What is Developmental Language Disorder (DLD)? It’s the most common childhood disorder that most people have never heard of. DLD affects 1 in 14 people causing difficulties understanding and using language for no known reason. In Canada, there are approximately 2.6 million people with DLD. DLD is a lifelong problem and affects people of all ages.
Today is international DLD Awareness day and the 2022 theme is Growing with DLD. DLD is a lifelong, permanent disability. People do not grow out of DLD but can thrive with supports that can include speech-language therapy and educational adjustments. It’s about growing with DLD.
DLD and Me
Raising Awareness about DLD video
Welcome back to school! Many children often give a one word answer to the common question, “How was school today?” Try some alternative questions to help your child share more information about their day:
- What was your favourite/least favourite part of today?
- Tell me something that was exciting/scary/funny/gross/cool.
- Who did you help today? How were you helped today?
- When were you happiest today?
- Where did you play and who did you play with at recess today?
- Tell me the most interesting thing you learned about.
- What are you looking forward to tomorrow?
Some children will also use a home/school communication book to help them share important information about their day. Please click here for examples. Please see the About page for the name of the speech-language pathologist for your child’s school.
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.
Ask An Autistic YouTube channel
Why Everything You Know About Autism is Wrong TedTalk
Two Sides of the Spectrum podcast
The Autism Spectrum According to Autistic People website
What is autism? blog post
Uniquely Hari AAC user blog
Books for kids about Autistic experiences
Loud Hands book
All Things Sensory Shop for fidgets
Divergent Minds Club Canadian jewelry & chewlery store
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
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
Down Syndrome International. (2022, February 10). About WDSD. World Down Syndrome Day. Retrieved March 21, 2022, from https://www.worlddownsyndromeday.org/about-wdsd
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!
Happy Friday! We’ve recently added an Early Literacy resource section to this blog which includes information on Learning to Read and updated resources on Phonological Awareness. Hope you and your child can have fun with the activities!
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”).
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!
- 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.
- 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.
- Talk about Small, Medium, and Large problems that could happen around the holidays and how you can keep calm and solve them.
- 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!
- Read books together about your holiday and traditions.
- 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!”).
- 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).
- 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.