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Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

We hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season! We have been busy here preparing for the new year and are excited for 2014! This week begins our Preschool speech and language screener visits. We have a group of preschools that we visit yearly and perform speech, language, and hearing screenings for students. It is a great opportunity for parents that have questions or concerns about their child’s speech and language development to have their questions answered. A screening is NOT a formal evaluation, however results of a screener will then determine if a formal evaluation is warranted. If you are a preschool professional interested in this type of service please contact our office!

Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy 2014!

Fall Fun!

Happy Fall! This time of year gives many opportunities to build your child’s speech and language skills. From the change in weather to the change in colors and all the activities, there is lots of fun to be had. We have compiled some fall themed activities for you to try with you child. These activities are also great for a group or class.

Apple/Pumpkin Picking

Visits to the apple orchard and pumpkin patch are fun opportunities to increase a child’s speech and language.  A child can describe the apples or pumpkins focusing on color, shape, texture, and smell. After the trip baking with apples and carving pumpkins are a great way to work on direction following, sequencing, and answering questions.  Have fun!


Leaves change color and texture in the fall. Take a walk outside and collect some leaves. The leaves can be used for an art project, matching, describing, and identifying colors.


Painting pumpkins is fun for younger children if they are not ready for carving.  With older children you can carve the pumpkins. Painting with leaves and cut up apples is a fun alternative to paintbrushes.


Hayrides are fun for everyone! It’s a fun activity for families and class trips. Many times there are other activities at the facility and it can lead to a day of fun. Be sure to use the outing as an opportunity for conversation!

Back to School with Speech Start

It’s that time of year again! Going back to school can be both exciting and a bit scary for not only children with special needs, but for all children (for some teachers and parents too!).  At Speech Start we have found a few techniques that help make the transition a bit easier.  We hope they are helpful to you!

Talk About the Transition

For some children the shift between staying at home and playing to a new environment and more structured routine can cause anxiety, fear, and may lead to behaviors. Talking about the transition can help prepare your child for the upcoming changes in their daily routine.  Discuss the new activities and things they will learn in a positive and exciting way.  Making your own story book or story board can also help.

Become Familiar

Some parents have toured a new school or met with the teacher prior to the start of the school year. This helps the child become familiar with their new teacher and environment. It also gives the parent the opportunity to ask questions about the classroom routine and schedule. This information can then be previewed at home with the child in preparation for the transition.

Get a Head Start

Start preparing for the new routine two weeks before the start of the new school year.  Set up a new bed time and stick with it as well as an earlier wake up time.  This will help get you and your child on a new schedule.  Adding a few more structured activities in the day can help prepare your child for the new school day routine.

Take Your Time Preparing and Don’t Stress!

Gather all of your paper work and make copies of the IEP. Children pick up on stress so take your time organizing and preparing. It really can help make the transition easier for everyone in your family.

It’s the Big Day!

It may take a week or two for you and your child to adjust to the new routine. Ask questions and review the days happenings when your child comes home. Remember to be excited and positive! Be prepared, be calm, and be ready for a school year full of fun!

Summer Language Activities!

The summer season is a great time to increase your child’s language and learning through play. Engaging in pretend play is very important for language development. Pretend and symbolic play help children gain higher level language skills. Below are some fun activities to try!

Car Wash

Time to set up a sprinkler, and get out the soap and bubbles! If your child has a toy car you can use that as an opportunity to have him/her drive to the car wash and have some fun! You can help elicit more language by commenting on what is happening and having the child request throughout the activity.  Another spin on this is to use pretend small cars, shaving cream, and water guns. Have fun!

Let’s Go on a Picnic

Together with your child, look through toy food items and pack up for a picnic!  Lay a blanket outside and use this time to request and name food items.  This is also a great time to work on increasing the length of requests and utterances and describing.  This can also be done with actual food items.  The child can help make a lunch (making a sandwich together can also target sequencing!) and then take the lunch outdoors.

Water Play

Does your child have a water table? If not you can simply fill up a child size pool or a large bin with water.  Using different toys will increase language opportunities in a fun (and wet!) way. Concepts such as big/small, up/down, fast/slow can also be targeted during this activity.

Ice Cream Shop

You and your child can set up a pretend ice cream shop. This gives the opportunities for requesting, paying with play money, and other possibilities to increase language. You can use play dough, pretend food items, or real ice cream.  Let your child take the lead and have fun!

Autism-Friendly Theater in New Jersey!

Mermaid_ShowPageThumbnail_150X230Looking for something fun to do with the kids? The Paper Mill Playhouse, located in Millburn, NJ, is presenting The Little Mermaid! The show is running Wednesdays through Sundays from May 29, 2013-June 30, 2013. An “Autism Friendly” performance is being held on June 26, 2013 including dimmed lighting, lower volume, and freedom to move about the theater. Great for a family outing and a fun way to beat the heat!