Players line up in a straight line and the traffic light caller stands across the room or field from them. The caller yells out “Green light!” which signals players to rush toward the caller as fast as they can. “Yellow light!” means players proceed slowly and “Red light!” means players freeze. Players that do not follow directions instantly must go back to the starting line, and the first person to reach the caller becomes the caller for the next round.

Ship Captain
The captain calls directions to the other players, who are “out” if they do not listen or are the last to follow the direction. The directions include running to the front, back, left, or right sides of the ship (called out “bow,” “stern,” “port,” or “starboard,” respectively). “Scrub the deck” means players must be on their knees scrubbing the floor. “Row the boat” means players face a partner and pretend to row (any not paired are out). And “Three Men in a Boat” means players form groups of three and sing “Row Row Row the Boat.” Other directions include “Hit the deck,” where players lay down on their stomachs, “Shark!” where players run to a safe spot, and “Sick turtle” where players lay on their backs with legs in the air.

Relay Races
Three-legged races, potato sack races, and leap frog races are very fun games for children. Other popular race options include wheelbarrow races, crab walk, bear walk, backwards, obstacle courses, and balancing egg races. They should be a shorter distance for younger children and a longer distance for those that are older. Be sure to pair teams so all teams have children that are of mixed athletic ability in order to make the game fun and fair for everyone.

Posted by on July 14th, 2014 Comments Off on Games that Include Physical Activity