Therapy Tip of the Week 2.24.12

Hi! Here’s this week’s video:

 

 

Puzzles

Puzzles are a staple of speech therapy sessions with young children. In the video I explained many different ways to target language and other considerations to improve participation with this activity with toddlers. Here’s a summary of that information:

1. Offer toddlers variety with puzzles. It is B O R I N G to use the same puzzle week after week for sessions! Collect puzzles with different themes so that you can teach new words and?expand a toddler’s vocabulary. Walmart, Target, and other discount stores often sell inexpensive puzzles and are a great way to build your inventory. Try ebay, consignment stores, or Goodwill for even more of a bargain.

 

2. Consider a toddler’s motor skills. Larger pegs may make it easier for a toddler to fit the pieces in the puzzle. If a puzzle is too difficult for a child with motor issues, he may avoid the task. However… if it’s too easy, a child may also want to leave you! Find puzzles with doors or another kind of novelty to attract and keep a toddler’s attention. Magnetic puzzles with tools to catch or hook the pieces are tons of fun. In the video I showed magnetic puzzles with cars and a magnetic tow truck and another one with insects and a net, but there are many more options available for you.

 

3. If a child is refusing to complete a puzzle, look at factors beyond behavior.

  • Determine if a “busy” background distracts a toddler’s attention or overwhelms?his visual perceptual skills. If this is?a factor, choose?puzzles with a plain background.

 

  • Puzzles target visual matching. If this skill is a challenge, you may want to begin with very simple puzzles with fewer pieces. Color to color or identical picture matching is much easier than matching a colored picture on the piece to a black and white picture on the inset. Matching the piece to the same-shaped spot with no picture as a clue is very difficult for some children (and adults!).

 

  • Sometimes something as simple as shaking up the pieces in a bag, holding a couple of pieces in your hands and mixing them up, or hiding pieces behind your back are ways to create anticipation and excitement for young children. If you feel yourself losing a child, interject one of these tricks to bring his focus back to you.

 

  • Change your task midway through the puzzle. If a child can’t complete your expressive goal, switch your focus to a receptive goal. For example, if he can’t name the pieces, ask him to point to the piece you name or complete another higher level receptive language task. Some ideas for receptive language are listed below.

 

  • A child may not be able to complete all 9 pieces of one puzzle in one sitting and THAT’S OKAY! Look for overall progress. If he can do 2 pieces this week, but 4 pieces next week, you’re on the right track! Give him (and yourself) a break! It’s okay to clean up before he’s finished all 9 pieces. I always target language during clean up time too. Sing “The Clean Up Song” from Barney as both of you?put the pieces back in your bag or better yet, have the child clean up the piece you name.

 

4. Go beyond naming each puzzle piece. While this is an appropriate goal for toddlers who are using single words spontaneously, it is NOT appropriate for children who are nonverbal or minimally verbal. For these children, puzzles should be used to target receptive language or an easier expressive language goal before you work on naming each piece. Nothing is more frustrating for a toddler than an adult who repeatedly asks, “What’s that? What’s this? Tell me. Say it…” when a child has never before said or imitated the word.

A late talker is extremely unlikely to say a word for the very first time during a confrontational naming task. It is much, much better to model the name and have a child imitate correctly than make him feel like a failure for not knowing what to say spontaneously. If you are consistently met with silence when you ask a child, “What’s that?” please know that YOU are?working on the wrong goal and/or using an incorrect strategy to elicit early word attempts.

 

5. A much better way to target expressive language for a child who can’t yet name the pieces spontaneously is by having a child imitate your model of the label. Keep it light and fun. Model the word several times as you show him the puzzle piece, but then hide the piece in your clasped hands while you “call” the piece. Or?hide the piece in the child’s shirt and “call” the object. You’re modeling the word over and over which is targeting both receptive and expressive language.

If a child is verbally imitative, then offer choices to facilitate imitation. You’ll get many more word attempts this way than depending on spontaneous productions at this point. For example, “Do you want cow or pig?” Keep your choices going throughout the puzzle by asking, “Does the truck go here or there?” or “Should plane go in or out?”

 

6. Other expressive tasks might include imitating exclamatory or play words like animal sounds or vehicle noises rather than the names or labels for the animals or vehicles. For example, if a child isn’t ready to imitate the word “dog,” he may be able to imitate your loud and FUN “Woof woof woof!” or a panting sound.

 

7. If a child isn’t ready for any kind of oral or verbal imitation, try imitation of a motor action such as knocking on a barn door with a farm puzzle, pretending to lick like a kitty cat, patting the pony, or making the bunny hop. MOTOR IMITATION ALWAYS PRECEDES VERBAL IMITATION.

 

8. Teach signs for puzzle piece names if a child isn’t ready for verbal imitation. Be sure you know the signs for every piece BEFORE you introduce this activity!

 

9. To target receptive language have a child follow directions. You can do this by holding up two puzzle pieces and directing the child by saying, “Get the ______.” If a child is prone to mistakes with this method, hold the puzzle piece you’re asking for a little closer to the child to prevent him from selecting the wrong piece. This technique is called errorless teaching. You minimize the chance that a child answers incorrectly. If you’re constantly redirecting or correcting a child in receptive language tasks, then this is the strategy you should be using.

 

10. To work on other higher level receptive language tasks, ask a child to complete requests?with the puzzle pieces such as, “Kiss the baby!” or “Make your?plane fly!”

 

11. As a prerequisite for two-step commands, have a child select two different puzzle pieces on request. With a puzzle of food items, ask a child to give you “ice cream and cake.” Hold out both of your hands as a visual cue for the two separate pieces.

 

12. Another great way to target receptive language is using puzzles to teach object functions. Ask, “Which one drives on tracks?” or “Who says quack quack?” or “What do you wear on your feet?”

 

13. I LOVE to use puzzles to target language processing by mixing up all of the receptive language targets I’ve previously mentioned. Place a puzzle across the room, give a child a verbal direction, and have him run to retrieve the correct piece. I most often use siblings during therapy in this way. This activity is lots of fun for everyone and mimics the processing skills children need in daily routines and real life.

 

Most of these ideas are demonstrated with children on my DVDs Teach Me To Listen and Obey 1 and 2 and discussed at length in Teach Me To Talk: The Therapy Manual. Check those out so you can SEE how it’s done or review specific instructions.

 

Thanks for watching! I hope that you’re finding these videos helpful! Please feel free to leave me a comment or ask any questions.

 

Until next week….. Laura

 

Laura

Leave a Comment





Teach Me To Talk Testimonials

Happy Therapists, Teachers, Parents & Children

Dear Laura,

Thank you for your generosity in sharing so much knowledge in such a clear and enthusiastic way.

As a retired audiologist with a fabulous and language delayed grandson, I used your podcasts and outstanding publication, The Autism Workbook, to inspire and guide me over the past year.

It works!! He went from barely verbal, no gestures, didn't respond to his name etc etc to a verbal, social, curious, ready to imitate anything, fill in the blanks on familiar "set" speech, generate his own totally appropriate and mostly understandable sentences...not just short phrases anymore... full little paragraphs...about imaginary things, what he did during the day, what he wants. True communication!

You make a powerful difference in this world! ❤

With gratitude,
Diane

"Laura Mize, you are a Godsend. I don’t know how one human can have so many helpful things to say in a beautifully organized way, so often. Always amazes me when another super helpful email comes from you, and for free. With free YouTube videos and cheap CEUs. THANK YOU!!!"

Sheila, Canada

"I purchased the book on autism and have watched the #400s series podcasts. Laura Mize has been more effective in teaching autistic tendencies, than many professors, shadowing professions, and the 100s of books, articles and classes or videos, or live workshop speakers, have been at teaching effective practices for a child with ASD. Some of the many lessons she has taught, which I will now use, to be a more effective Interventionist, include but are not limited to: red flags, typical behaviors, self-stimulating behaviors, not taking away toys, rather showing child to play with toy appropriately. She gives examples of child's actions, "inappropriate," explains the reason for: why the child is engaging in these behaviors and how they can be replaced with more appropriate, effective fuctional and age-appropriate skills."

"I’m sure Laura gets these messages all the time, but I thought I’d share. I stumbled across Laura‘s "Autism or Speech Delay?" YouTube video when I really needed it. This video finally listed and explained some of the red flags my son was showing for autism. I share the link anytime a parent is questioning in my FB autism group. This mother I don’t even know said Laura's video changed her life. I know exactly how she feels because It changed families too. Thank you to everyone at Teach Me To Talk."

LINDSAY

"Good Morning Laura,
I received your book (The Autism Workbook) yesterday and it is absolutely amazing! As I evaluate young children (0-3) for developmental delays and write plans for them with their parents, there are a ton of ideas that are ready to use. Others that reinforce what I have been doing, and saying, all along. Thank you so, so much for writing this incredible book and pulling everything together in one place!"

FRANCINE IN MICHIGAN

"Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge, experience, and guidance.
I’m a parent who bought the autism workbook and it’s the only clear resource I found to make a change in my son. I’m really thankful to Ms. Laura for helping out people like us all over the world."

"Laura Mize, all I have to say is that ALL YOUR STRATEGIES WORK."

ANNE, YouTube viewer

"We have 7 SLPs in our preschool (public) program for special needs children (ages 3-5) and we use your courses, books, and techniques every day! :-) We have seen our preschoolers make such great gains!"

 

"I just received Teach Me to Play With You, and it is ALREADY WORKING! WOW!

Girl…my son is 3 years old, and he NEVER asks for something using words. We were playing “Get Your Belly” (from Teach Me to Play WITH You), and after several times, he laughed and screamed "BEWIEEE!!!"  It was a hoot. And I can't believe he said it! I have played with him like this before, but this time I took your advice and acted CRAZY!! I will act like a total lunatic if it will get him to talk to me!  Now I can give him "the look" from across the room, and he will say it. That manual is so amazingly practical, and it is a GODSEND right now! Thank you SO MUCH!”

"I wanted to send you a quick email to say thank you. I started watching your videos/podcasts about 4 months ago. My son has gone from losing words he previously used, only having about 7 words at his 2 year check up in August (assessed at a blended 10 month language level) -- to now having so many words, increased social engagement, following commands, spontaneously requesting things, and naming letters & numbers (not in order) as well as colors. We had our monthly meeting with our SLP through the state infants & toddlers program and it felt like we were just bragging the whole time, but I knew in the back of my head it was because I have been using strategies you taught me.

We still have so much work to do with our sweet boy, but I know in my heart he would not have succeeded without the education you provided. I will continue to read your emails & watch videos as we go along this journey and face challenges, but credit is due to you, Laura.

Thank you so much, endlessly."

KATIE

"I just want to tell how fortunate I feel to have found your website and you!! I became a special instructor in EI almost a year ago and I started with hardly any applicable training. I felt so lost and confused as how to help the kids I work with learn how to use words and play. Honestly, I didn't even understand the importance of play, although I always played with my kids. But, once I started to watch your podcasts and get some of your manuals I felt a weight had been lifted off my shoulders and that I could finally teach these kids and their families something of value from a real therapist and based on research!. Thank you so much for seeing the need to help other EI service providers and providing a forum to share your knowledge and years of valuable experience. I'm sure you get a lot of these emails every week if not every day, but I wanted to make I could add to those notes of gratitude!! THANK YOU again!!"

SS

"Just wanted to say a HUGE thank you for these emails and your books, I have them all and they have seriously saved and improved my sessions with my kiddos. Huge thank you."

REBECCA

"I was very frustrated with how speech therapy was going for my child. I would take him and drop him off and not hear much of anything from his therapist and teachers other than, "He had a good (or a bad!) day." Your materials were invaluable for us because I learned how to work with him on his speech. I learned how to teach him to talk and play. I learned how to pay attention to his cues and work with him to teach him to communicate. Without it, I have no doubt he still wouldn’t talk."

BRITNEY

"Hi! I just wanted to say (from an SLT perspective) how incredibly useful I am finding absolutely all of your articles, blogs and resources - I only discovered your site last month and have just received all your books which I feel I am learning more than on my entire university training course!! But also the way in which you give specific, realistic, fun, encouraging ideas for working with parents is really just fantastic, I only wish I have your site sooner! Thanks so much from the UK! Kind regards."

HANNAH

"I just wanted to reach out to say thank you for making things a little easier to manage for me this year. I made the transition from school SLP to private therapist about a year ago. While the change was welcome, it was a lot, and I was just getting my footing in the clinic when I began teletherapy full time. Your website has been a huge lifeline in helping me work with late talkers and coach their parents in an accessible but effective way, even remotely. I look forward to getting your emails each week. I am floored by the amount of valuable, free information that your website provides, and I’m looking forward to investing in your workbooks soon. A sincere thank you for all you do!"

ALLISON

"You are an inspiration! I am truly grateful for the way you put into words and writing how to do what we do as SLPs. At this time in my 13 years of practicing, I find your encouragement keeps me going. As a single mom, I find it a stretch to buy materials these days and I am so thankful for the freebies you so generously share that help me teach my families. I don’t have much time to put together lists or quick references for parents!! Much gratitude!!"

ANDREA

"I just really appreciate your courses! I have two new clinicians that I’m working with and have recommended these courses to both of them. I’ve watched quite a few and have learned so much about serving this population. To be honest, before I started implementing your strategies I was a little frustrated with the lack of progress. My skills with engaging these little ones have improved so much! Thank you so much for making these CEUs so valuable!" C, SLP