Holly Ballard MS/CCCslp
Crystal Hutchins MS/CCCslp
Sherrie Susser MA/CCCslp
Randi Weinberg MA/CCCslp

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Fun Summer Activities

Oral Motor Exercises
  • ·        Blowing bubbles
  • ·        Windmill toys – blow on them to make them spin
  • ·        Buy a variety of whistles – blow them outside, loud whistle sounds, soft whistle sounds, long sounds
  • ·        Use a straw and blow bubbles in your milk or  chocolate milk
  • ·        Buy licorice, try to drink through a piece of licorice.  Even the long tube shaped noodles would be fun.  (then eat the licorice, tough chewy licorice will really work the muscles in the mouth)
  • ·        Buy silly shaped straws that have many bends and turns
  • ·        Popsicles are a fun summer snack.  Put the popsicle above your lips try to lick it.  Put the popsicle on the side of your mouth and lick it.  Place the popsicle below your lips and lick it.  (can do this with frosting and lollipops too)
  • ·        Spaghetti noodles – try to pull the spaghetti into your mouth
  • ·        Singing songs that have repetitive sounds or words are a good practice for oral motor skills.
  • ·        Any song that you can hum to or say “la la la la”
  • ·        Go to you tube – look up “slow children’s songs” or “children songs”.  Watch and sing along with the videos

Language Based Activities
Here are a few suggestions to do during the summer for language skills.
  • ·        Take pictures and then tell what is happening in the picture.  Parent’s write down your child’s words.  Make a book by pasting all the pictures into a notebook.  (then you could share a few photos during speech therapy at the start of the school year). 
  • ·        Go to the Littleton Public Library.  The library has a wonderful collection of children’s books, books on tape, and even a suitcase/bag that has a book with activities listed to go along with the book.  The librarians are always very helpful in recommending appropriate books.  Enjoy the time reading together.
  • ·        Work on sequencing words, First, Second, Third, or First, Next, Last.  Talk about the activities for the day and use those words.  Write the words on a note card and label them 1, 2, and 3.  At the end of the day, review what you did first, second, etc.  Take pictures of the activities.  Print the pictures and sequence the pictures.
  • ·        Playing a fun board game or card game is always a good activity.  Just try to incorporate language into the game so that it is interactive.  “It’s my turn”.  “I rolled a six.  I am moving six spaces, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6”.
  • ·        Here on the speech therapy blog site.  There you will find other activities and suggestions for “reading with your child”, articulation practice, and language skills.  
  • ·        Encourage your child to repeat any direction given to him/her.
  • ·        Practice the “rehearsal strategy” for recalling/remembering directions.  This strategy is as follows:

1.     Repeat the directions out loud.
2.     Say the directions to yourself (whisper voice).
3.     Picture yourself doing the direction (close your eyes and “visualize” what you need to do)
4.     Do it!  Follow the direction.

Have a fantastic Summer! 

Sherri Shire-Susser  M.A. CCC/SLP

Friday, January 30, 2015

Picture Books Stimulate Language

Picture books are a great source for targeting language skills.  The link provided below was found on the internet.  The link noted is a great resource  which would support all students needing language skill development and targeting language skills.  Please look at the link below.    Using Picture Books to Stimulate Language

The ideas and suggested books are provided in the document.   Please visit our Littleton Town Library for the books noted.  If the town library does not have the book they could possibly get the book from MLVC consortium (this provides access to a variety of other libraries within Middlesex County).

Sherri Shire-Susser  M.A.  CCC/SLP

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Social Skills/Pragmatic Skills

What do we mean when we say “social skills” or “pragmatic skills”?

Often times as speech therapists we may use the words social skills or pragmatic skills when talking about students or lessons.   As adults we have a basic understanding about what “social skills” mean.  However, when a child needs help with their social skills it can mean a variety of different things based on the needs of an individual child.   You may be thinking, “my child doesn’t have friends"or "my child needs to learn how to make friends” as a “social skill” difficulty.  Or, maybe you are thinking “my son/daughter has many friends, why are they getting help with their social skills?”.  The information below is provided to give you some information about what social skills include and some internet resources.

What is meant by the word “social skills” in the school setting?
Social skills include some of the following skills:
·        Establishing and maintaining eye contact when speaking or interacting with peers and teachers
·        Greetings (saying hello/goodbye)
·        Beginning and ending conversations, maintaining conversations
·        Understanding figurative language (i.e. idioms, metaphors)
·        Problem solving social situations
·        Understanding non verbal language – reading facial cues, body language, personal space, gestures, tone of voice,etc.
·        Understanding and developing vocabulary for labeling emotions (i.e. happy, joyful, frustrated, annoyed, etc.)
·        Recognizing emotions of peers and teachers in the classroom setting
·        Social Thinking:
Simply put, social thinking is our innate ability to think through and apply information to succeed in situations that require social knowledge. Social thinking is a form of intelligence that is key to learning concepts and integrating information across a variety of settings; academic, social, home and community. Limited abilities for learning and/or applying socially relevant information can be considered a social thinking learning disability. (Michelle Garcia Winner,
·        Recognizing bullying, responding to bullying
·        Flexibility in thinking, interacting with peers, understanding boundaries in the classroom with teacher directions/routines
·        Turn taking skills (for example, when playing a board game it is important for all players to know the “unwritten rules” while playing a game such as knowing when it is “my turn”, waiting for others to take their turns, having a good attitude towards both winning and losing, etc).
·        Perspective Taking

Social skills can be taught and learned.  When a social skill deficit is identified, a student may receive speech therapy services by attending a social skills group.  At Shaker Lane, there are many people who help with social skills.  Our classroom teachers often provide many learning opportunities on a daily basis (reading books, using the HEART program, discussing social problems in a large group setting/small group setting, solving a problem as it occurs).  The speech therapists will run social groups to work on specific social skills that have been labeled and identified on an Individualized Educational Program.  In addition, The ABA teacher and assistants have social skills groups and there are times when the ABA teacher and speech therapist will collaborate and teach a social skill lessons to a small group.  In addition, our guidance counselor at Shaker Lane provides assistance through regular education services to help students formulate friendships and of course, develop social skills. 

Below is a list of good resources from the Internet to learn more about “social skills”:

Sherrie Susser