Vowels and Diphthongs iBook
Vowels & Diphthongs is the ideal book for speech pathologists, children working on articulation, adults who are trying to modify their English accents, and even babies just beginning to imitate sounds! Many times the vowels and diphthongs of the English language are overlooked, so we dedicated this book to them to show how crucial they are in speech and communication. The slightest difference in pronunciation can lead to a whole different word meaning. This book identifies part of the mouth and articulators necessary to produce specific sounds and provides users with easy instructions. The audio and visual cues encourage imitation and correct production. It is the ultimate video modeling tool! The book also utilizes phonetic symbols and is helpful with promoting phonemic awareness as well as early reading skills. We have also used it successfully in providing stimulation for nonverbal and minimally verbal children and adults with Autism.
One of the best feelings is having your child say “Mommy” or “Daddy”! Labeling other familiar people is also an important skill. Once your child learns how to say names they no longer have to grunt, cry, yell, or scream to get attention! It gives them an opportunity to make clear requests, ask for help, etc. Here are numerous ways to encourage labeling familiar people below…
- Practice directions such as “Look at Mommy” or “Where’s Daddy?” Children often receptively understand who family members are before they produce a label. This will later translate into more complex directions such as “Go get the book and give it to Mommy”.
- Go in front of a mirror and say your child’s name while pointing at them and say your name. Try doing this at a consistent time of day (e.g. – before or after bath) to allow for repetition. Children also find it to be very silly… you can even try making funny faces to make sure it is a motivating activity!
- Create a simple book with photos of just your faces. We did this and it was a hit! He always goes to it on his own and flips through it. We recommend reading it to your children by clearly labeling each person at least 1-2 times a day. We advise you to write down the name of each person in the book especially if they have nicknames so that it is consistent when everyone reads it.
Remember the early days around 3 or 4 months when family, friends, or babysitters would come over and your baby would just smile at the sight of them? Now I’m sure things have changed and your baby knows who his main caregivers are, who his grandparents are, who aunts and uncles are, and now shows anxiety when friends and babysitters arrive! It of course breaks your heart to leave for work or errands when they are hysterically crying, but mommy and daddy have to bring home the bacon! Here are some tips to help with separation anxiety.
The Future – Even though they may be very young and not fully understand everything you’re saying , talk to your baby about what is about to happen. They take in a lot more than we know! Keep it clear and short. You can say something like – “We’re going for a walk in the park. After the park [babysitter’s name] is going to come over. Then, mommy has to go to work.”
Transition – Especially if the babysitter is new, try to ease into the transition of leaving them with a babysitter. Allot enough time to play with your baby and babysitter at the same time, so they get used to each other and feel safe. You can even set up toys or activities you know your child likes beforehand so that they have a positive experience with the babysitter.
Schedule – Whether you are a flexible or rigid parent, every child has a schedule. Go over it with the babysitter and post it on the fridge. If a baby knows what to expect during the day (e.g. – first bottle, nap, play, lunch, go to the swings, bath, and then mommy comes home!) the more easily he will adjust to the presence of a babysitter – it will also make the babysitter’s life easier!
Finality – When it is time to finally leave you do not have to extend the goodbyes, but keep it short and simple. Give you child a kiss, tell them you are going to work, have the babysitter walk you to the door, and practice waving bye-bye. This way they will associate waving with finality and mommy and daddy will come back at the end of the day! The more consistent you are the more your child knows what to expect.
Book/Pictures of Family Members – This tip is perfect for any age! Create a mini book about family members, so the babysitter can go over the familiar people during the day. This will give your baby a sense of comfort. We personally love putting photos in the “Who Loves Baby?” photo album book by Sassy and read it at least once a day. If you don’t have time to make a book the babysitter can even use framed pictures around the house to talk about how mommy is coming back and blow a kiss to mommy’s picture. This whole process can also encourage labeling familiar people! It is also very helpful when familiar people go on longer business trips, vacations, etc.
Social Story – This is ideal for older children. You can create your own book and take pictures to personalize it. In the book you can talk about the sequence of activities they are to expect during the day (have a picture for each event). Make sure to read it a few times during the day… this ultimately reduces anxiety and also encourages language with frequent repetition! You can even download a free app called Social Stories Creator since I know printing out photos is not easy – you can just take pictures on your device and use them in the app… quick and simple!
Chances are your child is crawling and cruising at this point! It may even be difficult to take a picture of them sitting anymore because they want to be on the go! While this is an amazing milestone – it could also be exhausting for parents chasing around their little ones. One thing we always recommend to parents is to create an obstacle course to make it fun for all and improve gross motor skills. Here are some ideas below:
Pillows – line them up in a row and have them practice crawling, standing, and cruise on the bumpy, uneven ground; for cruising you can put it near a couch so they can hold on Tunnel – put it out in the living room and allow your children to crawl through; stand on the other side and work on direction “come here”, prepositions “in”/”out”, etc.
Bouncy balls – work on stability and their core by having them sit on a ball… you can bounce up and down, sway side to side, and slide front and back.
Ball pit – sit your child in the middle of a mini self-made ball pit and have them maneuver within the ball pit; talk about colors, action words such as “throw”/”catch”, and preposition “under”.
Once they are older and can walk, try adding things such as a trampoline, oversized building blocks, and other items to their obstacle courses to expose them to more difficult movements! Have fun!
Our favorite color @cadburyuk #egg today is #BLUE for #autismawarenessday! It is an honor to work with the kids, adults, and families we work with – you are an #inspiration to us all. @peepsbrand #autism #slp #slpeeps #slpbloggers #slp2b #speech #speechtherapy #speechpath #speechpathology #speechies #ashaigers #instaslp #schoolslp #slpmom #earlyintervention #babies #toddler #preschool #kids
Many of our friends with kids recommended we travel before the year mark and before Roman starts walking – I totally agree! As you may have read in this week’s “Babbling to Talking” speech and language milestones blog, we took a mini trip to Mexico to meet our cousins. While the plane ride to and from vacation wasn’t 100% smooth, we tried to come prepared with fun language based activities for the plane and it definitely paid off! It also helps if you’re sitting next to friendly people who enjoy playing Peek-A-Boo of course ☺ And don’t hesitate to use apps that encourage language production – whatever works!
Here are some ideas below on how you can pass time on the plane, car, or whatever your preferred mode of transportation is! Magazines/Newspaper – Don’t throw out magazines or newspapers that you’ve read. They can be priceless tools for long rides. Show your child how to rip the page, rip it into strips, and then squares. It’s a perfect sensory activity and you can target words such as “rip”, “loud”, “small”, “big”, name of shapes, etc. Walks – This is definitely possible if you take breaks during long car rides and on the plane you can walk up and down the aisle. You can take this as opportunity to say hi to the stewardesses and ask for water. If your child is old enough feel free to have them do it!
Window – Show your child what is outside by pointing and talking about what you see. If you’re on a plane they may enjoy opening and closing the window.
Books – Don’t forget to bring interactive books (eg – touch and feel, flap) to keep your child motived. Practice pointing to and labeling familiar items and actions.
“Mary Poppins” Bag” – We found it VERY helpful to bring a zippered bag full of some of his favorite toys (eg – musical instruments, balls, cars, etc.)… this allows a child to independently play and explore items.
Hidden Snacks – Another genius idea that someone had once told me about is to hide snacks in those plastic Easter eggs. If you put a Cheerio in each egg, your child can practice his/her fine motor skills by opening and closing the eggs, taking out the Cheerio, etc. Fun activity and takes up lots of time ☺ Enjoy Spring break!
A few weeks back we talked about early consonants to target with your babies, but what we often forget are vowels when it comes to speech and imitation. They are an integral part of speech in general, especially now that they are producing C-V (consonant-vowel like “ma”), C-V-C-V (eg – consonant-vowel- consonant-vowel like “baba), and C-V-C (consonant-vowel-consonant like “pop”). I often find that many children communicate with gestures using sounds like “aaaaahh” at first using varied intonation (eg – pointing to request a toy and vocalizing), so as you can see vowels serve a very important purpose!
Here is a list of vowels that are best to target and corresponding words or nonsense words:
“ah” as in “dada”
“a” as in “mama”
“uh” as in “buhbuh”
“oh” as in “no” or “go”
“ee” as in “bee”
“e” as in “egg” or “yes”
“ey” as “hey”
“oo” as in “poo”
“ay” as in “bye”
“i” as in “did”
“oy” as in “boy”
Feel free to work on animal sounds such as “moo”, “neigh”, “oink”, “woof”, “meow”, etc. and transportation sounds such as “vroom” and “beep” during play. We also create opportunities where “things go wrong” such as cars crashing or items fall to target “uh oh”! Look out for our “Vowels” book that will encourage your child to talk – will be coming out very soon!
Now that your child is starting to become more mobile it’s time to think about how to move them to the next level! We included our favorite toys that promote crawling, kneeling, squatting, standing, cruising, and walking this week. A lot of children of course do not walk independently well after their first birthday, but these are all ideas to help create opportunities for more advanced gross motor skill development. While targeting these skills, feel free to narrate their actions (e.g. – “Wow good standing up!”) and add new vocabulary (e.g. – “Crawl FAST… crawl slowwww”). Ready Set Go!
CRUISING (WALKING WHILE HOLDING ON)
Low coffee tables (make sure there are no sharp edges) are best for cruising! We even put together the dining room chairs to give Roman a different route for cruising.