Kids are always on the go and summer is not any different! Here are some fun ideas to help keep your kids busy and work on speech/language skills during the summer!
Have a picnic – To work on describing: play “What’s in the Basket?” Place several picnic items (spoon, napkin, play food, etc.) in a covered basket. Take turns choosing an item but do not let the other person see it. Then describe the item and have the other person guess what it is. Then take the fun outside and have a real picnic with your little one!
Go Camping – To work on naming functions of objects: find objects around the house that you may take on a camping trip and place them in a backpack. Take turns pulling an object out of the backpack and describe how it would be used. For example, a flashlight – you use it to see in the dark. Then build a fort or pitch a tent in the backyard and go camping!
Sing a Song – Increase your child’s vocabulary with action words with the song “What Shall We Do?” sung to the tune of “Did You Ever See A Lassie?” Have your child think of different action words to sing with the song and then act them out.
Oh, do you know it’s summer, it’s summer, it’s summer?
Oh, do you know it’s summer, so what shall we do?
[Swim], this way and that way
[Swim], this way and that way
Yes, we know it’s summer, so that’s what we’ll do!
Make a summer time snack – Work on following directions while making an edible aquarium. Have your child help you gather the ingredients: graham crackers, cream cheese and add blue food coloring, goldfish and cheerios. Provide directions such as: “spread the cream cheese,” “add two goldfish,” “place a cheerio under the goldfish,” or come up with your own creative aquarium. Then enjoy the treat together!
Language: Use the same phrases (“Look! I see a…”) and simple sentences with your child. Match the length of your sentence with your child’s sounds/words (if your child uses 1 word, you use 1 word). Use gestures and pointing to help encourage understanding. Label items and pictures (“ice cream cone”) but also describe them (cold, soft, yummy). Encourage following directions (“Give the ball to x”, “Find the little shell”).
Speech: Copy your baby’s sounds in a back and forth manner as if having a conversation. Use fun sounds and words (“whee!”, “ooooo”, “ohhhh”, “wow!”, “uh oh”, “oh no!”). Try to get face to face as much as possible so your child can see your mouth. Speak slowly, emphasize important words (“My feet are IN the water!”), stretch out sounds in words (“ssssswim”, “ssswing”) to draw attention to them.
Cognitive/concepts: Talk about WHERE things are (up/down/in/out/on/off), the SIZE of things (big/little), the FEEL of things (wet/dry), COLORS (red, blue, yellow, green), HOW MANY there are (counting, 1, 2, 3, more, less).
Literacy: Head to the library and browse the books. Give your child plenty of opportunities to interact with books. Read and look at books outside, in a tent, under the table, on the swing – take them anywhere! Allow your child to explore and re-read them as they wish.
Gross motor: Visit a playground! Find one you’ve never visited before. Use a beach ball to go “bowling”, knocking down bottles, or rolling/kicking it back and forth. Cut pool noodles in small pieces and use them for balance as “stepping stones”, throw them all into the baby pool, use them to “stamp” with water on the sidewalk. Keep pool noodles long and use them to jump over/crawl under in an outdoor obstacle course. Cut them in half and use them to keep balloons up in the air.
Fine motor: Stamp Lego Duplos into sand to make prints. Clip clothes pins to cotton balls to stamp/paint rainbow, flowers, sun, trees, etc. Paint on shells/rocks you’ve found. Use your small pool noodle slices and tongs to put pom poms/small items into the holes or try to stack them or string them together.
Sensory: Blow bubbles (target simple vocabulary such as up/down/big/little/more/pop!). Create a beach bin – fill a small, shallow tray with sand and add sand toys/shovels/spoons/shells. Create a water bin filled with water, toy boats, people. You can “wash” play food or dirty toy cars in the water bin. Fill a small tub with cotton balls and use tongs/spoons to fill bowls with “ice cream”. Freeze lego duplos in ice and let them melt outside in a tub then build with them. Talk about what you and your child are doing as you play!
Music: “Oh where, oh where has my little shell gone?” (to the tune of “Oh where, oh where has my little dog gone?”). “Oh Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun” song. Bang on pots and pans (if you can stand it!) “The Waves in the Sea go Up and Down” (tune of “Wheels on the Bus”) (sharks go snap, fish go swish, boats go toot).
Social/Emotional: Decorate paper plates with sun/cloud/flower faces and talk about emotions (happy, sad, mad, sleepy). Talk about feelings when you read them in a book or story or in real life situations. Label/talk about how your child might be feeling when they don’t have the words to tell you.
Happy Summer from Columbus Speech & Hearing Center! Please call if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s speech and language development. Lora McConnell, M.A. CCC-SLP (614) 263-5151 x462 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Try to read with your child for 20 minutes every day. It’s important to read aloud to your child so they can hear words and sentences being put together into a story. Have your child turn the pages, point out letters and words, and talk about the pictures.
Make sure your child has access to children’s books in your home and visit the library often. Allow your child to get their own library card and let them pick out books. In the state of Ohio, families have an opportunity to participate in the Imagination Library. This free program is for children from birth up to age five. Each month a new, carefully selected book will be mailed in your child’s name directly to your home.
Have audiobooks available. You or a family member can make recordings of your child’s favorite books for them to listen to while looking at the book.
Set up a reading area in your home. Keep books that interest your child in places that are easily reached. Encourage time for books and reading every day. Take them wherever you go – in the car, at the park, at a restaurant, etc.
Be sure your child sees you reading a book every day, not just on your device. Read recipes together, make shopping lists together, talking with your child about what you are reading and writing down.
Vocabulary development is a large predictor of later reading success. Talk with your child all day about what you are doing and what your child is doing during daily activities together. Use words to label (bird), describe (big), action (jump). Talk about your day and about stories from books using words like “beginning, middle, and end” and “first, next, last.”
Children learn best through playing and interacting with others. Be aware of the amount and kind of screen time your child is allowed. Be sure it’s quality programming and that your they have plenty of time each day away from screens.
Columbus Speech & Hearing Center is a longstanding nonprofit organization governed by a Board of Directors. To recognize the commitment of our 17 Board members, we’re shining a spotlight on these dedicated volunteers. This month, we’re excited to introduce you to Barbara Kelley!
Barbara serves as Vice President of People at Safelite Autoglass and has been with the company for 11 years. Originally from the Dayton area, she has worked in human resources for several central Ohio companies over the past three decades.
She is active in her church and loves to travel, garden, hike and kayak, spending as much time as she can outdoors. Her three children live throughout the country, and her husband is a firefighter for the City of Columbus.
The twelfth of 13 children, Barbara grew up close to her siblings, especially her sister, who was born deaf. Later in life, Barbara wanted to dedicate her time to a local nonprofit that improved the lives of those who were Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing.
So, when the CEO of Safelite encouraged all leadership to get involved in the community, Barbara immediately joined the Columbus Speech & Hearing Center Board to “become part of the magical work that the Center does.”
After serving on the Board for seven years, she has enjoyed seeing the Center’s transformation. “Columbus Speech & Hearing Center continues to evolve and fulfill its mission,” she said. “I’m proud to see the Center focus on what it does best, which is create more connections within the community.”
Columbus Speech & Hearing Center has a long-term impact on people’s lives. “The important work of the Center helps people be successful and grow in their communication abilities,” she said. “And that’s one of the greatest gifts you can give someone.”
Thank you, Barbara Kelley, for your leadership and commitment to Columbus Speech & Hearing Center.
To improve communication for all people, like Barbara’s sister, consider giving a financial gift to Columbus Speech & Hearing Center. Your continuous support of our nonprofit year after year helps to unlock the potential for individuals with communication challenges through all stages of life.
Getting your child ready for school in the morning can feel like a race against the clock. For children with language delays, you may feel that you are constantly giving reminders of what needs to happen next. Maybe you find yourself breaking down the steps even further to complete specific activities. Perhaps your child is capable of following the morning routine on their own, but needs reminders to move at a faster pace. Try some of the tips below to reduce the stress and increase independence in the mornings!
Tips for a smoother morning routine:
Follow the same routine each day. This allows for consistency and predictability for you and your child.
Give one direction at a time. Multi-step directions may be challenging in the morning while under a time crunch for both the child and parent. Instead of saying “get your shoes and coat,” ask your child to “get your shoes.”
Leave extra time. This allows your child an opportunity to complete the task themselves leading to an increase in independence.
Use simple, but specific language. Reduce frustration by setting clear expectations. Instead of saying “get dressed,” try “Put your shirt on.”
Use visual supports. Visual supports can be used both for each step in the routine or steps within each activity to increase understanding.
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.
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.
Where could you add simple directions, gestures, signs, silly sounds, word approximations to your daily routines?
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.
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!
Baby ASL is educational and nurturing American Sign Language instruction for caregivers and babies!
At Columbus Speech & Hearing Center, it is our mission to help all people improve communication for life. This includes people of all ages and developmental stages. We’re here to foster improved communication between you and your child!
Early exposure to signing helps babies to develop their language and reasoning skills. Sign language will allow your child to express their needs before they learn to articulate words.
Studies show signing with your baby can reduce tantrums and frustration while increasing the child/caregiver bond!
Our Baby ASL program is designed to teach parents and babies 0 months-2 years old to use sign language to increase and improve communication.
Classes will meet for 8 weeks for 1 hour per week. Each class will include time to learn different signs that your child can use to communicate simple things. The class also includes individual instructor time, educational resources on early childhood development, and Q&A with guest speakers. Our guest speakers are experts from the speech language and hearing development fields.
Tuesdays, September 28 – November 16, 11 a.m. – noon, Register Here
Don’t see a class that meets your needs? Sign up to be notified when more classes are available, or leave us a note with your preferred day/time! We will be creating additional classes to accommodate interests.
Each eight-week course is $150 per family.
Courses are presented online and provide sign language education for both babies and parents.
Limited class sizes provide an intimate environment for optimal learning. Only one registration is required per family.
Classes will include sign language instruction, guest speakers, educational resources on early childhood development, individual instructor time, and additional resources for families.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What signs will we learn?
Baby ASL will cover signs to make daily life easier by helping babies express more clearly what they are needing and/or wanting!
Our Baby ASL program is designed to teach parents and 0-2 years old. We offer the courses listed above, but are able to accommodate different days/times if there is a need. We allow seven families per class, if you’re interested in a different day/time than listed above, let us know!
What can Baby ASL offer our family?
We know it can be hard caring for an infant, so that’s why we offer this program! Sign language makes it easier to communicate with your little one. Studies have shown using sign language with babies and children can reduce tantrums and frustration, boost self-esteem and confidence, stimulate intellectual development, and strengthen the parent-infant bond.
Will learning sign language delay my child’s speech?
No! In fact, giving your child an early form of communication, like sign language, has been proven in research to promote a desire to learn more communication techniques, including talking. In Baby ASL, we encourage our parents to simultaneously sign and say words for maximum benefit!
I’m in a parenting group, can our group enroll?
Certainly! It’s not uncommon for already-formed parent groups to want to add Baby ASL. It can even make ongoing group time more fun! If you have a group you’d like to enroll in Baby ASL together, please email us at email@example.com. Our minimum class size is five families.
I don’t live in Columbus…
That’s okay! You don’t even need to live in Ohio. Our virtual classes provide the opportunity for our classes to be taken anywhere. Just note the times listed in our course offerings are EST.
I don’t see a time or day that fits my needs…
Let us know! We will be creating additional classes to accommodate interests. Our classes require a minimum of five families, and a maximum of seven, to allow for optimal learning and engagement.
PRO TIP: A great way to get a class started is to share our course with friends and family! The more interest we have in a time/day the easier to accommodate!
What comes after Baby ASL?
That’s up to you and your family! If you’d like to continue using ASL in your household, let your instructor know. Future course offerings based on interest and demand could include a 2-5 year old class. And for some families, once their little one is verbalizing their needs, they choose to stop the use of ASL. This is a personal decision, you can discuss with your instructor and guest speakers who are experts in the field of speech language and hearing development!
clients and consumers of services at Columbus Speech and Hearing Center:
Audiology Department Updates
Our offices open for scheduled appointments only May 11, 2020.
Columbus Speech & Hearing Center is taking precautions to ensure a safe environment for all patients, visitors, and staff.
Please Reschedule your Appointment if:
You have a temperature of 100.4 or greater, cough, trouble breathing, shortness of breath, wheezing, chills, muscle aches, sore throat, diarrhea, or loss of smell or taste.
You traveled internationally, or to an area of High COVID-19 Infection activity within the past 14 days.
You been in close contact or live with someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19.
We will be completing a COVID-19 screening questionnaire on all patients upon arrival.
All patients and visitors will be required to wear a mask when in the facility.
We will be reducing and staggering the number of patient appointments to allow proper maintenance of social distancing.
We ask that you please not enter the building until your exact appointment time. This will ensure that the building is clear and safe for you to enter. Please come alone to your appointment, except when necessary for interpreters, guardians of minors, or others needing assistance.
All of these guidelines are in addition to the rigorous disinfection and sterilization processes that we have always used.
Speech Department Updates
On Monday, June 8th the speech department are reopening for in-clinic speech services.
All clients currently receiving teletherapy speech services will continue with teletherapy services at this time.
We are excited for the opportunity to once again expand our services to better serve our clients and the community.
We’re here to help you shelter in place with educational activities and resources! You can follow along on our Facebook or website for the latest social-distancing-approved ventures.
We’re sharing a compiled a list of resources from the Hearing Loss Association of America for you and those in your life affected by hearing loss who could become hospitalized. Without the assistance of family and friends communication can be difficult for those affected by hearing loss, here’s how you can be prepared. Learn more.
Due to the recent extension of the Stay at Home Order our speech department will remain closed for direct face to face services until June 30th, 2020.
We are currently scheduling for summer speech teletherapy sessions. Our goal is to continue to provide excellent speech services to all of our clients and their families. Teletherapy allows our clients the opportunity to continue to make progress toward their speech and language goals.
If you have any questions or are interested in scheduling for teletherapy please call the center at 614-263-5151 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Audiology Department Updates
Our audiologists remain available to assist you in a limited capacity should you need an urgent hearing aid service. If you feel you are having an urgent issue with your device please call either 614-261-5452 or 614-261-5451. You may also email by replying to this message. Our staff is checking voicemails daily and will return calls within 24 hours. If you find yourself in need of batteries or supplies, please let us know! We have a large stock of items and are happy to assist you in getting what you need from the comfort and safety of your home.
Speech Department Updates
Last week we rolled out teletherapy with our school contracts. Monday, March 30 we began reaching out to our individual and group therapy clients to schedule teletherapy services with our wonderful clinicians. We strive to continue to provide excellent speech services to all of our clients and their families. By providing the option of teletherapy we can help our clients continue to make progress toward their speech and language goals. You’ll be hearing from us soon.
American Sign Language Classes Updates
Our ASL classes have migrated online! Social distancing has most of us feeling stir-crazy. If this is you, consider enrolling in our upcoming ASL 1 course! You’ll learn a new way to communicate and make some friends along the way. You can view course registrations here.
Our audiology department remains open to address urgent items. These are scary times, and not being able to hear would only add to the burden of confusion, fear and social isolation that can occur. We feel it is imperative to remain open to serve the needs of those with hearing loss. At this time we are not accepting walk-ins and will see patients by appointment only. Our hours will be reduced, so please call to find out when we are open.
We continue to clean and sanitize to ensure the safest environment for our patients. Our staff is taking extra precautions as advised by the CDC and we ask that our patients do the same. If you are sick, or have been in contact with someone who is sick, please reschedule your appointment. It is recommended that all patients check their temperature at home before arriving at Columbus Speech & Hearing Center for their appointment. If your temperature is 100.4 or higher, or if you are coughing, please call and reschedule your appointment.
Our speech clinic is closed at this time. Columbus Speech & Hearing Center has suspended in-person speech therapy services. We are working diligently to offer telehealth speech therapy services. We will be in contact with our speech therapy clients and families about this option as soon as possible. If you are interested in continuing your therapy via technology please call us.
ORIGINAL POST 3/12/2020
The security and safety of employees,
clients, students, and volunteers at Columbus Speech and Hearing Center is our
highest priority. In light of recent news regarding COVID-19 (novel
coronavirus) being present in Ohio, we want to share with you the steps and
procedures we are taking to keep everyone safe and put your minds at
In the interest of public health and safety, Columbus Speech and Hearing Center
is taking the following measures:
All offices and services will operate typically. We recognize that information and the situation is evolving rapidly and we continue to monitor information as it becomes available.
Enhanced environment cleaning procedures are being implemented at our facilities.
We will follow the lead of national, state, and local public health authorities and implement recommended proactive strategies in all of our spaces as necessary. We will closely monitor the health of all employees. Any employees showing signs of illness or reports of feeling ill will be asked to stay home.
If you are a client of Columbus Speech and Hearing Center, we hope you will keep your appointment. However, in the event you are experiencing any flu-like symptoms (notably fever, cough, and shortness of breath) we strongly encourage you to stay home and take good care of yourself.
We will remain attentive to the changing
conditions and will make further decisions providing updates as
necessary. Please remember to follow the precautions and preventive
measures as recommended by the Ohio Department of Health and the Center
for Disease Control:
Wash your hands often with soap and water
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands