Blog for Parents

cute child saying first word

What counts as a first word?

Parents are often surprised (and relieved) at our first meeting when I let them know that a lot of the communication their child is attempting does count as a first word. What counts as a first word? A word is any consistent, and generally unique label, for a specific object, person, action, etc. Here are a few things that count: Exclamations Environmental and animal sounds Signs Vocal approximations Exclamations: These are some of the first words little ones pick up because they are usually said with a lot of emphasis and intonation. These include “uh-oh” and “ow!” Environmental and animal

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sandcastle with ocean themes in speech therapy label

Ocean Themes in Speech Therapy

When you think ocean themes in speech therapy are you assuming it’s for those of us who see students in the summer? It’s time to reconsider! Ocean themes cover a wide range of activities which means an even wider range of speech and language goals to target. Related themes or titles: Sea creatures Under the Sea Speech on the Beach Sharks Pirates A visit to the Aquarium Speech rooms love pirate themes in September to tie in with Talk Like a Pirate Day! Books with an Ocean Theme Links to purchase books may contain Amazon affiliate links. I receive a

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toddlers playing near each other

5 Types of Communication Intents

Early language is more about communication intents than vocabulary. Let’s take a look at 5 types we see in early language. Requests When little ones need support with language skills, we tend to focus on requests. This is because: They’re usually very motivating They’re naturally reinforcing It’s easier to set up situations that encourage these interactions They make our days more manageable “Late talkers” have more frequent and bigger tantrums because they’re frustrated by their lack of language (aka their ability to tell you what they want). Helping them learn to express their wants and needs can decrease these outbursts.

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collage of moms playing with their children

What is your parenting play style?

We all have different interests and different ways of learning. We can use these to find our parenting play style so we enjoy the activities we do with our kids as much as they do! For a quick, free quiz with suggestions for activities you’ll love, click here. Activities based on parenting style: Creative types love messy, hands-on projects. Try arts and crafts, cooking with kids, and sensory bins! You might also like dramatic play like dress-up and creating performances. Active types are ready to go when it comes to sports and other physical activities. You can try children’s sports

Read More »
two young children playing

Language and Stages of Play

What are the stages of play? We often say the goal of talking is that we want our children to be able to communicate their wants and needs to make their lives, and our lives, easier, but that just covers the basics! What we’re really moving towards is their ability to use language to communicate ideas and feelings and develop relationships with others. For children, this happens through play. “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning, but for children, play is serious learning.” Fred Rogers There are many stages of play beginning in

Read More »

How to Raise Compassionate Kids

Empathy is the ability to take another person’s perspective and imagine how they feel even if we haven’t experienced the same circumstance. It’s a sophisticated skill that needs to be modeled and taught if we’re hoping to raise kind and compassionate kids. These suggestions are designed for children 4-10 years old and can be adapted to accommodate the whole family. Laying a foundation To start raising kind kids, we need to help our children develop a robust vocabulary of emotion words so they can label their own feelings as well as identify those of others. Here are a few words

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Dealing with Meddlesome Family Members

The holidays will look different this year which may make it easier to avoid meddlesome family members or a small group might make it more difficult to hide. In my practice, it wasn’t unusual to receive several phone calls around the holidays from frantic parents who’d been accosted by an extended family member with a negative comment. When you have a little one that’s behind in their development, it’s understandable you’d be anxious and more sensitive to the opinions of others. After all, we want to protect our children and see them thriving and happy. Why is Grandma butting in?

Read More »

The Case for Expanding Early Language

Hooray! Your child is beginning to communicate with 1-2 words! Now, how can we start expanding their early language attempts? As exciting as those first words and word combinations are, they have limitations. As parents, we make assumptions about the meaning of what our children are saying, often based on the situation. For example, moms know it’s more likely that “doggy eat” is a comment, but grammatically it sounds more like a command. By using the technique of expanding, we can demonstrate a more mature language structure. “Doggy eat.” “Yes, the doggy is eating.” Key characteristics of expanding are: the

Read More »
Skills Needed Before They Start Talking

Skills Needed Before They Start Talking

Babies and toddlers don’t just start talking one day. That first year is filled with critical learning of skills needed before they start talking. For “late talkers,” it’s very likely the delay is a result of a delay in one of these areas. Giving them support here will start them on the path towards developing their first words. Building a Foundation Each of these areas both builds on and overlaps with the other. For these skills to appear, we will assume the child is responsive to their environment and the people within it. Joint attention is when both individuals are

Read More »
boy in early intervention

Why is early intervention important?

We’ve heard family, friends, maybe even pediatricians, say that early intervention is important. But why? Is it that big of a deal to wait six months? When it comes to speech and language skills, waiting six months is not a life or death decision, but it can have a big impact on how big of a mountain you need to scale once you start. Let me explain. We talk a lot about milestones and we should because milestones are exciting! Those are what we add to FB feeds or text to family. It’s what we read in parenting books and

Read More »
cute child saying first word

What counts as a first word?

Parents are often surprised (and relieved) at our first meeting when I let them know that a lot of the communication their child is attempting does count as a first word. What counts as a first word? A word is any consistent, and generally unique label, for a specific object, person, action, etc. Here are a few things that count: Exclamations Environmental and animal sounds Signs Vocal approximations Exclamations: These are some of the first words little ones pick up because they are usually said with a lot of emphasis and intonation. These include “uh-oh” and “ow!” Environmental and animal

Read More »
sandcastle with ocean themes in speech therapy label

Ocean Themes in Speech Therapy

When you think ocean themes in speech therapy are you assuming it’s for those of us who see students in the summer? It’s time to reconsider! Ocean themes cover a wide range of activities which means an even wider range of speech and language goals to target. Related themes or titles: Sea creatures Under the Sea Speech on the Beach Sharks Pirates A visit to the Aquarium Speech rooms love pirate themes in September to tie in with Talk Like a Pirate Day! Books with an Ocean Theme Links to purchase books may contain Amazon affiliate links. I receive a

Read More »
toddlers playing near each other

5 Types of Communication Intents

Early language is more about communication intents than vocabulary. Let’s take a look at 5 types we see in early language. Requests When little ones need support with language skills, we tend to focus on requests. This is because: They’re usually very motivating They’re naturally reinforcing It’s easier to set up situations that encourage these interactions They make our days more manageable “Late talkers” have more frequent and bigger tantrums because they’re frustrated by their lack of language (aka their ability to tell you what they want). Helping them learn to express their wants and needs can decrease these outbursts.

Read More »
collage of moms playing with their children

What is your parenting play style?

We all have different interests and different ways of learning. We can use these to find our parenting play style so we enjoy the activities we do with our kids as much as they do! For a quick, free quiz with suggestions for activities you’ll love, click here. Activities based on parenting style: Creative types love messy, hands-on projects. Try arts and crafts, cooking with kids, and sensory bins! You might also like dramatic play like dress-up and creating performances. Active types are ready to go when it comes to sports and other physical activities. You can try children’s sports

Read More »
two young children playing

Language and Stages of Play

What are the stages of play? We often say the goal of talking is that we want our children to be able to communicate their wants and needs to make their lives, and our lives, easier, but that just covers the basics! What we’re really moving towards is their ability to use language to communicate ideas and feelings and develop relationships with others. For children, this happens through play. “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning, but for children, play is serious learning.” Fred Rogers There are many stages of play beginning in

Read More »

How to Raise Compassionate Kids

Empathy is the ability to take another person’s perspective and imagine how they feel even if we haven’t experienced the same circumstance. It’s a sophisticated skill that needs to be modeled and taught if we’re hoping to raise kind and compassionate kids. These suggestions are designed for children 4-10 years old and can be adapted to accommodate the whole family. Laying a foundation To start raising kind kids, we need to help our children develop a robust vocabulary of emotion words so they can label their own feelings as well as identify those of others. Here are a few words

Read More »

Dealing with Meddlesome Family Members

The holidays will look different this year which may make it easier to avoid meddlesome family members or a small group might make it more difficult to hide. In my practice, it wasn’t unusual to receive several phone calls around the holidays from frantic parents who’d been accosted by an extended family member with a negative comment. When you have a little one that’s behind in their development, it’s understandable you’d be anxious and more sensitive to the opinions of others. After all, we want to protect our children and see them thriving and happy. Why is Grandma butting in?

Read More »

The Case for Expanding Early Language

Hooray! Your child is beginning to communicate with 1-2 words! Now, how can we start expanding their early language attempts? As exciting as those first words and word combinations are, they have limitations. As parents, we make assumptions about the meaning of what our children are saying, often based on the situation. For example, moms know it’s more likely that “doggy eat” is a comment, but grammatically it sounds more like a command. By using the technique of expanding, we can demonstrate a more mature language structure. “Doggy eat.” “Yes, the doggy is eating.” Key characteristics of expanding are: the

Read More »
Skills Needed Before They Start Talking

Skills Needed Before They Start Talking

Babies and toddlers don’t just start talking one day. That first year is filled with critical learning of skills needed before they start talking. For “late talkers,” it’s very likely the delay is a result of a delay in one of these areas. Giving them support here will start them on the path towards developing their first words. Building a Foundation Each of these areas both builds on and overlaps with the other. For these skills to appear, we will assume the child is responsive to their environment and the people within it. Joint attention is when both individuals are

Read More »
boy in early intervention

Why is early intervention important?

We’ve heard family, friends, maybe even pediatricians, say that early intervention is important. But why? Is it that big of a deal to wait six months? When it comes to speech and language skills, waiting six months is not a life or death decision, but it can have a big impact on how big of a mountain you need to scale once you start. Let me explain. We talk a lot about milestones and we should because milestones are exciting! Those are what we add to FB feeds or text to family. It’s what we read in parenting books and

Read More »