Parenting Special Needs Magazine January/February 2017 : Page 48

s e ti i v ti c a 7 speech IRU9DOHQWLQH·V'D\8VLQJ &RQYHUVDWLRQ+HDUWV BY JAMIE SUMNER After almost three months in the NICU, my son came home with a tracheotomy and g-tube. I am no stranger to speech and feeding therapy. Since Valentine’s Day is just around the corner (the holiday for chocolates and special notes from friends), for a child whose foods and speech are limited, JUDBOCFBDIBMMFOHFmOEJOHXBZTGPS him to participate. So, in honor of the TVHBS&#0e;mMMFE'FCSVBSZNBZIFN&#0d;*CSJOH you seven speech activities you can do with your child using those lovely and addictive “Conversation Hearts”. 26 48 PARENTING SPECIAL NEEDS.ORG JAN/FEB 2017 Color Me Happy : Have your child sort the pastel hearts by color. Once sorted you can also line the hearts up by color on matching paint swatches (free at any home improvement store) for handmade 9DOHQWLQH·VFDUGV Scrabble Me With a marker write a letter on the blank side of each heart and have your child practice identifying letters or, if he or she is able, spelling words.

7 Speech Activities For Valentine's Day

Jamie Sumner

After almost three months in the NICU, my son came home with a tracheotomy and g-tube. I am no stranger to speech and feeding therapy. Since Valentine's Day is just around the corner (the holiday for chocolates and special notes from friends), for a child whose foods and speech are limited, it can be a challenge finding ways for him to participate. So, in honor of the sugar-filled February mayhem, I bring you seven speech activities you can do with your child using those lovely and addictive "Conversation Hearts".

1 COLOR MT NAPPY

Have your child sort the pastel hearts by color. Once sorted you can also line the hearts up by color on matching paint swatches (free at any home improvement store) for handmade Valentine's cards.

2 SCRABBLE ME

With a marker write a letter on the blank side of each heart and have your child practice identifying letters or, if he or she is able, spelling words.

3 SIMON SAYS

Pick out the hearts with action words: "Hug me" "Kiss Me" "Call Me" and have your child act out the message. You can also write your own two-word message on the blank side for more practice.

4 KISS AND CRUNCH

Lip closure and chewing can be particularly hard for children with speech impairment. Have your child practice kissing the hearts and then move on to crunching while alternating practice with a chew toy such as Ark Therapeutic's Y Chew (link: http://www.arktherapeutic.com/arks-y-chew/)

5 MATCHMAKER

Label the blank side of the heart with numbers, making sure you label two of each number and then have each member of your family draw a heart out of a hat. They will then trade valentine's card with their match! You can continue the game until everyone has given and received a Valentine from each family member.

6 CUSTOM LOVE

Order your customized conversation hearts specially tailored to your child's vocabulary. Pick action words, objects, and people (i.e. "Go", "Car" "Mama,") and have your child string them together to practice constructing sentences.

7 BINGO

Download a free printable Bingo card with conversation hearts and let your child practice his receptive language skills by matching the hearts to their message until he or she gets a Bingo (where of course the prize is more candy).

Most of all, have fun watching you crazy with the best of them!

Jamie Sumner is mother to a son with cerebral palsy and Beckwith- Wiedemann Syndrome and is the author of the blog, The Mom Gene. Her son’s story has been featured in The Tennessean and YooCanFind.com.

Read the full article at http://magazine.parentingspecialneeds.org/article/7+Speech+Activities+For+Valentine%27s+Day/2690674/377808/article.html.

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