Category Archives: Free Printables

Free Printable – Functional Sign Language for the Childcare Setting

Noah has been enjoying his time at the Child Watch program at the Y.   A few weeks ago, the director asked if I could come up with a few signs to share so that Noah would be understood when he signs.  I’ve come up with nine basic American Sign Language signs that are commonly used at home and in the childcare setting; Mommy, Daddy, water, thirsty, all done, more, potty, ball and hurt.

Functional Sign Language for the Childcare Setting

Download the free printable PDF here: Functional Sign Language for the Childcare Setting

For many children with Down syndrome, apraxia, and other speech delay, motivation can be a real problem.  There is nothing more frustrating to a child than attempting to communicate with someone who isn’t understanding them.  On the flip side, there is nothing more motivating to a child struggling with speech than to have the people around him understand and respond to his attempts to communicate.

Please share these signs with your child’s school, babysitter, daycare center, Sunday school class, grandparents, and anywhere else your child may be at risk for not being understood.

Thanks to http://www.babysignlanguage.com for allowing me to use their graphics.

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Free Printables!!! Evoking Speech – Two-Word Phrases

Noah’s receptive language is great; Noah’s ability to make sounds is good, Noah’s use of speech in daily life – not so good.

In my experience with Noah, his confidence in his speech is key to him using his speech in daily life.  Because of Noah’s apraxia symptoms  it takes lots of PROMPT-ing and lots of drill to program in the words we expect him to recall and use later on.  Drilling has negative connotations in speech therapy sometimes because of its lack of emphasis on language and context, but for kids like Noah who have motor planning issues, drilling is appropriate.

We’ve been working on two-word phrases with Noah for the past three years, and we’re just now seeing him put two words together on his own in contexts other than “more      (juice)     “ or  ”   (ball)    please” verbally.  Before now, we would have to model one word at a time and he would repeat one word at a time.

It’s exciting to be moving on from that, and I’ve made three pages of two-word phrase flashcards to share.  The first word in each is blue – Noah’s favorite color to speak.  The second words are words that Noah has learned to speak.  The first three pages of the file are those flashcards.  To use them the way I did, cut them in pairs; in other words, blue/boot should be one card, blue/truck should be another card.  The last five pages of the file have two picture cards on each page.  Cut each of those picture cards out individually.

Two-Word Phrases Blue 02-03-13

Depending on where your child is cognitively and with his speech, you may want to only work on the two-picture cards for a while and just use them as flash cards and visual prompts.  This is where I started with Noah.  I would show him a two-picture card and point to blue and say “blue.”  He would repeat.  Next, I would point and say the name of the second picture.  He would repeat.  Then I would say “Your turn.”  I would point to blue on the card without speaking and he would say “blue.”  Then I would point to the second picture on the card and he would say the word.

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Doing this just about broke my heart, but I want to share what apraxia tends to look like in case you are unfamiliar with it but are seeing these symptoms in your child.  It doesn’t necessarily mean your child has apraxia, but this would point to a motor-planning disorder

This was my experience with Noah:  Understand, on any given day at any given time, if I point to something blue and ask Noah what color it is (and he is in the mood to cooperate), he says a beautiful “blue.”  I mean, he gets his “L” in there and everything.

With these two-picture cards, I would point to blue and say blue and he would have no problem saying “blue.”  Then I would point to the second word and say it and he would say it reasonably well.  When I went back to the beginning of the card and only pointed to blue without speaking it, what came out of his mouth surprised both him and me.  It wasn’t anything close to blue.  In processing that he was going to have to string two words together, the motor planning for the first word, which he knew inside and out, completely fell apart.  It is so great to see him putting effort into speaking these days, but it is also heartbreaking, because at times like these, he gets very frustrated with himself.  Wouldn’t you?  He knows exactly what to say in his mind, and he opens his mouth and something completely different comes out.  It reminds me of what it is like in a dream when I try to speak and have to put great effort into it, yet I still can’t get it out of my mouth.  His daily existence.  Every.  Single.  Day.  Sigh.

So, we press on, slowly but surely.  After several attempts which involve me remodeling the words, he can usually say the two-word phrase.  I suggest, depending on your child’s ease in verbalizing these two-word combinations, to drill them once or twice a day, starting with just modeling one word at a time and having your child repeat it back to you.  The more times your child pronounces them individually, the easier it will be later when they want to put the two words together and the quicker they will be able to overcome the motor-planning issues that may come into play.

Stepping Up:  Taking this one level further involves using the larger one-picture cards you cut out.  For this activity, place all the two-picture cards face up in front of your child.  Then take one of the larger picture cards, hold it up, and ask your child, “What’s this?”  Help your child pick the two-picture card that describes the picture, and then give your child whatever help he needs to read the words outloud.  You may find this a good time to work on word recognition with your child, showing him how the words on the two-picture card correspond to the words on the one-picture card.

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When introducing a next-step concept like two-word phrases, it’s important to back off of other cognitive demands like new vocabulary or words; that’s why we’re using Noah’s current vocabulary instead of words in a more predictable fashion.

Now it’s your turn.  What’s been most effective in teaching your kids two-word phrases?

Free Printable Cutom Book for Target Speaking Words

bye bye moon

Finding different ways to have children with speech delays use some of the words they are drilling in speech therapy can be a challenge, but it’s necessary in order to have those words integrated into each child’s vocabulary.

The Lovely Miss L, Noah’s former speech therapy was a genius at coming up with ways to do just that.  One technique she used was making PEC books out of Noah’s target words.  His first book was a story about a bee, a blue boat, a mommy and a daddy.  Now that Noah has mastered those words, I tried my hand at making a new PEC story book for him, and I have it here to share as a freebie:  Bye-Bye Moon PEC book

Just cut the pages into horizontal strips, assemble the book according to the text below, and staple it together in the top left corner.

Text:

Bye bye moon.  Hi sun.  Time to wake up.  Listen.  Daddy up.  Mommy up.  Noah up. Out of bed.  Noah eat cookie?  No no Noah.  Noah eat oat?  No no Noah.  Yes, yes, Noah.  Daddy go bye bye in beep beep.  Noah in beep beep?  No no Noah.  Bye bye Daddy.  Bye bye beep beep.  Mommy home.  Noah home.

This doubles as a social story, because the text reminds Noah to stay in his bed until he hears Mommy or Daddy moving around in the morning .  Also it reminds him that although he can’t go to work with Daddy, Mommy will be home with him – oh joy!

And yes, I am a little narcissistic when it comes to Noah – someday he’ll have his own line of children’s books, I’m sure.  If you’d like to exchange Noah’s name and picture for your child’s, you can find the editable file over at www.mrsriley.com at http://mrsriley.com/app/#fileID=64593.