Quick Social Game… Swinging in a Blanket

BLANKET

Earlier this week I sent an email titled, “The Trouble with Social Games.”

In it I addressed 3 reasons social games don’t work (at first) for some toddlers with language delays, but I didn’t include one of the main reasons social games don’t work…

We’re not creative enough!

By we, I mean the adult who is working with a child. It could be a parent or a therapist or a grandparent or whoever…

My point is that sometimes social games don’t work because the adult doesn’t understand how to create a routine.

I didn’t either until I read a great book over 20+ years ago called Giggle Time.

In it the author explained how to create a routine that would engage a child’s attention, even if he or she routinely tuned out other people.

Reading that book created a passion in me to not only learn how to play social games, but how to teach parents and (eventually other therapists) to play social games. That’s when (and why!) I wrote Teach Me To Play WITH You.

One of my best takeaways from that little book is to use an object to establish a game with a child.

It can be anything… a hat, a spinning chair, or a blanket.

Here’s one of my best ideas for a social game with a blanket…

SWINGING IN A BLANKET

In this game, a child learns to respond and stay with you for longer and longer periods of time.

Swinging is also an almost guaranteed way to calm a fussy toddler.

How to Play and What to Say:
It will be easier if you have another adult to help you, but if not, you can probably swing a
toddler by yourself.

Find a blanket that’s just large enough and sturdy enough to hold your child. If you have a
larger blanket, fold it in half.

Most children will automatically want to lie down on the blanket when you put it on the floor. If
she doesn’t, help her get down on the blanket. Gather up the ends so that you can swing her.

Build anticipation with your voice as you excitedly say, “Ready…Set…Go!” and then swing the
child back and forth several times.

Enthusiastically say, “Swing!” or “Whee! Whee!” while swinging the child. If your child likes to
count, then count to ten, and stop with a “crash” to the floor or “throw” them on a couch or
bed.

The child should respond by looking at you, smiling, laughing, or even calming down if she’s
been fussy. Hopefully, a child will begin to do something to let you know she wants to play
again. That’s called initiating, which we’ll discuss in skill #11.

After you’ve played for a while, be sure to pause to see if a child will begin to fill in any words.

For example, say, “Ready… Set…” and then wait to see if she will say, “Go.” Some late talkers
will surprise you and begin to pop out words. Others won’t. Don’t be too disappointed if it’s not
happening yet. Keep trying!

If There’s No Reaction or a Negative Reaction:
If she doesn’t respond after several rounds, or if she doesn’t like it, stop for now, but try
swinging again at another time. Toddlers with developmental differences sometimes need lots
of repetition and practice before they begin to recognize and enjoy a game.

Swing the child in your arms rather than in a blanket. The security of seeing your face may help
her if she was afraid in the blanket.

Change your approach. If you’ve been a little too rough, try a gentler tone of voice and be more
physically comforting. If you’ve not been exciting enough, play with more excitement.
Remember, you may have to change yourself before you can change the child!

 

From Let’s Talk About Talking

Laura

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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

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ALLISON

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ANDREA

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