Ugh, we had SNOW for the past 2 days. YUCK! We never seem to have much of a spring around here. It always seems to go from winter to summer overnight; perhaps 3 weeks of a spring at best. I'll keep my sights set on the end of May for that to happen, ha!
I promised to share some insights regarding Little P's speech and such so I thought for this post I would focus on a discovery I made. Paige had begun her weekly therapies and I wanted to know what more I could do during the rest of the time with her to help her move forward. Her therapist gave me little things to work on, but it never seemed like much when I had the whole week alone with my daughter at my disposal. Internet searches usually turned up empty (READ TO YOUR KID! NARRATE YOUR DAY!!! really? I'd been doing that and it wasn't really helping us along.) I finally found a WEALTH of information and tips at Teach Me to Talk. It is a website run by Laura Mize, pediatric speech language pathologist with over 15 years experience and thousands of hours helping toddlers learn to communicate. Her goal is to help parents work with their toddlers at home on their own or in addition to the therapies they are getting through early intervention services or autism services.
I ended up reading all of the blog entries in the all of the sections of the website and I learned SO MUCH. From there, I ended up ordering the Teach Me to Talk DVD and the Teach Me to Play WITH You book. The DVD was very helpful for me in that it shows clips of Laura working with her clients and how she works her magic. It's useful to see her methods in action. It's not for the children to watch...it's a DVD for the parent to watch and learn from. The book was also helpful for me in that it is filled with ideas for finger plays, social games, and lists the best toys all for enhancing language development. These games are tailored for toddlers who have delays, so I was thrilled that Little P could actually participate in these...they weren't over her head or beyond her abilities.
Aside from the wealth of written information on the website, Laura also does podcasts! You can see that section on her website. I went over there via I-Tunes and began to take my pick of shows depending on what topic seemed to fit our needs. There were several! I've spent many an evening listening to a show or two. I found them helpful and fun to listen to.
If you are looking to enhance your child's speech or feel concerned about their development Teach Me to Talk is a great place to start finding some support and help. (If you are concerned about a possible delay of any kind in your child, I highly recommend having a free evaluation by your state's early intervention program. No reason to drag your feet! It's great to start as soon as possible to rule out potential issues or target the area your little one may need a bit of help with. It will only help your child and give you peace of mind. Like my friend and Little P's Godmommy said: You wouldn't wait to see the pediatrician if you thought your child had a serious illness; you would take them in to get checked out.
I have to say, the clip from the website that first caught my attention and changed the whole game for me was this one.
I noticed how FUN she was making playtime. Laura demonstrated a lot of energy and the toddler was so engaged. Maybe I needed to really ramp up our playtime to that level of fun and energy to get Little P to notice me? I tried it, and it worked. Paige was watching me (finally!) and we were having fun together. I ordered the DVD so I could watch different scenarios...it was about an hour long and touched on issues for children who have trouble engaging or listening as well. We now play in a concentrated engaged way for a minimum of an hour per day (spread through the day) but I try to tally in as much as 3 hours of engaged time per day if I can. We've been working our way up to that amount. It can be tiring and challenging to stay that energetic for such a huge chunk of time, but it helps to spread it out. Chris also participates when he comes home from work...he engages and plays for stretches of time with her after dinner and during her bath time. Every moment together with her presents an opportunity to be fun, playful, and learn language in the process (meal times, grocery store, errands, diaper changes). In turn, it has also done wonders for our mother/daughter relationship.
Anyway, changing the way we play has been instrumental for our changes so I wanted to share!
I hope people find Teach Me to Talk as helpful as we did! I'll be back soon to share more. Enjoy your weekend friends!!!!