3 Easy Ways to Build Language Skills Every Day!

Taking time to sit and read with your child is highly recommended by all the current research. Reading to your child improves cognitive and language skills while also strengthening social, emotional and character development.

Children also learn from watching, listening and engaging with others throughout the day. Scheduling time to read and engage with your child is crucial, but don’t miss out on these easy ways to support your child’s learning and language skills during everyday activities. Research shows that simply talking and listening to your child is vital to development of language and cognitive skills.

Incorporating these strategies takes a bit of focused effort at first, but with time you’ll discover it’s easy to take advantage of these “teachable moments” and notice your child’s language improving as well as your relationship!   

  1. MEAL TIME: Have your child in the room with you while you are preparing meals so they can watch and participate in the activities. Use this time for conversation and focused language practice: . 
  • RECEPTIVE LANGUAGE ACTIVITIES: Depending on your child’s age and ability level, they can work on following directions when you ask them to get out certain items (for example: “get out your green cup”, “put the napkin on the table”) or you can give 2-step directions such as “get the green cup and put it on the table”.  If your child is younger, you can hand him/her the napkin and help them put it on the table while you are telling them the directions.  
  • VOCABULARY ACTIVITIES: While you are working in the kitchen and preparing meals, talk to your child as much as you can.  Explain what you are doing, label the items/foods/actions you are doing while you are doing them, talk about colors and sizes of things you are using, and work on sequencing by talking through the steps you are taking to prepare the meal.  
  • EXPRESSIVE LANGUAGE ACTIVITIES: Ask your child questions while you are working in the kitchen.  You can ask him/her to label items, ask him/her to tell you where things go, given him/her an object and have him/her tell you about it (size, color, etc), or ask your child to tell you what you are doing as you do things (washing, cutting, cooking, etc). 

 

2.  BATH TIME: This is another great time to get some language and conversation going with your child.  As with the meal time ideas, you can work on vocabulary by labeling objects, actions and the steps to getting bathed (before, during and after).  You can ask questions to work on that expressive language at whatever stage your child is at (labeling, combining 2-3 words, producing sentences).  Receptive language can be addressed by asking your child to point to body parts, follow 1-2 step directions (ie., give me the blue toy, put the toy in the cup and give it to me, etc), or asking your child questions about what you are doing.  This is also a great time to sing songs and have your child help you by filling in the words/phrases he/she knows in the songs.  

3. MORNING AND NIGHTTIME ROUTINES: These routines are a great source of language and interactions for you and your child.  This is another time where you can work on vocabulary related to the routine, sequencing the steps you take to get ready, asking who/where/when questions about the routine and objects involved (“Where do you keep your toothbrush?”, “Who should brush their teeth first?”, “When do we put on our pajamas?”) or asking your child about their day.  Encourage expression by asking for specifics such as “Tell me something you had fun doing today” instead of asking “what did you do today?” Remember that listening to your child is as important as speaking to your child! 

Tammy Masciola, Speech Therapist

Sometimes as parents we get caught up in “getting through” the daily routines and all of the things we have to do that we forget that these are opportunities for quality time with our children.  We can make these times more enjoyable for ourselves as parents and help our children develop many skills as they participate in or watch the routines we go through during our day. Be creative, have fun and enjoy your time with your child as they learn and communicate with you! ~ Tammy Masciola, MA, CCC-SLP/L

School Or Clinic Therapy: What’s the Difference?

Many children with special needs qualify for therapy services in the school. Parents sometimes think that these services are enough to meet their child’s needs and do not pursue options for clinic based therapies which might greatly enhance their children’s development. Some children are struggling at home but don’t qualify for therapy services in the school. Parents may assume that their child wouldn’t benefit from therapy in a clinic setting or don’t know that this option is available. It’s important to know the difference between therapy services provided in different settings.

School Based Therapy:

  • Is provided as a related service to support the child’s participation in and ability to benefit from educational programs.
  • Is required by law to be a part of the child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) when deemed appropriate by the educational team.
  • Is limited to the needs identified by the educational team and only addresses needs that impact educational performance or participation.
  • Is not provided if the child is not demonstrating a need in the school setting that requires specific therapy interventions.
  • Is subject to the limitations of service identified by the IEP and requires a team meeting to make changes, such as increasing therapy time.
  • Only occurs during school hours; often limited by school calendar and staff shortages.

Clinic Based Therapy:

  • Can be provided for any child who has demonstrated need for therapy support services.
  • Is provided in the clinic with options for home and community based services
  • Addresses the needs of the child in the context of the family, identifying strengths and supporting access to community resources.
  • Is usually covered under medical insurance plans or can be paid for privately without limitations placed by insurance providers.
  • Can be scheduled with frequency and duration most appropriate for the child’s needs with flexibility for modifying the plan as needed.
  • Clinic therapists collaborate with the schools when child is receiving both types of services, thus enhancing treatment outcomes in all settings.

Whether a child is currently receiving school based therapies or has been found not eligible for services in the school setting, clinic based therapy may be a good choice for supporting development.  If you have questions about the difference between therapy services please contact our office for more information or to discuss your child’s therapy needs.

Winter/Spring Social Skills Groups now open!

Enrollment is now open for  social skills groups! For children from 5-10 years old, Social STEPS for Kids will meet for 4 weeks, February 21 through March 14th followed by a 6 week session from April 4 through May 9th.   Led by a speech-language pathologist, this group is a great way to help your child build confidence and skills for social interactions. Check out the details then contact us to enroll your child today!

Social STEPS for Kids Group A: For ages 5-7years

Session 1A: Saturdays, 10:00-11:00 am; February 21 through March 14, 2015

Session 2A: Saturdays, 10:00-1100 am; April 4 through May 9, 2015

Group B: For ages 8-10 years

Session 1B: Saturdays, 11:00-12:00 am; February 21 through March 14, 2015

Session 2B: Saturdays, 11:00-12:00 am; April 4 through May 9, 2015

Cost per 4 week session 1A or 1B :  $120

Cost per 6 week session 2A or 2B: $180

Please note: Social Skills groups are not billable to insurance. Payment is due in full prior to the first session. No refunds on individual missed sessions or after the date of first session. STEPS for Kids reserves the right to reschedule sessions missed due to therapists’ absence or other extenuating circumstances.  

Groups will be led by Amy McDowell, MS, CCC-SLP/L. Amy has experience in clinic, home and school settings, providing both individual and group therapy to children from infants to adolescents. Amy uses play based therapy to facilitate speech and language skills development. She recognizes the individual differences of each child and tailors her approach to best meet each child’s needs within the group setting.

To register for a social skills group, please contact our office at 630-552-9890 or email us at info@rightstepsforkids.com with the subject line “social skills”.

NEW! Story Time Language Group

Our newest group is now enrolling!

Designed for children who are in Pre-K or Kindergarten, the Story Time Language Group meets one time a month to help children develop language skills through reading and themed activities. Each month will include reading a story together and then completing social and craft activities related to the theme that help develop language skills such as phonological awareness (rhyming and sounds), sequencing, categorization, vocabulary,  following directions and more.

Story Time Language Group is led by Amy McDowell, MS, CCC-SLP/L, speech language pathologist. Amy has over three years experience working with children in clinic, home and school settings.  She has special interest in literacy and language skills as well augmentative communication. Amy provides speech therapy services at STEPS for Kids and also runs our social skills groups.

This group meets on Saturday mornings from 11:00 am – 12:00 pm (see full schedule below) and enrollment is available on a monthly basis. Sign up for one, two, four or all nine group meetings!

2014 Dates/Themes

September 20:  Fall Fun

October 25:  Halloween

November 22:  Thanksgiving

December 13: Christmas

2015 Dates/Themes

January 17:  Winter Fun

February 14: Valentine’s Day

March 14: St. Patrick’s Day

April 18:  Springtime Fun

May 16:  School’s Out for Summer

NOTE:  Children must be able to communicate their needs independently (with assistive device if needed) and must be able to attend to group activities without one-on-one supervision (unless parent stays for duration of the group meeting).  Group enrollment is 3 minimum (for each session to run) and 6 maximum.  No refunds are provided for missed sessions.  STEPS for Kids reserves the right to reschedule meeting dates/times due to therapist absence or extenuating circumstances such as inclement weather. 

Group Cost:  $20 per group meeting;  $160 for all nine sessions

Payment is due in full at time of registration.

Call the office at 630-552-9890 or email info@rightstepsforkids.com with the subject line “Story Time” to register for Story Time Language Group today!

Social STEPS for Kids: Fall Groups Available!

Enrollment is now open for fall semester Social Skills Groups!  For children from 4 to 9 years old, Social STEPS for Kids meets once a week for 6 weeks with two consecutive sessions offered from September 20th through December 13th.   Led by a speech-language pathologist, this group is a great way to help your child build confidence and skills for social interactions. Check out the details then contact us to enroll your child today!

Social STEPS for Kids 

Group A:  For ages 4-6 years

Session 1A: Saturdays, 9:00-10:00 am; September 2o through October 25, 2014

Session 2A: Saturdays, 9:00-10:00 am; November 1 through December 13, 2014 (no group meeting November 29, Thanksgiving weekend)

Group B:  For ages 7-9 years

Session 1B: Saturdays, 10:00-11:00 am;  September 20 through October 25, 2014

Session 2B:  Saturdays, 10:00-11:00 am;  November 1 through December 13, 2014 (no group meeting November 29, Thanksgiving weekend)

Cost per 6 week session: $180

Please note:  Social Skills groups are not billable to insurance. Payment is due in full prior to the first session. No refunds on individual missed sessions or after the date of first session.  STEPS for Kids reserves the right to reschedule sessions missed due to therapists’ absence or other extenuating circumstances. 

Groups will be led by Amy McDowell, MS, CCC-SLP/L. Amy has experience in clinic, home and school settings, providing both individual and group therapy to children from infants to adolescents.  Amy uses play based therapy to facilitate speech and language skills development.   She recognizes the individual differences of each child and tailors her approach to best meet each child’s needs within the group setting.

To register for a social skills group, please contact our office at 630-552-9890 or email us at info@rightstepsforkids.com with the subject line “social skills”.

“Social STEPS for Kids” Groups Start June 16th!

Enrollment for our new social skills group is now open!  For children from 5 to 8 years old, Social STEPS for Kids meets once a week for 8 weeks over the summer.  Led by a speech-language pathologist, this group is a great way to help your child build confidence and skills for social interactions. Check out the details then contact us to enroll your child today!

Social STEPS for Kids 

Session A: Mondays, 4:00-5:00; 8 weeks from June 16 to August 4, 2014

Session B: Thursdays, 4:00-5:00; 8 weeks from June 19 to August 7, 2014

(Choose Mondays OR Thursdays) 

Cost per 8 week session: $200

Please note:  Social Skills groups are not billable to insurance. Payment is due in full prior to the first session. No refunds on individual missed sessions or after the date of first session.  STEPS for Kids reserves the right to reschedule sessions missed due to therapists’ absence or other extenuating circumstances. 

Groups will be led by Samantha England, MS, CCC-SLP/L.  Samantha has over 3 years experience in the school setting providing both individual and group therapy to children.  She has special interest in early childhood and primary grade levels. Samantha uses play based therapy to address speech and language concerns and has been a part of a Transdisciplinary Play-Based Assessment Team.  She recognizes individual differences of each child and tailors her approach to best meet each child’s needs within the group setting.

To register for either Session A OR Session B please contact our office at 630-552-9890 or email us at info@rightstepsforkids.com with the subject line “social skills”.