District Learning Support Services, Burnaby Schools

Category: General (Page 1 of 2)

Autism Experts

Who better to learn about autism from than the experts – not just people who study autism, but people who are actually autistic! As our knowledge about autism as a society progresses from awareness to acceptance, there is much to learn from autistic folk themselves. Below is an infographic with ways you can educate yourself about autism by listening to autistic voices.

Watch
Ask An Autistic YouTube channel
Why Everything You Know About Autism is Wrong TedTalk

Listen
Two Sides of the Spectrum podcast

Explore
The Autism Spectrum According to Autistic People website
What is autism? blog post
Uniquely Hari AAC user blog

Read
Books for kids about Autistic experiences
Loud Hands book

Shop
All Things Sensory Shop for fidgets
Divergent Minds Club Canadian jewelry & chewlery store

AAC – Modelling Without Expectation

We can create authentic connections with our AAC users by remembering one simple rule: model without expectation!

Modelling without expectation means using the AAC device yourself to model language without asking the child to respond. It’s simple! You are showing the child how to express language in a natural setting. Think of how many times a child hears a word before they express it themselves – the same is true for our AAC users. They require lots of modelling of vocabulary before they can use those words independently.

Kate McLaughlin explains more about modelling without expectation in this video. Watch here

Remember that using an AAC device should not feel like ‘work’ for the child. Language learning should be fun. Here are some activity ideas for Touch Chat.

  • Does your child love animals? Touch Chat has an extensive animals page. You can explore the different types of animals along with their homes and there’s even a page for animal sounds. Pair this with animal toys that you already have around the house and make a zoo. Maybe the animals have wandered out of the zoo and it’s your job to round them up. There are lots of opportunities to model words such as:
    • Questions: WHERE are the animals, WHO is hiding
    • Core words: look, put, help, come back, go, find
    • Places: zoo, farm, ocean, safari
    • Adjectives: talk about whether the animal is big/little or fast/slow, describe their colors, if they have a short/long tail
  • Increase engagement in reading by using the included pre-set vocabulary pages for books such as Brown Bear by Eric Carle and No, David! By David Shannon. This is a perfect opportunity to model while reading with the related vocabulary already there on the page for you. If your child has a favorite book you can add it to the device and include relevant vocabulary. Ask your SLP to help you add a new book page or watch this video on how to edit and add pages in Touch Chat  Check it out here

Today is World Down Syndrome Day

World Down Syndrome Day is a global awareness day observed on the 21st day of March, the 3rd month of the year. This date was chosen to signify the uniqueness of the triplication of the 21st chromosome which causes Down Syndrome (Down Syndrome International, 2022).

The Burnaby Speech-Language Pathologists work with students with Down Syndrome as well as their families and school teams.

This year’s World Down Syndrome Day campaign theme is “Inclusion Means…” What does inclusion mean to you?

For more information, please check out these resources:

World Down Syndrome Day

Down Syndrome Resource Foundation

 

Reference

Down Syndrome International. (2022, February 10). About WDSD. World Down Syndrome Day. Retrieved March 21, 2022, from https://www.worlddownsyndromeday.org/about-wdsd

Articulation Workshop 2022

Thank you to those who took time to attend our virtual Articulation Workshop. We believe that parents and caregivers are a child’s best teacher and we hope you learned some strategies to help your child practice their sounds at home. Speech sound practice can be fun!

If you have questions about the home program, need more materials or have any feedback about the workshop, please contact your school speech-language pathologist. Remember to fill, sign and return the consent form if you would like us to follow up with your child. Have fun practicing!

How to Play with Your Child’s Toys

Playing with toys can create a rich environment for developing your child’s communication skills. It allows your child to learn a variety of speech and language skills that are meaningful to their lives.

Here are some ideas on how you can play with some of the things you already have around the home:

  • Combine pieces from various playsets to encourage flexibility in play. For example, once you have built a castle with your Magna-Tiles, you could include a Spider Man action figure into the play.
  • Learn the rules of the game from your child. Have them give you directions using a “First, Then, Last,” structure when explaining how to play a board game or a video game. Let them be the teacher.
  • Toys with multiple pieces give opportunities for both of you to take turns in conversation (e.g., requests, or turn-taking language). Examples of these types of toys include Magna-Tiles, Lego, marble tracks, pretend play sets like grocery store or restaurant.
  • Copy what your child does with their toys. This shows them that what they did is interesting and continues to encourage interactions. You can then expand on the action to teach them something new.
  • Avoid questions when possible. Instead you can:
    • List out choices of things you could play and then wait for a response (e.g.,“We could build a plane, we could build a house, we could build a castle …”).
    • Talk about what you are doing in your play.
    • Repeat what they have said and add one or two more words to it (e.g., if your child points and says “car”, repeat back to them “more cars”, “red car”).

Have fun!

Holiday Ideas to Support Language and Communication

The winter holidays can be a fun (and busy!) time of year for many kids and their families. There are lots of opportunities to support language skills during holiday activities while your family is away from school over the holidays. See what suggestions below would be fun and easy for your family to try.  

Happy holidays, from the Burnaby SLP Team! 

  1. Take a lot of pictures and look back at them together frequently. This can also be looking back at photos from past holiday get-togethers and activities. Talk about what happened, using a good language model. This can help your child/student know what to expect. 
  2. Prepare for phone calls or Zoom meetings with family by talking about things that happened and practicing sharing. You can also prepare questions for your child to ask others. 
  3. Talk about Small, Medium, and Large problems that could happen around the holidays and how you can keep calm and solve them. 
  4. Discuss options of things your child can do to take a break if the holidays get overwhelming. Make a picture menu of choices. You can make one for your whole family and model using it also! 
  5. Read books together about your holiday and traditions. 
  6. Do holiday crafts or baking together. Talk with your child about what you are doing, and include the steps (e.g. “Let’s make a card for your grandma! First I draw a picture, then I write the name, then I put it in an envelope, last we send it!”). 
  7. Sing holiday songs and pause before a key rhyming word to allow them to fill it in to support their phonological awareness skills. You can also make a game of practicing rhyming other holiday words (e.g. light, night, fright, tight, bite). 
  8. To build vocabulary and categorization, try thinking of holiday words with your child, taking turns and supporting as needed. You can ask: “What are some things we see during the holidays?”, “What are some things we smell?” etc. 

 More ideas: 

https://childspeech.net/holiday-speech-therapy-tips/ 

https://blog.expressable.io/holiday-themed-speech-therapy-activities-to-practice-at-home/ 

https://supersimple.com/article/fa-la-la-la-language-activities-for-christmas/ 

https://www.auroraspeechclinic.ca/single-post/2018/12/17/holiday-language-development-made-easy-5-simple-ways-to-build-language-skills-this-holida 

Today is Developmental Language Disorder Awareness Day

Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) is a neurodevelopmental condition that is very common, affecting approximately 7% of the population. The cause of DLD is generally unknown. A person with DLD can have difficulty talking and understanding spoken language. Spoken words and sentences can be challenging for people with DLD. DLD may also impact behaviour, attention, academic achievement, and peer relationships.

The Burnaby Speech Language Pathologists work with many students with DLD. We also support families and school teams.

For more information, please check out these resources:

Raising Awareness about DLD video

https://radld.org/

https://dldandme.org/

Struggling with the back-to-school hustle-bustle at home?

For many students and families, transitioning back to school can be challenging. Part of the challenge is that all children are developing their executive function skills. These are the mental processes that allow us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and juggle multiple tasks successfully. Like an orchestra conductor or an air traffic controller, to do all this the brain builds the ability to filter distractions, prioritize tasks, set and achieve goals, and control impulses (self-regulation). While executive functions are emerging for all children, they can be more challenging for students with learning and behavioral disabilities. Executive functions have a major impact on a child’s academic and social participation and success. 

There are many ways to help your child at home with developing their executive functions and independence. Try using visual reminders of the morning, after school and bed time routines. This can include something as simple as a written or drawn-out schedule on their bedroom door, the fridge or the bathroom.   

  • Keep the schedule somewhere everyone can see it. 
  • Look at it together often and celebrate when tasks get done – check it off! 
  • Have your child be part of making the schedule – they draw some of it; include favorite things; name it together e.g., “Kira’s Awesome Mornings”
  • Try using a white board; window markers; or something basic like paper and felts. There are many schedules online or try making one on the computer with images your child chooses with you.  It can be very simple.  The power is that it is visual. 

For more tips, check out our new executive functions page!

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