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SLP Mommy of Apraxia: September 2013

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sound Box books idea from: Trust me, I'm a Mom blog

I recently met via the Facebook support group, a mom who has dedicated her blog to ideas parents can do at home for speech carryover. I had never heard of these "Sound Box Books" but they sound great, and apparently, may even be at your local library. Read about here!

Trust Me, I'm a Mom: Let's Talk Tuesday - Sound Box Books, Activity & a...: 'Let's Talk Tuesday' is a bi-weekly post series with ideas on how you can help your child of any ability, but especially tho...

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Pete the Cat home speech/language activities

I was introduced to Pete the Cat, by Eric Litwin last year when my daughter went to preschool. Not only does it have a catchy song the kids can sing and listen to online here:( http://www.thelearninggroove.com/song-index-contents/pete-the-cat---i-love-my-white-shoes#!pete-the-cat-i-love-my-white-shoes/c164e), but it is great for teaching a variety of things in speech/language.  I'll start with it's benefit for apraxia.

Research has shown that books encourage speech and language development.  My mentor taught me to use a literacy based approach to therapy whenever possible.  Not only do the kids enjoy it, but books provide vocabulary in context, which is more meaningful to children than just an artic card.  The use of repetitive story books are generally advocated for apraxia.  If you want to read more, you can find a great article here: http://www.apraxia-kids.org/library/repetitive-books-an-effective-therapeutic-tool-for-children-diagnosed-with-apraxia-of-speech/

Pete the Cat is highly predictable and very repetitive, offering the perfect platform for intense practice needed for apraxia.  The carrier phrase in this book is, "I love my......"  The predictable sentence is "I love my ___ shoes."  The shoes start out as white, but change colors depending on various items Pete steps in.

Depending on your child's verbal output, you could have them say the entire carrier phrase giving them the appropriate prompts and cues as needed, or just have them say one word.  Ashlynn is able to say the entire carrier phrase independently, but needed cueing to complete the rest of the sentence.  It's fascinating to watch the motor plan during these activities, because once it has the plan, it doesn't want to give it up easily. For example, after repeating "I love my white shoes" multiple times, she required a lot of modeling and cueing to change the motor plan to say, "I love my blue shoes."

Happy reading!

P.S. I also found a great emergent reader book I could print out and the kids could color or write on for extra practice!  My Kindergarten student loved it! http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Pete-the-Cat-Emergent-Reader-653749

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Superhero Brave

For those of you familiar with my blog, I've spoke of "Ben" before. A little boy on my school caseload from a Spanish speaking family who has CAS and is nonverbal. However, IQ testing shows him in the 75th percentile! He's sooo smart. I met him last year in Kindergarten, and we formed an instant bond.

His Kindergarten teacher was frustrated that he wouldn't talk; and I'm not sure if she felt it was a reflection on her, but she really wasn't that supportive of him. 

This year is different! He has a new teacher and she sees what I see, what I saw. She's sees a smart, friendly, lovable little boy who wants to talk, but just needs people to believe in him and boost his confidence. Every time I see her she starts a sentence with, "you won't believe this" or "I LOVE him." Yesterday she told me she believes this year is going to be HIS year. Starting from the first day when she was going around having kids do introductions, she frowned upon getting to Ben and having the other children speak up and say, "Oh he doesn't talk." She immediately stuck up for him, telling the other children yes he did talk and that people talk in different ways. Some use Spanish, some English, some use their hands, some use gestures, and some use devices. 

Ben's corners of his mouth got just a little bit wider.

Another day, one of the kids noticed that Ben appeared to be talking to the class frog and remarked, "Look! I think Ben is talking!"
Her reply?
"Of course he's talking! Didn't I tell you Ben talks?"

Ben's chest puffed out just a little bit further.

And then there was today. The icing on the cake.  I picked him up and she calls me over to brag about an assignment he finished first and attempted to share with the class. Picking up on her hint, I praised him loudly in front of the other children. As we leave the too, a little classmate returning from the bathroom enthusiastically called, "Bye Ben!" Now Ben knows how to say bye with perfect clarity. In fact, he says it to me everyday. He pressed his lips together, but the anxiety was too much and the boy left before Ben uttered a sound. I decided to scratch the lesson plan for that day, and instead I asked him if he knew what brave meant.

I had him draw a picture of someone he thought was brave and I told him I would do the same. We sat at different tables, and I told him not to peek.

When he was finished, he drew a picture of Hulk and Captain America. I asked him why they were brave and with a smile he pantomined strength and then pantomined a sword motion. I verified he thought they were brave because they were strong and had swords to which he eagerly nodded his affirmation. I then wrote on the back that Hulk and Captain America are brave because they are strong, have swords, and I added they fight bad guys. He tapped my arm and held up three fingers. I said, "three bad guys?" to which he nodded apparently satisfied. 

He then pointed to my picture. I asked him if he wanted to see mine and he again nodded yes. As he looked at a picture of a little boy with a blue school uniform, he looked at me puzzled. I asked him, "Don't you know who this is?" Ironically, I had also just happened to also draw him holding a sword fighting a word bubble in his head! What luck!
"It's you Ben." 
His eyes lit up and he pointed to himself incredulously. 
"Yes" I said. "You are my superhero because even though talking is so scary, you still try, and that's what makes you brave." 

Now that smile was a full blown grin.

I went onto tell him I needed him to be even more brave than he already was though. I needed him to be superhero brave when it's time to talk. We then stapled the pages and walked back to class.

At the end of the day, the Facebook support group had convinced me to tell his parents about the lesson; and since they only spoke Spanish, I decided to go out with the teacher at dismissal and have her translate. When I walked in the classroom, all the kids were sitting on the carpet with their backpacks on their backs in preparation to go home.  In the middle was Ben, with his backpack on, but our book in his lap. It did mean something to him!  As luck would have it, BOTH parents came to pick him up that day.  As the teacher translated, his mother choked up and gave him a big hug as they left to go home.

Now his chest was puffed out just about as far as it go!  That's what superhero brave is all about!

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Ashlynn update 3:10

Ashlynn said her first compound sentence yesterday. It took me so much by surprise that I almost ruined it by interrupting her.

I picked her up from school asking the usual questions and getting the usual answers,
     "How was school?"
     "Good." (Dood)

     "What did you do?"
     "Play" (pay)

     "Who did you play with?"
     "PLAY!!" she says impatiently.

     "I know, but WHO did you play with?" I asked.
     "Evelyn (Eveyin)

As I was about to interrupt she said,
"She's nice and she's funny (sunny) too."

A six word compound sentence!!! Music to my ears!

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Saturday, September 7, 2013

"You say it best, when you say nothing at all."

Today I took Ashlynn to one of my BFF's bridal shower.  There weren't going to be any other kids there, but Ashlynn is so good around a group.  When I think of people who have charisma, I think of great speakers and people gifted with words.  The Martin Luther King's and the John F Kennedy's of the world.  But Ashlynn makes me realize charismatic people don't need to speak.  There is so much else to them.  Their presence, their unseen light that people can feel and gravitate toward, their inner goodness that shines brighter than words can resonate.  The latter I believe, fits my daughter.

She is talking now in 3-4 word phrases, but in a group she gets shy and I have to prompt her to even utter one word responses.  Somehow though, she manages to light up the room.  Flitting by from person to person, looking at them with her curious, kind eyes; touching them with her baby soft hand.  Yes I'm in a room full of women, but even so, strangers reach out to touch her hair, take joy in her smiles, feel happy in her presence.  They hold her hands, give her hugs, and let her sit on their laps.   I know I'm her mom, but I'm telling you, I can see it and not just because I'm her mom.

She is so special to me, and even though she's not this outwardly verbal person, she somehow demands attention in the room.  Eyes are drawn to her, smiles are cast upon her, and mutual love is relayed from each other.  All this, without her hardly speaking a word.

There's a country song by Allison Krause entitled, "You say it best, when you say nothing at all."  Ashlynn truly personifies this.

Dear Ashlynn,

"The smile on your face lets me know that you need me, there's a truth in your eyes saying you'll never leave me.  The touch of your hand, says you'll catch me whenever you fall.  You say it best, when you say nothing at all."

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