Author Archive

What Are Core Words?

 

Have you ever slowed down and examined your speech? Which words do you use most frequently and which ones are absolutely essential in your day-to-day conversations?

Core words include a set of approximately 220 words that are very commonly used and applicable to all populations, places, topics and activities. Approximately 80% of the words we use in conversation will be core words, but most of them are used repeatedly, which is another reason why we refer to them as being “core” to language. Some core words can also be called “sight words” because they have to be recognized and learned by sight. For example, the words “eye” and “new” are nearly impossible for young readers to sound out using phonic rules, so they would require memorization by sight.

Language tends to become very complex over time so it is crucial that we help new learners set a strong foundation through core vocabulary. Once children become comfortable with using core words they can ultimately build on it by using tools like grammatical rules such as where and when to add tense or possessives. When students are able to identify and read all of the core words, they can read about 75% of words in any given piece of children’s literature. Some of the most successful ways to teach core words include consistency and repetition, exposure, and teaching through stories, music and visuals. Natural integration of core words in language produces the best outcomes because children learn quickest when they see others modeling language.

This is a sample page from the Proloquo2Go iPad app

This is a sample page from the Proloquo2Go iPad app

core words

This sample page of core words has color coded backgrounds to represent parts of speech.

It is also important that we entice communication and give the learner an opportunity to use core words when something motivates them. When a word is consistently used and repeated in conversation, the learner begins seeing the pattern of use and is eventually able to reproduce it without being prompted. Some of the first core words in English include “all done,” “help,” “want,” “more,” “it,” “who,” “what,” and “why.” Core words can also be quite challenging to sound out so it is important that teachers, therapists or caregivers spend time teaching children how to say, understand and apply them. For augmented communicators who struggle with speech, it is also helpful to provide an extensive list of high frequency core words on their communication device so they can point to words or visuals to better explain what they may want or need. Grade schools also do a great job with integrating core words into class curriculum so students can acquire fluency as they move up grade levels. Just remember: take things slow, do not overwhelm the learner but do not restrict their access to more words and provide as much support you possibly can for your learner to reach the pinnacle of their core language development.

For more information on how the use of core words empowers language contact us:  info@classinc.net and please visit us on FaceBook:  https://www.facebook.com/CLASSIncFW

Posted by on March 4th, 2016 Comments Off on What Are Core Words?

 

Music and Speech Therapy

As explained by the American Music Therapy Association, music therapy is:

“an evidence-based, allied health profession that uses music interventions to accomplish individualized goals. Through musical responses, the board-certified therapist assesses emotional well-being, physical health, social functioning, communication abilities, and cognitive skills. Specifically regarding communication, music therapists are trained to adapt elements of music (e.g. tempo, rhythm, melody, harmony, and texture) to promote effective expressive and receptive communication skills.”

On the ASHAsphere website, it is explained that there are multiple similarities between music and speech, which it why these two therapies make a great collaborative approach to children in therapy. The website explains these similarities between music and speech and why they are important:

  • Music and Language are universal and specific to humans.
  • Both have pitch, timbre, rhythm, and durational features.
  • Spontaneous speech and spontaneous singing typically develop within infants at approximately the same time.
  • Music and language have auditory, vocal, and visual uses (both use written systems) and are built on structure and rules.
  • Distinct forms of music and language exist and vary across cultures.

Think about music therapy as an option for your child!

Posted by on August 11th, 2014 Comments Off on Music and Speech Therapy

 

FREE Speech Therapy Materials!

Thanks to SpeechandLanguageKids.com, there are plenty of FREE printable materials to work on a multitude of different concepts with your child anywhere, anytime! Click on the links below to check out these fun, interactive games with your children (or clients!).

  • He Does, She Does Game: This game works on proper use of gender-specific pronouns.
  • Where Questions Game: This game will help you to work on speech and language skills, mainly matching the question to the “where” question.
  • Funny Faces Grammar Game: This FUN game works on building different faces while describing moods, possessive nouns, and many other speech and language skills.
  • Sequencing Game: This game includes working on skills such as sequencing and following directions. Included are sequencing from 5 steps to 9 steps.
  • Opposite Game: This game works on learning opposites and how they relate to each other.
  • Vocabulary Game: This game can be used in a variety of ways. Not only does this game work on building vocabulary, but you can also work on basic concepts, following directions, and answering questions.
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear Game: This game is used along with the Brown Bear, Brown Bear: What do you see? book. Use this game to develop speech and language using a carrier phrase, literacy skills, and reading skills.
  • Adjectives Game: This game will help children learn different vocabulary words as well as learning to describe items using their five senses!
  • Spatial Concepts Game: This game will help children learn spatial concepts such as behind, next to, in front of, on top, and so on. Very important concepts to learn!
  • When Questions Game: This game will help children learn how to properly answer “when” questions at varying difficulty levels.

Posted by on August 7th, 2014 Comments Off on FREE Speech Therapy Materials!

 

The Dreaded “W-Sitting”

Stephanie Galanis tells us about the dreaded “W-sit” and why it is important to correct it in your toddlers as soon as possible! Below is her article from YummyMummyClub! Read to see why W-sitting could lead to some problems later down the road.

THE DREADED W-SITTING IN TODDLERS

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I had a patient recently ask me if it is okay for her thirteen-month-old daughter to be W-sitting during playtime. The short answer is: absolutely NOT!

It is never ok to be sitting like this for a prolonged period of time, and should be stopped immediately whenever you see it. There are a few postural and developmental reasons for this, and I’ll go into some detail on all of them:

  • Hip Distortion
  • Knee and Foot Distortion
  • Poor Development of Core Muscles
  • Lack of Cross-Body Coordination

1. Hip Distortion

With the legs externally rotated, this puts an enormous amount of pressure on the internal aspect of the hip joint. Muscles that stabilize the hip joint become short and contracted in this position, which restricts future mobility of the joint. This can and will impact the development of walking and how the hip and pelvis move later in life. The joint itself, which is made up of the femur bone and the acetabulum of the hip, has a greater chance of dislocating when placed in this extreme rotation.

2. Knee and Foot Distortion

With the hips at the extremes of internal rotation, in the W-sitting position the knees are also placed in extremes of internal rotation, and the ankles are places in extreme external rotation. The shear force over the knee, coupled with the shear force in the hip, will inevitably cause spasm and contracture through the hamstrings and the adductor muscles (inner thigh muscles), as well as the Achilles tendon.

As a chiropractor who has been in practice for nine years, I can easily say that most of the patients who come into my office with low back pain almost always have something going on in the hips, and almost 100% of them have tight and short hamstrings. This is not the precedent we want to start forming with our little kidlets!

3. Poor Development of Core Muscles

A secondary—but important—side effect of W-sitting is poor use and development of core muscles (another common problem I see in practice—lots of weak core muscles, coupled with low back pain). Because the toddler is stabilized by the extreme rotation of the legs, they do not need to use the muscles in their core to stay upright, or to give feedback about balance and spatial awareness. The hips and pelvis are sort of “locked” into place, and the abs and pelvic muscles can just relax, as they have no need to work.

4. Lack of Cross-Body Coordination

This is related to the poor development of core muscles. With a lack of muscle stability and tone in the abdomen, there is also a lack of cross-body movement, or as chiropractors refer to it, neurosensory integration.

As most moms already know, cross-body movement is the essential key in crawling, and later walking (try walking without swinging your arms to see how awkward that is!). When in the W position, you will notice that the right arm of the child will stay on the right side of the body and will not reach across to the left, and vice versa. Bilateral movements are critical for brain development, and are needed for reaching more advanced developmental milestones later on (such as reading and writing). Interestingly, lack of cross-body movement has been noted in children who show signs along the Autism spectrum. Now, to be clear, W-sitting does not cause Autism, but is commonly noted in this group of patients, and is considered in part with abnormal development.

So, there you have my long and short answers on W-sitting. Whenever you see it, correct it. Prevention is absolutely the key here! If your child has developed a W pattern of sitting, bring them into see a Pediatric Chiropractor for a check-up and specific suggestions on what your child needs to correct.

 

Posted by on August 6th, 2014 Comments Off on The Dreaded “W-Sitting”

 

Follow-up to “Welcome to Holland”

Celebrating Holland- I’m Home (http://www.oafccd.com/lanark/poems/holland3.html)

By Casey Anthony

I have been in Holland for over a decade now. It has become home. I have had time to catch my breath, to settle and adjust, to accept something different than I’d planned. I reflect back on those years of past when I had first landed in Holland. I remember clearly my shock, my fear, my anger, the pain and uncertainty. In those first few years, I tried to get back to Italy as planned, but Holland was where I was to stay. Today, I can say how far I have come on this unexpected journey. I have learned so much more. But, this too has been a journey of time.
I worked hard. I bought new guidebooks. I learned a new language and I slowly found my way around this new land. I have met others whose plans had changed like mine, and who could share my experience. We supported one another and some have become very special friends.
Some of these fellow travelers had been in Holland longer than I and were seasoned guides, assisting me along the way. Many have encouraged me. Many have taught me to open my eyes to the wonder and gifts to behold in this new land. I have discovered a community of caring. Holland wasn’t so bad.
I think that Holland is used to wayward travelers like me and grew to become a land of hospitality, reaching out to welcome, to assist and to support newcomers like me in this new land. Over the years, I’ve wondered what life would have been like if I’d landed in Italy as planned. Would life have been easier? Would it have been as rewarding? Would I have learned some of the important lessons I hold today?

Sure, this journey has been more challenging and at times I would (and still do) stomp my feet and cry out in frustration and protest. And, yes, Holland is slower paced than Italy and less flashy than Italy, but this too has been an unexpected gift. I have learned to slow down in ways too and look closer at things, with a new appreciation for the remarkable beauty of Holland with its tulips, windmills and Rembrandts.

I have come to love Holland and call it Home.

I have become a world traveler and discovered that it doesn’t matter where you land. What’s more important is what you make of your journey and how you see and enjoy the very special, the very lovely, things that Holland, or any land, has to offer.

Yes, over a decade ago I landed in a place I hadn’t planned. Yet I am thankful, for this destination has been richer than I could have imagined!

Posted by on August 4th, 2014 Comments Off on Follow-up to “Welcome to Holland”

 

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 home-speech-home.com!

  • 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!