Monthly Archives: December 2015

Top Five Blog Posts of 2015

Thank you for being a reader this year. Review the top five most read blog posts from this year.

5. Self Regulation: The Secret to Success: Speech-Language Pathologist Jessica Drake-Simmons shares methods to help children filter out distractions, handle emotions, delay gratification and inhibit impulses in order to be able to focus their attention on learning.

4. Myths and Realities of Augmentative Communication  As the title suggests, Speech-Language Pathologist Amanda Nagle dispels the most common concerns (myths) regarding augmentative communication.self regulation

Physical Therapist Bridget has the top posts helping parents and caregivers prevent flat head, correct sitting position and babies crawl.

3. How to Prevent Your Baby From Getting a Flat Head

2. What’s Wrong with W-Sitting? By: Bridget Hobbs, PT, DPT

1. Yes!  We Want Your Baby to Crawl! By: Bridget Hobbs, PT, DPT

Wishing you a happy new year!

For more information about Easter Seals DuPage & Fox Valley please visit EasterSealsDFVR.org.

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Holiday Travel Anxiety

Anxious about the upcoming holiday travel? Here are two great resources and perspectives to help you prepare.

The first is a blog post from the Easter Seals Inc. blog with “12 holiday travel tips for families with special needs” by Sara Croft.

Sara Croft compiled “tips from behavior analyst, therapists and respite providers to make holiday traveling a more enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

Before the airport: 

  1. Make sure you pack everything your child might want/need in a carry-on bag, including a change of clothes. Create a sensory pack with their favorite calming toy, stuffed animal, object or blanket. Sensory items are a great relief for kids who may become anxious due to first time traveling and fear of the unknown.
  2. Discuss what the experience of the ticket counter and the security check might be like to the child before you arrive at the airport. You could simply talk to the child about it, discuss it with them, or use social stories to aid in the explanation.01_Mason Esquivel
  3. Make sure you call TSA Cares at 1-855-787-2227 at least 72 hours before boarding the plane to ask any questions you may have. A TSA Passenger Support Specialist can be requested to provide on-the-spot assistance. The TSA has a helpline for individuals with special needs.
  4. Try to book flights when your child is generally the most able to handle a change in routine. For many children this may be in the morning when they are not tired and overwhelmed from a long day.
  5. Ask your doctor for a letter describing your child’s condition especially if your child has an “invisible condition” such as autism. It might be helpful to show documentation of the disability to airport security or flight attendants. Visit the TSA’s website and print the disability notification card that you can present at the TSA screening.

At the airport and on the plane:

6. To make your walk to the gate easier, approach the check-in or information desk to ask for a ride or shuttle to your terminal.

7. Inform TSA of your child’s disability and how they might react to security screening or waiting in long lines. Most airports have a family line or will allow the parent and child to be screened together.

8. It might be a good idea to bring noise cancelling headphones for the airport and the plane to help drown out some of the loud noise in the airport and the airplane. Sunglasses can block out the harsh bright light in airports and create a calmer environment.

9. Bring your child’s favorite music or no mess activity to keep them entertained on the plane. Colorful string beads, bags of beads, and items that light up are great additions for the traveling sensory pack.

On the road trip:

10. If your child escapes from their seat easily consider getting covers for the seat belt buckles and remember to check the child locks on the door.

11. Make sure your child is prepared for the road trip by creating a social story about the trip to read for them. This story may need to be read several times prior to the actual trip.

12. Have a visual aid to represent how many hours you have traveled and how many are left. A timer can help your child countdown the hours or minutes until the next stop or activity.

These are excellent tips from Sara to make holiday traveling easier for the whole family.

Another great perspective is from a local parent, David Perry, who writes in today’s “On Parenting” section of the Washington Post ,”When traveling with children, all needs are special.” David shares his family’s experience with traveling to Italy over Thanksgiving. It is a terrific story and a good reminder that travel with all children takes some improvisation.

 

Indulge! Language is sweet

By: Jennifer Tripoli M.S., CCC-SLP 

With the holidays around the corner, more than likely you will be baking some sweet treats this season! Believe it not, baking can be a great context to practice language skills. Here are a few speech and language skills you can work on while making your desserts this holiday season.

  1. Following directions- auditory comprehension of 1 and 2 step directions (e.g. Get out the eggs from the fridge and put them on the counter) and reading comprehension of written directions (e.g. following written recipe).
  2. Sequencing- doing steps in the correct order is key to baking! Have your child retell you the steps to making the dessert once it is completed.
  3. Inferring/Predicting- ask your child what he/she thinks you will need to complete your recipe. “We are making chocolate cupcakes, what do you think we may need.”
    • Inferring is a child’s ability to relate known information and apply it to a new context. This is an important skill not only for language, but also academic and social success!
    • Predicting– ask your child what he/she thinks will happen prior to each step in the recipe.
  4. Describing Skills- have your child describe what he/she is seeing, thinking, feeling, smelling, and tasting! Baking provides a rich sensory environment that allows for great practice with using different adjective/attributes (e.g. “this chocolate feels sticky and gooey, looks brown, and is smooth).baking cookies
  5. Improving vocabulary- baking is a great opportunity to introduce your child to new vocabulary words that they may not learn typically be exposed to such as utensils (e.g. whisk, spatula, etc.), appliances (e.g. oven, mixer, etc.), and unique verbs (e.g. beat, stir, bake, sift, etc.). You can also have your child name other desserts they know or like to eat!
  6. Problem solving/safety- all children should be baking with parent supervision, but this provides an opportunity to teach problem solving and safety skills. For example, you can ask your child questions such as “What should I do if I burn my hand?” or “What do I need to wear when I take the cupcakes out of the oven?”
  7. Planning/organization skills-have your child take part in the entire baking process from the beginning. Have he/she make a list of ingredients, go shopping with you, and pick out what is needed.
  8. Story retelling- have your child tell people who were not present during the baking session what you made! E.g. “Tell Aunt Kelly the chocolate brownie story.”

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Now that I have shared the different language skills you can work on while baking, I better give you some yummy recipes to try these out!

I follow a blog on Facebook called “Super Healthy Kids” and they post some amazing, healthy, kid friendly recipes (including desserts!). I highly recommend giving them a “like” so you can follow along too! Also, you can check out these best holiday baking recipes from food network! Also, there are some fun and useful tips for baking with children from Food Network.

Did I really have to convince you to go make something yummy? Life is short, eat dessert! HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Are you looking for holiday gift ideas for kids? Our therapists have suggested toys and games they use in therapy that can be purchased for our Centers as a holiday gift. This Wish List also makes a great gift guide, as it is therapist recommended!

To learn more about Easter Seals DuPage & Fox Valley Speech & Language Therapy click here.

#GivingTuesday

Today, is Giving Tuesday, a global day of giving. This international movement started four years ago to follow the commerce focused Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  Giving Tuesday was created to channel the generous spirit of the holiday season and inspires action around charitable giving.1

Each week, more than 1,000 infants, children and young adults with developmental disabilities come through Easter Seals DuPage & Fox Valley’s doors to receive the personalized services that help them build a foundation for future development and independence.

Click here to view a video which gives you a glimpse into the impact of Easter Seals DuPage & Fox Valley. It features Quinn, who has cerebral palsy.  He has made great strides because of the therapies he receives.  quinn

On this Giving Tuesday, please consider a gift to Easter Seals DuPage & Fox Valley. Your donation will help us to provide therapy and services to infants and children, so that they can reach critical milestones, achieve their goals and live their best life.

Even better, every new dollar raised this Giving Tuesday will be matched 2:1! Thanks to a generous grant and our Board of Directors, we can triple your impact.

Click here for more information about Easter Seals and how you might choose to contribute!