A collections of Activities, Books, DVD and Articles to guide you on your journey with your child.
When you are interacting with your young child it is important to do the following. These tips will help your child to tune-in and learn the basics of language more quickly.
- Always be face -face when speaking to your child.
- Allow your child to lead you to activities that he enjoys.
- Use simple gesture to aid comprehension.
- Simplify your language, eg: if your child is using two-word phrases then at regular intervals throughout the day use 2-3 word phrases (refer to word-phrase list below)
- Give lots of choice using objects, eg: do you want juice or milk?
- Repetition is so important – children learn through repetition.
Word Phrase List
When you are interacting with your young child, it is good to simplify your language, to make it easier for them to understand and to copy e.g. if your child is using mainly single words you can use 1-2 word level phrases.
|1 Word Phrases:||2 Word Phrases:||3 Word Phrases:|
|More Dinner for Daddy,
Bye Mammy Daddy,
Aaron’s Dinner All-gone,
Daddy’s Ball Gone,
More Nice Rice.
Fun Attention & Listening Activities – 0-3 years
Encourage regular quiet times – no TV or radio.
Sing a quiet song or look at a simple picture book together.
Sing simple action songs, leaving a gap for your child to listen and fill-in.
Play peek-a-boo games.
Encourage your child to listen to sounds in his environment eg. the bird singing, phone ringing, etc.
Fun Attention & Listening Activities – 3-5 years
Encourage quiet times with the TV and radio off.
Encourage your child to listen and name sounds in his environment.
Create a tape of environmental sounds – encourage your child to listen and name.
Play ‘stop & go’ games.
Encourage your child to sit and play with an activity or game eg. simple puzzle until it is complete.
Fun Attention & Listening Activities – 5-7 years
Encourage regular quiet times with the TV and radio off.
Create a listening tape of environmental sounds and encourage your child to listen and name.
Play games such as ‘Simon says’ and ‘Follow the leader’.
Place five objects on the table and encourage your child to find three or four.
Read books together. Ask questions as you are going along to ensure that your child understands the text.
Play/Social Skills – 0-3 years
Encourage your child to look at you, engage & interact during play activities.
Peek-a-Boo Games. Where’s Simon? … There you are!
Cause – Effect Toys.
Early Nursery Rhymes & Action Songs.
Make up songs together.
Encourage play with everyday objects.
Early Pretend Play, eg. using toy phone, doll’s cup, etc.
Play/Social Skills – 3-5 years
Building on early play/social activities, encourage your child to play with miniature objects, eg. cars, animals and people.
Encourage more pretend play and pretend play sequences, using favourite characters, puppets and dressing-up.
Begin to introduce the idea that one object can symbolise another.
Dress-up games are great fun.
Have fun with puppets.
Introduce feelings & emotions through play.
Play/Social Skills – 5-7 years
Again building on earlier activities:
Encourage more elaborate play sequences, including favourite characters.
Ask questions to encourage development of ideas, solutions and the plot in general.
Create fun obstacles to you child’s play so that he must provide solutions.
Encourage dress-up games.
Fun Oral Motor Activities
These activities are critical to improve the clarity of your child’s speech.
Encourage ‘fun’ blowing activities eg. bubbles, balloons, whistles, musical instruments.
Encourage sucking through straws – vary thickness of straws.
Make-up action songs for articulators eg. this is the way we move our lips and tongue.
Play ‘face’ games, which encourage different facial expressions, including different lip shapes.
Encourage your child to play ‘copycat’, imitating your ever changing tongue and lip movements.
Articulation – What can you do at home?
· Encourage ‘quiet-times’ at home ie. no TV or radio. Encourage your child to listen to quiet sounds eg. the wind blowing, and louder sounds eg. the birds singing.
· Be a good model for your child eg. when he says a word incorrectly say ‘that’s right, that is the cow’. It is important that he feels he is succeeding!
· Sometimes when you are saying a word that he finds difficult, exaggerate and extend the word to make it easier for him to imitate later!
General Rule of Thumb: It is important to begin to work directly on articulation ONLY when your child is combining four and more words to make sentences spontaneously.
Why? Because you want your child to feel that he is already successful using language and then speech activities can be much more fun and less intimidating.
Please refer to the DVD for more direct work on articulation ie. Hannah’s articulation programme.
Fun Comprehension Activities – 0-3 years
Name and point to everything for your child, so that he becomes familiar with object names, etc.
Ask ‘where’s Dad?’, ‘where’s your shoes?’. If your child is not looking towards the person or object named, then point specifically to the object or person and name.
When playing with farm animals ask ‘where’s the cow, sheep?’ etc.
Always combine simple gesture with your words to help your child to understand.
Use a pretend post-box, containing 6 common objects to encourage your child to name and comprehend.
Develop a simple scrapbook together and simple books.
Sing nursery rhymes & action songs together.
Look at simple, fun books together.
Fun Comprehension Activities – 3-5 years
Encourage your child to help in the house eg. put the cup on the table or put your shoes under the bed. As your child succeeds increase the complexity of the instruction.
Simple version of ‘Simon says’.
Simple version of ‘Follow the leader’.
Again developing a scrapbook and reading books together is so important.
Fun Comprehension Activities – 5-7 years
Encourage your child to carryout more complex instructions eg. put the cup on the table, put your coat behind the chair and put your shoes in the bag.
Play games such as ‘Simon-says’ or ‘Follow the leader’.
Ask questions such as who, what, why, where, when and how.
Place six objects on a tray and ask your child to ‘find the cup, the spoon and the ball’. Continue to increase the complexity of the instruction when your child is achieving success.
Read books together – ask questions regularly to ensure that your child understands the text.
Fun Expressive Activities – 0-3 years
Look at different pop-up, pull-out and textured picture books together.
Make simple books with one object on each page eg. ball, cup, shoe, etc.
Sing nursery rhymes & action songs together – leaving a space at the end of each sentence for your child to fill-in.
Imitate environmental sounds eg. car and animal sounds, encourage your child to do the same.
Imitate and extend your child’s words and phrases.
Use daily routines to encourage your child to use words and phrases.
Fun Expressive Activities – 3-5 years
Create a scrapbook together – 3-4 pictures per page, sit with your child and encourage him to name and talk about pictures.
Make-up songs together eg. Charlie is jumping, Mammy is sleeping etc.
Play movement games – Charlie is running, Charlie is on the trampoline.
Play posting games – posting action pictures into a homemade post box eg. the boy is running, the girl is falling.
Play ‘Hide’n’Seek’ games with favourite toys. Encourage your child to hide a toy and then ask ‘is the ball on the table or under the table?’
Look at books together, ask ‘what is teddy doing?’ etc.
Fun Expressive Activities – 5-7 years
Building on earlier activities:
Develop a scrapbook that includes lots of categories eg. vehicles, animals, furniture.
Play fun pretend play games together, encouraging your child to describe what Spiderman is doing, etc.
Play picture sequence stories.
Play discriptive word games eg.– ‘I’m thinking of a piece of furniture with four legs and …….. what is it?’.
Encourage your child to describe what happened at school, in the park, etc.
Encourage your child to tell familiar stories, using descriptive language.
Reading & Spelling Activities – 3-5 years
Play rhyming games eg. make up rhymes or sing songs that rhyme.
Look at books that include lots of rhyme eg. Dr. Seuss.
Enjoy looking at books together.
Introduce a specific phonics system to your child eg. Letterland phonics system. Always use the same system that is to be used at school.
Play ‘I spy’ something beginning with ‘ppp’ or ‘ttt’.
Reading & spelling activities.
Reading & Spelling Activities – 5-7 years
Fun rhyming and sound play games eg. can you think of three things that begin with ‘t’.
‘I spy’ games.
Read together – encourage your child to choose books which he will enjoy.
Paired reading – read together.
Take turns at reading.
Unlocking your Child’s Potential, Music is the Key
How can I help my child to be calmer, to listen better, to understand more, to express himself better, learn more and enjoy interacting with other children?
In Unlocking your Child’s Potential, Music is the Key, consultant in speech and language therapy Karen O’Connor describes how children with autism, Asperger’s syndrome, dyspraxia and other developmental challenges make remarkable progress with the help of music-based sound therapy. She describes how these children become more regulated and calmer, how their attention and concentration improve and how language and learning develop.
Children such as three-year old Theo, who came to Karen with a tentative diagnosis of autism, two years later Theo is a fun-loving little boy going to his local school, with no additional support. Or Raphael, who came to see her ‘as a last resort’. He had very little speech and was not interacting with others. Now he’s speaking just like any five-year-old and enjoys playing with his friends.
Unlocking your Child’s Potential, Music is the Key is the first in a series of books that will give hope to parents and children by telling the stories of children like Theo and Raphael who overcame their developmental challenges by means of music-based sound therapy.
Karen O’Connor, has over twenty years of experience of working with children with many developmental challenges.
Speech & Language Therapy: A new way of Learning & Thinking
This exciting and inspiring How-To programme has been developed by Karen O’Connor, specialist in Speech and Language Therapy and director of The Child Development Centre. It is designed for parents and other professionals working with children who have speech and/ or language difficulties. This programme is specifically suited to children of 1-7yrs.
Speech and Language Therapy: A new way of learning and thinking
- How can I help my toddler to talk?
- My son’s almost three and still not putting words together. What can I do?
- My son’s teacher says he needs help with his speech. What can I do at home?
This DVD offers tools to help you to:
- Assess your child’s speech and language skills in the comfort of your own home
- Develop a home programme of sensory activities to help your child listen and concentrate
- Create a home programme of speech and languge activities to develop your child’s skills
- Provide information about who to refer to and why
Praise for the Child Development Centre series
“At last a unique and comprehensive programme that leaves no questions unanswered” – Dr. K. Dunne, Paediatrician
“So easy to use – insiring and empowering …. Worth its weight in gold” – Child Development Centre Parent
With simple, user-friendly techniques you can develop your child’s speech and language skills at home while you are waiting to be seen by a specialist in Speech and Language Therapy.
Journals and Articles
As leaders in the field of Child Development we believe that combining over 20 years of clinical experience with research is critical. Having witnessed so many children achieving excellent results, way beyond what others thought were possible, we were delighted to to have the opportunity to collaborate with researchers Ms.Marie Slevin Psychologist from our National Maternity Hospital in 2017/2018. We successfully completed and wrote up our internationally recognised randomised control study. Its currently being peer-reviewed with the view to publishing in the Irish Medical Journal this year 2019.
To view some of these documents you will need to download Adobe Reader. Then, to save an item to your computer, simply right click and ‘Save Target As’.
A systematic review of sound-based intervention programs to improve participation in education for children with sensory processing and integration challenges
The sensory-rich nature of the everyday school environment can threaten the learning and full educational participation of children with challenges in sensory processing and integration. Children with challenges in sensory processing and integration present with difficulties in “detecting, regulating, interpreting, and responding to sensory input which impairs [one’s] daily routines or roles” (Miller, Anzalone, Lane, Cermak, & Osten, 2007, p.136). Evidence suggests children and adolescents who have challenges in sensory processing and integration have lower participation in educational activities and decreased academic performance (Ashburner, Ziviani, & Rodger, 2008; Bar-Shalita, Vatine, & Parush, 2008; Koenig & Rudney, 2010).
The effectiveness of auditory stimulation in children with autism spectrum disorders: A case–control study
Sensory processing disturbances within the auditory sensory system are a substantial problem experienced among individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) (Greenspan and Weider, 1997; Kern et al, 2006; Tomchek and Dunn, 2007). Occupational therapists frequently use sound-based interventions for children with ASD (Gee et al, 2013); however, the body of evidence supporting the use of The Listening Program (TLP), a sound based intervention, in children diagnosed with ASD and sensory overresponsiveness (SOR) is limited. This study explores the potential outcomes related to the use of TLP with three children diagnosed with ASD and auditory SOR.
The Effect of Sound-Based Intervention on Children With Sensory Processing Disorders and Visual–Motor Delays
Music has long been known to have therapeutic value (Ferguson & Voll, 2004; Sacks, 2006). In recent years, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, and psychologists have adopted the use of music and sounds as therapy, and a variety of auditory intervention techniques have become available. Occupational therapists use music as preparation for therapeutic activities on the basis of the belief that sensory input through the auditory and vestibular systems can be calming and organizing to children (Ayres, 1979; Frick & Hacker, 2001). The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of a therapeuticlistening home program in combination with a sensory diet on children with sensory processing disorders (SPDs) and visual–motor delays.
A Quantitative Summary of The Listening Program (TLP) Efficacy Studies: What Areas Were Found to Improve by TLP Intervention?
A quantitative summary of existing research examining the effects of The Listening Program (TLP) on various functions in children is presented. Nine studies were used, looking at TLP intervention effects across studies, within each study and for various outcome measures. The studies looked at TLP intervention on children with autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, learning disabilities, auditory processing disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorders, Rhett syndrome, dyspraxia, cerebral palsy, fibromyalgia, arthritis and stroke.
Parents’ perspectives of using a therapeutic listening program with their children with sensory processing difficulties: A qualitative study
This phenomenological study explored parents’ perspectives of Therapeutic Listening (TL) implemented as a home program to treat their children with sensory processing difficulties. Ten parents participated in semistructured interviews. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed thematically. Parents were concerned about their child’s anxiety and distress, which they commonly perceived to be reduced with TL. Parents perceived that TL brought a sense of calm to their child, which they linked to improvements in their family life and child’s participation in social and daily activities. Parent engagement (problem solving) enabled successful implementation of the program. Findings are discussed in relation to existing literature.
The Effects of Auditory Stimulation on Auditory Processing Disorder: A Summary of the Findings by Deborah Ross-Swain Swain Center
Clinic for Speech Language and Learning Disorders and Research. The study’s purpose is to determine the efficacy of the Tomatis Method of auditory stimulation as a therapeutic intervention for Auditory Processing Disorders (APD).
Forty-one subjects (18 females. 23 males; 4.3-19.8 years old) were evaluated for APD. Performance on standardized tests indicated weaknesses with auditory processing skills. Each subject participated in a 90-hour Tomatis Method protocol and, once completed, each subject was re-evaluated to measure improvement.
All subjects demonstrated improvement with skills of immediate auditory memory, auditory sequencing. interpretation of directions, auditory discrimination, and auditory cohesion.
Pre- and post-treatment comparison indicated statistically significant differences in the aforementioned skills. These findings suggest that the Tomatis Method of auditory stimulation can be effective as an intervention strategy for APD.
Click here – 17 page article to download as a PDF
Sensory Processing Disorders and Visual–Motor Delays by Leah Hall and Jane Case-Smith.
This study investigated the effects of a sensory diet and therapeutic listening intervention program, directed by an occupational therapist and implemented by parents, on children with sensory processing disorders (SPD) and visual–motor delays.
A convenience sample was used of 10 participants, ages 5 to 11 years, with SPD and visual–motor delays. In the first phase, each participant completed a 4-week sensory diet program, then an 8-week therapeutic-listening and sensory diet program.
The Sensory Profile was completed by the participants’ parents before and after both study phases. The Draw-A-Person test, Developmental Test of Visual Motor Integration (VMI), and Evaluation Tool of Children’s Handwriting (ETCH) were administered before and after each phase.
Over 12 weeks, the participants exhibited significant improvement on the Sensory Profile, increasing a mean of 71 points. Parents reported improvements in their children’s behaviours related to sensory processing.
Scores on the VMI visual and ETCH legibility scales also improved more during the therapeutic listening phase. Therapeutic listening combined with a sensory diet appears effective in improving behaviours related to sensory processing in children with SPD and visual–motor impairments.
Hall, L., & Case-Smith, J. (2007). The effect of sound-based intervention on children with sensory processing disorders and visual–motor delays. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 61, 209–215.
Click here– 7 page article to download as a PDF
Understanding How to Identify Sensory Integration Dysfunction in Children
Extreme Sensory Modulation Behaviors in Toddlers with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Written by Ben-Sasson, Cermack, Orsmond, Tager-Flusberg, Carter, Kadiek, and DunnAmerican Journal of Occupational Therapy (AJOT) September/October 2007, 61, 584-592
This study examined the incidence of extreme sensory modulation behaviors in toddlers with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and investigated the consistency of sensory information across measures.
Parent report of sensory behaviors in 101 toddlers with ASD was compared with 100 toddlers who were typically developing matched on chronological age and 99 additional infants or toddlers matched on mental age.
Measures included the Infant/Toddler Sensory Profile, Infant Toddler Social Emotional Assessment, Autism Diagnostic Interview Revised, and Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule Generic. Toddlers with ASD were most distinct from typically developing groups in their high frequency of underresponsiveness and avoiding behaviors and their low frequency of seeking.
Within the toddlers with ASD, there were significant associations across sensory parent report measures, but parent report was not correlated with clinical observation. Findings point to the early onset of an extreme sensory profile in ASD. Occupational therapists need to assess multiple domains of sensory
behaviors to accurately identify the needs of toddlers with ASD.
Click here – Nine page article to download as a PDF
Behavioral Indexes of the Efficacy of Sensory Integration Therapy
Roberts, J. E., King-Thomas, L., & Boccia, M. L. (2007). Behavioral indexes of the efficacy of sensory integration therapy. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 61, 555-562.
CONCLUSION. Classical sensory integration therapy may be associated with improved self-regulatory behaviors.
Click here – Eight page article to download as a PDF
Validating the Diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorders Using EEG Technology
Davies, P. L., & Gavin, W. J. (2007). Validating the diagnosis of sensory processing disorders using EEG technology. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 61, 176-189.
CONCLUSION. These results present empirical evidence that children with SPD display unique brain processing mechanisms compared to children who are
typically developing and provide external validity for the diagnosis of SPD.
Click here – Fourteen page article to download as a PDF
Collecting Data for the Sensory Processing Measure (SPM)
Lessons Learned By Diana A. Henry, MS, OTR/L
Administrators in U.S. public school systems are increasingly requiring evidence-based interventions, based on the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, as well as the 2004 re-authorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Generating and using evidence is also an essential component of the American Occupational Therapy Association’s (AOTA’s) Centennial Vision. As a pediatric occupational therapy practitioner in the “trenches” in a school or a clinic, you are probably excited about contributing to and participating in research through active data collection.
Although data collection is extremely rewarding, it does have some challenges. In this article I present issues to ponder so you can be successful, and contribute to evidence-based practice (EBP).
Click here – Six page article to download as a PDF.
Not Too Old For Sensory Integration
By Diana A. Henry, MS, OTR/L
In 1972, when Dr. A. Jean Ayres first defined the sensory integration (SI) process as “the ability to organize sensory information for use”, her research focused on identifying specific subtypes or patterns of dysfunction among children. Unfortunately, the emphasis placed on the plasticity of the young brain has been incorrectly interpreted by some to mean that individuals older than age 7 can no longer benefit from sensory integrative intervention. As clinicians, we can now turn to a scholarly and newly published textbook, Sensory Integration. Theory and Practice (1991), and find the following:
Click here– Two page article to download as a PDF.
Sensory Integration: It’s Not Just For Children
“…We believe that the sensory integration framework can be a useful lens for interpreting behaviors and a guide for implementing strategies to enhance occupational performance in clients across the lifespan… This article makes a case that because humans are sensory beings and sensation is inherent in all occupations, the sensory integration framework is relevant to occupational therapy practice beyond pediatric…”Authors: Renee Watling, PhD, OTR/L, Stefanie Bodison, MA, OTR/L, Diana A. Henry, MS, OTR/L, CWT, and Heather Miller-Kuhaneck, MS, OTR/L, BCPPublished: 12/2006 in the AOTA SI SIS Quarterly
Click here – Four page article available to download as a PDF.
1. Mahoney, S. (2004).What was he thinking? Don’t blame hormones. New research shows what really causes your teen’s weird behavior and what to do about it. Prevention Magazine, 56, 3, 159-165 &199.
2. Butler, K. (2006). Drinking may take big toll on teen brains. Deseretnews.com.
3. Pfeiffer, B., Kinnealey,M., M.,Reed, C., & Herzerberg, G. (2005). Sensory modulation and affective disorders in children and adolescents with Asperger’s disorders. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 59, 335-345.
Sensory Processing Disorders: Through The Eyes Of Dysfunction
Have you ever wondered what children or adults with sensory processing disorders feel like, or have to deal with?
I certainly have.Now I would like to give you the opportunity to see SPD “through the eyes of dysfunction”. This can, in turn, lead to acceptance, understanding, and avoidance of blame and judgment. Please open your hearts and minds to the struggles individuals with sensory processing disorders go through on a daily basis.We can see the behavioral signs of distress with too much input, or the energy of not enough input. But, what does the child/adult really go through while trying to take in and effectively process the bombardment of daily sensory input? Stanley Greenspan, the author of ” The Challenging Child ” (1995) has an insightful analogy to help us understand what people experience when they can not effectively process, or interpret, sensory input. He describes it this way:
“Imagine driving a car that isn’t working well. When you step on the gas the car sometimes lurches forward and sometimes doesn’t respond. When you blow the horn it sounds blaring. The brakes sometimes slow the car, but not always. The blinkers work occasionally, the steering is erratic, and the speedometer is inaccurate. You are engaged in a constant struggle to keep the car on the road, and it is difficult to concentrate on anything else.”
It’s no wonder children with sensory processing disorders feel out of control, exhibit a whole host of behaviors, and have difficulty concentrating and focusing at school! Now, also imagine being a parent of one of these children. Many parents have expressed how exhausted, rejected, lost, incompetent and alone they feel in trying to live with, and understand, their child.
I challenge you to remember this beautifully painful quote the next time you encounter a child with sensory processing disorders and begin the process of awareness, understanding, and treatment to help them take control of their bodies, minds and self-esteem. It is so very difficult for them. Let’s acknowledge that and do our best to understand and help them!
Let me put this another way for you, from an adult perspective. I once did a presentation in a conference room full of adults that worked in day care and preschool settings. I wanted them to relate to and understand the children they saw in their classrooms that struggled with sensory processing disorders. I explained it to them this way…
Unlocking your child’s potential, Music is the Key. Karen O’Connor – Londubh Publishers. (ISBN 9781907535277)
When Listening Comes Alive. Paul Madaule (1993) Ontario: Moulin Publishing
Listening with the Whole Body. Sheila Frick OTR (2006, 2009) Vitallinks, Madison, Wisconsin
The Out-of-Sync Child
Recognising and Coping with Sensory DysfunctionCarol Stock Kranowitz MA – Perigee (ISBN 0-399-52386).
Activities for Kids with Sensory Integration Dysfunction Carol Stock Kranowitz MA – Perigee.
Answers to Questions Teachers Ask about Sensory Integration: Forms, Checklists, and Practical Tools for Teachers and Parents
Carol Stock Kranowitz MA – Perigee
Sensory Integration and Learning Disorders. Jean Ayres (1972). Los Angeles: Western Psychological Services.
Sensory defensiveness in children aged 2-12: An intervention guide for parents and other caretakers. Patricia & Julia Wilbarger (1991). Santa Barbara, CA: Avanti Educational Programs.
Therapy for Children with Autism and Other Pervasive Development Disorders (Spiral-bound) Ellen Yack, Paula Aquilla, Shirley Sutton (2002).
Why Some of the Brightest People Can’t Read and How They Can Learn Ronald D. Davis, Eldon M. Braun.
Hints and Tips for the Activities of Daily LivingM. F Ball. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, London (2002).
Helping Children with Dyspraxia
M. Boon. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, London (2006).
Aspergers Syndrome and Sensory Issues
B. Smith Myles, K. Tapscott Cook, N. E Miller, L. Rinner, L.A Robbins. A.P.C. Kansas (2000).
The Goodenoughs Get in Sync
: A Story for Kids about the Tough Day When Filibuster Grabbed Darwin’s Rabbit’s Foot and the Whole Family Ended Up in the Doghouse–An … Introduction to Sensory Processing Disorder (Hardcover)Rby Carol Stock Kranowitz (Author), T. J. Wylie (Illustrator)
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