As a speech language pathologist it is key that I engage the family in the therapy process. In order to best help a child, the family must understand why I am doing what I am doing with their child and how it will help them. And in order for therapy to be most effective, parents must follow through with my tips and suggestions when playing/interacting with their child at home. This is called generalization. Without generalization of new skills my efforts in therapy are ineffective and pointless.
When I worked in the school system as an elementary school SLP the children on my caseload had a speech homework folder. When they completed their weekly homework and returned it to me, they received a sticker. After 5 stickers were earned, they received the “honor” of visiting my treasure chest. (You know one of those glorified cardboard boxes with dollar store plastic treasures inside…kids eat that stuff up!) This proved to be the most effective way of informing the parents of what we were working on in therapy and encouraged them to work with their child at home on specific skills. Now that I work as an early intervention SLP and am in the homes of the children I serve I rely heavily on parents just observing what I do with their child and trust that they will then work with their children in similar ways when I am not there. Some parents do this…others find it hard. Either they don’t recognize what I am doing as different or helpful for their child or they don’t understand why it may be helping. Sometimes I don’t do a good enough job explaining what I want them to do when I’m gone and sometimes they are unable to follow through because life just gets too crazy. At times, I find myself wondering, what can I do or suggest that might make it easier for them to support the language development of their little ones?
Introducing My Toddler Talks! This is an easy to use book of “homework” focusing on speech and language development for parents. I recently had the privilege of reading this book when I received it from author Kim Scanlon, MA CCC/SLP. Kim wrote this book for parents of all toddlers (developing typically and atypically) who want to encourage their child’s language development. My Toddler Talks teaches parents how to “model and elicit language in a fun, straightforward and practical manner…” The book highlights 25 play routines using toys found in most homes (play doh, stickers, etc.) and expands those routines by scripting language between the parent and toddler. Often parents want to play more purposefully with their child but don’t know how. This book gets you there. Kim helps you model language that is developmentally appropriate for you child’s age and then gives you tips on how to elicit more language from them. Often toddlers become frustrated when they can’t verbalize their desires. My Toddler Talks helps to diffuse that frustration by fostering earlier language development through play…the best way a child learns! So for the parent who wants to do more, wants some “homework” to do with their toddler, My Toddler Talks is the answer. It gets down to the old school version of child development: PLAY! No television, iPad, iPhone, computer or batteries required! Thank you Kim for helping parents get back to basics of PLAY and helping them open up a world of possibility through communication with their child! PLAY builds brains…and fantastic communication skills!
I love recommending My Toddler Talks as a resource for the families I work with. When I am not there, they can easily flip to a play routine in the book and know that they are benefiting their child’s language development while also having fun with them. My Toddler Talks is the home based version of the homework folder I used to send home with my elementary students, but for toddlers. I can site specific play routines that might be most beneficial for the parent and they will have their book to refer to and carry out the “homework” during the week. It serves as way to further engage parents in being the best early teachers of their children and one thing I know for sure as an SLP, when parents are engaged regularly with their children in play, rich with language, children become communicators themselves!
Check out My Toddler Talks today and start communicating with the toddler in your life!