Help Your Child Learn to Sequence

Whether we know it or not, we are constantly sequencing throughout the day. As we tie our shoes, we sequence the steps. When we complete a project, we plan the order tasks will be accomplished. As we talk with friends, we organize our thoughts and ideas into a logical order. For some children, however, sequencing can be challenging. 

You might notice your child having difficulty verbally expressing herself. Her ideas might appear fragmented or disconnected. She may leave out important information while including irrelevant details. Or you might notice your child forgetting important steps when completing daily tasks, such as going to the bathroom. She might forget to close the door or flush the toilet. If you find this is a problem for your child, fear not. There are many ways to practice sequencing with your child.

5 fun activities to help your child develop sequence skills at home:

  1. Retell a favorite storybook. Read a book with your child. Afterwards, retell the story together while thinking about three important things that happened. This may be challenging for your child, so simplify it by using pictures as you retell the story. Photocopy pictures from the book (choose just a few important pages as opposed to every page), and have your child tape pictures on the wall in the correct order.
  2. Plan a fun recipe. Plan out the steps you will need to complete the recipe. Based on your child’s age and level, you might write the steps out or draw pictures of each step. After you’ve completed the steps to make the recipe, encourage your child to share it with others. Have her describe how she made it.
  3. Make a scrapbook from a family outing. Plan a fun outing and take pictures throughout the day. Afterwards, have your child put the pictures in the correct order (limit it to 3-5 pictures, depending on your child’s level). Glue each picture in a construction paper book and help your child write a sentence to go with each picture (first…then…etc.). Encourage your child to share her book with others and tell them about her fun day.
  4. Have your child be the “teacher” while you play a game. Choose a favorite board game, and pretend you forgot the rules. Encourage your child to be the “teacher” and tell others how to play. Guide her language by writing or drawing pictures of each step while she explains the rules.
  5. Talk about various sequence concepts. Concepts might include first, then, second, last, before, or after. Line up your child’s stuffed animals and encourage your child to find the animal who is “first.” Or you play “Simon Says” while encouraging your child to follow directions in the correct order (“Simon says first___, then___”).

Most importantly, have fun! The best kind of learning is often when your child doesn’t know she’s learning at all. By choosing fun activities, you can enjoy time with your child while still helping her learn and grow.

Do you want to learn more about sequencing?  Click here to learn about the difference between sequencing and memory.

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonDeerfieldLincolnwoodGlenviewLake BluffDes PlainesHinsdale and Mequon! If you have any questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140!

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Helping Your Client to Optimally Attend: Advice for Pediatric Therapists

“Show me you’re ready!” As a Pediatric Occupational Therapist, I can’t even begin to guess how many times this utterance is repeatedchild attending throughout my day in the therapy gym. While I’m sure that my clients think I sound like a broken record, the bottom line is that if they’re not ready to pay attention, they’re not going to learn what I’m teaching.  What does it look like when a client is ready to attend?  Here are three important ways for young clients to show you, their therapist, they are ready to work and learn.

Three Tips to Gain Maximum Attention from Pediatric Therapy Clients:

  1. Ready Body: The body is still and facing the person who is speaking. It is not jumping, running, or facing other areas of the room. Read more

How Fast Should My Child Be Reading?

Reading is fundamental to academic success. Children spend hours from preschool to third grade learning how to read. From third grade on, childrenreading speed spend hours reading to learn new subject material. As a Pediatric Speech Therapist, I’ve been asked the following question: My child is an accurate reader, but seems to read more slowly than his peers.  Should I be concerned?  For reference, Hasbrauck and Tindal (2006) published reading norms for grades 1-8. The following is a general rule for the number of accurately read words produced in a minute by a young reader by grade.

Reading Norms | Words Read per Minute by Grade:

  • By the end of Grade 1, your child should be reading approximately 53 words correctly per minute.
  • By the end of Grade 2, your child should be reading approximately 89 words correctly per minute.
  • By the end of Grade 3, your child should be reading approximately 107 words correctly per minute.
  • By the end of Grade 4, your child should be reading approximately 123 words correctly per minute. Read more

Debunking Dyslexia Myths

Dyslexia is a word that often stirs up fear and misunderstanding. In addition, it is awash in myths. Often, people think of adyslexia person with Dyslexia as an individual who confuses b’s and d’s or reads backwards. Others may think of a troubled reader who is confused by basic letters.  This simplistic and incorrect understanding of Dyslexia often causes people, especially parents, to feel a series of negative emotions when their child has trouble reading and a Dyslexia diagnosis is given. In reality, as many as 1 in 5 children are diagnosed with Dyslexia, which is defined a deficit in the phonological processing component of language that results in trouble reading and decoding words. Read on for the truth about Dyslexia.

Dyslexia myths and the truths behind them:

  • Myth: “Dyslexia means readers see letters and words backwards.”
  • Fact: Letter reversals are a symptom of Dyslexia; however, this is not the condition itself. Dyslexia is a much more complex phonological processing disorder in which the reader has difficulty associating the letters and the resulting sounds. Read more

ADHD and Executive Functioning Resource Guide

Are you looking for more information on ADHD or Executive Functioning?  Read on for top picks from our ADHD ResourcesNeuropsychologist.

Top Resources for Information on ADHD and Executive Functioning:

  • Taking Charge of ADHD:  The Complete Authoritative Guide for Parents.  Barkley, Russell (2013): This book provides parents with evidence based interventions regarding ADHD.  It is well written and easily readable, while providing parents and practitioners with the latest research supported information regarding ADHD and various interventions.
  • Executive Skills in Children and Adolescents:  A Practical Guide to Assessment and InterventionDawson, Peg and Guare, Richard (2010): This book is aimed at practitioners that work with children with Executive Functioning concerns.  It may be a little research heavy for some parents; however, it is a wonderful resource for therapists and educators.   It includes basic research on Executive Functioning as well modifications and interventions that can help children and adolescents with a variety of Executive Functioning issues including disorganization, inflexibility, initiation of tasks, and monitoring work. Read more

Creative Ways to Teach the Meaning of Independence Day to Children

Teach your children the meaning behind Independence Day and instill pride to be an American through these fun red, independence day white and blue activities. Through creating these crafts, you can talk with your child about Independence Day and why it is such an important holiday.

Meaningful Independence Day Crafts:

Trace Pictures of Famous Americans: Find pictures of Americans who have played an important role in our history and in the independence of America such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and others. You can use any picture from a book or print from the internet for this activity. For tracing, simply place tracing paper over the picture, and trace the outline of the person’s face. Include as much detail as you want.  Talk with your child about the person and their role in the founding of our country. Read more

Activities to Promote Eye Tracking

Visual tracking is defined as efficiently moving the eyes from left to right or focusing on an object as it moves across a Visual Trackingperson’s visual field. This skill is important for almost all daily activities, including reading, writing, drawing, and playing.  This skill typically emerges around the age of five.  Once your child begins to be able to visually track, there are ways to aid in the development of this skill.

Activities to promote eye tracking:

  • Complete puzzles.
  • Draw or paint pictures.
  • Find as many things as you can see of a certain shape (circle, square, rectangle, triangle) in the room.
  • Imitate a series of motor movements made by someone else.
  • Perform dot-to-dot pictures.
  • Find the mistakes in “What’s Wrong with this Picture?” pictures.
  • Sort playing cards in different ways (color, suit, number), or use playing cards to find two with matching numbers.
  • Solve mazes.
  • Play “I Spy.”
  • Play balloon toss.
  • Use tracing paper to trace and color simple pictures.
  • Play flashlight chases.  Do this by getting a flashlight for you and your child.   Lie on your backs on the floor, and have your child chase your flashlight beam with his.
  • Have your child go through a page of print (according to reading level) and circle all the a’s, b’s, c’s or any letter he chooses.
  • Use a slant board for reading. Read more

Develop Executive Functioning Skills This Summer

Does your pre-teen have difficulty staying on task? Does he become overwhelmed when presented with a long-term project? Does he have a hard time controlling his emotions and behaviors? Is it a constant struggle for him to clean up his room? If so, your child may have difficulty with executive functioning. Executive functioning skills are the executive functionsfundamental brain-based skills required to execute tasks: getting organized, planning, initiating work, staying on task, controlling impulses, and regulating emotions.  These skills provide the foundation that all children need to negotiate the academic, home, and social demands of childhood.

Summertime is a great break from busy schedules overrun by homework, projects, and extracurricular activities, but the decreased structure can cause a child with executive functioning difficulties to lose the skills they have gained during the school year. Research has shown that practice is crucial in the development of executive functioning skills; kids who practice executive skills are not only learning self-management, but also developing the connections in the brain that will support the development of executive skills in later adolescence and adulthood!  Read on for ways to keep your child’s executive functioning skills sharp over summer break.

Tips for developing executive functioning skills all summer:

  • Praise: If you know your child is particularly good at a certain skill (e.g. task initiation), communicate that to your child and encourage him to use it to complete summer tasks.  For example say, “I really like how you got started on your chores before lunch.” This will encourage the maintenance of the particular skill your child has mastered.
  • Calendars: Summer schedules can be vastly different from the rest of the year, so to prevent difficulties with handling the change in schedule, use a calendar.   Calendars are a great visual tool to help a child with time management, planning and prioritizing. It allows him to plan ahead and know what is expected and when.
  • Accountability: Whether your child is participating in sports, dance, or going to camp, have your child be responsible (or partially responsible, depending on age and capability) for his equipment or supplies.  This can help him to maintain his organizational and working memory skills.
  • Summer Cleaning: If your child has difficulty with task initiation and organization in his room, take the time over the summer to organize a different space together (garage, spare closet) so you can problem solve together how to start, what to do, and how to be efficient. This allows your child to practice this daunting task with some guidance from you.   He can then carry this skill over to improve his personal space. You may even find old bins or containers your child can use for his room!
  • Summertime Incentives: Rewards make the effort of learning a skill and the effort of performing a task worthwhile. In the summer, there are a lot of fun activities and more time to do them! Take advantage of this and use these fun activities (extra time on the computer, extra time at the pool, going to a friend’s house) as rewards for the tasks you want your child to complete.

Instead of allowing your child to forget the gains he made in executive functioning skills at school, use the summer to make gains and have fun!  For more help with executive functioning, click below to download your free executive functioning checklist.

 

Summer Training for Fall Gaining

As summer begins, summer plans take shape.  Hopefully these plans involve lots of fun and sunshine.  Summer should be an enjoyable and exciting time for all children and their families, but it is important to remember to also focus on children’s growth and development.  Sometimes during the break from school, skills gained in an educational or summer therapytherapeutic setting can be lost.  It is important to remember that summer is a great time to keep working on skill development, therapeutic goals, and preparing each child for the challenges of the upcoming school year.

Research continues to show that consistent and high intensity therapy (two or three times per week) results in faster and better functional outcomes for daily skills.  With a more relaxed schedule, summer is a perfect time to increase therapy intensity and have fun building the skills children will need for the new school year.

Specific areas of focus in the summer to prepare for school:

North Shore Pediatric Therapy wants to help your child gain the confidence and independence to conquer all age appropriate tasks! Summer spots are limited. Call us at 877-486-4140 and let us know how we can best support you and your child!

3 Outdoor Activities to Promote Speech & Language Development

Summer is finally here!  Take advantage of this time of year, and enjoy the time outdoors with your child with these 3 speech and languageeasy activities to promote speech and language skills outside.  Remember, learning and development don’t always happen at the table.  In fact, learning and development are often best accomplished in the context of engaging play and multi-sensory activities.  So take the learning outdoors and enjoy spending time with your child in the summer sun!

Outdoor Speech and Language Activities:

  1. Plan a nature scavenger hunt.  Write 10 clues on a brown paper bag (or present the clues verbally if your child is not yet reading), and encourage your child to find each of the 10 items.  For example, a clue might be “I am green, and I grow in the ground” or “I am all different colors, and I smell very good.”  If you live in the city and have limited access to nature items, use a digital camera to capture items on the list.  This activity promotes reading, listening, categorization, and memory. Read more