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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All the King’s Horses

sad day

This is my “I had a bad day” face.

Yesterday I had a bad day.

Here is what happened:

About 35 minutes into his hour-long therapy session at PACE (the free program through the county), Jonah got mad about having to be all done with a fun activity and having to move on to the next activity, and he threw a giant fit, rendering the next 25 minutes of the session completely useless.

Day ruined.

Jonah’s therapy sessions (he just started last week with Sophie’s former speech language pathologist, the Amazing Miss Kristen!!! so now he goes twice a week) are the most important part of my week. This is because, like I was when Sophie was delayed, I am super, super, super, super, super, SUPER-FOCUSED on Jonah getting past his speech delay. I think about it all the time. I plan times for us to work together at home. In every little thing we do together, I try to figure out how I can apply it to teaching him speech.

But 90 minutes a week, when he is at therapy, I can relax a little bit. Just a little, because obviously I am watching him like a hawk during that time and tucking away notes about how I can apply this or that at home. But for those 90 minutes it’s not my job to teach him. Pressure’s off a little. And usually, he does well and has fun and is adorable and I leave feeling encouraged.

But when he doesn’t, I just cannot recover. I lost something more than 25 minutes yesterday. I lost my ability to function for the next 12 hours. I didn’t get my encouragement, my high, my feeling of progress. I didn’t get any relief, just pressure and doubt heaped on more heavily.

I wish I could shake it off, but I can’t. The rest of my day was a wash. I feel nothing but despair. I hate to be dramatic, but that’s how it is. It’s how it was with Sophie too, but she was so much older when we started therapy that her days of non-cooperation were extremely rare and her progress was always evident.

We’ve only been at this a few months and I’m already tired of it. I would give anything to have Jonah wake up tomorrow and be caught up; to feel like conversing with me instead of only communicating his basic needs and wants. Other people’s kids seem to learn this stuff with no problems; why can’t mine?

I know he’s only two. But I’m 35, and I feel much, much older. And I’m tired of having to be all the things I’m supposed to be instead of just…being.

 

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