Activities to Encourage Speech & Language Development, 4 – 6 Years Old

By Alexa Demyan,

  • When your child starts a conversation, give your full attention whenever possible.
  • Make sure you have your child’s attention before you speak.
  • Acknowledge, encourage, and praise all attempts to speak. Show that you understand the word or phrase by fulfilling the request, if appropriate.
  • Pause after speaking. This gives your child a chance to continue the conversation.
  • Continue to build vocabulary. Introduce a new word and offer its definition, or use it in a context that is easily understood. This may be done in an exaggerated, humorous manner. “I think I will drive the vehicle to the store. I am too tired to walk.”
  • Talk about spatial relationships (first, middle, and last; right and left) and opposites (up and down; on and off).
  • Offer a description or clues, and have your child identify what you are describing: “We use it to sweep the floor” (a broom). “It is cold, sweet, and good for dessert. I like strawberry” (ice cream).
  • Work on forming and explaining categories. Identify the thing that does not belong in a group of similar objects: “A shoe does not belong with an apple and an orange because you can’t eat it; it is not round; it is not a fruit.”
  • Help your child follow two- and three-step directions: “Go to your room and bring me your book.”
  • Encourage your child to give directions. Follow their directions as they explains how to build a tower of blocks.
  • Play games with your child such as “house.” Exchange roles in the family, with your pretending to be the child. Talk about the different rooms and furnishings in the house.
  • The television also can serve as a valuable tool. Talk about what they are watching. Have your child guess what might happen next. Talk about the characters. Are they happy or sad? Ask your child to tell you what has happened in the story. Act out a scene together, and make up a different ending.
  • Take advantage of daily activities. For example, while in the kitchen, encourage your child to name the utensils needed. Discuss the foods on the menu, their color, texture, and taste. Where does the food come from? Which foods do you like? Which do you dislike? Who will clean up? Emphasize the use of prepositions by asking your child to put the napkin on the table, in your lap, or under the spoon. Identify who the napkin belongs to: “It is my napkin.” “It is Daddy’s.” “It is John’s.”
  • While shopping for groceries, discuss what you will buy, how many you need, and what you will make. Discuss the size (large or small), shape (long, round, square), and weight (heavy or light) of the packages.

Stars, Stripes & Kites! Fun Crafts to do this 4th of July Weekend!

By Alexa Demyan,

It’s an exciting time when your child becomes more verbal! During these developmental times, however, some children may show signs of articulation or speech disorders. Articulation is how we make speech sounds using our mouth, lips, and tongue, and teeth. Language refers to the words we understand and how we use them to share ideas and communicate what we want or need.

Using holiday-themed activities is a great way to engage your child and work on articulation and language skills. Check out these fun Independence Day activities to do with your child!

CSHC’s recommended read to accompany your Fourth of July activities:
“Red, White, and Boom” by Lee Wardlaw.

Find this book being read aloud here :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfttBjq6RPA.

Activity Ideas:

  1. Strike up the band!
    Have the kids find everyday items in the house they can use as instruments to “play” for you or a group. Have them march while they play. Household object “instrument” play lends itself to working on:
    1. Symbolic play: Using one object to represent another helps develop language skills because words are symbols. Example: this spoon is a drumstick, this pot is a drum, this toilet paper roll is a horn.
    2. Turn-taking: “I’ll play my instrument and then you’ll play yours!” Taking turns in play helps develop the rhythm of communication.
    3. Concept development: Describing objects and what is happening helps develop concept and vocabulary skills. Examples: big/little pot, quiet/loud playing, fast/slow marching.
    4. Answering “wh” questions:  Who, What, Why, Where. Examples: What did you find to play? Where did you find the spoon? Who wants a spoon?
    5. Developing rhythm/syllables: Tapping out syllables in words or matching rhythms can help the child learn about syllables and the rhythms of speech.
    6. ArticulationSome ideas for words to target are: /s/ blends: start, stop, stick; /g/ go, big, bang; /l/ listen, look, loud, play; /ch, sh/: march, crash, sh!; /r/ drum, crash, ready

2. Create paper bag Fourth of July kites! Follow these simple steps from Fun Loving Families for kites you can fly all weekend long.

Supplies needed for paper bag kites

3. Make Fireworks in a jar!
These fireworks are perfect for all, but especially those who find traditional fireworks to be too loud. Learn more with Chicago Parent.

Photo from Chicago Parent

4.  Make starlight mint fireworks!
Simple and easy crafts are always a hit. Try these mint fireworks again and again using Playdough to Plato‘s instructions.

Photo from Playdough to Plato

Celebrate July 4th with this collection of easy and festive crafts that work on articulation and language! Break out the red, white and blue and bring some of these fun crafts to life with your little one!


Our team is dedicated to sharing fun ideas where children can play and learn all summer. Check out our Pinterest page and Instagram for more fun activities to target speech therapy goals in the home.

Want to receive more activities like this? Join our monthly mailing list! Subscribe here.

If you think your child may be struggling with articulation and language contact us to schedule a speech and hearing evaluation! 614-263-5151 or speech@columbusspeech.org to learn more.

Dublin Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

By Alexa Demyan,

On May 13, the Columbus Speech & Hearing Center (CSHC) staff and Board, as well as members of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce, celebrated the grand opening of our new Dublin audiology office with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, only 1 in 5 people who need a hearing aid actually wear one,” said James O. Dye, CSHC President & CEO. “We expanded our services to Dublin to make high quality hearing healthcare more accessible to residents in the area.”

The new office, located at 5155 Bradenton Ave., Suite 150 in Dublin, specializes in audiology services, hearing evaluations, hearing aid consultations and fittings, custom hearing protection, special program and follow up care. Dr. Natalie Rosselli and Dr. Jennifer Thomson serve as the onsite audiologists.

“I’m looking forward to bringing the high-quality hearing care that patients expect from Columbus Speech & Hearing Center to the Dublin area,” said Dr. Rosselli. “By having this location, we will be able to improve so many more patients’ lives through better hearing.”

“The Dublin community has been very supportive and welcoming of our expansion,” Dye added. “We’re incredibly grateful to our philanthropic partner, The Columbus Foundation, for the financial support to make this new expansion possible.”

Due to COVID-19 restrictions at the time, the ribbon-cutting ceremony was limited in attendees. However, you’re invited to celebrate the new office and potential impact it will have on the central Ohio community by scheduling an appointment, touring the facility or donating a financial gift.

CSHC is a nonprofit organization that relies on the support of volunteers and donors to continue to provide services and programs so that people of all ages receive the intervention and therapy needed for their communication challenges. Consider giving a generous gift so the next person who walks through our doors leaves experiencing better hearing and speech.

Board Member Spotlight: R. Travis Upton

By Alexa Demyan,

Columbus Speech & Hearing Center is a nonprofit organization governed by a dedicated Board of Directors. The 17 members that make up our Board are volunteers with a deep passion for CSHC, selflessly offering their time, talent and treasure to advance the mission.

To recognize their commitment to CSHC, we’re shining a spotlight on each of our Board members over the next few months. Our first spotlight features R. Travis Upton.

As the CEO and Chief Investment Officer (CIO) of The Joseph Group Capital Management, Upton provides visionary leadership to enhance The Joseph Group’s culture and mission through big ideas and impactful relationships. As the CIO, Upton chairs the firm’s Investment Committee and uses his communication skills to simplify investment concepts.

He and his wife Shannon share three children – Spencer, Karly and Oliver – and have lived in central Ohio for almost 20 years. “I love Columbus and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” he says. In fact, Oliver shares his initials (OSU) with the 8-time national championship Buckeye football team.

Upton joined the CSHC Board in late 2019, excited to get to know the organization’s leadership and staff on a more personal level. Although he was faced with a major learning curve as the world began to be experience the effects of a global pandemic, the Board is engaged now more than ever.

Upton shares that “the personal stories behind the impact” are what excites him most about CSHC’s work in the community. He’s always inspired when he sees how people have grown in ways that they might not have without the help of CSHC.

After touring the Center’s new Dublin office, his enthusiasm for the vision for expansion only grew. “Growth toward a purpose is extremely exciting,” says Upton. “Things are being positioned to have CSHC’s next 100 years be just as impactful.”

We thank Upton for his leadership and commitment to the CSHC. To learn more about the CSHC Board of Directors, visit our Leadership & Financials page.

Helpful Speech Websites & Internet Resources

By Alexa Demyan,

  • columbusspeech.org | Columbus Speech & Hearing Center
  • asha.org | American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
  • apraxia-kids.org | A wealth of information on Childhood Apraxia of Speech.
  • autistic advocacy.net | Autistic Self-Advocacy Network
  • hanen.org | Provides parents, caregivers, early childhood educators and professionals with the knowledge and training to help young children develop the best possible language, social, and literacy skills.
  • mommyspeechtherapy.com | Tips and techniques for helping children be the best communicators they can be.
  • pinterest.com/columbusspeech | Ideas for activities to help with everything from fine motor skills to articulation.
  • playingwithwords365.com | Blog written by a speech-language pathologists with parent tips and strategies for speech and language development.
  • readingrockets.org | A wealth of information about literacy and reading skills.
  • spdfoundation.net | Research, education, and awareness for Sensory Processing Disorder.
  • stutteringhelp.org | The Stuttering Foundation provides information for the prevention of stuttering and the most effective treatment available.
  • starfall.com | Free public service with interactive games to teach children to read with phonics.
  • signingtime.com | A video series to teach baby sign language and higher level signs.
  • speechsnacks.com | A unique website that focuses on preparing simple and healthy foods with the participation of children while promoting good speech and language development.
  • speechtherapy101.com | Tips for parents on how to best foster speech-language development at home.

Home Strategies for Infants and Toddlers

By Alexa Demyan,

Routines

Where could you add simple directions, gestures, signs, silly sounds, word approximations to your daily routines?

Mealtime

  • Go to your chair (point or take them there at first, then fade to verbal direction only).
  • “Want to eat?” Use the sign, and pause–encouraging to try.
  • Offer a choice of foods, using the words “Do you want __ or __?” Try to wait for an attempt of either the word or sign. If only reaching or pointing is attempted, help with the sign or say the word again before giving it.
  • During the meal, comment if something is “yummy” or “cold” or “hot”. Try blowing on the food, making silly sounds “mmmm.”
  • Keep the drink in sight, but out of reach (as well as any favorite foods). Encourage signs or word approximations to request.
  • Encourage the sign for “more,” paired with the spoken word, when your child shows interest in more food or drink. Also ask “Do you want more?” and encourage a head nod for “yes” or “no.”
  • Model the sign “all done,” and ask “Are you all done?” before wiping mouth.

Getting Dressed

  • This is a great time to work on body parts and simple directions. When changing a diaper, give the new diaper to your child, and ask “where’s diaper?” When you are ready for it, hold out your hand, and say “Give to me.
  • When pushing head or arms through shirt, ask “Where’s __?” use your child’s name as well as each body part.
  • When the hands come through the sleeve, try “give me five”. Later, try “give me your (hands, feet, etc).
  • This is also a great time for “I’m gonna get your __” (belly, nose, eyes, mouth, etc). Be playful, and pause to see if your child covers that part of their body. Even ask “where’s __”, then tickle the body part.

Favorite Play Routines

  • Choose a time of day to give your child undivided attention for a few minutes. During this time, offer favorite toys or activities with a choice of two. Try taking turns with whatever the special activity is (bubbles, ball rolling, car pushing, etc), and maintain attention for a few minutes.
  • Use this time to make comments using signs and simple words. Keep a portion of this time for pure enjoyment; no question asking or requiring performance in any way.
  • After a period of time, try simple questions (“where’s __?”) or directions (“get __” or “give to me”).
  • Demonstrate what your words mean through your actions. “Hug the bear”, “Go, Car, Go!” “Your Turn” (giving the toy to your child, etc).
  • Sing familiar songs, stopping when your child looks away, and pausing frequently to help with the motions or to encourage a sign or word to fill in the blank for participation.

Bedtime and Book Reading

  • Whatever is part of your bedtime routine is fair game for simple directions and interesting comments!
  • Instead of taking an object to your child or taking your child to an object, try “Go brush your teeth” or “Go get a book,” and then use visual cues or gentle physical cues to help follow through.
  • When reading books, take time to look at the pictures, pointing to key pictures when you say the word “Goodnight light and the red balloon,” “Goodnight bears, goodnight chairs, etc.”
  • Give choices of which book to choose next, and give your child a turn to “read” to you by turning to their favorite page or pointing to a favorite picture.
  • Books that give simple directions or allow for child participation are wonderful “Pat the bunny,” “Lift the flap,” “Turn the page,” etc.

While you may already be doing many of these things, use this as an opportunity to think of new ways to up the ante a bit and challenge both receptive and expressive speech and language skills! Try not to turn speech and language into a power struggle, but keep communication both fun and engaging for your child!

June Staff Spotlight: Dr. Kayla Kirk

By Alexa Demyan,

This month’s Staff Spotlight is Dr. Kayla Kirk! Dr. Kirk specializes in diagnostic and rehabilitative services for pediatric and adult patients with an emphasis on diagnostic services and hearing aid dispensing. She also provides aural rehabilitation for patients using cochlear implants. Dr. Kirk is a member of the American Academy of Audiology and volunteers on the Board of the Ohio Academy of Audiology. She received her Doctorate of Audiology from The Ohio State University and completed her fourth-year clinical externship at The University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Dr. Kirk has been with Columbus Speech & Hearing Center since 2018 and believes the best part of her work day is educating patients on their hearing healthcare needs, as well as providing rehabilitative treatments to her patients. Dr. Kirk enjoys community outreach and serving as an advocate for the profession of audiology. In her spare time, she enjoys trying new food spots in Columbus and spending time outside. A fun fact about Dr. Kirk: she’s a twin!

Diabetes & Hearing Loss

By Alexa Demyan,

DID YOU KNOW?

1 in every 10 or 34.5 million people in the U.S. have some type of hearing loss. In addition, over 30 million people in the U.S. have diabetes.

CONNECTED?

It is possible that the high blood glucose levels associated with diabetes cause damage to the small blood vessels in the inner ear, similar to the way in which diabetes can damage the eyes and kidneys.

OVERLAP

A recent study found that hearing loss is twice as common in people who have diabetes as it is in those who don’t have diabetes. Of the 88 million adults who have prediabetes, the rate of hearing loss is 30% higher than in those with normal blood glucose.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I SUSPECT I HAVE A HEARING LOSS?

Talk to your doctor. Ask to be referred to an expert audiologist at Columbus Speech & Hearing Center for a hearing evaluation. Our audiologists can diagnose hearing loss and provide you with the best treatment options.

Since it can happen slowly, the symptoms of hearing loss can often be hard to notice. In fact, family members and friends sometimes notice the hearing loss before the person experiences it.

SIGNS OF HEARING LOSS
  • Frequently asking others to repeat themselves
  • Trouble following conversations that involve more than two people
  • Thinking that others are mumbling
  • Problems hearing in noisy places such as restaurants
  • Trouble hearing the voices of small children
  • Turning up the TV or radio volume too loud for others who are nearby

Appointments with our certified Audiologists are available at both our Clintonville and Dublin locations. Call (614) 263-5151 to schedule an appointment with one of our experts.

Information courtesy of the American Diabetes Association

Talk Tips for the Car

By Alexa Demyan,

Summer is here and many families may decide to kick off the season with a family vacation.  Road trips (and plane rides) are a great time to boost your child’s language skills!  Here is a list of fun games that will keep your children from asking the dreaded question, “Are we there yet?”

I Spy: Most people are already familiar with this game in which one player announces the color of something they see and the others players try to guess what it is by asking questions. A fun twist to this game is to only find things that start with a specific sound, or that belong to a specific category, etc. Have fun and be creative!

I’m Going on a Picnic: This classic game is great for building literacy and memory skills. The first player starts off by saying “I’m going on a picnic and I am going to bring…” then adds a food that begins with A. The next player repeats what the first player said and adds on something that begins with B, this continues in sequential order through the alphabet until you have reached the letter Z.

Story-Telling: One passenger starts a story with a single sentence. Then the next person adds a sentence. Continue until you build a complete story.

The Category Game: Take turns choosing topics to list items from, for example, zoo animals, types of candy bars, or occupations. Each person then names something from the given topic until someone can’t think of an item, and then they are “out.” Continue playing until there is only one person left.

The Rhyme Game: Similar to the category game except players think of words that rhyme.

Radio Game: While the radio is off, each player chooses a word. Turn the radio on. The winner is the person whose word is spoken or sung first

The Columbus Foundation Supports Dublin Expansion

By Gretchen Colon,

Columbus Speech & Hearing Center is expanding to Dublin and opening our new audiology clinic for adults!

We are incredibly grateful to our philanthropic partner, The Columbus Foundation, for the financial support to make this new expansion possible.

“Columbus Speech & Hearing Center provides crucial services to those with communications challenges – both receptive and expressive, and for people of all ages,” shares Emily Savors, Director of Grants Management at The Columbus Foundation.

Expanding into this new area will help Columbus Speech & Hearing Center serve thousands more adults with hearing loss by providing hearing evaluationshearing aid fittings and service custom hearing protection to those in need.

“The ability to generate earned revenue is a vehicle to support subsidized services,” Savors explains. “So, in addition to being closer to a segment of the population in need of services, this office will generate income to support other services at the agency.”

Columbus Speech & Hearing Center, a nonprofit organization serving central Ohio since 1923, counts heavily on the philanthropic support from generous donors to serve individuals and children with hearing loss and speech challenges. 

You are invited to join The Columbus Foundation and other supporters to help contribute to the Dublin audiology clinic with a financial gift. You have the opportunity to give a children a voice and provide improved hearing to individuals in need.