With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, do not let having a picky eater impact your time spent with family and friends. ABC Therapy would like to offer you these helpful feeding strategies to help reduce the stress during your Thanksgiving meals.
- Positioning– Children perform best when their feet are flat on a sturdy surface, eating surface is at waist level, and they’re able to reach all things in front of them.
- Variety– Offer an assortment of foods, both preferred and non-preferred options, but do not force your child to finish full amounts if they are unable.
- Volume- Offer small amounts of each food option so the child does not feel overwhelmed with the quantity on their plate. Children are more likely to try one bite of a new food than a whole helping.
- Choices- Offer numerous choices based on foods provided i.e “Would you prefer the corn or carrots on your plate?”
- Separate and Make it fun– Bring supplies like divided plates, a cupcake baking sheet, fun utensils, or different utensils for each food to help separate food item options.
- Messy Play– If your child is not willing to eat the foods, encourage describing the foods (color, texture, taste, etc.) and allow messy play so they can explore and interact with the options on their own terms. An example of messy play could be utilizing various cookie cutters to make playful shapes.
- Model– Demonstrate to your child what your expectations are with each food and how they should interact with it.
- Provide Praise but not Reward– Children feel accomplished when given praise like “I like how you took a bite out of ___”, “I see that you are trying hard to try ___”, “Good job touching ___”. However, providing a treat after eating a non-preferred food is not the best option for supporting carry over and independence in the skill.
- “All Done” bowl – Provide a safe place for the child to eliminate the foods from plate when they are finished to reduce overall anxiety.
- Back-up Plan– Pack the child’s favorite foods in the case they are unwilling or unable to tolerate the foods provided.
Hopefully these food-related strategies will help reduce stress for the whole family during the holiday season! Enjoy time with your family and don’t let picky eating impact the quality of time with loved ones. For more information pertaining to picky eating or other therapy-related resources, please visit https://www.abcpediatrictherapy.com/.
Happy Thanksgiving!Read More
ASAP, YMCA, RSVP. Acronyms are all around us, permeating our lives and activities. Sometimes we truncate words just for the heck of it, “kay” instead of “okay” or “app” instead of application. Then there’s the world of healthcare and medicine, and suddenly everything is a jumbled mess of alphabet soup. It’s hard to keep track of what all the acronyms and abbreviations stand for, so today’s focus is on AAC. It stands for Augmentative and Alternative Communication.
That’s a lot of words and letters to type; healthcare professions like the quick version “AAC” much better. As parents, it’s a lot scarier to hear another clump of letters without really understanding what it means. AAC is basically a way for individuals to get help (augment) or replace (alternative) communication. AAC can come in a high tech form or a low tech form.
Low tech AAC is anything that doesn’t get programmed with a digital voice, message, or screen. There is a low tech form of AAC called Picture Exchange Communication System (sorry, it’s another acronym: PECS), which is all about requesting and then commenting using special pictures. Other low tech forms of AAC could be a book full of pictures people can point to for requesting or even a book of common people or activities in their day-to-day life. High tech AAC (think Stephen Hawkings) is about ease of access, comfort of use, and typically is used by communicators with a little more ability to understand the complexity of a more complicated system, although preschoolers to the elderly can use high or low tech AAC.
High tech AAC can be as simple as one giant, clicking button, called a switch. Some switches have 1 big button, others have a few smaller buttons. Each button holds a single, recorded message. When the communicator bumps or hits the switch, the message plays. AAC can also be as complicated as an IPad application or specialized, portable machine that’s only job is to talk. These higher tech devices come with programmed software from screen layouts of 4 to 50 full of vocabularies, subjects, word prediction, keyboards, games, search functions, access to the internet for social networking, and the list of possibilities goes on.
Now that we’ve had a quick background, the initial fear of the unknown should be fading…and all the questions are forming. The first thing to realize is that AAC can either augment language where it boosts, helps, and lifts a speaker’s verbal communication or it can be an alternative for them, or the third option: AAC can do both augment and be an alternative. Simply because a kiddo needs AAC doesn’t mean they don’t need their voice. Having goals in therapy to address AAC doesn’t mean your child isn’t learning to use their verbal words. In no way does it mean a child’s verbal and expressive language skills will fade, stop, or never grow. In fact, the truth is that AAC does the opposite. It makes verbal language explode. AAC gives children with a variety of diagnoses, disorders, delays, and deficits the ability to communicate with adults, teachers, and peers who may not have understood them before. It teaches children to actively seek out communication partners, to make requests, and to share their thoughts and ideas in a way that without the AAC would likely not have happened. AAC gives children opportunities. AAC gives children confidence. AAC gives children power. AAC gives children models, repetitions, and examples of more words than they would have had access to on their own, and soon, the children have heard the word enough from the AAC, that they can start verbalizing it on their own. AAC is fully customizable, modifiable, and portable. It goes where your child goes, can be used as your individual child needs, and there is no limit to the potential for their language. AAC is kind of like pixie dust…a little sprinkle can transport a child to Never Neverland: a new world of wishes, wonder, and words that they’ve never, never seen before…and you get to go along for the ride.Read More
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:
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.
o Home Speech Home
- Link: https://www.home-speech-home.com/
- 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: http://mommyspeechtherapy.com/
- 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!
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.
- 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 https://www.abcpediatrictherapy.com.Read More