AAC tools and devices aim to facilitate, supplement, or replace verbal speech.
Picture exchange systems, communication boards, choice cards, and speech generating devices are all examples of AAC options.
AAC isn't just for people who have motor impairments which limit their verbal speech. AAC can also be used for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Developmental Delays, or Cognitive Disabilities.
May is Better Hearing and Speech Month, so there is no better time to brush up on your developmental milestone knowledge! Remember- early intervention is key! Talk to your pediatrician if your child is not meeting these milestones to determine if a referral to a speech-language pathologist or audiologist might be necessary.
BIRTH TO 3 MONTHS
Reacts to loud sounds
Calms down or smiles when spoken to
Recognizes your voice and calms down if crying
When feeding, starts or stops sucking in response to sound
Coos and makes pleasure sounds
Has a special way of crying for different needs
Smiles when he or she sees you
Enjoys physical contact
Makes eye contact
4 TO 6 MONTHS
Follows sounds with his or her eyes
Responds to changes in the tone of your voice
Notices toys that make sounds
Pays attention to music
Babbles in a speech-like way and uses many different sounds, including sounds that begin with p, b, and m
Is that normal? Do other children act like this? What should I do when he acts like this?!
Parents, how often have these thoughts run through your mind? If you are anything like me, or the parents I work with every day- then you are no stranger to this feeling of bewilderment about your child! To help you navigate these land mines of parenting- we have compiled our Top 5 Strategies for modifying your child's most challenging or embarrassing behaviors...
Ignore Unwanted Behaviors!
This can be the most challenging strategy of all- but arguably the most important! Children LOVE attention- some even love negative attention. Often times, unwanted behaviors are unintentionally reinforced through this recurrent loop of giving your child attention when they are engaging in unwanted behaviors. So, remember- unless your child is hurting themselves or someone else- ignore, ignore, and then ignore some more!
Most children also suffer from a severe case of FOMO (fear of missing out). Paren...
Teaching typically developing children how to use the toilet is difficult enough- but what about our children who have developmental delays, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Down Syndrome, and communication challenges? Here are a few considerations and strategies to use when toilet training your child with special needs.
If your child is sensitive or upset by the sensory aspects of going to the toilet, try controlling your child's sensory experience during toileting.
Get your child familiar with sitting on the toilet by practicing for a few minutes every day.
Make him comfortable- consider letting your child wear socks, warm the temperature of the room, provide a foot stool for better support, consider a toilet seat reducer/insert to decrease fear of falling in the toilet, use warm flushable wipes, and try noise canceling headphones or background music to block out upsetting background noises.
One of the biggest challenges you will face as a parent is toilet training your 2 year old! Are they ready? Am I ready? As an occupational therapist, I have helped many families toilet train their children. As with most topics these days, there are so many suggestions and so much advice from professionals as well as other parents and family members about the right way and the wrong way to toilet train that it’s difficult to know where to start! Going to the toilet is a complex task made up of many small steps so It is helpful to break down tasks to their most basic parts and teach those smaller parts to your child step by step.
Getting Ready for Toilet Training
1. Should I use a potty chair or a regular toilet? Some advantages to using a small potty chair is that it’s mobile and some children find it less scary than a regular toilet. If your child has difficulty with change, however, then you may want to start with using a regular toilet to avoid having to trans...
Augmentative/Alternative Communication (AAC)... What is it?!
AAC tools and devices aim to facilitate, supplement, or replace verbal speech. Verbal speech can be impaired or lost for a variety of reasons, including developmental delays, intellectual disabilitiy, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), or degenerative neuromuscular disorders.
Surprising AAC Facts
1. You probably know of someone that is an AAC user...
Perhaps the most famous AAC user is Stephen Hawking, who suffered from a degenerative neuromuscular disease that resulted in the loss of his verbal speech. With the help of a high-tech, speech generating device, Hawking was able to continue to express his thoughts long after he lost his abiltity to verbally speak- allowing him to remain a respected and engaged member of society.
For those of us that are Saints fans, Steve Gleason is another notable AAC user who uses a high-tech, speech generating device. His access...
Melting down, throwing a tantrum, having a fit... just a few ways to describe that bright and shiny moment in your day when your child transforms from a little angel into a tyrant at the drop of a hat. While we all knew going into this parenting thing that meltdowns and tantrums were par for the course, it's still a difficult scenario to manage- especially if you feel like you can't quite figure out what's setting your child off!
Over the last several years, the concept of sensory overload and resulting “sensory meltdowns" have spread like wild fire across parenting blogs. But what does sensory overload look like? Are we just "explaining away" our child's bad behavior? These are difficult questions to answer, and often times the answer is different for each child and each family. First, it is important to know that the feeling of being overloaded with sensory input doesn't only happen to individuals with sensory modulation disorders. In truth, we ALL succumb to sensory overlo...
Each generation experiences a unique hurdle to parenting that is largely based on the social, cultural, and technological advancements of their time. And with how things are shaping up, it appears that this generation's hurdle will be how to effectively and safely manage screen time for their children. In fact, this is such a hot topic right now, the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued formal recommendations regarding the amount of screen time your child should be exposed to based on their age- and some of these recommendations may surprise you!
For children younger than 18 months, avoid use of screen media other than video-chatting.
Parents of children 18 to 24 months of age who want to introduce digital media should choose high-quality programming and watch it with their children to help them understand what they're seeing.
For children ages 2 to 5 years, limit screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programs. Parents should co-view m...
Parents, beach time is here- and it’s no secret that you are longing for the care-free, laid-back atmosphere of your beach vacation! We also know that you may be dreading the long drive there as traveling with your little ones can be quite a daunting task! So, to help you maintain your sanity- we compiled a list of some great activities to keep your children occupied and happy!
This great idea comes from greyhouseharbor.com. Making a simple visual of your destination and how close you are to being there helps curb the inevitable question…”Are we there yet?!”
Try this greatfree printable for a Road Trip Scavenger Hunt. Aside from you and your children having fun, your occupational therapist will be very happy that you are practicing visual discrimination and visual scanning skills while on the road! Turn up the excitement by allowing the winner to choose where you stop for lunch!
Reach into your cabinets and grab a cookie sheet for hours of travel fun! You can use it to play ma...
Your cell phone rings, you look down at your phone to see it's your daycare calling. Your heart sinks thinking that something might be wrong with your little one. Apprehensively you answer your phone and are immediately informed that your child has bitten a classmate. For many, embarrassment creeps over them and they begin to profusely apologize, stressing to the director that they will address this behavior with their child- confidently assuring them that it won't happen again. A week later, another phone call from the daycare, it's happened again, and this time you can sense the frustration in the director's voice...
Unfortunately for many parent's this is an all too familiar cycle. A cycle that can provoke feelings of frustration, embarrassment, anger, and despair. But what is a parent to do?
First, as I always stress, it is important to have realistic expectations for your child. This starts with know...
Handwriting can be a tricky skill for children to learn and those pesky U's and NI's on report cards for handwriting can worry a parent! Here are some simple tips and tricks for lessening your worry and helping your child become a more confident and legible writer.
1. Make sure you have age appropriate expectations for your child.
Unfortunately, I have noticed a trend of pre-school and kindergarten aged children being held to developmentally inappropriate standards. I can't tell you how often I hear a parent tell me that their pre-K student is expected to write from memory both upper and lowercase letters of the alphabet and that their Kindergarten students are expected to compose multiple sentences regarding a given topic. Let's pump the brakes here guys! A child's ability to form an oblique line (like in the letter A) doesn't fully develop until about 4 and a half years of age and a true hand dominance is not expected to befullydeveloped until 6 years of age. With tha...