Big boy steps

bigboy

 

Yesterday Bobby and I made a big decision for Jonah. We decided that in January, shortly after he turns 3, he will go to preschool. It’s a decision that I am all kinds of mixed up about. He is currently receiving developmental services through our county’s arm of Help Me Grow; however, they kick you out of that when you turn three. And they start the transition process to the local schools fairly early so everyone has plenty of time to get ready for the next step.

So, about three weeks ago, Jonah was evaluated by a team of professionals from our local school district, and yesterday we got their results. They agreed with us that he is speech-language delayed and that he qualifies for services. He could either get services once a week at home one-on-one or go into a classroom where he’d be taught by and Intervention Specialist and receive speech once a week from a Speech Language Pathologist. Because we are able to get him into the same school and the same classroom with the same teachers that Sophie had, we opted for school. Starting in January, just three weeks after he turns three, my baby will be going to preschool 4 mornings a week!

I really cannot believe it. Part of me feels very nervous about sending him out the door 4 days a week at such a young age. Honestly, if I would not have been able to get him in that classroom, I might have opted for the home intervention. But I LOVED Sophie’s teachers and I feel genuinely happy that Jonah will get to be with them. And also? Jonah needs some FRIENDS. Not many of my friends kept having babies when I did, and Jonah has not had a ton of opportunity to interact with peers. He really, really, really needs that social experience and I think it’s going to do wonders for his speech.

Now, I have 3 months to get him to be cooperative in a classroom setting. Yikes! That is what I’m most worried about. He has class for one hour at Help Me Grow, and he does not like to go with the flow. He likes to do what he wants to do, when he wants to do it. But, he’s only been in the classroom setting 4 times so far, and one hour a week makes it hard for him to adjust. Twelve hours a week of preschool I think he’ll catch on to much more quickly. I’m praying fer-vent-ly that he does!!

In addition to all this, he’s still seeing his private speech therapist once a week and he’s doing really well with her. And, he’s doing great at home. He’s really starting to let the 3-and-4-word phrases slip out a lot now. He has made some great progress, but he still has a long way to go.

Thus, preschool!

I’m usually the mom who’s thrilled to kick her kids out the door to school, but I think this is going to be hard on me. I’m not ready to let my baby go out that door yet! I think I’ll be crying for a few weeks and nervous for a few more.

In the mean time, I’m going to enjoy the moments I still have with him at home, and keep working with him on his speech. I sure am proud of my sweet little guy!

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My Toddler Talks: Review & Giveaway

This is a book review, y’all. The book was provided to me by the author but all opinions are my own!

As toddlers will do, Jonah has recently switched things up on me when it comes to speech. Remember that post I wrote a few weeks ago about us getting into our therapy groove? Yeah, 2.2 seconds after I hit publish, he decided to stop cooperating with me at home! I’m not. even. kidding. Not even a little. He is still doing great at his therapy sessions, but as soon as I strap him in his booster seat at home he kicks up a fuss. So, I got him a (free, thanks Sarah!!) little table to sit at like he does at speech – that worked for a day or two. But he still wasn’t having it once he realized what I was up to.

jonah at table

No,YOUR house is a giant mess in the background of this photo! Mine is always perfect.

He still loves to sit at to do his OWN thing, however, and I’m glad we have it! I also casually leave things on it that I want him to play with and that usually works {insert diabolical laugh}.

So, frustrated with this situation, I did what most moms do – turned to the internet (specifically Pinterest, DUH) for a solution. I follow the boards of an awesome organization called PediaStaff (you should too) and through their boards I found a great website that caused me to breathe a sigh of relief – Scanlon Speech Therapy. As I was devouring the contents of this site, I found that it is written by a Speech-Language Pathologist named Kim Scanlon who is herself the mother of a toddler – jackpot! I subscribed to her newsletter and printed out some of her free resources. Then, I checked out her book:

MyToddlerTalksHeader

My Toddler Talks: Strategies and Activities to Promote Your Child’s Language Development.

And of course I knew I had to have it!! So naturally, I emailed Kim and asked if I could review a copy. Cause THAT is how I roll. You see, part of the problem we moms face when we work with our kids at home on delays is: WHAT TO DO!! It’s hard to constantly come up with new activities. And since Jonah is a whole year younger than Sophie was when we started working together, it’s totally different, and I need some help coming up with things.

My Toddler Talks has a TON of play ideas for working with your toddler. Like, about 50 pages worth. And the best part is, they are all using toys you probably already have! Like? A BALL. A Mr. Potato Head. Toy trains. A toy farm. Bubbles!!! Yes! I have all those things! And Kim’s book told me just what to do with them to encourage speech in my kiddo. All the activities are simple, step-by-step, and easy for parents to facilitate. She also has a website JUST for toddler & baby speech in addition to her Scanlon Speech site. Check it out here!

potatohead2

Jonah meets one Mr. P. Head.

Of course, the book isn’t all about play – it also goes over the basics of how to talk to your toddler to encourage speech, and what activities and language are appropriate for their ages/stages of development. Very useful stuff for any parent. In fact, the book is really written for parents who want to encourage even very young toddlers on the path to speech development – not necessarily toddlers who are already behind (though of course that is the case with mine). So, I would really recommend it for any parent of an infant to three-year-old, delayed or not.

This is a great book and you should totally go buy it. And subscribe to Kim’s newsletter while you’re at it.

Because Kim is so aweeeeesome, she also offered a copy of My Toddler Talks to give away! Woop woop! Here’s how to enter:

1) Leave a comment on this post telling me why you want to win the book.

2) Optional: extra entry available for those who “like” Scanlon Speech on Facebook. Leave a separate comment to let me know that you do.

3) Optional: extra entry for subscribing to Kim’s newsletter. (Click here, enter your name and email address on the right.) It’s SO HELPFUL! You won’t regret it. Leave a separate comment here if you subscribed.

Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry! 

Giveaway ends Monday September 16th at 6 pm EST and a winner will be chosen at random.

Good luck! Thanks Kim, for letting me review your book and give one away!

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The Therapy Groove {Speech Therapy Activities for Toddlers}

jonah paints

Even painting can be a speech activity. I just give him a small amount of paint at a time and when he wants more he has to say “I want blue” or “more blue”, etc. He doesn’t get the paint unless he asks for it!

I cannot even tell you how relieved I am to write these words: Jonah has finally figured out how to be a “therapy kid”. It took longer than I expected it to, and his bouts of uncooperative behavior at therapy sessions both professional and at home had me down in the dumps for awhile. However, for the past couple of weeks, he’s really been on a roll with enjoying and learning from his sessions with his therapists and when we work at home. WHEEE! I’m finally starting to see a little progress.

Since we’ve got some things that are working for us, I thought I’d share some of our favorite simple activities to do together.

Speech Therapy Activities for Toddlers

speech therapy for toddlers

1) Puzzles – easy right? We all have puzzles at home. Jonah is especially motivated by sound puzzles like these from Melissa & Doug.

MelissaDougSoundPuzzles

To start out, take all the pieces out of the puzzle and give your child the empty puzzle board. Then hold the pieces up one by one and have him or her name the object. If they don’t know it, say the object’s name “Elephant. This is an elephant.” If they do know it, give lots of praise and then give them the puzzle piece. When they put  it in they get rewarded by a nice, fun sound! After a few times, to make this more fun,  do a little tug of war when you hand the puzzle piece over and make your kiddo pull it out of your hand.

The next level you can take with this is to have them name the object, then ask: “Do you want the elephant?” Let them know what response you want from them, (depending on your goals) by modeling it and prompting at first. You might want them to say “yes” before you hand it  over, or you might want them to say, “I want elephant”. Once they know what you want them to say, try to elicit that response before you hand the piece over, prompting at first, and then waiting them out until they come up with the right response.

Finally, a more advanced activity which Jonah and I have just started about a week ago: using two puzzles at a time to teach about categories. Here’s how I do it. I empty all the pieces of two different puzzles into a bag, and place the empty puzzles on the table. Then Jonah and I take turns drawing a puzzle piece out of the bag. If I get an animal, I place it on the musical instrument puzzle and I say, “Is an elephant an instrument? Nooooo! An elephant is an animal!” Then I give him the piece and let him put it in the right place. Eventually the goal is to have Jonah fill in the word “No” and “animal”, to teach him what categories things belong in. He is doing really well with this already with the categories we have worked on so far – animals, musical instruments, and shapes. He thinks it’s hilarious to hold a piece up to the wrong puzzle and say “nooooo!”

2) Games

There are few games made for toddlers but I have found an awesome one so I have to share! It’s Roll & Play by ThinkFun. I happened to randomly find this at our local Books-a-Million last week and what a find it was! Normally $20, for some reason it was on clearance for $3. Once we got i home I loved it so much I went back and bought the only other one they had for a friend.

Rollandplay

The game is super-simple: roll the cube and pick a card that corresponds to the color the cube lands on. Do the action that is on the card, like “touch your belly button”, “moo like a cow”, or “find something red”. It’s great for learning to follow directions, learning turn-taking, colors, counting, animal sounds, emotions, and body parts. And it’s FUN! Jonah loves it and so do I. Sophie even loves playing it with us, and it’s always fun to get big siblings involved.

The next game is one we’ve all played since we were little: Connect Four!

connect4

Now, we don’t play this in the traditional way, after all, Jonah is only 2. But this game can be used to do something toddlers love: fill something up, dump it out, and do it again! When it’s his turn, I ask him, “Whose turn is it?” with the goal that he will say “my turn”. Eventually I will hope to get him to say “Mommy’s turn” or “your turn” when it’s my turn to go. I hold up a red and yellow checker and have him say “I want yellow” (or red) before I’ll hand it over, and we usually play the little tug of war with each checker as well. There are lots of different phrases or words you could work to elicit from this game, such as “more”, “more please”, or “more checkers” or “yes” or “no” answers – just depends on what you want to work on.

Well, this had gotten rather long so I’ll stop there – hopefully I’ll have even more ideas for you soon! Got questions about toddler speech therapy at home? Leave them in the comments! But remember I’m not an expert…just a mom who’s been around the therapy block a time or two.

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