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Spelling list helper

ARRGHHH!! Weekly Spelling Lists -

A Blog series on how to HELP with Spelling and NOT just memorising skills

Let's Talk 

Spelling Lists 

Speech TherapistDr Sandra McMahon PhD

​“It’s only week 3!  How are we going to cope with these weekly spelling lists and tests ALL term!” a mum of a Grade 2 child, with the dreaded spelling list in hand, cried as she entered my clinic this week.

Many parents (and young students) feel overwhelmed with having to learn a list of seemingly unrelated words EVERY week!

Are you looking for a better way to REALLY help your child learn spelling. Something better than having the children memorize words for a Friday Spelling test only for them to forget them next week. They can write them in the list but can't seem to spell  the very same words in a sentence! 

This blog series “Coping with the Weekly Spelling Lists”

will provide you with useful steps to build routines

that will make managing spelling lists easier for all involved!


Step 1: Check your child actually 

a) Can read the words

b) Can say the words correctly, and

c) Know the meaning of the words

can they read the words?


It is no surprise that there are some links between reading skills and spelling skills.

Reading and spelling do actually use different but related mental processes (decoding vs encoding). This is why some children might be great readers but may not be great at spelling? 

Ask the child to read the words.

Spelling is likely to be more difficult if they cannot read the words.

Observe which words they read easily and which ones they had to “sound out”, try a couple of times to get it right or asked for help with.

Ask your child to look closely at the letters and the sounds they make for all the “hard to read” words.  Begin spelling the words they can read easily while you consolidate their reading of the “harder” words.

can they say the words?


Sometimes children may say words back to themselves incorrectly.

They may mix the letters up or leave out parts of the words (e.g., they may say “hopital” for “hospital”; “dok” for “dog”).

They are likely to make the same mistakes in spelling as in saying the words (e.g., spelling it by leaving out the sounds or mixing up the letters).

Ask the child to rehearse saying the word helping them to emphasis the correct order of the sounds or making sure all the syllables are said clearly.

Clapping out longer words to make sure all the syllables are included can help (e.g., re– mem – ber)

This is particularly relevant if the child has had speech delays in the past or currently have speech difficulties (e.g., dyspraxia). 

It is important to check to see if the child has residual speech errors.

Common errors such as saying the “th” sound as a “f” sound often comes out in a child’s spelling (e.g., saying or spelling “think” as “fink”).

Another common residual error is saying a “w” for “r” (e.g., “red” is said as “wed”). Even an untreated lisp (an incorrect production of the “s” sound) can impact on spelling.

If your child is over 5-6 years of age, then all speech sounds should have matured. Contact us at SpeechNet Speech Pathology if you feel a speech screen is required to “fix” up these last speech sound errors before they appear in the child's spelling.

do they know the meaning of all the words?


Check they know the meaning of all the words. Ask them “what is a ______” or “Tell me what ________ means”. Even if you think they know the meaning of the word, check! 

You could be surprised what words they don’t “really” know the meaning of. Sometimes they may have an idea but it may not be spot on. Even grammar or site words carry meaning e.g., “she” refers to a girl/ lady/ female

The research has shown that there is a strong link between literacy skills and vocabulary skills. Children with a history of delayed language that “catch-up” in the pre-school years, sometimes find language difficulties “re-emerge” in the school years.

This is because each year of school requires higher and higher level language skills – more vocabulary, more abstract vocabulary and  higher expectations to learning things faster.

This can then involve having to read and spell more complex words!  A lot of people that see children having problems with spelling do not think about how “language” skills could be dragging the spelling backwards.

Speech Pathologists can do vocabulary tests and language tests to eliminate these factors as affecting literacy and /or can provide therapy sessions to bolster language skills.


HELP IS HERE!

THE WEEKLY SPELLING LISTS

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WHERE CAN YOU FIND HELP?


> BRISBANE & SPRINGFIELD LAKES AREAS: INDIVIDUAL & GROUP THERAPY AT SPEECHNET

​> HOME / SCHOOL / CHILDCARE / EDUCATIONAL CENTRE VISITS 

​> SKYPE / FACETIME SPEECH THERAPY

WE'RE HERE TO HELP!


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Research has shown that the early years at school are extremely important. Children quickly get a mind set of whether school is hard or fun. Early intervention is key to keep the love of learning that will be important for all their schooling. 

SpeechNet therapists are experienced in working with this age group in relation to; 

Speech and language difficulties, 

Phonological awareness, 

Early reading and spelling development, 

Auditory processing and 

Memory skills -all the necessary components for successful and fun academic achievement. 

We can help with development of these skills and assist in the liaison with your child’s school to ensure optimum support for your child.

As we have dedicated speech pathologist that work in schools, we have experience in educational settings. 

Learning support and teaching staff are invited to call us to ask questions or enquire how we can provide support in your schools

Top Toys for Christmas – 18 days to go

Let's Talk 

​Phlat Balls

Focus: Phlat ball  

Speech Therapist      Dr Sandra McMahon PhD
Phlat balls are flat discs that pop up into a ball shape. They are made of soft plastic and the “pop” time is random which adds to the fun of the game. Can be used as a Frisbee with a twist or just a fun ball. I like to place light soft toys or picture/ letter/ sight word cards on top so that the toy flies into the air when the toy pops – it encourage fun anticipation waiting for it to pop! If you put a couple of toys or cards on you can see who can catch one and they can tell you what the toy/letter/word is that they caught. If a child hasn’t seen one before you may need to demonstrate the toy as they often want to grab disc while it is flat and do not realise it will pop up.Main themes – waiting, changing shapes, motor skills (catching & throwing action words)

observe


Observe what they do with the toy when first given to them and before you start to play. It may not be obvious how “to play with them” at first. Do they notice they attach? Do they look at why it attached? 

What do they spontaneously “say” when they play with the toy? Do they have a “word” or way of describing how the ball changes (a surprised face, a wow, ooooh, look!, pop, ball now, flat now.

Do they think it’s funny or a bit scary when it pops?

Do they inspect it to try to see how it works?

Do they try different things with it? (sit on it, roll it like a wheel, try to bounce it, throw it up or forward)Can they push it hard enough to work or do they look puzzled if they don’t push it hard enough and it stays as a ball?

communicating with others


Communication: how the themes/ ideas of the toy encourages or give opportunities to practise social interactions

*Do they want you to look at the ball changing?

*Do they ask questions about how it works or ask for help? (hand it to you to make it pop again or uses words to ask for help)

*Do they communicate the emotions the ball evokes? (surprise, scare, delighted, excited)

*Can they wait patiently for the ball to pop or do they want to grab at it? This is a great game to encourage attention, waiting and turn taking skills. These are all skills we need to use when having a “conversation” with someone.

understanding of lanuage comes before talking


Understanding skills – words, sentences, ideas/themes/concepts, reading/literacy skills

Action words – suggest different things they can do with the ball and see if they change their actions accordingly eg push, roll, throw, kick, make it a wheel, waiting, tossing, releasing, changing

Similarities and differences of the ball as it changes (Does it change shape or colour?), it’s like a ball vs like a wheel

Gestures – do they show anticipation gestures – looking intently, jiggling or jumping as it gets more likely to pop, surprise gestures, pointing gestures to show they noticed the change or where it changed (eg pointing in the air)

Concepts: shapes flat vs round; time concepts: now, soon, later, nearly

Cognition: Count how long it takes to pop. Remember that number and see if the next one takes a longer or shorter time to pop.

Problem solving - Enocourages an understanding of “cause and effect” – if you push it goes flat, if you wait it pops; Can roll the ball easily because it is round but not so easy when it is flat.

Numbers: Time concepts and counting as wait for the ball to pop. See how many steps or how far it can roll before it pops.

spoken speech & language


Speech: saying sounds, exclamations, words, sentences, stories. Making gestures & facial expressions.

saying sounds


Pop, boom, wee, (as the Phlat ball pops up)

speech clarity


/p/ is an early developing sound and so words like “pop” are great first words to encourage. Encourage them to look at how your lips are squeezed together as you are “busting” to say “pop” as you are waiting for the ball to pop. /p/ is said with a build of air pressure behind the lips and so “holding” it back before popping out the /p/ sound encourages this sound pressure. Simliarly you can use a phrase “pop up” to encourage more /p/ sounds. Also early words like “go” are great as lots of children under three will say a /d/ for a /g/ sound – “go” -> “do”… You can model or practise the /g/ sound by repeating the/g/ sound as you are anticipating the ball to pop: “g,g,g,g,g,g,…GO”;

Saying words


Names of the things: ball, Frisbee, button

Names of action words: see above (rolling, tossing, flicking, exploding, changing, waiting)

Describing words: hard, flat, not bouncy, round, colours,

Other words: now, soon, going to, nearly, yet

Saying Sentences: Encourage them to repeat sentences at a length that matches their ability after you say it – after a few times of reading the book can they say the words and sentences by themselves?

By choosing words with different endings will help build spoken grammatical words eg popping, flatter, edges (word endings –ing, -er, plural ‘s’). These can then be put into sentences: rolling the ball (action word + a thing)The ball IS flat, The ball IS NOT popping (important little words – “is; pronouns – “he”)The ball popped in the air. The ball IS taking a long time. (encouraging longer sentences by adding a thing or a place)Sentences like "If I push it hard, it will take a long time", "It won’t roll because it is flat" helps develop the use of joining words ( e.g, “and”, “because”, “so”, If)

Saying more:Explain why they think it stays flat. Explain why it takes sometimes a long time and sometimes a short time to pop. Predict what might happen if we put something on top of the flat ball. What might happen if we put our fingers in the spaces when it is flat? What things are round and what things are flat.

Toy Teaching & Talking Tips Downloads 

Sandra McMahon Speech Patholgoist

About the author


Dr Sandra McMahon, Speech Pathologist, PhD is clinical and research paediatric speech pathologist that has worked as the Director of Speech Pathology at a major metropolitan Children’s Hospital, lectured at University in the area of early child communication and literacy development & disorders; and a consultant to Kindergartens and Child Care Centres. Dr McMahon is currently the Founder, Director and Senior Speech Pathologist of the multi-disciplinary SpeechNet Speech Pathology & Learning Centre. Dr McMahon is frequently invited to present to parent groups, educational facilities, Speech Pathology Clinical Development events & conferences. She is certified practising member of the Australian Speech Pathology Association.


Featured 

Product 

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PRODUCTS TO HELP

lATE tALKERS

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

wHERE CAN YOU

fIND HELP?


* Our Online eProgram FOCUS on Toddler Talk!

​* Brisbane Individual & Group Therapy at Speechnet

​* Skype / Facetime                   Speech Therapy

​* Home / School / Childcare / Educational Centre Visits 

WE ARE HERE TO HELP


IS YOUR CHILD

a LATE TALKER?



toddler Talk

Phlat Ball V3 RandomPhlat Ball Tornado Football - YellowTucker V2 TU85010 Phlat Ball

Top Toys For Christmas 19 sleeps to go

Let's Talk 

​Wind-Up Toys

Focus: Wind up toys 

Speech Therapist      Dr Sandra McMahon PhD

Now if you are looking for a major toy or stocking fillers – windup toys are great. They can be really cheap and grabbing a few different ones lead to hours of fun. They range from jumping or flipping soft toys to small plastic robots with sound effects too! Button push toys are great as children can push a button and toy will do something. Wind-up toys however provide a whole new level of learning! The key thing about wind-up toys is that toddlers often can’t wind them up by themselves! They have to communicate to make them work! This makes them a Top Toddler Talking Toy! They are so much fun they can be great for children as young as 11months all the way through to Prep!

observe


With wind-up toys I usually wind them up once and let it go before handing it to the child to see what they do with it. Do they quickly get that it needs to be wound up again? Do they walk away because it has stopped moving and so deem it not interesting any more? Do they try to get it going themselves by shaking it, pushing it along to see if it will go again or do they “ask” you to do it in someway (e.g., hand it to you, point to the winder, use words to ask).

communicating with others


Children and adults alike make requests all day everyday. Can you pass me the salt, Email me that document by 12 O’clock! Toddlers need to be shown and supported to learn how to make requests (without the insistent whinging and/ or tantrums). We request from children from as early as 5 or 6 months of age.  We put our open hand out and say “Ta” when we want children to pass you the half eaten biscuit rather than have them throw it off the table top! This is showing them how to respond to requests and then make requests. 

Wind-up toys can really help you look at how your child asks for help in a  natural play setting. At first the requests might be made without words. They can use eye gaze to tell you what they want e.g., the child looks at you as if they are asking you for help. You can encourage that by looking with exaggerated expression between the toy when it stops and the child making a “OH NO” face. 

Stop yourself from just winding it up and making it go again just so you can see that delighted laugh again. Wait and see if your child gives you the toy before you offer to wind it up again. Parents are so good at guessing what their children want – but if you can encourage them to point (e.g, to the winder, use a word or ask in someway before you meet their need you will be encouraging them to make requests. At least getting them to look at you before you wind it up is a kind of request this will build early requesting skills.  

Even whining is communicating, particularly when your child is directing the whinge at you! If they are showing non-verbal requests, then encourage some vocalisations or words to “change that whinge” to words.

understanding of lanuage comes before talking


Wind-up toys are fantastic for joint attention skills and following commands. As the action of the toy is short-lived you can repeat and repeat the play and word routines to build talking skills. 

following commands & auditory attention


Before you wind-up the toy you can give commands for them to follow. These can be a simple command like “Give it to me” to more complex instruction such as “Get the robot and puppy and put them at the edge of the table for a race”.  Understanding simple requests such as “Give it me” or “Come here” or “Sit down” begin to emerge around 12 months of age.  If a child older than 18 months are not or can’t follow these kinds of directions, we know there are potentially delays with receptive language or their ability to attend to spoken language. It can look like “behaviour” or they are just not interested when young children ignore commands. However, it could also mean that pre-speech skills such as attending or recognising a request as a request are not optimised. 

thinking skills 


Cognitive Skills refers to how a child thinks and learns. Wind-up toys are actually building early thinking skills of cause & effect and simple problem solving. You may be surprised that these skills actually emerge at around the age of 12 months. Some late talkers “over use” these skills and work out ways to get what they want without having to talk! (e.g., pushing a stool near a cupboard so they can climb onto to reach the toy on the shelf!). However some late talkers do not readily see the connections between actions and consequences. Cause & effect means that the child understands that one action leads to an outcome. With the windup toy, you see how quickly your toddler understands that the toy must be wound up before it moves. 

Simple problem solving refers to how a child uses first one option and then another to accomplish his needs or goals. If your toddler doesn’t have the strength or fine motor skills to wind up the toy, they might try a few different actions first to get the toy moving (shake it, prod it, throw it!). Remember many parents assume that a child who doesn’t play with toys doesn’t like the toys. It is quite possible however that the toddler may need support to boost cognitive skills to build meaningful relationships between toys and the play routines. 

VocabularyThis can be so broad and varied depending on the actual windup toys – you can have whole zoos of wind up animals or whole car parks of wind-up vehicles. The actions they make (march, crawl, swim, clap) to their rates of movement (fast or slow moving toys) can all build vocabulary. See the Spoken Speech section below for more ideas!

spoken speech & language


If your toddler is not really using any words we often suggest trying for exclamations first! Windup toys can be great for these “Uh oh” or “Wow”? 

You can also have some target words in mind to encourage when playing with wind-up toys. As noted above because you can get lots of repetition it gives you lots of times you can say the word. You want them to say the target word so by repeating it they hear the model over and over. This can encourage spoken imitation which is where new words can grow from.   Early requesting words such as “more” or “please” are great social words to start with wind-up toys. Try not to get in the stand-off situation though (i.e., I’m not winding it up if you don’t say "Ta"). This just can lead to frustration. You are better off “teaching and not testing”. This means you say what you want them to say “Ta!/ Please” as they give it to you over and over. Then once you have modelled it over and over, pause and wait for them to say “Ta/ please”. Really wait for a good slow count of three in your head while looking at them expectantly -like you are waiting for them to say something. If they don’t say it say it for them and try again next time.

Action words are abundant with wind-up toys  and only limited by the number and type of wind-up toys you have. Pick one or two each time if your child isn’t saying many words. Repetition of one or two action words is better than many words in the same play time.  

A really great first word with wind-up toys is “go.” You can use anticipation of the toy starting by using the good old  “Ready, Set, Go!” phrase! Remember you need to get you child to attend to what your saying first to have any hope that they will copy or say the target words. Hold the wind-up near your eyes with a big smile & say with emphasis "Do you want it to GO, make it GO?”. Then you can deliberately slowly wind it up saying “Ready, Set … “ with each wind. Then you can say a big loud “GO!” as you put the toy down for it to start.  If you do this routine enough often the children will jump in with the “GO” to get you to start the toy!

For children using some words, you can encourage early sentences or a range of new action words. E.g. “GO car”, “bound kangaroo”, “flap birdie”. You can ask what the toy is doing when it is going to try to get early grammatical words like ‘IS” “what IS the bird doing” – “The bird IS flapping!” If you say “is” louder and with emphasis the children will often copy that new part of the sentence too.  

Having races with different wind-up toys can be great fun. This lends to vocabulary such as fast, slow, faster, fastest, first, last. If the toy is robust you can get them to fall off the edge of a table or book ledge! This can bring the delight to a new height as well as a whole new range of vocabulary – falling vs fell; stopping BEFORE or AFTER it fell, crashing/ surviving!

wHERE CAN YOU

fIND HELP?


* Our Online eProgram FOCUS on Toddler Talk!

​* Brisbane Individual & Group Therapy at Speechnet

​* Skype / Facetime     Speech Therapy

​* Home / School / Childcare / Educational Centre Visits 

IS YOUR CHILD

a LATE TALKER?


Sandra McMahon Speech Patholgoist

About the author


Dr Sandra McMahon, Speech Pathologist, PhD is clinical and research paediatric speech pathologists that has worked as the Director of Speech Pathology at a major metropolitan Children’s Hospital, lectured at University in the area of early child communication and literacy development & disorders and a consultant to Kindergartens and Child Care Centres. Dr McMahon is currently the Founder, Director and Senior Speech Pathologist of the multi-disciplinary SpeechNet Speech Pathology & Learning Centre. Dr McMahon is frequently invited to present to parent groups, educational facilities, Speech Pathology Clinical Development events & conferences. She is a certified practising member of the Australian Speech Pathology Association.


Featured 

Product 

toddler Talk

SPECIAL OFFER


PRODUCTS TO HELP

lATE tALKERS

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

wHERE CAN YOU

fIND HELP?


* Our Online eProgram FOCUS on Toddler Talk!

​* Brisbane Individual & Group Therapy at Speechnet

​* Skype / Facetime                   Speech Therapy

​* Home / School / Childcare / Educational Centre Visits 

WE ARE HERE TO HELP


IS YOUR CHILD

a LATE TALKER?



toddler Talk

Toy

Teaching & Talking

Tips Downloads

The Phlat Ball is a fun toy that is great to boost speech, language & learning

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bath Time Wind Up Swimming Crocodile or Turtle Bathtime Kids Toddler Toy12 Pc Assorted Wind Up Toys, Animals, Cars EtcToysmith Wind-Up Funny FaceWind Up Robot MS408 Tin ToyCalifornia Creations Sock Monkey Skippy Windup ToyCalifornia Creations Z Classics Monkey Carlton Windup ToyROAMING DINO Dinousar Wind Up ToyNever Fall Fire Engine Wind-UpWind Up Farm Animals - 6 PackWind Up Chattering Teeth - 6 PackWind Up Submarine

Top Toys for Christmas 21 sleeps to go

Toy Advent - Top Toys To Get Toddler's Talking 

Let's Talk

Train Sets 

 FOCUS: Train sets


Wooden and metal toys resembling trains were first made in Europe in the 1860s and they have never stop delighting generation after generation ever since. They are likely to be in nearly every speech therapy and early child care centre. 

Why? The answer is easy. 

Train sets no matter if they are wooden or electronic are great fun and bursting with learning potential. From fine motor skills (putting tracks and trains together), first sound play (choo choo), complex ideas (“if we put the bridge here we can attach the curved track so that ……”) and imaginative play (“Let’s pretend the train didn’t stop at the station so …..”).  There are video series and books galore about trains allowing you to role play the stories watched or read. 


oBSERVE


How interested is your child in trains in general. What is it that they like? Is it that they like to build the set, watch the trains go, imaginative play, the love of the train characters? Is it all of these. By watching what type of play with the trains encourage more vocalisations or words, you can adapt your play to match their particular interests. It can be easy for adults or older children to take over the construction of complex sets. It is important to find a balance between letting them experiment and showing them how pieces can go together.

Communicating with others


Building a train set can require “team work”. Listening to each other’s suggestions and reasons for putting pieces together is important. Countering with different ideas can be stressful for some children if they like to do things “their way”. Taking turns to decide where pieces go or demonstrating but not insisting of changes can provide chances to grow team building skills. In addition building some of these complex train sets can be hard work and so it can build resilience! Train and car sets can also encourage children to identify and find ways to “ask” for help. 

understanding of language comes before talking


Language skills can be boosted while setting up the trainsets and/or playing with he ready-made one – OH that is why it is OK that the play room is often taken up with train sets and train tables! 

Linking early literacy awareness can be achieved when setting up a train or car set.

The way to do this is by pointing out to a toddler the instructions (this is a particularly good idea when there are pictures in the instructions). Even pointing to the picture on the box that they can copy when constructing are early literacy skills.

The link to the “written material” to actions they are interested in can lay foundations for a love of reading. By seeing how good the track can be when the instructions are followed, highlights the importance of learning to ready.

Involving children in the construction is a great way to build auditory attention and the ability to follow instructions.

These can be as easy or as difficult as your toddler can cope with (e.g., “more, more track, more, pass me more track” to “If the next piece is a curved piece then put two more curved pieces together before you add a straight piece”). 

In our FREE DOWNLOAD – HOW TO GROW INSTRUCTIONS AS YOUR TODDLER’S LANGUAGE GROWS – I provide you with examples of questions from Blank Level 1 questions (Where’s the train?) to Level 4 questions (Why do you think this draw bridge has this lever?).  The download gives examples of the types of questions you can use to boost language for children aged between 2 and 5 years of age. The listed questions can be used when building trainsets, playing with them or reading a story about a train.

spoken Speech & Language


Encourage imitation of fine motor skills by modelling how to join pieces together or how to manoeuvre the trains. Imitation of motor actions (things we do with our hands) generally comes before imitation of speech or words.

Encourage exclamations (“uh Oh” when the trains fall off; “bang!” If the trains crash) and of course all the train sounds (choo choo, toot toot)

Encourage responses to questions – this might be pointing, miming, sounds, words or sentences. Some children may use a combination all of these to “answer” a question. See our FREE TRAIN DOWNLOAD to see examples of easier and harder questions you can ask. You might need to say the answers so they can copy you first!

Encourage all the words listed in the vocabulary section below

* Thing/Object words: track, engine, station, all the environmental items in sets (e.g. trees, stop signs, lights, witches hats), carriages, cargo, bridges, overpasses, ticket machine

* Action words – rolling, pushing, driving, attaching, stopping, starting, stuck, broken, joining, falling off track, jumped over

* Describing words – colours of the different trains/carriages, fast, slow, tall, short, long, curved, straight, heavy

* Maths words – size, shape, sequencing of steps (first this then second that), longer, shorter, bigger

* Pronouns/people words: he goes here, She is waiting for the train, your train/ my carriage, 

* Place words: on/off track, over bridge, under overpass, next to crossing,

*Social words: help (if they can’t work out to set up the track ), thank you/ta, please (asking for more track).

* Question words: Which track?, What is this?, Where does it go?, When the train goes over…?, Who is going to have a ride?  Our Train DOWNLOAD in the red box provides ideas of what questions you can ask the child but also praise if you child actually asks you some of these questions.

Sandra McMahon Speech Patholgoist

About the author


Dr Sandra McMahon, Speech Pathologist, PhD is a clinical and research paediatric speech pathologist. She has worked as the Director of Speech Pathology at a major metropolitan Children’s Hospital; lectured at University in the area of early child communication and literacy development & disorders; and consults to Kindergartens and Child Care Centres. Dr McMahon is currently the Founder, Director and Senior Speech Pathologist of the multi-disciplinary SpeechNet Speech Pathology & Learning Centre. Dr McMahon is frequently invited to present to parent groups, educational facilities, Speech Pathology Clinical Development events & conferences. She is certified practising member of the Australian Speech Pathology Association.


Featured 

Product 

toddler Talk

SPECIAL OFFER


Free

TRAIN DOWNLOAD

How to Grow

Instructions as your

Toddler's Language Grows


PRODUCTS TO HELP

lATE tALKERS

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


wHERE CAN YOU

fIND HELP?


* Our Online eProgram FOCUS on Toddler Talk!

​* Brisbane Individual & Group Therapy at Speechnet

​* Skype / Facetime                   Speech Therapy

​* Home / School / Childcare / Educational Centre Visits 

WE ARE HERE TO HELP


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Tell us in the Comments your ideas for train sets.

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LEGO Duplo Number Train 1055840 Piece Wooden Train Set

24 Top Toys for Christmas

Toy Advent - Top Toys To Get Toddler's Talking With BONUS Talking Tips!

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Skittles

 FOCUS: SKITTLES 

Speech Therapist      Dr Sandra McMahon PhD

I love playing skittles in my speech therapy clinic and with young kids. Who doesn’t like bowling with all the crashing and excitement when you knock them down! Skittles have such a fun physical aspect  so children can really get involved in the game. They can build and use their talking skills without even realising they are learning! You can optimise their learning by FOCUSing on different aspects of listening, talking and playing each time you play.

oBSERVE


With new toys it is always great to watch what children do without any directions or suggestions! (if safe of course). What do they do? What sounds, exclamations or words do they make? Do they recognise it or relate to going bowling if they have been before?

Communicating with others


Learning social interactional skills can take time. Modelling, what to do and saying things they can copy is a great way to build "game resilience". Skittles are great to encourage the following skills:

Turn - taking

skills


My turn to roll/your turn to roll. Use phrases like your turn, now my turn. Praise with good waiting for your turn. Acknowledge its hard to wait sometimes (Its hard waiting but I like it too). For younger children or those that do not really get waiting for a turn, then ensure you still have a turn but make it a very quick turn. If you both have balls, this can reduce the waiting time while the ball is collected. 

learning boundaries

& "rules"


Not too close, knocking it down with your hand isnt the aim of the game, being too robust can make the ball fly off and hit something other than the skittles.  Praise their attempts and tell them what was good (e.g., that was a great try - Rolling is much better than throwing). 

Coping with not always 

being "Perfect" 

or the "best" 


Sometimes I  knock more over and sometimes you knock more over! Sometimes I miss completely, sometimes I get them all! Praise effort not just how many they knock down. Provide scripts your child can use (e.g., deliberately miss and say oh no I missed with a sad pouty voice but then quickly exaggerate your change of mood saying Oh well, next turn! (shrugging it off). 

understanding of language comes before talking


You will be surprised how you can use Skittles to build vocabulary and the ability to follow instructions.  Use the three steps below while playing Skittles with your child

Cause & effect


This refers to building an understanding that “what I say and do will impact on things or people”. When you think about it this is a key underlying reason why we all talk! Talk about, demonstrate and use words to encourage them to see that if they roll the ball the right direction some skittles will fall down. Encourage them to “experiment” and talk about the results. Does the number of skittles falling down get more or less if I roll it hard or soft. ("Oh too soft; the roll was too little; not strong enough to push them down!")

following directions

& explanations


There are SO many directions you can use with skittles you probably wouldn’t even realise just how many you are naturally using! E.g.,  Put the skittles up, stand here, roll it rather than throw it, wait for my turn, stand up the one that fell down, pick it up, give it to me, get the ball, give the ball to ____, if you roll it there they will fall down, try to knock them all down.

vocabulary 


*Thing/Object words: ball, skittle, floor, hand (use your hand)

*Action words rolling, falling, standing up, knocking down, bouncing, pushing,

*Describing words too hard, little roll, big roll, red skittle, lots of skittles, heavy skittle, crashing down, noisy skittles

*Maths words counting how many fall down or stay standing, more or less than me/ than last time

*Pronouns/people words: your turn, my turn, Daddys, you (you stand it up), me (give the ball to me), I (I got one).

*Place words: skittles go up, down, on the floor, over there, next to that one, behind that one.

*Social words: help (if skittle wont stand up), thank you/ta, please (asking for ball)

spoken Speech & Language


Nothing like encouraging speech during fun and exciting play! Children learn best when they are enjoying themselves.  You can adapt what you would like your toddler to say or do depending on their age and speaking skills. Skittles are SO versatile you can use them with any age and any speaking skill!

Children not really 

saying words yet  


*Encourage them to imitate your actions (standing up the skittle, rolling it towards the skittles, jumping up and down in excitement when you get one)

*Encourage them to copy Exclamations: Oh Boy does skittles lend itself to exclamations! Weeeeee (as you roll), Boom! Or Crash? (when the ball hits with force or they scatter), Uh OH! or OH NO! (when the ball misses), Yeah!, yay!, wow! (when you get a skittle)

*Encourage gestures to communicate with you eg encourage them to point  to where the ball is  or to the one that fell over;  tap their chest to say “me” to ask for a turn or pat the spot where they want you to put the skittle; mime rolling to show you they want to do it

Children ready to use

a few single words


*Encourage them to use the last word in a common phrase eg Read, Set, ______ (as the ball is rolled), 1, 2, ____ (counting fallen skittles)

Building new words 

& sentences


Take a look in the “understanding section” – for any of the words or phrases suggested in that section that you think your child does “understand” then encourage them  to use the words during the game. If you say the same phrases EVERYTIME (scripts) your child will learn to match the word with the thing or object. This will encourage them to say it too. If you pick “up” as a target for them to say then you say “Stand UP skittle, stand UP skittle” everytime you or they stand a skittle up. Believe me that will be lots of repetitions in even a10 minute game of skittles! Repetition is the key. If you say this every time and then after a while you say “stand ______” with an expected tone in your voice as you pause putting the skittle up, your child just might finish the sentence with a word.

If you are getting words then encourage them to use whole sentences or longer sentences eg "stand up skittle"; “I can stand this one up”,"I think I will get 3 skittles this time!"; “the blue skittle fell down but the green one didn’t”.

Speech Therapist      Dr Sandra McMahon PhD

In therapy I use the actual game in all the above ways to target all of the above activities. But to make it a star of speech and language learning I incorporate added extras! 

Speech TherapistDr Sandra McMahon PhD

This is how I use Skittles to boost speech clarity.

If I am encouraging a specific sound, skittles can be a great way to “drill” or say the same words over and over. I use blue tac to stick lots of pictures of things starting with for example the /h/ sound onto the skittles (e.g., house, hand, hippo). We can then encourage the children to name the pictures as we stand each one up due to the anticipation of the game. Then they get to have a turn rolling the ball and again name the ones that fall down!   Drilling his new sounds and loving it at the same time! I can even encourage a sentence e.g. (my ball hit the h____; Here is the h_____). You can do this with any sound you know your child finds hard to say. 

Speech TherapistDr Sandra McMahon PhD

This is how I use Skittles to boost language / vocabulary skills. 

Understanding and using spoken vocabulary is SO important to encourage talking skills in toddlers – actually in all children AND adults! In our online WORD COUNTER in our SpeechNet Shop, we ‘test” not only how many spoken words a child is saying (to see if it is enough for their age,) BUT also if they are saying words across  a range of word categories (e.g. house hold things, actions, food, toys, transport etc.).

Learning to group or categorise words together is an important cognitive skill for both vocabulary and also problem solving. Our FREE VOCABULARY DOWNLOAD has lots of pictures grouped into categories (e.g. foods, animals, furniture).  You can blue tac the cut out individual pictures onto the skittles talking about all the things in one category at a time (e.g., a chair is furniture; a table is furniture, an orange isn’t furniture!). The category names are just as important as the words within the categories.

Play skittles and you or your child can name all the words that got knocked down or stayed standing! After a while you could mix up the category pictures and sort them into the correct categories. Take the picture off the skittle after it has been knocked down, name it and put it in the right pile to match it’s category. 

Sandra McMahon Speech Patholgoist

About the author


Dr Sandra McMahon, Speech Pathologist, PhD is a clinical and research paediatric speech pathologist. She has worked as the Director of Speech Pathology at a major metropolitan Children’s Hospital; lectured at University in the area of early child communication and literacy development & disorders; and consuls to Kindergartens and Child Care Centres. Dr McMahon is currently the Founder, Director and Senior Speech Pathologist of the multi-disciplinary SpeechNet Speech Pathology & Learning Centre. Dr McMahon is frequently invited to present to parent groups, educational facilities, Speech Pathology Clinical Development events & conferences. She is certified practising member of the Australian Speech Pathology Association.


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