Last weekend I rode the Amtrak down to see my BF. I have not taken the train in over a decade. After Cari’s recent awesome experience riding the train I decided to jump on that bandwagon too. Hey, 4 hours to sit without conscious energy exerted driving. I managed to get some paperwork done and office stuff that often gets pushed until last on my to-do list. Not enough time in the day. Anyone else experience this?! Not enough time? This week let’s talk about a verbal routine within an activity and time. It might take me a second, but we will get there!
If you have been with me since the beginning, Cari is the SLP (Speech Language Pathologist) that has been my best friend since grad school over 2 decades ago. In more recent years, we have been looking at our calendar when we are together and putting the next get together on paper. It is important. Time passes and then you wonder why you have not seen someone. Or you might wonder what kind of bubble you have been in. The older I get the more and more I recognize the need for my friendships and time. Time for people that are important. It was a bonus week for me, because Cari and her husband were driving to see family and visited this past Friday night too. Why? Because relationships with others are important. Time is important.
Within my private practice I see some kids within early intervention and some kids over the age of 3 privately. I often leave handouts, homework activities, and/or suggestions for the family to think about. My goal is for the family to be able to incorporate as much of the suggestions and activities within their daily routines as possible. Why? Time. Are we not all searching for more time in our day? I am quite positive I am not the only one. Did you by chance check out my Social Emotional: An SLP Perspective II post? Within the post I suggest a few ways I am changing my life to provide me with more time.
Putting down those electronic devices sure is challenging isn’t?! Sometimes I think I should check a speech pathology Facebook group for an article. I may have missed something! Or, yes, I should check my email one more time. I see this in many of my homes that I visit too. The mom or dad is on the phone and the child is getting upset. I am asked to work on speech because the child is frustrated he/she cannot communicate.
Sometimes I wonder if the larger frustration is stemming from the desire for attention vs. I cannot communicate. Recently I came across this article that discusses how a parents’ device usage may be impacting children’s behavior. I wonder about its impact on other relationships too. This past weekend with Cari we went out to dinner and my phone stayed in my purse. We went to lunch and I left my phone at her house. Why? Because, I wanted to focus my attention to her. Our visits are every 2-3 months. It is important. Active vs. Passive Listening! I discussed these concepts in this blog post.
So, lets talk about a time that could be potentially built into your current day with the weather being so beautiful…Time at the park. Language and visual opportunities run rampant at the park! On numerous occasions I have had moms tell me that her child has difficulty leaving the park. It often leads to a tantrum/meltdown ( Check out these suggestions/strategies for meltdowns and tantrums as provided on this guest post by author and parent, Mari Nosal). This is a great time to think about pictures, a picture schedule, and “first, then” statements.
Take pictures of the park, of your house, your car, etc to show your child what is happening next. Your child might benefit from the visuals of the picture or an auditory timer to signal when it is time to go home as well. If your child is nonverbal or possesses few words in their spontaneous vocabulary, pictures are also great for encouraging the child to label the pictures. For example, you could say, “It is time to go to the…(pause)” If your child does not say park then you fill in the blank with the word “park”.
What can we do at the park? I am so glad that you asked! I have referenced this book in previous posts but when you come across a great resource then you share! The Big Book of Exclamations 2 can be found on Chatterbox Books. Within the book she has created what I call verbal routines within an activity. One of my hopes for my late talkers or those with suspected childhood apraxia of speech is that the child learns the verbal routine within the activity and starts to use those words within that context. (P.S. The placemat is out too! Holy Moly! Go peek!)
For example, every time you push your child on the swing verbalize “wheeee”. After several pushes, stop the swing. Pause and do not say anything. See what your child does. If you child is nonverbal maybe wait for he/she to look at you (eye contact). If your child cannot say “wheee” maybe he/she could imitate “eeee”. Think about where your child is at. Meet your child there and shape the desired behavior from there.
Let’s face it! “Wheee” is fun to say and can be used in a variety of contexts. Have you seen these CV car mats on Teachers Pay Teachers? I thought for a couple of dollars it was a no brainer. Worth a gander! Can you think of another verbal routine you could use a the park? If not, here are a couple… “Up Up…(Pause) “Up” “Ready Set… (Pause) “Go” “Down Down…(Pause) “Down” “Stop…(Pause) “Go”
The Pause is important. Why? Because if we are always talking we are not allowing the child the time to answer. Thought for the day!