Saturday, July 3, 2010

Week 24 Walks and Exploring the Outside

I just started a full time job so will be probably posting on the weekends and not Thursday's anymore :) Back to Early Intervention for me!!

Let's go on a walk and think about how we can build your child's communication skills at the same time. I'm going to go through a scenario as if I am walking with a child and try to share what I would say and do.

Still inside the house:

"Do you want to go outside?" (happy voice). How would your child take their turn? Nod their head; run to the door; say "yes, ya, outside or some variation of that?

"We need to find your where are you?" (looking around the house or even standing right by the shoes and looking). What would your child's turn be? Pick up the shoes and hand them to you? Take a shoe and try to put it on their foot? Say "shoe?". "You found your shoes!" Take a shoe, child sits down on the floor. "Shoe on", singing "put your shoe on your foot, on your foot, put your shoe on your foot, on your foot, put your shoe on your foot, put your shoe on your foot, put your shoe on your foot, on your foot." And if your child wears socks you can change the song to "put your sock on your foot" and then a second song of "put your shoe on your sock".

Now, let's just think for a minute. You worry about not being able to squeeze time in your day to help your child communicate better. I bet the activity above took at least 5 minutes and you haven't even gotten out the door but your child has had the opportunity to label, to request, to expand his vocabulary; to try new words; to follow directions; etc. etc. WOW!!

Now to the door...of course I wouldn't open the door right away but I might pull on the knob and go "open!" and wait to see what my child would do for their turn. I would probably model "open door", or "oh no"; or "stuck" whatever felt right. After a couple turns back and forth with my child we would get that door open and out we would go.

Think of all the vocabulary you are exposed to on a walk, and all the senses that can be used. You are looking, you are listening, you are smelling, you are touching and yes, you might even be tasting. Each experience gives you a chance to build communication. Look around your neighborhood, or park or wherever you like to walk and think about what you might comment about. Trees, flowers, cars, bikes, kids, swings, sand, grass, clouds, sun, dog, leaves, worms, lizards. Descriptive words like hot, wet, cold, yucky, icky, muddy, dirty, warm, yummy, colors, fast, slow, up, down, in, out, under, over, etc. etc. Think of action words like jump, walk, swing, slide, go, stop, fly, beep beep, swim, wag, sniff, pet, touch, don't touch :), etc. etc.

I really want you to look at the things that you are already doing and then think about how you can incorporate the skills you have learned about waiting, commenting, less questions, building on what your child is saying, turn taking, etc. By looking at helping your child in this manner it's easy and effortless and fun and your child will get lots of opportunities during their day to become a more confident communicator.

Have a fun 4th of July, hmmmmm think of all the experiences your child will have this weekend. New foods and tastes (watermelon, lemonade, think intense flavors or trying new flavors); new vocabulary and experiences (parades; swimming; fireworks; extended family visiting) !!!!!

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