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“Teach Me To Play WITH You: Easy Games, Songs, and Play Activities to Teach Social Interaction to Toddlers and Young Preschoolers with Language Delays is a therapy guide for parents and professionals who work with young children with social and communication delays.
This 187 page manual is filled with simple routines, songs, and games designed to inspire adults to interact with children in ways to motivate them to play WITH you. It’s a book of ideas to get you started so that you’ll know what to do when you play with a child who has difficulty staying with you and paying attention or with a child who seems bored and aloof most of the time.
Chapter 1 is an introduction for parents explaining why social interaction is the foundation for language development. A child who isn’t interested in being with or communicating with other people for most of any given day isn’t developmentally ready to understand and use words. All communication begins with being social. Once a child learns to love being with you, he forms the foundation necessary to help him understand and use language. You’ll learn how to interact with him so that he’ll learn to interact with you.
Chapter 2 is Easiest Beginner Routines and includes step-by-step instructions for 23 fun play routines. Young children with social and language delays best learn how to interact with others during the structure of a game. On each page you’ll find:
- Key words and sounds YOU should say when playing to elicit a child’s first words
- Detailed instructions in How to Play
- Description of a child’s preferences to help you decide if this game is a good match
- Materials required (if any)
- The name of the game, list of goals, and step by step instructions
- Problem solving tips specific to each game
- Ideas for expanding the game and new games to try when he’s mastered the first one
In Chapter 3 Early Toys, you’ll find ideas for play with children who may not be interested in toys. Most of these games are with toys you probably have at home. Some aren’t toys at all, but household items you likely already own. These are my go-to-games when I need to get a child’s attention in the beginning sessions when he’s not with me yet. At the end of the chapter, I list toys I use every day in speech therapy.
Chapter 4 contains words and instructions for 34 Fingerplays and Songs I use in play with toddlers and young children. As in the previous chapters, you’ll find a section for Child’s Goals and ways to expand the game into your daily lives.
Finally, in chapter 5, Solutions for Problems during Play, you’ll find suggestions for new things to try when what you’re doing isn’t working. Problems include:
Places toys in mouth
Avoids interaction with people
Doesn’t like toys
Lines up toys rather than playing
Holds toys instead of playing
Repeatedly pushes buttons
Prefers TV/videos to people and toys
Sensitive to touch and sound
Uses parent’s hands to operate toys
Odd, repetitive, or self-stimulatory behavior
Short attention span
Tantrums and meltdowns
Difficulty with transitions
Doesn’t like to share or take turns
Lost in own words instead of playing or listening (using jargon or echolalia)
Chapter 6 includes my list of references and recommended reading for parents.
This is a great parent training tool! SLPs and other therapists in early intervention programs will love how this book is organized in a format with activity pages that can be easily copied for distribution to parents.
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