Last week, Apraxia Monday’s topic was all about setting the stage for ways in which you can help your child at home with speech and language work…identifying what your child sees as motivation and incentive and determining what you have the time/patience/creativity for. Now, it’s time to jump into the nitty-gritty of actually engagining your child in some speech skills and drills at home. Here they are!
1–Get in the swing of it!
What you need: Swings at the park, in your backyard, even hanging one from the rafters in your basement works.
What you do: Push your child till your arm falls off. As you push, think of target sounds, words, phrases to work on with your child. Practice the ABCs, perfect her name, count to ten. Whatever interests him. Do this at least once a day for 15-20 minutes over the course of a few months and I promise you’ll see a surge in talking.
Why Bother: Can we say, “vestibular system?!”
2- Do a Little Dance, Make a Little Word.
What you need: Adult and kid
What you do: Adult calls out different kinds of movements, “Touch the sky way up high—touch your toes way down low—wiggle your hips—rub your tummy.” Child plays along and can repeat words as they feel ready. Add in other body parts like nose, ears, hair, mouth, tongue, knees, etc.
Why Bother: Whole body movements help get your little pumpkin talking, it also encourages listening to direction, enhances receptive language, and identification of body parts.
3–If We Could Talk Like the Animals.
What you need: Nothing but you and a child with apraxia.
What you do: Think of all of the animals you can impersonate. Can you make a great pig noise? Do it—but really act like a pig by rolling around (as if in the mud), and after you are done oinking, say the name of the animal. Bark like a dog…jump like one, pretend to take one on a walk, lick. Meow like a cat…rub head on loved one, practice purring, curling up. Really get into it.
Why Bother: Besides the obvious fun and giggles you’re sure get, it helps your child learn about different animals and the sounds they make. Plus barking less threatening than saying real words. As your child gets better at this, she has to identify the animal by name (Eg, “Dog”) before moving on to the next one.
4—Roll to Me, Baby.
What you need: Kid(s) and a ball.
What you do: Sit on the floor, spread out legs and take turns rolling the ball back and forth. As the ball is rolling across the floor (modify over time by tossing in air as your child’s skills improve), tell about a favorite something (food, color, season, friend, etc).
Why Bother? Conversations are all about taking turns (at least they should be!)….talker + listener = conversation. Teach this concept early. Even if your child is non-verbal, you can do this activity. Modify it a bit by not having your child say anything. You roll the ball and say, “Mommy’s turn.” When it gets to your child say, “Kate’s turn.” Do this until you (or she) tires of it, but aim for at least 6 passes.
Okay, there you go–“Homework” for the upcoming week! Give ’em a shot and get back with me to let me know if your child responded to any one idea in particular.
Next Monday will continue with some activities for the more “quiet and reserved” child who may prefer picture books as a stimulus.