Tag Archives: child language

CLASP- Providing A Voice for the Voiceless

Providing A Voice for the Voiceless

Contributed by Amy Delk, Capital Area Speech Therapy Staff

 CLASP

Providing a voice for the voiceless. This is part of what Speech Pathologists do each day for their patients, both young and old. CLASP International has taken on this mission as well. CLASP International, or Connective Link Among Special Needs Programs, is a resource that is endeavoring to provide training to Graduate students in Zambia, Africa. This organization is certifying students at the University of Zambia to treat patients with special needs, such as feeding/swallowing disorders, cleft palate, and communication disorders such as autism.

Currently, within the communities of Zambia, such as the capital town of Lusaka, there are no permanent therapists who have the knowledge base and experience required to help those in desperate need. Many times, those in Zambia who need the most urgent help are hidden away. There is a stigma attached to those who are born with congenital, developmental, and acquired medical issues. They are often times seen as cursed, and kept from interacting with others, and kept from being a part of their communities. In severe cases, children born with special needs are neglected and abandoned.

There is hope. CLASP is making huge strides towards teaching the community that therapists can help make a difference, and in many cases save lives. When CLASP provides training to local licensed Zambian therapists familiar with the culture and people, the community sees that there are treatments available, and that there are explanations for speech disorders and other medical conditions. Instead of hiding in shame, those who need help are treated, and have improved quality of life. They thrive, grow, and become part of their community.

Here are some ways that you can help make CLASP a continued success.Stockphoto CLASP

  1. Visit: claspinternational.org and find out more about this outreach program.
  1. Donate: If you are able to provide financial support to any of the therapists that make the trip to Zambia each year, please donate in their name, or the general fund. All donations are tax deductible. More information can be found under the Donate tab on the home page of the website.
  1. Volunteer: If you are a licensed Speech Language Pathologist, an Assistant-SLP, an Occupational Therapist, or Physical Therapist, you are urged to apply to the CLASP program on-line and volunteer your time and efforts either stateside or in Zambia.

What is Phonological Awareness

letter blocks
Have you heard the term phonological awareness? This term refers to the understanding that language is composed of smaller units including words, syllables, and sounds. Children with good phonological awareness skills are able to hear and manipulate these words and sounds.

Phonological awareness skills are very important for reading success. Speech pathologists work on phonological awareness skills when children have difficulty hearing rhyming words, learning sound/letter recognition, and have difficulty learning to read.

Phonological awareness skills include the following:
-Hearing and producing rhyming words
-Segmenting words in sentences
-Blending, segmenting, and deleting syllables
-Identifying sounds in words
-Blending sounds to make words
-Segmenting sounds in words
-Deleting sounds in words
-Adding sounds in words
-Manipulating sounds in words

Ideas to boost your child’s phonological awareness skills:
-Sing songs or recite nursery rhymes that have rhyming words
-Ask your child to name words that rhyme
-Clap for every word you hear in a sentence or for every syllable you hear in a word
-Ask what sounds he/she hears at the beginning, middle, or end of words (What sound do you hear at the beginning of ‘Saturday’)
-Ask him/her to say a word then say it without a certain sound (Say ‘ball’, now say it without ‘b’)
-Ask him to say a word then change a sound in the word (What would the word ‘cat’ be if you change the ‘c’ to ‘b’)

You can look back to our post on language and literacy here.

SuperDuperInc has easy to read information here

Reading Rockets has good detailed information and more ideas for how parents can help at home too.

Speech and Language Practice in the Car

Do you use car rides as a time to talk to you child? You and your child(ren) are stuck in the car. You might as well use the time wisely. Turn the radio off and make this time fun. Go ahead and practice his/her target speech sounds. Try to come up with words that have the sound in them. Have him/her look for things outside the car that may have their target sound.

There are several “car games” you can play that help with language skills too.

Eye Spy – Maybe this would be best for siblings to play and the driver just listen. This game works on using vocabulary and using descriptive words.

The Question Game (as seen in the video) – We play this one all the time. My boys love to trick me. One person thinks of an object or place. Everyone else takes turns (or in our car, blurts out) questions that have to be answered with yes/no. This game helps with forming questions and vocabulary
No worries…I was not driving here. This video is kind of loud. You may want to turn your volume down before playing.

The Rhyming Game – Someone begins with a word. Everyone takes turns thinking of a word that rhymes. If you can’t think of one, you skip. The last person to think of a word wins. This can help with phonological awareness and vocabulary.

The Sound Game – I sound out a short word pausing between each sound (b—a—t). the kids guess what word the sounds make when you say them together. This can also help with phological awareness and vocabulary.

You can also sing together, make up a stories, and just talk about your day.

If you have any fun games that your children like to play in the car, please leave a comment. I would love have more ideas.

How to Improve Language Development at Home: Bathtime

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There are so many opportunities in our daily routines to help our children learn more words and how to use them. Talking about your normal routines is a great learning experience for your child. You can offer your child a variety of words they can learn.

One great language learning opportunity is during bathtime. There are many words you can use and concepts they can learn during bath. It is a great time to teach body parts, concepts, action words, and describing words.

It is very important during language development that babies learn a variety of words. They need to learn just as many action and describing words as they do nouns. There are ample opportunities to use action words and describing words during daily routines like bath.

Examples of talking through bathtime routine may include comments like: “wash face”, “mommy is washing your face”, “wet hair”, “wash hair/tummy/arms/legs/feet/toes”, “clean hair”, “get the towel”, “dry hair/tummy/feet/etc”, “brush hair”, “brush teeth”.

Other vocabulary and concepts to model during bathtime may include: water, pour/dump water, splashing, yellow duck, red cup, big cup, wet rag/washcloth, under water, floating, bubbles, wet/dry, clean/dirty, warm/cold.