Month: October 2018

How to Encourage Your Child to Practice Their Speech and Language Skills at Home

Are you having trouble motivating your child to practice their speech and language skills at home? Your child’s speech therapist is likely assigning tasks to practice at home throughout the week to reinforce the skills they’re learning in therapy. Home practice can make a huge difference in their progress and usually means faster improvement. Speech therapy isn’t an easy fix and it requires a lot of hard work and consistent practice over many months or even years. Home practice does not have to be boring! Below is a list of applications, websites, and games that you can utilize to make home practice fun:

  • Applications

o   My PlayHome

  • Compatibility: iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
  • Price: $3.99
  • Description: My PlayHome is an interactive doll house game that contains a variety of male and female characters that can eat, drink, cook, shower, sleep, and so much more. Your child can explore every room in the house while enjoying the colorful and detailed illustrations.
  • How to use it:
  • Expressive language skills: Labeling actions and common objects, producing regular and irregular past tense verbs, answering wh- questions, describing picture scenes, telling how common objects are used, naming categories, producing he/she pronouns and regular plural -s.
  • Receptive language skills: Identifying common items, understanding verbs in context, understanding use of common objects, following directions, and understanding pronouns.
  • Why it works: My patients absolutely love this game. It is so fun and motivating- they don’t even realize they are working on a variety of language skills!


o   Articulation Station

  • Compatibility: iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
  • Price: Lite version is free, individual sounds range from $3.99 to $7.99, and full version is $59.99
  • Description: The application includes 22 different sounds and 6 engaging articulation activities to help your child speak and pronounce their sounds more clearly.
  • How to use it: Select the individual sound(s) your child is working on in speech therapy and practice at the word, phrase, sentence, or story level.
  • Why it works: The application is fun, colorful, and engaging. You can practice your child’s sounds through flashcards, matching games, rotating sentences, unique sentences, and stories. The activities are so fun that my patients often forget they are “working” on their articulation skills.

  • Websites

o   Home Speech Home

  • Link:
  • Description: Home Speech Home is a website created by two certified speech-language pathologists. This website offers a variety of activities and word lists to practice articulation, apraxia, language, and stuttering principles. In addition, speech and language developmental norms and an overview of various speech and language disorders are also included.
  • How to use it: I frequently utilize the word lists feature with my older patients. I select the specific sound(s) that my patient is working on and incorporate the words while playing their favorite board game or within conversation. You can practice their articulation skills at home with premade words, phrases, sentences, and stories.


o   Mommy Speech Therapy

  • Link:
  • Description: Mommy Speech Therapy is a website created by a certified speech-language pathologist. This website offers a variety of free articulation worksheets that include colorful pictures of your child’s specific target words, as well as helpful tips and tricks on how to increase your child’s speech and language skills at home.
  • How to use it: You can select your child’s specific sound(s) and print out the associated free articulation pictures, cut them into individual pictures, and play a variety of games at home. You can hide the pictures around the house and have a “scavenger hunt” and ask your child to name the pictures when they find them. You can print out an extra page and play Go Fish or a matching game with the pictures while reinforcing their articulation skills. The options are limitless!


  • Games

o   Guess Who

  • How to play: You can target a variety of language and articulation skills with this classic board game. Guess Who is great for working on he/she pronouns, asking questions, answering yes/no questions, producing grammatical forms (e.g. do/does, has/have), and articulation skills at the conversational level.

o   Hedbanz

  • How to play: Hedbanz is a fun way to work on naming categories, answering yes/no questions, turn taking, and articulation skills while your child guesses the identity of the card they’ve been dealt.

o   Simon Says

  • How to play: Simon Says is a quick and easy game to work on identifying common objects (e.g. body parts), following one-step directions, as well as directions of increasing length and complexity.

If you have questions about your child’s speech and language skills please contact ABC Pediatric Therapy Network at

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ABC Pediatric Therapy Jenn working with young adult

How to Teach Your Child Through Play by Jenn Jordan, Q102 Radio Host

Jakob was 11 years old and he only ate four foods.  Kay’s Naturals Apple Cinnamon Protein Cereal, Applegate Farms Antibiotic-Free Beef Hot Dogs, Bolthouse Farms Green Goodness bottled smoothies and bananas, and it had to be those brands. No deviations. If we tried to sneak in a different cereal or hot dog, he would know. He could tell by sight and by smell. There was no getting anything by him. He would eat a whole box of cereal each day and as many as 16 hot dogs. Can you imagine? 16 hot dogs a day?

It’s impossible to know why he was that picky of an eater. My best guess was he had stomach issues and he felt safe with those particular foods, knowing exactly how they would affect his system. I also believe he had sensitivities to smells and textures. Whatever it was, he had his reasons. My biggest concern was that he ate something. I knew far too many kids who were thin and malnourished. At least Jakob was eating and I gave him vitamins and supplements to make up for all the things that his diet didn’t provide. But I certainly hoped he wouldn’t eat 16 hot dogs per day for the rest of his life and I wanted him to expand his diet. So what to do?

I tried all kinds of different interventions. Withholding foods, eating specialists, sneaking other cereals into his bag of protein cereal. We got nowhere. The more I tried, the more he dug in his heels. So I stepped back, thought about it and came up with an idea.

At the time, one of Jakob’s favorite things to do was look at and write on calendars. He loved knowing what days holidays fell on, we would add our social events, and birthdays on all 27 calendars we had in the house. We shopped for calendars and we spent hours every day just looking at them and talking about them. If something was written on a calendar, then it was written in stone.

Light bulb moment.

I came up with a list of foods that I wanted him to try. I kept it all pretty simple with similar textures to what he was already eating and things that would be easy on his tummy. Toast with almond butter, pretzels, scrambled eggs, waffles.

Then I got out his favorite calendar. I enthusiastically gave him the choice between two of the foods and then let him decide what date and time to put the food on the calendar. There was no hesitation on his part. He chose the food and happily picked when he wanted to try it and we wrote it down. We did it for everything on my list. Then over the course of the next few days, every time we took out the calendar, we talked about that something new he was going to try. He actually seemed excited about it. Then when the day came, he took his time smelling the new food, feeling it with his fingers and then would take the tiniest of bites. But he ate it, every single time. And we had a ball throughout the entire process. It was so easy. So very easy.

I’ve used this approach so many times to teach him so many things. I would pick a goal and then use something he loves to help him learn about and accept it. Right now, I’m using his love for letter writing to work on conversation loops and sentence structure.

What I love the most is that it never feels like I’m sitting him down and trying to force him to learn things that he couldn’t give a rip about. It’s always me spending precious time with my son who I love more than life just playing and having fun. And somewhere in that party, we both learn something new.

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How to Have a Sensory Friendly Halloween

Kids LOVE Halloween…between dressing up, the decorations, parties, and of course the candy…what’s not to love? But let’s be honest, Halloween is definitely not the most sensory friendly holiday.  For kids with sensory processing disorder, it can be a literal nightmare.  From the itchy costumes, flashing lights, loud noises, and unexpected scares, the night of Trick-or-Treat can be really overwhelming for you and your child.  Below are 6 ways to have a sensory friendly Halloween this year!

  1. The costume…perhaps the most important step that you can control! Some costumes are scratchy, come with face paint that can be sticky or slimy, masks that smell funny, or other head pieces, that can just be painful for kids with sensory issues.  Take your child with you to the store to feel the costume and gage their reaction when they touch the costume.  That will give you a good idea if they’d be able to tolerate it for a whole evening or not.  You could also have them wear some of their most comfortable clothes under their costumes.  Or focus on using some of their own clothing to make a unique costume, keep it simple like a cowboy or a cat!  When in doubt, do a trial run a few days before to ensure their comfort…you’ll appreciate it later when you have avoided a meltdown.
  2. Practice, practice, practice! Set-up time for you and your family to practice Halloween etiquette. First start with your own home, where things are most familiar.  Work on ringing the door bell, what to say/how to respond, and how to take the candy…that way they know what to expect and can learn the routine. Next practice at a family or friends house, where things are familiar.  It’s much easier to practice on a familiar face than a stranger.
  3. Plan your Trick-or- Treat route ahead of time. Try to Trick-or-Treat at neighbors who know you and your kids if possible. It is always easier to go to familiar places with familiar people.  And you will also feel comfortable asking them questions like: what kind of decorations they have in their yard. Or they will not get offended if your kiddo is getting overstimulated and does not say “thank you” or respond appropriately to a question.
  4. Plan your time accordingly. Going Trick-or-Treating earlier in the night can be helpful, as it is often less crowded initially. Your child may benefit from a picture schedule, timer, or checklist so they know what to expect!  Incorporating “break” times in which they can go back to the house or into your car, can help sensory overload.  Be aware of your child’s warning signs that they might be getting overstimulated.
  5. Go to smaller events…Trunk-or-Treats, mall, and/or church events are becoming increasingly popular, especially for parents who work, thus limiting the time families can go Trick-or-Treating. These events tend to be for kids of all ages, so it could limit the number of scary masks or decorations you encounter. This will greatly reduce the amount of transitions for you to navigate as well!  These events can get crowded, so be sure to call ahead, to see what times tend to be less busy or how many people they are expecting.
  6. Make your own Halloween Traditions. When all is said and done, there is no rule saying you have to participate in any of these activities.  If they are too much, it’s simply too much! Take it in stride and create your own Halloween traditions, by making it a pizza or game night, do your child’s favorite activity, or have a special Mommy or Daddy only date every year to make the holiday special in another way.

I hope these recommendations help you and your child have a happy and safe Halloween!  Be sure to visit our website for other fun tips and information

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How Do You Measure Progress?

What is Progress?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines progress as forward movement.   I love this!

I want to challenge you to always be sure your child is moving forward!  To do this you have to define for yourself (and your child) “what is progress?”.

In the therapy world, there are many methods of receiving help for your child…..Early Intervention, Help Me Grow, Early Steps, school therapy, private therapy, ABA, music therapy, vision therapy, hippotherapy, massage therapy and there are others.  Some are free, some are covered by your insurance and some you pay for yourself.  One type of therapy is not best for every child.  So how do you decide what is best for YOUR child?

I have the answer.

You know your child best.  So first, define for yourself your wants and needs for your child and your family in regards to the problems you are looking to solve.  What causes the most disruption to the happy family unit?  What limits your child’s success the most?  Actually write down as many challenges as you can that you would like to solve for your family and/or your child.

Now, how to solve these limitations that are barriers to your happy family and your confident child.  You cannot just look for what is most convenient although that might be a good place to start.  You cannot just look for what is cheapest but you can start there as well.  The solution lies in what gives your child the most progress! 

As a parent of 3, I sympathize with you on finding services that are convenient and affordable.  But the only true solution to the challenges that face your family and your child is the one that leads to progress!  You will waste your time and your money if you do not seek out that which brings about the most progress.   Your child deserves to make consistent progress as that is what will lead you to a confident, successful, happy and social child.  That, for all of us, is priceless!

So back to my challenge to every parent of every child.  What keeps your child moving forward?  Not goals met in a year but goals met in a month or a week!  Educate yourself!  Be sure you are aware of what goals your child is pushing to accomplish and check in every 4 weeks or so to ensure to ensure you are seeing progress.  Is your child seen in a group?  How is that working?  Seeing progress?  Keep asking yourself…”seeing progress?”

If progress is happening at the rate you are happy with – bravo!  You made the right decisions to support your child.  Pat yourself on the back parent!

If you would like to see more progress, don’t wait!  Make change now!  Children grow up fast!  Do not waste your child’s time when he/she could be making progress.  You are seeking a confident, successful, happy and social child.

His/her self esteem could be effected as he/she confronts social situations where he should fit in and even excel.  Our job as parents is to give them the tools prior to when they will need them so they do amazing things.

Do you have concerns that your child needs help with his physical, social or emotional development?  Do you want help in ensuring your child is achieving as his/her maximum potential?

Reach out to your pediatrician for guidance and ask him to allow you to seek out alternatives to challenge your child in a way that will ACTUALLY result in progress. loves to accept and meet the challenge of forward progress!  Accept nothing less than the best for your child.  Your child deserves it!

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Learning to Celebrate Halloween in a Different Way, by Jenn Jordan, Q102 Radio Host

Jakob wore his first Halloween costume when he was six days old. We were having his newborn pictures taken by a professional photographer at the house and I thought it was just so precious. It was this adorable little giraffe outfit and the hood kept falling over his face. I never realized how miserable a six-day-old baby could look. Even when he was that tiny, he hated it. But of course, I wanted the picture so I kept torturing him until we were sure that there would be at least one good shot in the dozens that were taken. The one and only non-miserable-looking baby photo out of the bunch I proudly displayed on a coffee mug.

The next Halloween, I put him in a one-piece lion outfit with a huge mane that, once again, kept falling in his face. He really hated that one. I took him over to a friend’s house and he screamed blood-curdling screams until I took it off him. No pictures were taken; there was no time for that.

The year after that, it was Nemo. I thought that one might be a little better since he just had to step into the middle of Nemo’s body and then the straps over his shoulders would hold up the big Nemo body that would hang around his waist. I think he kept that one on long enough for two pictures. By this time, he was capable of taking the outfits off by himself so all my efforts for anything more were futile. This was also the first year that we tried to get him to actually go trick-or-treating. He never even took a step with the costume on.

I tried so hard for years to get him to enjoy Halloween. I tried so hard to get him to wear the costumes and get out there and celebrate like all the “other” kids…ya know, the “normal” kids.

It took a while before I realized that I was totally making this all about me and what I wanted. Jakob couldn’t have cared less about going house to house and asking for candy. He didn’t even like candy.  The costumes were uncomfortable. They itched and they smelled funny. It was all just so weird and so unnecessary in his mind. For him, it was like, “what’s the point?”

I had to let go of my expectations. I stopped trying to force the issue. I decided that we didn’t need to do it like everybody else in order for us to enjoy Halloween. And here’s a shocker…that’s when things changed.

When Jakob was seven, he loved Dr. Seuss so my aunt and I got Thing 1 and Thing 2 bodysuits, full-blown fur, headpieces, shoes, and gloves. And just in case, I got Jakob a Cat in the Hat costume.  Once we had our “Things” on, I showed him the Cat in the Hat outfit and he actually wanted it. Without me having to push or manipulate or attempt to force or bribe, he happily put it on and then he stepped outside. For the first time, he took notice of what was going on out there. Kids were all dressed up and walking around the neighborhood, and it must have looked like fun because he wanted in. For the first time, with minimal effort on my part, we took off down the sidewalk and enjoyed Trick-Or-Treating in our own way. We never walked up to any houses or asked anybody for candy and that was ok. We just had our own little 2-person Halloween parade, and it was awesome.

Every year since that Dr. Seuss experience Jakob has enthusiastically chosen his Halloween costume. A red M&M, a pirate, SpongeBob, Harry Potter, Darth Vader, a Minion. Every year we have our parade around the neighborhood and it continues to be just plain awesome. The last few years, he has decided that he likes answering the door, hearing the kids say “trick or treat” and passing out candy. Totally his idea.

Who’s to say what the “right” way or “best” way or “normal” way is to celebrate anything? Who are we to impose our beliefs on what those ways are on anybody?

Jakob knows how he likes to do things. He knows what makes it fun for him. I love his individuality and his creativity. I am so glad that I learned to watch and listen back in the days when he couldn’t articulate what it was he wanted. Because in the end, I learned so much more than just how to get him to wear costumes.

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Therapy- Medical Model vs. Educational Model – Which Is Best For My Child?


Medical Model

In the medical model, an occupational, physical, or speech therapist performs evaluations and treatments in a clinical setting after being referred by a doctor. These evaluations and treatments often mimic a child’s natural play environment.  Therapists look at the whole child, and their ability to function in all aspects of daily life. Goals are focused toward the child’s home and community function, as opposed to their function at school.  However, the interventions at school and in the clinic may go hand in hand. For instance, if a child needs to improve balance and strength in order to get to downstairs at their school, they will also need to improve balance and strength to climb up the stairs at home to get to their bedroom. 


ABC Pediatric Therapy Network ( has six locations throughout the Cincinnati and Dayton areas that present children with the challenges of their home and community environment.  All locations have a full-size jungle gym, trampoline, and foam pit in the large gym setting. For example, the foam pit can be used in therapeutic ways to help a child to gain motor planning through building block towers, and to gain coordination, trunk strength and upper extremity strength through swinging. As treatment is completed on the equipment, children are able to gain confidence in themselves, which will carry over to the playground and school. This will allow the children to better interact with peers in the classroom and playground.


In the clinical setting, therapists interact not only with the child, but also with the child’s primary caregiver, and siblings.  Family dynamics are taken into consideration when forming a treatment plan that is realistic to the child and family as a whole.  Families are an active participant in therapy sessions, and help form goals that would be beneficial to the child’s function throughout the day. ABC Pediatric Therapy Network also understands the importance of peer interaction and encourages patients to interact with each other during treatment.  This allows children to build social skills such as initiating conversations, turn taking, and sharing. Children will often play games together to work on social skills including conversational skills, and appropriate responses to winning and losing.

Occupational, physical, and speech therapists working in a clinical setting offer direct, individualized treatment to their patients.  At ABC Pediatric Therapy Network, therapists are part of a unique multidisciplinary team. This is a major benefit to the patients because skills that are being targeted during one therapy can be enforced during the other therapies.  For instance, if the speech therapist is working toward a goal of a child using three-word requests, the physical therapist can augment his or her treatment by having the child use a three-word request prior to carrying out the activity (i.e. “kick the ball”).



School-based therapy uses an educational model that focuses on academic performance, and is governed by IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). In the educational model, children with disabilities benefit from evaluations and treatments in a setting that is in their natural environment with their peer group. This model of pediatric therapy also focuses on a multidisciplinary approach to the therapy assessment, planning, and intervention.  A multidisciplinary team includes the parents, teacher, special education teacher, and therapists. The team must be in agreement in order to implement an Individualized Education Plan.  In order to receive therapy services at school, a child’s functional performance must be impaired to the extent that it interferes with the child’s functioning at school. Each district has strict standards for qualifying children for an Individualized Education Plan. The emphasis of treatment is on function at school and goals are related to the educational program.  The therapy intervention may be direct, indirect, or on a consultation basis.  Therapy is often in a group setting rather than an individual one-on-one session.

Therapists also make significant contributions to school programs by identifying environmental barriers and planning for accessibility modifications.  They adapt classrooms to provide the optimal learning environment for children with special needs, help promote acceptance of students with disabilities, adapt recreational activities, and contribute to the development of safety procedures for emergency evacuation of students with disabilities.  Occupational therapists may help include modifications and accommodations in the classroom including sensory seating, break areas, or specialized fine motor tools. Speech therapists may help in making visuals including communication picture books, break cards, or visual schedules to help ease transitions and communication in the school environment.

In the end, it all about progress.  Is your child making the progress you want to see?  If so, fantastic!  Do not change a thing!  If not, look for additional help to ensure your child reaches his/her maximum potential.  Delays in development can effect self esteem, the ability to make friend and academic performance.  Let’s work together to help every child to succeed!


If you have questions about next steps for your child, please go to or give us a call at 513-755-6600.

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Developmental Checklist

Is your child meeting their developmental milestones?