By Leslie Lindsay
Don’t you wish you could find the perfect gift for your child with apraxia? Perhaps it would be a prepackaged year of speech therapy guarenteed to give your child a voice at the end of the year? Or maybe something more dynamic than that…say a magic pill that he could swallow once or twice a day–and *bing* he’d be spitting out oratories next year! I know, this is a serious matter and I don’t want you to think I am taking childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) lightly. Quite the contrary. I know how imortant it is, I was once in your shoes.
While I can’t give you a magic pill or even a full year of speech therapy with a super speech pathologist trained in motor programming approaches, I can give you some hints and tips for toys, games, etc. you may wan to purchase this season of giving for your child. Here goes:
- School Zone Preschool-Kindergarten Super Scholar. This computer program is designed for kids aged 3 to 6 years old. It builds language skills through word searches, crosswords, mazes, pictures, and imaginative puzzles, plus early math skills. You may also appreciate On Track: Beginning Sounds software, which helps your child work at recognizing sounds and associating them with words and objects. Check it out on www.schoolzone.com.
- Flash Pro 2 (CD-ROM). With over 10,000 photographic images in 65 categories, you’ll never be at a loss for words. You can select, preview, and print flashcards to teach and quiz your kids on certain words. The price may be worth it if you think of ways you can use it in the future—for school projects and homework, as well as with younger siblings. Available from Spectronics: www.spectronicsinoz.com/product/flash-pro-2.
- Zingo! It’s like Bingo with a zing—think word lessons and picture matching instead of letters on the bingo card. Each player gets a Zingo board; all of the chips are stored in a kid-friendly slider case. Each player takes a turn sliding the device to reveal what chips are doled out. The chips have both a picture and spelling of a common object (house, shoe, bird, sun). The game teaches turn-taking (an important skill in speech), patience, listening, sight words, and target word practice.
- Legos. How can this childhood staple be overlooked?! Whether you have a son or a daughter, you most certainly have a set of Legos. They have the utmost power to bring to life a child’s imagination, and perhaps her verbal skills as well.
- iPads and iTablets. While a spendy gift for kids, you may look at getting one for the whole family to share. You’ll find a wealth of speech-language friendly apps that just may motivate your little one.
- Remember books have gift and word value, too. Look for “The Big Book of Exclamations” by Teri Peterson, CCC-SLP or Angela Baulitz’s book, “I Want to be Your Friend,” which shares a story of a young girl with CAS. Rhyming books are very good for kids with CAS, such as Sandra Boynton books, Dr. Seuss, etc.
- Not every gift has to cost money. Just getting down with your child to participate in some 1:1 play is good, baking cookies, building a fort, taking a walk in the wintry woods. Talk about what you are doing and why. The more you talk, elaborate, share details, and observations, the more your child will feel eager and confident in doing the same.
- One last suggestion: remember that vestibular stimulation–whole body movement often illicits words and phrases? A trip–or gift card–to a bouncy place may be just the ticket.