GUM! I can not say enough good things about learning to chew gum. Chewing gum is calming and organizing. Gum chewing strengthens jaw muscles to assist the use of jaw height, lips, and tongue for articulation sounds and safer feeding skills. Holding gum in the mouth by pocketing in the cheek, assists the tongue "anchor" for more fluid articulation. Chewing gum provides rhythm that assists on-task behavior. Did you know that gum can be written into your child's IEP or behavior plan as assistive technology? Pretty Cool!
The answer is rhythm. When speech jumbles together it becomes very difficult to understand. Use clapping and/or a metronome to practice articulating syllables. Make it fun. Use a metronome during story time and take turns as confidence grows. Play clapping games or use objects to bang as instruments to the alphabet and simple songs. As awareness and ability increase, tapping and using rhythm in your speech can help your child pace their articulation when they start to feel frustrated.
The “T” sounds can be used to help the “S” sound. Making the “T” sound hard or sharp followed by the “S” can help clean up a lisp. Use a straw at the top to teeth as needed to aim the sound.
The “how”and “why” of building a strong self-concept.
Looking in the mirror and talking about what we see during hygiene and play, looking through photo albums and labeling family, friends, pets, and places during the bedtime story, and making artwork on the wall of the bathtub with soap crayons of your house, family, or a self-portrait are all ways to build a strong self-concept during your daily routine.
Self-concept is the basis for everything else that we learn. When you learn something new, you use the information that you have about yourself and your world to organize that new information. Once it’s organized, it can used later. It is now something that you have truly learned.
When a person struggles to identify or answer basic questions about who they are, they are going to struggle with new information.
The good news is that it’s never too late to work on a strong self-concept.
Please share any ideas that you have tried or plan to try. Let’s learn from each other!
Did you know that imitation is a learned skill? Like learning to walk, we have to learn to imitate. Even when it is learned as a natural milestone, parents andcaregivers are still teaching the skill. We just do it naturally. When your child has difficulty performing an activity or saying a word or sound upon request, they need help with their imitation skills. That is when they need us to use our natural caregiver instincts to teach. It is never too soon or too late to work on purposeful imitation skills. Here is a simple breakdown of how to use those instincts intentionally:
Child: vocalizes or bangs their high chair tray in play.
Caregiver: Imitate the child. Keep it going for multiple turns by imitating their sounds or actions.
* Eventually you will be able to initiate the play action and they will respond. You're on your way to imitation!
Limiting screen time. We all know we need to do it! In real life, sometimes it’s hard to do. Share how you achieve the goal. Limiting screen time increases functional communication, functional social interaction, opportunities to bond, and so much more!
Teaching your child to complete tasks on your terms (instead of theirs) has tremendous benefits. In order to learn new things we are sometimes uncomfortable with the unknown or the challenge. We may want to walk away. But, in order to change and grow we have to be uncomfortable sometimes. We also have to be willing and able to learn from others.
Lauren B. Norwood