Friday, November 30, 2012

Failed a Screening

Today I am sat in the doctor's office to take a 3 hour glucose tolerance test because I failed the screening last week. I know that this will help identify a problem and help me take the right steps after I find out the results.

This has me thinking about a recent client, Kristi*. Her parents were concerned with her language development. She had had some regression a few months earlier and recently was doing better. But was she delayed? Were her language abilities appropriate for her age? Previous testing had revealed significant delays, but they had seen so much progress. Where was she now, developmentally speaking?

Mom brought her in to have a full language evaluation. While we talked about what language skills are appropriate for different ages and we went through the testing process, we were able to see that overall Kristi's language skills were within the average range. However, we were also able to pin point some missing skills that could be addressed at home.

Kristi's parents now feel relieved - not because their daughter isn't delayed but because they know. They know what they need to do, what to work on at home and what skills aren't an issue at this time because they are not necessary for her age. If the results had revealed delays, they were ready to start therapy to address her specific needs. Knowing the problems or areas of delay doesn't change where a child is developmentally. It gives you power to address those issues with a professional cheering you on, either on your team if your child is in therapy or from the side lines if your child is developmentally on track!

I am nervous about the results of my test and the changes that may have to be made. But no matter what, knowing will help me make the decisions that are best for my child and for me.

I would be happy to talk with you about your child. You can also check out my speech sound information or language developmental milestones from the American Speech-Language Hearing Association.

Feel free to contact me! Talk to you soon!



UPDATE: I passed the Glucose Tolerance Test! While I was waiting for the results, however, I went ahead and ate as if I had Gestational Diabetes (just in case) and found some terrific recpies. At first, I was worried that I'd having nothing to eat, but researching and trying out recipes was fun and educational for me. No matter what the results had been, I would have done what was best for my baby. I hope that if you find yourself or your child in a position to need further testing that you pursue it so that you don't have to just keep wondering and can get started addressing any issues that are revealed by the testing. Please let me know if I can be of service to you!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thanks for a great event!



I want to thank all the families who stopped by my table at the event at First Years Preschool today. It was so nice to talk with you! I hope that you enjoy the Candy Cane Activities and the Christmas Bingo game. If you want more copies of those activities check back soon and I'll have them posted so that you can print them from home.

Also, I want to send a big thank you to the First Years Staff for setting up the event!

I hope that everyone is getting ready for a wonderful, whole hearted holiday season. Stop back by frequently to see more activities that will have you and your child engaged in all of the things that make this season memorable!










Whole Hearted Holiday - Thankfulness Turkey, part 2

Making the Thankful Feathers!

While we waited for the turkey to dry we worked on making the feathers. We gathered our supplies and got to work!


I drew a rough pattern on one sheet, stacked up a few sheets and then cut them out.


After I cut out the feathers, I passed them to my daughter who practiced her cutting/snipping skills. We got a little creative with the cutting after a while and lost some feathers in the process. But, that's what this was - a learning process!


Once I realized that she had hit the end of her attention span, we started the most important part of the project. We sat and thought about things and people we are thankful for. It is very fun to see how a 3 year old thinks! If she were able to write, I would have her write her own thoughts, but for now I wrote them for her.


The next day our very wet turkey was dry and ready to be taped to the wall! We found out that packing tape does not keep anything to our walls, so we used painters tape which worked well for over a week. We got to re-stick the turkey and some of the feathers back to the wall once.

Each night while we ate dinner we all discussed what we were thankful for. This part turned into one of our favorite parts of the day!



This is our final picture of our Thankful Turkey! I hope that your family takes on this project, it was such a blessing to our family!


Whole Hearted Holiday - Thankfulness Turkey



I wanted to make sure that we focused on our being thankful for our many blessings as we prepared for Thanksgiving festivities. What better way to remember to be thankful than to have a huge turkey with feathers right next to your dining room table!


First, we started with a large cutout of a turkey body that I made larger from a pattern I found online. I used bulletin board paper but you could use butcher or parchment paper.


Then, we talked about the color of a turkey while looking at pictures of turkeys we found by doing a simple image search on line. We enjoyed talking about the different turkeys we saw including the boy turkeys vs. girl turkeys, real vs. pretend turkeys and live turkeys vs. cooked turkeys. We settled on brown paint (there was much discussion about why we couldn't do a pink and purple turkey). I put a bit of brown paint in a bowl and laid out a variety of paint brushes.


As we used the paint brushes we talked about the sizes of the brushes and discovered that wider brushes painted more of the turkey more quickly. However, it was most fun to use two or three brushes at one time!


We were very proud of our finished turkey!







Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Whole Hearted Holidays - Our Autumn Tree


Since we could not find any trees in our neighborhood and a trip to North Florida was out of the question for us, we made our own. You can, too!


Materials Needed:
plain art paper or butcher paper (thicker than copy paper would be best)
tempera paints in a variety of fall colors
plate to put the leaf colors on
foam brush
paper towels (some damp, some dry)

I learned from this experience that projects do not always turn out the way that I had planned. As I was putting down the camera, she added a second hand print to her paper...that page then became our practice page!




First, put some brown paint in a small bowl and with the sponge brush paint your child's hand. Give age appropriate instructions to spread fingers, put hand down and wait for you to push down gently on the fingers (and only do one hand print on the page...unless you want a forest!).



Next, paint a stripe down your child's arm and make your tree's trunk. We used quite a few paper towels during this portion of the project!



As we talked about what color the leaves should be and I put a blob of that color paint on her plate. I couldn't convince her that green was not a fall color, so our autumn tree has some green leaves on it!




Then have your child dip her fingers in the paint and make a beautiful fall tree. My daughter like to put one finger in each color then put them on the paper. Feel free to mix and blend the colors and have fun making a beautiful fall tree!

During this activity, we talked about the parts of the tree (trunk, branches, leaves), we worked on the plural form of leaf (leaves), following directions, colors and action words (dip, tap your fingers, no! don't smear them!, paint, wipe and clean up). I am sure that in the years to come when I pull this painting from the fall decorations box and I will smile and love seeing how small her hand was and her sweet little finger prints!

I urge you to make something with your child that will develop her language skills now and be a lasting memory for both of you!




Whole Hearted Holidays - Fall Leaf Walk and Song



I love fall leaves. I love to watch the leaves change colors and to softly float down to the ground where they can be piled up and played in. I love to experience this when reading books because here in Central Florida, the leaves don't really change colors (we only get dead brown leaves) and our trees do not really go through the "fall change." We have lots of evergreens which are pretty, but do not evoke the feelings that I want, no - crave - when the air starts to get crisp.

So, we attempted to go on a Fall Leaf Walk. I guess the optimist in me thought that we would come across some special tree in our neighborhood that was going through the change. Alas, no. So, we collected other fall like items and enjoyed the warm afternoon. I hope that you have a successful Fall Leaf Walk and that you collect all sorts of treasure to bring home and turn into a beautiful collage. We just had fun talking about what we were looking for, anticipating what might be around the next corner and hanging out together.

Where are the colorful leaves?

See all the pretty green?

Pinecones!

While we searched we sang our fall leaves song. I would recommend putting it on a small index card and carrying it with you. I get distracted and would forget the words if I didn't have them written down in front of me. The best part of our walk, besides hanging out, was acting out the song as we sang. I blended a few verses from a couple of songs that I have heard over the years. Enjoy!





The Leaves on The Trees



Tune: "The Wheels on The Bus"


The leaves on the trees turn Orange and Red,

Orange and Red, Orange and Red,

The leaves on the trees turn Orange and Red,

All around the town.


The leaves on the trees are falling down, 
falling down, falling down.

The leaves on the trees are falling down,

All around the town!

The leaves on the ground go crunch, crunch, crunch!

Crunch, crunch, crunch! Crunch, crunch, crunch!

The leaves on the ground go crunch, crunch, crunch.

All around the town!

The leaves of the trees go "swish, swish, swish,"

"swish, swish, swish,” “swish, swish, swish,"

The leaves of the trees go "swish, swish, swish"

All around the town!

We'll rake them in a pile and jump right in!

Jump right in, Jump right in!

We'll rake them in a pile and jump right in!

All around the town!




Friday, November 9, 2012

Whole Hearted Holidays - Pumpkin Poem and Books

Songs and poems are a great way to introduce new vocabulary, concepts and grammatical forms. We have enjoyed reading this poem many times over the past few days. She giggles at the end of the poem every time! I have modified the poem slightly since it had an unknown original author and I think it flows a little better this way... hope you like it, too!




Two Pumpkin Seeds
(author unknown)

One day I found two pumpkin seeds.
I planted one and pulled the weeds.
It sprouted roots and a big, long vine.
A pumpkin grew; I called it mine.
The pumpkin was quite round and fat.
(I really am quite proud of that!)
But there is something I'll admit
That has me worried just a bit.
I ate the other seed, you see...
Now will it grow inside of me?

(I'm so relieved since I have found
That they only grow in the ground!)



We ended our pumpkin celebration with a book called Apples and Pumpkins by Anne Rockwell.  It's a sweet story about a family who goes to a pumpkin patch and apple orchard. It is filled with great vocabulary words and concepts. I love the descriptive language she uses that help paint the picture of autumn. "red and yellow leaves," "big, fat turkeys" and "big, orange pumpkin."

We have also read Spot's Harvest by Eric Hill. This is a good book for young children, toddlers and young preschoolers. It's simple but sweet.

If you'd like these books, I have a link to them on Amazon or go check out your local library!

         



I hope that you and your child enjoy whole heartedly experiencing pumpkins!


Whole Hearted Holidays - Pumpkin Seeds

After our craft project we made roasted pumpkin seeds. We melted some butter in a pan and toasted the seeds. Then we separated the seeds into three different pie plates so that we could have different flavors. We added the spices and other ingredients and roasted them in the oven. Once they were cool we enjoyed tasting the different seeds. Her favorite seeds were the sweet ones!



Always closely supervise children when cooking!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Whole Hearted Holidays - Pumpkin Craft & Decoration


We let the pumpkin seeds dry over night and enjoyed them in a few more activities the next day. We used some simple materials to craft some cute decorations!

What you'll need:
   orange construction paper
   green construction paper scrap
   brown construction paper scrap
   glue stick
   handfull of pumpkin seeds (dry but not cooked)
   orange curling ribbon cut into 3-5" lengths


First, we made a craft project called "Inside my pumpkin..." We added a stem and leaf to the outside of a pumpkin card. Then, we glued some seeds and some orange curling ribbon inside. This allowed us to review the parts of the pumpkin, use some great fine motor skills like glueing and picking up small objects, and practice following directions.



Whole Hearted Holidays - An Introduction to Pumpkins


I want to share with you why I love themes! I have mentioned before that themes allow us to be completely involved in a topic or idea and that we can gain so much language from themes. However, as a mom to a 3 year old, a practicing Speech Language Pathologist and being 6 months pregnant, I am beginning to realize that I can't expect these fabulous theme based learning opportunities to just happen.

I have decided that over the next two months, I am going to be purposefully focused on all of the reasons that I love the holidays and share those wonderful things with my daughter. I am going to be whole hearted about it. I would love for you to join us as we fully engage during a season that can get hectic and at times, out of control. I want to bring it back to the things that are important: spending time together, learning new things and sharing with others.

We are starting our Whole Hearted Holidays with pumpkins.

Monday, November 5, 2012

10 Years Ago

The other day I walked into the school where I currently work and realized that it was 10 years ago that I walked into my first school, Mill Creek Elementary, as a Speech Language Therapist. It is amazing how much I have learned over the past 10 years and how many people have been apart of my adventure in this wonderful field of communication disorders.

Among the most important lessons I have learned are:

Every child is different. We expect children to follow a typical path, and in some respects they do, but each child develops at different rates and in different ways. Each child has likes and dislikes that steer the activities that are engaging to them and help them along their developmental path. Getting to know each child that I have worked with and developing a personalized plan is one of the most rewarding things that I get to do.

Family involvement is very important. How each family interacts with their child effects the progress that the child experiences. Families who are more involved and incorporate the therapy goals into their every day lives will see a child who begins to use the skills they are learning in therapy in their daily interactions.

Themes are awesome! Changing themes each month or every other month helps keep the interest level high. My students are always excited when they come in and see the room is decorated completely differently and try to guess the new theme. I love that I can introduce relevant vocabulary, concepts and experiences. Books and craft projects are great ways to get the theme started, but I also love theme specific games, songs and poems.

There are a few people I want to thank as well. First, Holly Willis, for hiring a young therapist and giving me freedom to learn and practice my skills with her elementary school children. Second, Jocey Gomez, for training me and giving me great support and friendship all of my years in Osceola County. Third, Maureen Donohue, for challenging me to be my best and encouraging me. Of course there is my mom, who while I was studying in college and graduate school would ask about all of the things that I was learning, thus helping me learn by my "teaching" her and in the past few years asking me about new and challenging situations she encounters in her preschool which helps me keep the information that I share with her (and others) relevant and practical.

Thank you to Billy, my wonderful husband and now business partner. I love running our business together and I look forward to meeting the needs of those around us together. Also, to Elizabeth. You make a beautiful model for my blog entries! Thanks for having fun with whatever activities we do together. It has been a joy to watch you grow and learn.

Finally, I give highest thanks and praise to God for laying on my heart more than 16 years ago the desire to be a Speech Language Pathologist and for orchestrating all of the events in my life that have led me right here, right where I know - deep down in my soul - that I am supposed to be. To You, I give all the glory and honor.








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