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Helping Language to Develop Through Play

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 9:58 am    Post subject: Helping Language to Develop Through Play Reply with quote

Helping Language to Develop Through Play
Following the Child's Lead
Wait for the child to initiate some action and make a simple comment about this e.g.:
? Child pushes the train - ''Push the train''
? Child spins the car's - ''That's the wheel''
? Child touches the ball - ''Blue ball''
Self ? Talk
Begin to play with the toys yourself and talk about what you are doing. You may like to use pretend voices, sound effects, act out simple scenes with talking or just comment on what you are doing. You don't need to have the child's full attention or even know that he is listening. You are showing him how much fun playing can be with talking.
Parallel ? Talk
You may use this by simply paralleling the child's play i.e. copying what he does with similar toys and actions and talking about what you are doing as for self - talk. You may also talk about the child's play more specifically. You are following the child's lead but make your talking more completely related to what the child is doing. You may extend thins into a more complete scene or story about the child's actions.
Repeat the child's previous sentence but expand it into a simple but more adult-like form.
e.g.: The child puts doll in bed and says ''baby sleep''. You expand this by saying ''The baby is sleeping'', ''The baby is asleep'', or ''You put the baby to sleep''. By doing this you are telling him his talking is great as well as providing him with the correct model to learn from.
This is one step further than expanding the child's sentence. To extend, you repeat the child's sentence but in a different way, using different words.
e.g.: The child puts doll in bed and says ''baby sleep'', '' she is very sleepy'', ''It's bedtime'', ''It's time for baby to go to bed.''
Recast Sentences
Repeat the child's previous sentence but 'recast' it into a different form using the same words.
e.g.: Child: ''Dolly is sick.'' Adult: ''Is she sick?''
e.g.: Child: ''Daddy kick ball.'' Adult: ''The ball was kicked by daddy.''
Simplifying Speech to the Child
Use talking that is at the child's level. Use simple, short sentences that are grammatically complete. Avoid talking in telegraphic form even though this may be how your child sounds.
E.g. Avoid: "The man is driving his truck along the road because he is taking his sheep to the market to sell them."
Avoid: "Man drive truck. Drive down road. Taking sheep to market. Sell them."
Use: "The man is driving his truck. He's driving down the road. He's taking his sheep to market. He's going to sell them."
Build-Ups and Breakdowns
Take the child's previous sentence and expand it (build it up), then "break it down" into smaller parts and then build it up to an adult form again.
This is very repetitive but helps the child to learn about the different parts of speech and how they combine together in a sentence.
e.g.: Child: "Baby sleep."
Adult: "Yeah, the baby is sleeping. She is sleeping in the bed. Sleeping in the bed. In the bed. The baby is sleeping in the bed."
Child: "Sleep in bed."
In this dialogue the child has learnt an extension of his/her original expression. This should be used only occasionally through out the play because it is very demanding of the child's attention.
All these techniques for developing language should be used in a much unstructured situation. The aim is not to put pressure on the child to imitate but to provide a stimulating context in which spontaneous talking can be encouraged and naturally rewarded by the adult.
Reference: Fey, M., Language Intervention with Young Children
College Hill Press, California, 1986.

Gross Motor Planning and Co -Ordination
These activities will help to improve your child's larger movements, which involve whole parts of the body.
Body Shapes: Lying on carpet making body like numbers or letter.
Walking: Backwards, or cross-legged along a rope, low walls, kerbs, cracks in the footpath.
Obstacle course: Going on an obstacle course - can also include climbing over, walking along, jumping along, and into.
Hopping: Along a sting maze.
Ball Games: Continuous ball throwing with three or more people.
Simon Says Game
? Sitting and rocking
? kneeling
? Kneeling and rocking
? jumping feet together
? hopping
? Identification of body parts including crossing midline
? Bunny hopping
? bear walking (on hands and feet)
Happy and you know it game
(As above for Simon Says)
Hokey Pokey Game
Bouncing Plank
(Flat or slanted)
? walk along, then step over bean bags, hoops, etc.
? jump along
? Jump in middle (assisted and not assisted as necessary)
? walk sideways, forward, backward
? catch and throw a ball
? pick up things from right and left side
Skipping: With skipping rope.
Jump Rope
Tin Can Stilts: Low, with wide base
? forwards
? Backwards
? Sideways
? Over and under and through an obstacle course
? using same knee and hand
? using opposite knee and hand
Wriggling along floor
I.e. pretend to be a snake, lizard or worm.
Log Rolling
? Arms by side
? Arms above head
? One arm above head, other by side
Lame Dog: Using two arms and one leg - change legs.
Gorilla Walk: Bend forward, holds ankles with hands, walk forwards.
Frog Jump: Squat and place hands flat on mat between legs - spring forward like frog, hands and feet leaving ground at same time.
Rabbit Hop: Squat with knees together and hands on mat. Reach forward with hands and jump feet up to hands.
Top Spin: Quarter, half, three quarters, full spin. Start with feet shoulder distance apart and hand on hip. Child spring jumps into air and turns required turn.
Bear walk: On all fours, moving same leg and arm.
Egg Roll: Kneeling position with arms crossed and elbows resting on mat, head on mat. Child rolls sideways.
Crab Walk: On all fours but front upper most.
Sit Ups: On back, on mat - rise to sitting position not using arms - may be necessary to have feet held to start off with.
Seal Walk: On front with hands placed on mat directly under shoulders - arms stiff - feet dragged along behind.
Inchworm: Body extended with weight supported on straight arms, legs straight, weight on toes. With hands stationary, walk toes towards hands, keeping legs straight. When position is no longer comfortable, walk hands forward again while feet are stationary.
Reaction Drill: React to verbal directions: lie on your back, front, left side, right side, stand on your feet, kneel, and sit. Change positions as quickly as possible.
Scoop Ball: Catching and throwing a ball with scoops from halved detergent bottles.
Sensory Integration
Ideas to Stimulate the Senses: We learn about the world around us from our senses. This encourages us to move and interact with what surrounds us. We are most stimulated by new and interesting experiences.
There are seven senses we will consider: vision, hearing, taste, touch and smell are the senses we commonly think of. Our balance sense and also movement and position sense are two other important areas.
Try to provide your child with stimulation to each of these senses every day.
Remember: Variety is the Spice of Life!
Here are some suggestions:
1. Vision - colorful, light reflecting objects - a mirror, silver bells, wine cask bladder, pie plates, cellophane etc.
? objects that have movement - faces, balloons and mechanical toys etc.
2. Listening - a variety of sounds that are meaningful.
i) Your voice is a familiar sound, so talking to him and singing are important: particularly when he is more alert. It is helpful to mane things as you use them. E.g. tell him:
? What clothes you are putting on as you dress him
? What he is eating
? That you are about to put him in the bath water
? "This is the soap rubbing on your tummy." etc.
Try to use his name when you talk to him and use others names when you talk about them.
ii) Also provide a range of other sounds e.g.
? Music
? All the sounds that happen around the house
? clapping simple rhythms by placing your hands around his
? The noise of bells ringing in his hands
? banging his hands on a tambourine
The last three help to encourage him to move his hands to produce a sound.
3. Touch - encourage him to be more aware of his own body and surroundings by helping him to feel a whole range of things.
? consider the variety of sensations we feel every day - hot/cold, soft/rough to touch, cuddling, stroking, tapping etc.
i) Bath time is great for this if you can arrange to have plenty of time and a cozy warm room.
? When he is in the bath move his arms and legs up and down and sideways in the water. Let him feel the water being swished and swirled. This helps him become more aware that his body extends beyond his head.
? When you are toweling him after the bath, talk to him about his body. Use simple words such as Matthew's arm, foot, leg, toes as you dry each part.
? Warm your hands and massage him. You can use baby oil or some talcum powder. Using firm (not light, tickly) strokes run the length of his body down the front from top to toe. Do this a few times then turn him over to do his back. This helps him to be more aware that he has length and width. Do his arms and legs too, from the shoulders to finger tips, and hips to toes. But don't expect him to like it if your hands are cold!
ii) Massage can be enjoyable for him at other times too.
? Gentle stoking around his face and head, particularly around the mouth, cheeks and ears. This may help before feeding.
? Gentle stroking around the backs of his fingers and hands may help him to open his fists.
When he has become used to this type of stimulation, you could try stroking with a piece of
? teased-out cotton wool
? Fabrics such as velvet, toweling, tweed etc.
? Bubbly plastic (like inside of postage bags)
? Paint or pastry brushes
? Baby?s hair brush
? Feathers
? Fur
? A soft toothbrush
? Anything else you can think of
iii) You could also stoke his fingers and feet over textures such as:
? A small wad of screwed up sticky tape
? A piece of fine sand paper
? Soap
? Grains of rice
? His father's beard
? Hair
? Warm things
? Cold things
? And so on...
4. Taste - provide as wide a range of tastes and textures as he can cope with.
5. Smell - encourage him to smell a whole range of substances: nice ones and nasty ones too. These include fool smells - let him be in the kitchen while food is cooked e.g. the smells of a roast dinner or a freshly cooked cake. Other smells include scents, herbs, soaps, Dettol. Herbs and lavender in muslin bags are interesting to handle and smell.
6. Sense of balance and movement.
? This is stimulated by him being held in different positions, such as sitting, being carried, standing and going for a ride in the Buggy Major.
Other ideas include:
Home Program
Here are some suggestions for you to do with your child at home, in order to facilitate progress development.
This list is by no means exhaustive, so try out your own ideas too.
Tactile Stimulation (Touching)
Brushing - with thins paint brush, toothbrush, nail brush. (Lightly does it, but try not to tickle).
Rubbing - with various textiles
Sand/Styrofoam/chickpeas - use a container of these and let your child find objects in the container. You could fill up a baby's bath and let your child sit or lie on these too.
Shaving cream - over body, washing off with terry cloth and drying or use the foam on a mirror and let your child move his hands through.
Hand puppets - of different textures.
Water - use his/her bath time to play.
Encourage bare feet - indoors on carpet.
Massage - give your child the sense of "length", by massaging from head to toe and a sense of "width" by massaging arms outwards. You can use a variety of massaging mediums (e.g. powder, baby lotion, oil).
Vestibular Stimulation (Movement and Balance)
Spinning - place in a blanket in lying position (later on sitting); hold the corners and spin child around on a polished surface. Not too fast, and not after a feed of course!
Rocking - in a blanket or net again, or in a bouncinette.
? wrap in a blanket with arms by child's sides and roll along ground.
? place on tummy over a large beach ball and roll back and forth
? encourage reaching for a toy
Swinging - on swings, seesaws (or mum or dad's lap at first!)
Visual Stimulation
Use colorful, moving objects.
Auditory Stimulation
Use a variety of sounds that are meaningful e.g. the noise a rattle has from shaking it.
Handling and Carrying Ideas
? When your child is lying on stomach, rotate pelvis or offer one hand to rotate shoulder girdle, and get child to roll onto back.
? To get into sitting posture, offer one hand and encourage your child to push up with the other hand.
? To facilitate rolling onto stomach from his/her back, again rotate pelvis to one side and hold there until your child moves the rest of body. You can also hold the head or shoulders to one side and let the rest of the body move into the rolling position.
? To facilitate crawling, alternate bending and straightening the knees/legs. You could also try a towel roll under the tummy, and lift his/her tummy off the ground. When carrying, decrease the amount of support offered by you i.e. Encourage your child to keep control of head and trunk.
? Carry your child facing away from you on some occasions i.e. with his/her bottom on your hip.
? Allow your child to spend some time on his/her knees (sitting on haunches) either on the floor or on your lap.
? Use either a large ball or foam roller and place your child over this on his/her tummy. Encourage lifting head and arching back.
Ann Russell,
Occupational Therapist
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