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Five toys you have in your house right now that can help prepare your child for kindergarten

By Clay Parlette,

Toys, toys, toys! Not only can they be used for play, but also for teaching and preparing your child for school. There are all kinds of expensive educational toys available in stores today, but sometimes all it takes are the classics to introduce young kids to the basics of vocabulary, language concepts and following directions.

Did you know that 26.4% of Ohio children ages 0-5 are living in poverty? We’ve made it our mission to help all children be ready for school, because early language development is crucial to a child’s cognitive development and later success in life.

Here’s a handy list of five common toys you probably already have in your home, with a short explanation on how each one can help you teach your child in a fun and engaging way:

1. Blocks!

Blocks are a great tool for building words and constructing buildings and towers! While playing, consider introducing your child to some basic vocabulary and language concepts:

  • Vocabulary ideas: 
    • Block
    • Build
    • Bridge
    • Steps
    • Push
    • Stack
    • Turn
    • Fall
    • Put
    • …and any other words you want to teach or spell!
  • Sample Language Concepts:
    • This block is on the table.
    • This block is under the chair.
    • The ‘A’ block is in the back of the pile.
    • The ‘C’ block is in the front of the pile.
    • I’m holding the block up.
    • This block is in my lap.
    • I took the ‘D’ block out.
    • This block fell down.
    • You have more than me.
    • These blocks are different.
    • That tower is as tall as you!
    • This tower is short.
    • We have the same block!
    • I have less blocks than you.
    • That pile is big.
    • This block is little.
    • There are many blocks.
    • There are few blocks.
    • This block is hard.
    • This block is square.

You can also use these basic vocabulary and language concepts to practice simple directions!

  • Following Directions
    • Put the block in the shoe.
    • Give me the block.
    • Push the block.
    • Build a tall tower.
    • Turn this block.

2. Bubbles!

Who doesn’t love bubbles? Here are ways you can turn play time into a bubbly learning session!

  • Vocabulary ideas:
    • Bubble
    • Blow
    • Pop
    • Catch
    • Reach
    • Chase
    • Break
    • Wave
    • Shake
    • Turn
    • Twist
    • Move
  • Sample Language Concepts:
    • That bubble went far!
    • Look how shiny it is.
    • These bubbles are round.
    • The wand is close to your mouth!
    • Blow out.
    • I put the wand in the bottle.
    • That bubble is going up!
    • The bubbles are gone.
    • This one is bigger than that one.
    • This bubble is the biggest.
    • That bubble is high!
    • This one is floating low.
    • How many are there?
    • This bubble is going down.
    • Here are more bubbles!
    • Look how big this one is!
    • That bubble is little.
    • This bubble is moving slow.
    • They’re moving fast!
    • This one is not big.
    • There are no bubbles.

And, like the blocks, you can practice following directions with the new vocabulary and language concepts.

  • Following Directions:
    • Shake the bubbles.
    • Blow a bubble.
    • Give me the bubble wand, then tell me what you did.

3. Doll

Baby dolls, Barbie dolls, action figures and GI Joe dolls are all great ways to practice words and concepts that relate to the human body.

  • Vocabulary ideas:
    • Eyes
    • Nose
    • Hair
    • Ears
    • Mouth
    • Legs
    • Arms
    • Teeth
    • Hands
    • Foot
    • Toes
    • Fingers
    • Belly
    • Back
    • Chin
    • Cheek
    • Knee
    • Elbow
    • Dress
    • Blanket
    • Pants
    • Shirt
    • Socks
    • Shoes
    • Boots
    • Diaper
    • Bottle
  • Sample Language Concepts:
    • The doll’s hair is messy!
    • What a pretty outfit!
    • Uh oh, the doll’s face is dirty.
    • This baby needs a drink.
    • GI Joe wants to eat.
    • Go to sleep.
    • Let’s have the doll walk over here.
    • Do you want to hold the baby?
    • Let’s hug her.
    • I’m going to brush her hair.
    • Let’s wipe this spot off.
    • We need to change this diaper.
    • Why don’t you sing to the baby?
    • I just gave the doll a kiss!
    • I think it’s time to wash her.
  • Following Directions:
    • Give the baby a kiss.
    • Brush her teeth.
    • Feed the baby.
    • Wipe the baby’s mouth.
    • Pat baby on the back.
    • Sing to the baby.
    • Rock the baby.
    • Change the baby’s diaper.
    • Make the doll walk.
    • Put the doll to sleep.
    • Tickle the doll.
    • Take the baby’s dress off.

4. Play House & Furniture

Maybe it’s that antique house you had as a child or the modern house or play building that kids love today, play houses are wonderful for language development!

  • Vocabulary ideas:
    • House
    • Door
    • Car
    • Bell
    • Window
    • Chair
    • Table
    • Bed
    • TV
    • Steps
    • Stove
    • Sink
    • Mommy
    • Daddy
    • Baby
    • Dog
    • Eat
    • Go
    • Stop
    • Wait
    • Push
    • Hot
    • Up
    • Stuck
    • All Gone
    • Sleep
    • Hide
    • Help
  • Sample Language Concepts:
    • Hide under the bed.
    • Walk up the stairs.
    • Come down the steps.
    • Look inside the house.
    • Put the car in the garage.
    • Take the car out of the garage.
  • Following Directions:
    • Ring the doorbell.
    • Open the door.
    • Close the door.
    • Put Daddy in the car.
    • Put the baby in bed.
    • Make Mommy sit down.

5. Barn & Animals

Old MacDonald has more up his sleeve than just E-I-E-I-O! Use the animals to make learning fun.

  • Vocabulary ideas:
    • Cow
    • Horse
    • Dog
    • Chicken
    • Pig
    • Cat
    • Duck
    • Man
    • Wagon
    • Tractor
    • Barn
    • Door
    • Fence
    • Tail
    • Hat
    • Hi!
    • Bye!
    • Night-night!
    • Water
    • Open
    • Out
    • In
    • Pull
    • Go
    • Walk
    • Eat
    • Drink
  • Sample Language Concepts:
    • Put the cow in the barn.
    • Take the pig out.
    • Put the chicken on the fence.
    • The dog runs around and around.
    • The horse jumps over the fence.
  • Following directions:
    • Open the door.
    • Listen! The cow says “moo!”
    • Close the door.
    • Make the cow walk.
    • Make the dog run.
    • Make the horse jump.
    • Make the pig eat.
    • Make the chicken go to sleep.
    • Make the cow drink.

Don’t have these toys? These are only some of our favorites, but the same kinds of lessons can be taught with all kinds of other toys! Get creative and help your child enjoy play time in an educational way. Let us know your thoughts and successes!

Funding will expand voice services for transgender individuals

By Clay Parlette,

Columbus Speech & Hearing Center is pleased to announce it has received a $15,000 grant from the Legacy Fund of The Columbus Foundation. These funds will support the expansion of voice modification services for the transgender population in and around the central Ohio region.

The transgender voice therapy program, led by Anna Lichtenstein, M.A., CCC-SLP, helps clients improve their quality of life by focusing on voice as an integral component of a person’s identity and expression of self. Personalized therapy sessions teach clients how to manipulate their voice in a healthy manner to reach ideal quality. Sessions also focus on helping clients develop positive attitudes about communication.

“Our daily mission is to help individuals improve communication for life,” said President & CEO James O. Dye. “Many transgender individuals feel dissatisfaction with their voice as it does not accurately reflect their sense of self, which is why we’ve made it our goal to help these individuals find their true voice.”

Individuals interested in learning more about the transgender voice therapy program may call Anna directly at 614-261-5476.

About Columbus Speech & Hearing Center

Since its founding in 1923, Columbus Speech & Hearing Center has provided quality, patient-centered care for tens of thousands of people with communication challenges in the Columbus metropolitan area and beyond. The Center offers many unique services in the areas of speech-language pathology, audiology, vocational rehab and community education, and is proud to offer a warm and welcoming environment to all people. For more information, visit

About the Legacy Fund

The Legacy Fund of the Columbus Foundation is a unique endowment fund created by and for the central Ohio LGBTQIA community. For more than 70 years, the Legacy Fund has made strategic investments in the form of grants to help new and existing organizations become financially sustainable and achieve programmatic excellence, ensuring the LGBTQIA community can face any challenges that confront it—now and for generations to come.

Great Communicators Golf Classic raises more than $100,000 for Columbus Speech & Hearing Center

By Clay Parlette,

Columbus Speech & Hearing Center welcomed sunshine and 120 golfers at The Lakes Golf and Country Club for the 11th Annual Great Communicators Golf Classic. The fundraiser, which directly benefits the Center’s efforts to provide speech therapy, audiology, and career services for central Ohioans in need, raised well over its goal of $100,000 for the cause.

“The Great Communicators Golf Classic provides critical funds that enable us to serve people from all financial backgrounds,” said Leslie Martin, director of development & major gifts. “We’re grateful to have had strong community support in the 95 years we have served the greater Columbus area, and moments like this remind us of the importance of our work.”

More than 43% of the speech services provided by the Center directly benefit families at or below the poverty level in central Ohio. Additionally, the Center works closely with the Franklin County Office on Aging’s Senior Options program and the state’s Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) agency to provide services for central Ohioans in need.

Distinctive at this year’s event was the extensive offering of silent auction items, including a VIP Heart of Africa Safari Tour at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, as well as an exclusive raffle opportunity to golf at Muirfield Village Golf Club and Scioto Country Club. Attendees were also treated to a reception, hosted by former 10TV anchorwoman Angela Pace and Cameron James, of Mills James Productions. Top level sponsorship support of the Golf Classic was provided by OhioHealth and The Robertson Group at Morgan Stanley, who each served as Gold Event Sponsors to support the Center’s mission.

“It was certainly a beautiful day for a beautiful cause,” Martin relished. “We couldn’t be more thankful for our many supporters for believing in our mission and the people we serve.”


The families of Columbus Speech & Hearing Center thank our Gold Event Sponsors: OhioHealth and The Robertson Group at Morgan Stanley; Silver Team Sponsors: Acoustic Ceiling and Partition, Archall, Benesch, Columbia Gas of Ohio, Elford, Inc., Equity, Equity Construction Solutions (ECS), GBQ Partners, Huntington Private Bank, Nationwide,, Plante Moran, Safelite AutoGlass, and White Castle System, Inc.; and Bronze Associate Sponsors: AEP Energy, BakerHostetler, Bruner Corporation, and Washington Prime Group.

Columbus Speech & Hearing Center (Careers for People with Disabilities) earns Three-Year CARF Accreditation

By Clay Parlette,

CARF International announced that Columbus Speech & Hearing Center has been accredited for a period of three years for its Community Employment Services (Employment Supports, Job Development) and Comprehensive Vocational Evaluation Services programs. The latest accreditation is the 14th consecutive Three-Year Accreditation that the international accrediting body, CARF, has awarded to Columbus Speech & Hearing Center.

This accreditation decision represents the highest level of accreditation that can be given to an organization and shows the organization’s substantial conformance to the CARF standards. An organization receiving a Three-Year Accreditation has put itself through a rigorous peer review process. It has demonstrated to a team of surveyors during an on-site visit its commitment to offering programs and services that are measurable, accountable, and of the highest quality.

Columbus Speech & Hearing Center is a not-for-profit organization with offices at 510 E. North Broadway. It has been providing Community Employment Services and Comprehensive Vocational Evaluation services in the Columbus area since 1971.

CARF is an independent, nonprofit accrediting body whose mission is to promote the quality, value, and optimal outcomes of services through a consultative accreditation process and continuous improvement services that center on enhancing the lives of the persons served. Founded in 1966 as the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, and now known as CARF International, the accrediting body establishes consumer-focused standards to help organizations measure and improve the quality of their programs and services. For more information about the accreditation process, please visit the CARF website at

For additional information, contact Jamie Noon at (614) 263-5151.



CSHC partners with Columbia Gas of Ohio to promote company diversity & inclusion efforts

By Clay Parlette,

Today Columbia Gas of Ohio announced its decision to partner with Columbus Speech & Hearing Center as a Corporate Advocate for diversity and inclusion (D&I). The partnership is funded through the Columbia Cares program as an extension of the company’s ongoing effort to promote a robust and diverse workforce.

As a Corporate Advocate, Columbia Gas of Ohio employees will now have access to American Sign Language (ASL) classes, specialized educational seminars and various other resources provided by Columbus Speech & Hearing Center staff. The company expects the partnership to help its employees gain new knowledge to provide better customer service and a safer and more productive workplace.

The partnership announcement is a direct result of Columbia Gas of Ohio President Dan Creekmur’s leadership in focusing on the benefits of diversity and inclusion by expanding the company’s initiatives.

Since its founding in 1923, Columbus Speech and Hearing Center has provided quality, patient-centered care for tens of thousands of people with communication challenges in the Columbus metropolitan area and beyond. The Center offers many unique services in the areas of speech-language pathology, audiology, vocational rehab and community education. For more information, visit