More Interesting Sites For Kids

Hello, today I’m sharing with you two interesting websites that I came across not too long ago. 

1) PEEP and the Big Wide World.

PEEP is actually an animated show that teaches science to preschoolers with characters that are cute and funny. We’ve never watched any of the shows before but we absolutely love their website.  There is a different show online everyday and quite a number of interesting games. All of which introduces (indirectly) science concepts to little ones between 3-5 years of age.

2) Do2Learn.

This is more of a website with educational resources targeting special needs. There are free areas where you can access games which are useful in language building and other areas such as social and motor skills development.

That’s all for now. I hope your kids enjoy PEEP as much as mine!

My Best Christmas Present

I received a wonderful, wonderful Christmas present yesterday.

It is official. Hubby-jr no longer has to go for speech therapy. His speech therapist “discharged” him after doing a formal review. (He has been attending fortnightly one-hour sessions since Nov last year.) Hallelujah!

His current language is now average for a kid his age. Yes, he has acquired age appropriate language skills. Hallelujah!

I will still have to work on a few concepts with him at home (just for reinforcement). Four concepts to be exact. But that’s it. Hallelujah!

He may or may not need a review in a year’s time, depending on his progress in the year ahead. That translate’s to me as NO speech therapy sessions for one whole year minimum! Hallelujah!

This is the best Christmas present.

Thank. You. Jesus.

(For those of you who are new to my blog, you can read about my journey with Hubby-jr’s speech delay/mild hearing loss by clicking on the Speech Delay category on the left hand column).

Teaching Who, What, Where.

A while ago, Hubby-jr started asking “what” questions and that was followed by “where” questions. I was absolutely thrilled then as he picked it up on his own and not from speech therapy sessions. However he had problems distinguishing one “W-question” from another. This became more apparent when we (speech therapist and I) started introducing “Who” questions to him.

For example he would ask me, “Who is that?” while pointing to a bus. And when I asked him a question, it seemed to be more of a guessing game for him. If his first answer was wrong he’d proceed to give me different answers. He knew it was a question, he just couldn’t tell what kind of question it was.

To help him with this problem, I modified one of the therapist’s ideas into a game and it worked! After playing this with him twice, he got it!

1. I drew 3 rooms of our house on a large piece of paper (mahjong paper).

To pique his interest, I got his input while drawing (I didn’t ask him to help me draw as I knew he wasn’t interested in this type of thing). I told him that they were PLACEs and for that we use WHERE questions. Then I pointed to each block and asked him, “Where is this?”

2. I took out 3 small sesame street dolls and told him they were PERSONs and for them we use WHO questions. Following which I held the dolls one by one and asked, “Who is this?”(Yes I know technically they aren’t people but I also knew that he knew tv characters were “pretend people”. You can use photos or photo cut-outs of familiar people instead.)

3. Similarly I took 3 toy-food as THINGs for the WHAT questions.

4. I placed a doll and a toy-food in each “room”.

I then pointed to a specific block and asked these questions. Who is eating? What is he eating? Where is he eating?

As advised by our speech therapist, I kept the questions as generic as I could. I didn’t ask “Who is eating the banana?” as that would give him the hint that the answer couldn’t be banana. The whole idea was to facilitate his ability to give the correct answer based solely on his understanding of who, what and where.

I moved my finger from “room” to “room” and rotated the questions as randomly as I could. Initially he had problems answering my questions. So I stopped and lifted each toy/doll and asked, “Is this a thing or a person?” When he answered correctly I then put them in the WHO and WHAT boxes respectively and reiterated to him that WHO is for persons and WHAT is for things.

After that, I went back to step four.

I must add that it worked very well for Hubby-jr as he already had a firm grasp of things, persons and places.

I am happy to say that Hubby-jr has now progressed to a stage where he understands “when” and “why” (incredibly “why” came to him intuitively right from the start!) We’re working on the “how” now (…hmmm, how now brown cow? Jeeps, I’m so corny). As I was saying… even with “how” questions, he’s been displaying signs that he has grasp that too.

I can’t tell you the relief I felt feel with each of his progress. It was is utterly indescribable.

P/S: I spoke with his speech therapist and she says he may be able to do without speech therapy sessions before the end of the year. She’ll make an assessment again soon. I’m praying, I’m praying.

To read my previous posts on speech therapy ideas click here.

Teaching “My” and “Your”

Even as Hubby-jr speech development is progressing well, he still lags behind his peers. One key problem area is in using “I”, “You”, “My”, “Your”. He frequently mixes them up or just refers to himself by name.

To address this, his speech therapist introduced these two activities. The second is a progression of the first.

First Speech Activity

She played a simple game in which she and Hubby-jr had to take turns. After playing for a while and Hubby-jr understood the rules of the game, she stopped and asked, “Whose turn is it now?” His natural reply was “his name” (if it was his turn) or “teacher” (if it was the speech therapist’s turn). She’d then intervene and teach him to say, “It’s Hubby-jr, MY turn” or “It’s teacher’s, YOUR turn”. She’d ask the question, “Whose turn is it now?” at every “turn” requiring my son to reply correctly each time before the game could proceed.

After he got the hang of this, he was taught to drop the name and just say, “It’s MY turn” or “It’s YOUR turn”. But she was the one always asking the question and all answers came from Hubby-jr. Back home I did this exercise with him too but with different games.

Second Speech Activity

As a progression, she played this very simple game with Hubby-jr. Sitting face to face, it’d start with her giving specific commands to which my son had to respond. “Touch my nose” (he’d have to touch the therapist’s nose), “Touch your nose”, “Touch my shoulder”, “Touch your lips” and so on (you get the idea). If he made a mistake, she’d repeat the command and guide his hand to the correct place.

After he got the hang of this, he’d get his turn to give the commands and the speech therapist would respond. The game then became one where both of them would alternate in giving the commands and always required the use of “my” and “your“.

This is quite a fun game which my son enjoys. I’ve played it a few times with him at home too.

Since the above exercises he is using “my” and “your” more although he still mixes them up at times and he still prefers to use names rather than pronouns.

Through the process of teaching him “my” and “your”, I discovered that unknowingly I’ve acquired the habit of using “mommy” instead of “I” or “my” when talking to him. Slowly I’m undoing this and when I consciously change my sentences to use pronouns I can see that he too makes an effort to respond using pronouns!

Brown Bear, Brown Bear

Since Hubby-jr started speech therapy one of the things I’ve to do with him at home is “shadow reading”. Basically he has to repeat after me word for word and imitate the tone and rhythm as I read a storybook to him. This is to improve his articulation. According to the speech therapist he’s too nasal and speaks without really pausing between each word. His sentence could sound like one long word with many, many syllables!

Shadow reading was a tough assignment. I had to correct his pronunciation and rhythm more often than he liked. It made storytime grueling. I got quite disheartened. Thankfully I wised up and tried using his favourite nursery rhymes. It worked a lot better as they were much shorter.

Then recently I discovered a couple of wonderful short videos of storybooks on YouTube and that helped tremendously. You see Hubby-jr loves almost anything that moves on the computer! (I seriously think it’s the male genes, my daughter takes to computers too but at a much lesser degree.) And these videos were perfect because they were basically close up shots of the books (of which I had borrowed or bought), moving page by page as someone narrated the story.

After he watched the videos he was hooked. He watched it again, again and again memorizing not only the words but the tone and rhythm of the narration as well. So much so he could read the book (the real book with the computer off) to me and all I had to do was correct some of his pronunciation!

Here are the videos. The first is Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? The children’s classic by Bill Martin Jr and Eric Carle. He loved this one so much that he’d recite the story to himself every now and then!

(The YouTube link is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdHCYgO9zh8)

The second is Digger Man by Andrea Zimmerman & David Clemesha.

(The YouTube link is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OOz_dz0vf4)

I have noticed that Hubby-jr has since started speaking slower and clearer. It works!

Another wonderful site

At Hubby-jr’s last hearing test I found a brochure on this wonderful website I’m about to introduce to you.

It’s called the Listening Room at www.HearingJourney.com. It’s Fabulous! In their own words, it’s a web resource full of (re)habilitation activities and ideas to support the development of listening and language skills in children, adolescents and adults.

So far they’ve only stuff for kids but they’re working on activities for infants, toddlers and adults too.They’ve great game ideas for speech therapy that comes with DIY downloadable pdf files complete with instructions. They even have online video instructions. What’s fantastic is that they feature weekly activities. Yes! They introduce a new activity each week! And guess what? The resources are absolutely free!! Isn’t that just Fantabulous?!

Alrighty mommyfied, now get your act together and get them printed and do them! (Me pysching my “reluctant to add on more to my daily to-do list of things” self.)

WFMW – Indoor Fun with Beans

The weather has been rather unpredictable of late, sudden showers has taken on an added dimension. They’re no longer just sudden, they’re erratic too! Sunny one second, pouring the next, sunny again and who knows? It may pour again! The eccentric weather plus living in an apartment with two young and active kids made me desperate for ideas to keep them entertained indoors.

Thankfully I remembered reading about this wonderful indoor activity at Pilgrim Parent sometime ago. I couldn’t try it out then as Little Missy was too young to handle beans (but not young enough to just lie down and stare at mobiles!). But now at 19 months…

Anyway, here’s what I did. I lined the floor with a quilt cover (any flat sheet will do. The bigger the better!) I opened a bag of raw soya beans I had and poured them into a plastic container and put it in the middle of the quilt cover. I added some toy plastic kitchenware like cups, spoons, plates, funnel and also beach stuff like buckets and spades. Then I revealed the set up to the kids! It wasn’t much beans but it was enough to keep my kids occupied for quite a while (I’m sure it’d be more fun if I add some more) and on more than one occasion! It’s a great substitute for sand or waterplay. When they were done, I removed all the plasticware, lift the quilt cover from the corners and gathered all the beans and poured them back into a container. I can always reuse them either for more beans play or to cook!

beans.jpg

Besides just occupying their time, I also realised it’s a great platform for refining their motor skills (more for 19month old Little Missy) and for them to learn. I could use it to teach concepts such “empty”, “full” and “half full”, “shallow” and “deep”. It can also be used to reinforce “in”, “on” and “under”. Simply great as a speech therapy activity for Hubby-jr! (And at the sametime Little Missy learns too!)

I never would have thought a bag of cheap beans could be so useful! Thanks Pilgrim Parent for sharing the idea. It works marvellously for me. For more stuff that works go here.

%d bloggers like this: