Teach Me to Talk: Building Verbal Imitation in ToddlersTeach Me to Talk - The Therapy Manual
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April 13, 2012 | Laura | Comments 4

Therapy Tip of the Week 4.13.12

Here’s this week’s Therapy Tip of the Week:




Toys with Keys

Young children love toys with keys!

On a basic level, these toys provide not only an opportunity for a young child to develop fine motor skills, but also to practice simple problem solving.

Problem solving is one of the CRITICAL cognitive skills that toddlers must exhibit before they are ready to learn to talk. (If you need more information about cognition in toddlers with developmental delays, please check out my book Teach Me to Talk: The Therapy Manual. There’s an entire chapter devoted to teaching the 3 most important cognitive milestones to help a child learn to play and eventually, learn to understand words and talk.)  

From a language perspective, you can target many, many different skills with toys with keys. In the video I introduced my favorite key toys all of which are available in various versions on amazon.com or in major retailers like Target or WalMart. 

In the video I forgot to mention one important point:

If a child cannot use keys to unlock a door, provide hand-over-hand assistance to help him! This increased level of help is required for many toddlers with developmental delays, especially if the child also exhibits motor challenges.

When you’re ready to target expressive language, my new therapy manual outlines the approach I use. The book is set to be released in May 2012 and is called Building Verbal Imitation in Toddlers. If you need a step by step guide to sequentially teach a nonverbal child to imitate words, then this is the resource for you! See this link for more information (including a special sale price in April 2012!): Building Verbal Imitation in Toddlers 

I’d love to hear your feedback and about your favorite toys with keys! Feel free to leave me a comment below.

Until next week - Laura





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  1. The “levels” I mentioned in the video are from my new book set to be released in May 2012 - Building Verbal Imitation in Toddlers. For more information and to read an excerpt from the introduction, click the link in the post above. Laura

  2. Laura,

    I just wanted to thank you for these therapy tips of the week. I am a recent graduate and my first CF position is in EI. I check your site religiously! And I can not tell you how helpul these videos have been to me! I think I am doing a better job with my clients thanks to all your wonderful tips!
    I have purchased a few of your suggested toys and my clients loveddd them!!
    I can’t wait to see your next host!
    Thank you again, you have been a better help than you can imagine!


  3. You’re so welcome Olivia! Have you see my DVDs? New SLPs rave about them because of the therapy clips. Do you listen to my podcast? Again - I get positive feedback almost every day from SLPs and developmental therapists who listen faithfully. I just want to make sure you’re aware of all the resources here! Thanks for your kindness :) Laura

  4. Thanks Laura for all of these wonderful tips! They are truly appreciated and used regularly. :)

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