Child Speech Therapy

Child Speech Therapy: Grammar Elements: Verbs

As your child develops language, the first few words are usually names and objects (nouns) such as Dada,ball, and dog.  Around 24 months, the child’s vocabulary repertoire starts to include verbs. Verbs are action words such as gowalk,jumpeat, and come.  Understanding and using verbs allow the child to communicate in sentences rather than 1- word phrases. 



Language acquisition varies among children, but by 24 months children typically express around 40 verbs. Children with an increased verb acquisition by 24 months typically have more advanced grammatical skills six months later. For children producing less than 10 verbs at 24 months, it is not a concern as long the child is learning several new verbs every month. If you are concerned about your child’s language acquisition, contact Lumiere Children’s Therapyfor a speech evaluation. 

Below are some strategies to help your child learn more verbs:

·     Books. Creating an opportunity for story time in your day, whether morning or night, is fundamental for language development. Here are some great books to introduce verbs: To Root, To Toot, to Parachute: What Is a Verb? By Brain P. ClearlySlide and Slurp, Scratch and Burpy by Brian P Clearlyand Nouns and Verbs have a Field Day by Robin Pulver.

·     Pretend Play. Imaginary play is a great chance to label everyday action verbs. Model verb phrases throughout play, for instance, feedingand changinga baby doll, flying an airplane, or cooking in a play kitchen

·     Modified Charades. Play the video Actions 2 Verbs with Lyrics, and act out the actions with your child as it pops up on the screen. Once your child is familiar with a few verbs, practice by asking “show me dance’. If there are more children in the household, have one person act out the verb while the others guess. 

·     Children’s preferences. Identify the toys and activities your child shows interest in and figure out a list of verbs that are associated. For instance, if your child likes to play soccer, auditory bombard your child with verbs associated with the sport: kickpass, and shoot.

·     Flashcards: Verb flashcards are a great tool to demonstrate pictures of unfamiliar verbs. Make your own cards by printing off doubles of each action picture to play memory! 





“8 Fun Activities for Teaching Verbs .” Reach to

Gotzke, C. & Sample Gosse, H. (2007). Parent Narrative: Language 25 - 36 Months. In L.M. Phillips (Ed.), Handbook of language and literacy development: A Roadmap from 0 - 60 Months. 

Hadley, P. A., Rispoli, M., & Hsua, N. (2016). Toddlers’ Verb Lexicon Diversity and Grammatical Outcomes. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 47, 44–58.

Tara, and Rhonda Griswol. “Teaching Verbs with Picture Books.” Embark on the Journey, 21 Mar. 2018,

“Verbs Pave the Way for Language Development.” Does Child Care Make a Difference to Children's Development?,


Child Speech Therapy: Grammar Elements: Preposition

Prepositions are words that provide information on how objects are related to the rest of the sentence. “The candy is in the bowl,” explains where the candy is in relation to the bowl. Common prepositions include inonnext toin front ofclose to, and beside. Between the ages of 24-36 months, grammar becomes more precise in a child’s vocabulary. The first prepositions comprehended areinon,andunder. By 40 months, children understand the prepositional phrase next to,and at 4 years old, children understand behindin back of,and in front of

Below are some games and activities to help your children learn prepositions. 

·     Model:

While playing with your children, model grammatically correct sentences. For example, while playing with an animal farm model, “Look, the cow is inthe barn” or “the cow is besidethe horse”. 

·     Simon Says: 

Play a fun game of Simon Says at your local playground. Use phrases such as “Simon says, go underthe slide”, or “Simon says, swing besidethe tree”. Simon says at the playground will keep your kids active while learning prepositions!

·     Egg Hunt: 

Create an Easter egg hunt around the house with your leftover plastic eggs! Every time your child sees an egg, encourage them to use a prepositional phrase, such as “the egg is under the couch” before opening.

·     Scavenger hunt: 

Hide a toy somewhere in the house. Provide clever clues using prepositions to find the hidden object. For older children, make it more challenging by having your children hide the toy and give you clues using prepositional phrases.  

·     Dice game:

Tape prepositions cards onto each side of a dice. Take turns rolling the dice, and demonstrating the preposition with a favorite toy and a chair, doll house, or box. If the dice lands on under, place the toy under the chair. 

·     Books: 

Picture books are great tools to explain and demonstrate prepositions. Some of our favorites include:

o  Under, Over, By the Clover by Brian P. Cleary

o  Around the House the Fox Chased the Mouse by Rick Walton

o  If you were a Preposition by Nancy Loewen

Prepositions are the start of our grammar series! Check next week for activities targeting verbs. 






“Best Children's Books for * Teaching Prepositions *.” Children's Books for Teaching Prepositions,

Cooper, Jennifer. “Playing with Prepositions.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 3 Nov. 2015,

“Parent Narrative.” Handbook of Language and Literacy Development - a Roadmap from 0 to 60

“Speech and Language Milestones.” About Kids Health ,


Child Speech Therapy: Childhood Voice Disorders

 Adam Levine

Adam Levine

Does your child’s voice sound raspy, hoarse, strained, and/or frequent pitch breaks when he or she talks or sings? These are signs and symptoms of a common voice disorder, vocal cord nodules. Nodules are noncancerous growths that form on the vocal cords or the source for voicing. Nodules affect both children and adult, and are the most common voice disorder among children. 

What causes vocal cord nodules?

Nodules are developed due to vocal abuse over a period of time. Vocal abuse refers to behaviors that harm the vocal cords such as yelling, frequent coughing, crying, dehydration, or excessive singing. Children often develop nodules due to screaming during playtime, sports, or recess.

What are the signs and symptoms?

Vocal cord nodules demonstrate the following characteristics:

·      Hoarse sounding voice

·      Pitch breaks during singing or talking

·      Effortful or strained voice

·      Excessively loud or high pitch voice

·      Child may strain their neck and shoulder muscles while producing speech

·      May experience a frequent sore throat

·      Coughing due to feeling like something is “stuck” in their throat

What is the treatment of vocal cord nodules?

Treatment involves vocal hygiene to heal the voice, and voice therapy to decrease vocal abuse and sustain healthy voicing.

·      Vocal hygiene is recommend to rest and heal the voice box. Vocal hygiene includes the following:

o   Voice rest. Taking a break from excessive talking, yelling, screaming, and singing may be necessary for up to 2 weeks post diagnosis.

o   Increase water intake and avoid caffeine. 

o   Maintain healthy diet. Hydration can be obtained through a healthy diet consisting of fruits and vegetables.

o   Eliminate frequent throat clearing or coughing. Throat clearing can become habitual, so breaking the habit may be difficult. Develop a plan by taking a sip of water every time they feel like coughing.

o   Avoid whispering. Whispering puts extra strain on the vocal cords and may dry them out. Model appropriate volume level and encourage children to use their “indoor voice”.

o   Minimize screaming. Develop new ways to express feelings of excitement or anger during sporting events, playtime, etc. Encourage your children to clap their hands when they score a touchdown instead of screaming with excitement.

o   Role model. Children learn through imitation so be a role model for your children by implementing these strategies into your own life.

·      Voice therapy may be appropriate for children with chronic voice abuse. Voice therapy is a specific aspect of speech-language therapy conducted by a speech-language pathologist. Voice therapy focuses on eliminating vocal abuse by using an easy, relaxed voice. Voice therapy works on maintaining good vocal hygiene and sustaining an easy, relaxed voice in all settings and situations.

            With vocal hygiene, vocal rest, and voice therapy, vocal nodules will eventually heal and voice problems will resolve. Surgery is not recommended for children until first implementing vocal hygiene and voice therapy. For professional voice users such as singers and actors, surgery may be warranted.


Lumiere Therapy Team🖐️



Philadelphia, The Children's Hospital of. “Vocal Cord Nodules.” The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, 15 Mar. 2016,

Swallow, Deanna. “Kids & Vocal Nodules: What Parents Should Know.” North Shore Pediatric Therapy, Deanna Swallow Http://nspt4kids.Com/Wp-Content/Uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-Color-logo_noclaims.Png, 27 Apr. 2014, 

Child Therapy: Preventing Hearing loss


Have you ever been to a concert, firework show, or sporting event with excessively high noises? You may have covered your ears, taken a break, or moved back a few rows. Unfortunately, babies do not have the ability to communicate when a noise is too loud or walk away from the situation. One cause of acquired hearing loss is due to exposure to loud noises. This type of acquired hearing loss is cumulative and irreversible, so appropriate noise-blocking equipment is necessary.


Why are babies at a higher risk?

            Young children have smaller ear canals so the sound pressure entering the ear is greater. Excessive exposure to loud noises overtime can lead to hearing loss. According to Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 12.5% of children age 6-19 years has suffered permanent damage to hearing loss from excessive exposure to noise. If children are unprotected at a young age, they are at higher risk due to repetitive exposure. Babies or young children cannot communicate when the noise is too loud for them. Some babies may become fussy or cry, but others may sit contently without showing any distress.

What situations are dangerous?

            If an event or venue seems loud to the adults attending, children’s ears should be protected. A rule of thumb is if you are at an arms length and have to shout to be heard, it is too loud.  Examples of loud noise environments include:

·      Concerts

·      Sporting Events (professional or amateur)

·      Firework shows

·      Weddings with DJ or band

·      Air shows

·      County fairs

·      Neighborhood block parties or street festival

·      Race cars or horse races 

How to monitor hearing development:

Below are the developmentally appropriate milestones for speech and hearing development. If you feel your child is behind in any area, contact your pediatrician.

·      Birth to 4 months

o   Startles at loud sounds

o   Becomes alert or wakes up to loud noises

o   Responds through smiling or cooing to your voice

o   Calms down at a familiar voice

·      4-9 months

o   Smiles when spoken to

o   Notice and prefers toys that make sounds

o   Turn its head toward familiar sounds

o   Make babbling noises

·      9-12 months

o   Increased babbling and jargon

o   Understands basic requests

o   Uses voicing to get attention

For more information on speech/hearing milestones read our article on speech development.

What type of protection is best for babies?

            Earplugs are dangerous for babies because they are often too big for a baby’s ear canal and can be a potential choking hazard. Headphones are the best option for full coverage. Here are some options of appropriate baby headphones:

·      Baby Banz Size 0-2

·      Peltor Sport Earmuffs

·      Snug Kids Earmuffs

Protect your children’s ears now, so they can enjoy the wonderful sounds the world has to offer!



Cohen, Joyce. “Want a Better Listener? Protect Those Ears.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 1 Mar. 2010,

“Hearing Loss in Children.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 22 Sept. 2016,

Mroz,, Mandy. “Hearing Loss in Children: Everything You Need to Know.” Healthy Hearing, 8 Feb. 2018,

“Top 5 Noise Cancelling Headphones/Ear-Muffs for Babies and Kids in 2018.” Tech News Central, 2 Jan. 2018,

“When to Protect Your Child's Ears.” Parkview Health, 31 July 2017,

Child Speech Therapy: Advanced Reading Skills📚

 Monica H

Monica H

As discussed last week, pre-reading skills emerge as early as 1 year old. Formal reading instruction begins as children enter elementary school. By 3rd grade, children are expected to use reading skills to learn new content in all school subjects including science, social studies, language arts, and math. Incorporating reading activities into home activities can help children advance their reading abilities needed to excel in all subject areas.  

1) Kindergarten: The alphabet is learned and rehearsed daily in kindergarten. Children begin to decode the alphabetic system by knowing the sounds of each. Children can start to identify sight words by memorizing a combination of word shapes and letters.

 Strategies to incorporate at home:

  • Ask the teacher for the sight words of the week and incorporate them into games at home (I-spy, goldfish).
  • Read alphabet books, such as Seuss’s ABC, and point out words that begin with the same letter.

2) Late kindergarten-1st grade: Reading instruction begins through sound-letter correspondence (phonics) and sight words. By the end of kindergarten, reading becomes more automatic. Children learn that words can be broken down, recombined, and create new words. As children enter first grade, they learn that text explains more than the corresponding picture. Children are able to retell parts of the story including main idea, identify details, and arrange the events in sequence.

 Strategies to incorporate at home:

  • Take turns reading pages of books during story time. If your child has difficulty with a word, model sounding it out.
  • Make your own books by encouraging your children to create or tell stories. Write the story on a piece of paper as they share. They can draw pictures to go along with the story.
  • Join a local library. Motivate your child to learn to read by picking out new stories each week!

3) 2nd–3rd grade:  By age 7-8, children are competent readers with the ability to read longer books independently. They are able to use context and pictures to decipher unknown words. The shift from learning to read to reading to learn begins in 3rd grade. Children are expected to read a variety of text to learn new information in all subjects.

 Strategies to incorporate at home:

  • Pick a series to read together. Here are some great series: Henry and MudgeFrog and Toad are friendsThe Magic Tree HouseJune B. Jones, and A to Z Mysteries.
  • Look up words online or in the dictionary if your child encounters an unfamiliar word. Keep a vocabulary journal with all the new words you look up by writing the word, definition, and picture.

4) 4th–8th grade: Reading shifts to reading comprehension. Children are expected to understand and explore a variety of writing such as expository, narrative, and persuasive text. Textbooks are used across all subjects to extract and learn specific vocabulary and information.

 Strategies to incorporate at home:

  • Research topics together. Topics may range from dinosaurs, technology, dolphins, cooking, etc. Find a variety of books (fictional and nonfictional) to learn more about the topic. Discuss your findings together as well as the different types of text read.
  • Read magazines and newspaper articles. Explain how charts and graphs teach information.

For more information on school age reading, check out Reading Comprehension.



Ackerman, Shira. “The Guide to 3rd Grade.”,

Ackerman, Shira. “The Guide to 4th Grade.”,

Becky. “Favorite Chapter Books & Series.” This Reading Mama, 11 Aug. 2016,

Owens, Robert E. “School-Age Literacy Development.” Language Development: an Introduction, 9th ed., Pearson, 2016, pp. 342–347.

Quick , Carol A. “Reading Milestones.” KidsHealth, May 2013,

Child Speech Therapy: Emerging Reading Skills

Although most children learn to read between 6-7 years old, pre-reading skills emerge at as early as 1 years old. Incorporating reading into your daily routine encourages print awareness at an early age. Learn about the emerging literacy skills at each age and strategies to aide in the reading process at home.

 Donnie Ray Jones

Donnie Ray Jones

1 year old: Reading development begins around 1 year old through caregiver and child interaction. Books serve as the focus point for communication. As the child begins labeling objects, caregivers can use books to facilitate conversation. For example,

  • Caregiver: What do you see?
  • Child: dog
  • Caregiver: Yes! What sound does a dog make?
  • Child: woof woof

Picture books are a great teaching tool for caregivers to introduce new objects into the child’s vocabulary repertoire. 

Strategies to incorporate at home:

  • Read picture books with a variety of nouns: everyday objects, animals, transportation, people, places, etc.
  • Point to the pictures as you are reading.
  • Involve the child by having them point and name familiar objects.
  • Instead of reading the story word for word, discuss the pictures using simple language.

2 years old: The child begins to learn that writing and text conveys information. Late into the child’s second year, they are able to follow the story of a book.

Strategies to incorporate at home:

  • Read everything to your child, including street signs, cereal boxes, toys, etc.
  • Write hand-written letters to family members. Read the letters out loud as your child draws pictures on the card.
  • Read simple picture books with large print. Follow along with your finger as you read.
  • If the story is too complicated, your child may lose interest. Shorten the text as you are reading to keep it engaging.

3 years old: Books become an integral part of daily routine, especially bedtime. Your child will start to request their favorite books. Between 2.5-4 years old, children may pretend to read books by reciting memorized words and phrases.

Strategies to incorporate at home:

4 years old: Children begin to remember and repeat new words learned through story telling. At this age, children begin to differentiate words that sound similar or rhyme. These skills are important prerequisites to reading.

Strategies to incorporate at home:

  • Identify when words start with the same sounds. For example, “Your hat is on your head. Hat and head both start with the letter ‘h’.
  • Incorporate rhyming at home. Create a rhyming game by choosing a word and seeing how many words rhyme with it.
  • Rhyming books include Goodnight Moon, Green Eggs and HamSheep in a Jeep, and Room on the Broom.

            Check out Preparing for Reading and Importance of Reading for more information on emerging reading skills! Next week, we will discuss the milestones for independent readers!



Owens, Robert E. “School-Age Literacy Development.” Language Development: an Introduction, 9th ed., Pearson, 2016, pp. 342–347.

Child Speech Therapy: Cleft Lip/Palate

Cleft lip and cleft palate are among the most frequent birth defects in the US. Cleft lip and palate occurs in 1 in 940 births in the United States according to ASHA. It is usually diagnosed at birth or within the first year and is treatable with surgical intervention. The following information will define cleft lip/palate, describe health problems associated with cleft palate, and provide appropriate treatment options.

Ashley Campbell
Ashley Campbell

Cleft lip and/or palate defined

            A child may present with a cleft lip, cleft palate, or both. Cleft lip and/or palate are caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Cleft lip is defined as the separation of the sides of the upper lip on one side or both. It often includes bones of the upper jaw and/or gum. Cleft palate is an opening in the roof of the mouth caused by an underdeveloped joining of the palate in utero. In some cases, the cleft on the palate is covered by mucous membrane defined as a submucous cleft. A submucous cleft is harder to detect but common symptoms include bifid uvula, midline groove of the hard palate, and/or nasal sounding speech.

Feeding Problems

            Children with only a cleft lip usually do not experience feeding problems. On the other hand, children with a cleft palate may have difficulty with breastfeeding or bottle-feeding.  Some difficulties include,

• Poor suction
• Prolonged feeding times with decreased intake
• Milk/formula escaping through nose
• Excessive air intake
• Choking or gagging during feedings

A speech-language pathologist may provide specialty nipples and bottles to assist with bottle-feeding.

Hearing problems

Children with a cleft palate may be at a higher risk for middle ear infections. The Eustachian tube is the canal that connects the middle ear to the throat and the back of the nose. Children with cleft palates often have poor function of the Eustachian tube leading to frequent infections.  Over time, excess infection may lead to temporary or permanent hearing loss affecting speech and language in young children.

Speech Problems

Depending on the severity of the cleft, speech sound disorders may present. To produce most speech sounds (with the exception of nasal sounds such as ‘m’ and ‘n’) the soft palate elevates and moves to the back of the throat. This movement stops air from escaping into the nose. Cleft palates affect the movement and efficiency of the soft palate causing more air to escape through the nose. The speech may sound hypernasal like the child is talking through their nose. Cleft lip and palate may also affect dental alignment affecting certain speech sounds such as ‘s’, ‘sh’, ‘ch’, and ‘j’.


            A Multidisciplinary team determines the most appropriate treatment for your child. The core team typically consists of a plastic surgeon, orthodontist, and speech-language pathologist. Additional professionals include pediatricians, nurses, ear-nose and throat doctors, audiologists, psychologist, social workers and nutritionists. Surgery to repair the cleft lip and/or palate is usually completed in the first year. The speech-language pathologist will assist with feeding during infancy. As the child develops speech and language, the speech-language pathologist may provide articulation therapy. If speech problems are related to structural deficiency, speech therapy is only appropriate after surgical or orthodontic intervention.

            If your child demonstrates difficulty with speech and language after a cleft lip and/or palate repair, please contact Lumiere Children’s Therapy for a speech-language evaluation.



“Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate.” American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, ASHA,

“Cleft Lip and Palate.” Edited by Rupal Christine Gupta, KidsHealth, The Nemours Foundation, Oct. 2014,

Meredith, Amy Skinder. “Speech Sounds Affected by VPI Amy Skinder Meredith.”,

Vissing, Amy. “Cleft Lip and Palate: The Role of the SLP

Child Speech Therapy: Speech Sound Development

“Dat wabbit eat tarrot”. This phrase may be easily translated into “that rabbit eats a carrot” by parents who are familiar with toddler speech. Although pronunciation errors may be part of normal speech development, when is it considered an articulation problem? Learn more about the acquisition sequence of speech sounds, signs of an articulation problem, and tips to encourage speech at home. 

 Aubrey Kilian

Aubrey Kilian

Normal Acquisition of Speech Sounds

The acquisition of speech sounds does not necessarily follow a strict hierarchy. For instance, not all children learn the /p/ sound before the /b/ sound. Although the order may differ, speech sounds are developed and mastered in a developmental sequence. Shriberg (1993) classifies the development of speech sounds into three groups of eight: early, middle, and late.

  • Early 8- m, b, y, n, w, d, p, h
  • Middle 8- t, k, g, ng, f, v, ch, j
  • Late 8: sh, s, z, l, r, th (voiced ‘bathe’ and voiceless ‘bath’)

Speech sounds are typically mastered between the ages 2-8 years old. The following chart outlines the speech sounds mastered by the corresponding age.


*For more information on emergence and mastery ages of speech sounds click here.

Speech Therapy

As children develop language, they will experience different speech errors but most children will learn to correct errors. For some children, the problem may persist making it hard for people to understand them.  If a child has difficulty being understood they may become frustrated. To determine if your child has an articulation (pronunciation and talking) problem, first look at the previous chart to see if your child is using most or all of the sounds for his/her age. Other indications of an articulation disorder include:

  • Child’s speech is difficult to understand by familiar and unfamiliar listeners. By age 4, a child should have clear speech understood by all listeners.
  • Child uses primarily vowel sounds with limited consonants after the age 2.
  • Difficulty moving jaw and tongue.
  • Child becomes frustrated when others cannot understand them.

If you are concerned about your child’s speech, contact Lumiere Children’s Therapyfor a speech evaluation.

Improving articulation at home

  • Model correct pronunciation of words by talking to your child throughout the day.
  • Reduce background noise (television, radio, music) during play.
  • Make silly faces in front of the mirror (smiling, kissy, tongue out). Incorporate speech sounds during the silly faces so your child has a visual model through the mirror.
  • Read books that incorporate the targeted speech sound. For example, if working on the/g/ sound Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker is a great book.
  • Listen and respond to your child even if it is hard to understand their speech.
  • Repeat your child’s sentence using correct pronunciation. Avoid family and friends imitating incorrect pronunciations even if it sounds ‘cute’.
  • Avoid over-correcting your child’s speech. A rule of thumb is to correct 1 in 5 mispronunciations.


“Articulation (Pronunciation and Talking).” Kid Sense Child Development,

“Policy Development.” International Regulation of Underwater Sound, pp. 121–168., doi:10.1007/1-4020-8078-6_4. 

“Speech Sound Disorders.” NW Speech Therapy,

Yeh, Katie. “Articulation Development: What’s Normal? (& What Isn’t).” Playing With Words 365, 10 Apr. 2017,

Child Speech Therapy: Teaching Feelings

Phillip Dean
Phillip Dean

Identifying one’s feelings and emotions can be challenging for children, sometimes resulting in inappropriate reactions such as hitting or biting. The strategies below aim towards education and identification of common feelings to help provide the appropriate language to express one’s emotions.

1. Label your child’s feelings. As your child expresses a type of feeling, narrate what they are experiencing to help develop a stronger feelings vocabulary repertoire.

  • If your child lost a soccer game, comment that it is normal to feel sad after losing a game.
  • On the way to a movie or amusement park, describe that your child is feeling happy and excited.

    2. Children’s literature. Identify and discuss the different feelings experienced by the characters in your child’s favorite story. Other books to teach feelings include:
  • When Sophie Gets Angry—Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang
  • The Way I Feel by Janan Cain
  • Lots of Feelings by Shelley Rotner
  • Today I Feel Silly: And Other Moods that Make the Day by Jamie Lee Curtis

    3. Feelings Sort. Create a fun card game by printing off a variety of facial expression pictures (anger, sad, happy, silly, surprised, scared). Before starting, discuss each type of feeling and imitate the different faces in front of a mirror. Scatter the pictures on the table for your child to divide into groups or create a game by assigning each person a feeling and seeing who can collect the matching pictures first!

    4. Charades with feelings. Practice acting out feelings with a family-fun game of charades. Use the same picture cards from feeling sort game or this free feeling cube to determine which feeling to act out. The other members in the family get the chance to guess.

    5. Movies and Youtube videos. Inside Out is an animated film highlighting the core feelings of joy, sadness, anger, fear, and disgust. It will soon become a family favorite! There are also kid-friendly videos on YouTube that can provide a visual representation of feelings. Some favorites include:
  • Elf Feelings Video
  • The Feelings Song
  • If You’re Happy

            Continue to discuss feelings with your children during experiences. Children will begin to associate innate feelings with expressed emotions. Once the child can identify their own emotions, they will begin to develop theory of mind to understand the feelings of others.



Chambers, Yanique. “9 Ways To Teach Children About Feelings.” Kiddie Matters, 14 Dec. 2017,

Katie. “4 feelings activities for kids.” Gift of Curiosity, 3 May 2017,

Child Speech Therapy: Teaching Body Parts

There is nothing cuter than watching your child point to their button nose after the prompting, “where is your nose?” Between 3-4 months, your baby discovered their hands for the first time but when can they identify body parts on command? Children learn about body parts between 1 to 5 years old.


Typical Development

  • 1 ½ years old: Able to identify one to three body parts on command.
  • 2- 2 ½ years old: Identifies basic body parts: head, arm, legs, nose, hands, mouth, eyes, ears, and feet.
  • 5 years old: Draws a person with at least 6 body parts.
  • 5-5 ½ years old: Identifies advanced body parts: elbow, forehead, eyelashes, eyebrows, knees, wrists, and ankles. Understands the functions of basic body parts (e.g. eyes are for seeing).

            Chances are your toddler is already exploring your face as you hold them in your arms. As your child touches your facial features, name the body parts as well as the function to help your child distinguish. For example, “That is Mommy’s ears; ears help you hear”.  The following are more ideas to encourage learning body parts.

  • Sing a song. There are so many catchy and fun songs that work on identifying body parts. Start with this simple song to encourage imitation, “This is the way we touch our nose, touch our nose, touch our nose, this is the way we touch our nose, so early in the morning”. ‘Head, shoulders, knees, and toes”, “Hokey Pokey”, and “If you’re happy and you know it” are all great songs to get active while practicing body parts!
  • Utilize props. Props are a great way to indirectly target body parts. Play dress up with gloves, socks, sunglasses, earmuffs, and hats. Start with identifying where the objects go such as “the hat goes on your head” or “ put sunglasses on your eyes”. Next, incorporate direction following and color identification by giving commands such as “put the pink socks on your feet”. Finally, ask the child where the clothing pieces go, “what do you put gloves on?” or “where do you put the gloves?”
  • Friendly quiz. Simply ask your child to identify body parts by pointing. Incorporate other family members by asking, “Where is Dad’s ears?”

A great way to address learning body parts is through play. The following toys are excellent for identifying basic body parts.

  • Baby doll: Pointing out body parts on a baby doll is a great way to integrate language into pretend play. Narrate while your child is playing to encourage imitation, “Put pants on baby’s legs. Hat on Baby’s head. Baby’s eyes are blue.”
  • Potato Head: Create your own Mr. Potato head with crazy noses, mustaches, hats, and glasses. Let your child request different body parts to add to his or her Potato head.
  • Fisher-Price Laugh and learn: Not only does your child learn parts of the body with this stuffed animal dog, but it also targets A-B-Cs, counting, and colors.

Children’s Literature to teach Body parts:

            Make learning body parts fun for you and your child! If you feel your child is delayed in language acquisition, contact Lumiere Children’s therapy for a consultation with one of our speech therapists.



“Learning Body Parts.” What to Expect, WhattoExpect, 27 Feb. 2015,

Zimmerman, Irla Lee, et al. Preschool Language Scales. fifth ed., 2011.

Child Speech Therapy: Auditory Processing Disorder

Easily distracted. Falling behind in school. Struggles to follow verbal directions. These are common signs of auditory processing disorders (APD) and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Although ADHD and APD have similar symptoms, they are not the same and are frequently misdiagnosed. Auditory processing disorder or central processing disorder (CAPD) refers to how the central nervous system processes auditory information.


What is Auditory processing disorder?

            APD is a brain-based condition affecting the way the brain interprets and recognizes sounds. For example, distinguishing differences in the sounds that make up words. APD impacts receptive and expressive language.

How is APD different than a hearing impairment?

            There is no hearing loss associated with APD. The problem lies within discriminating sounds, not difficulty hearing the sounds.

How does it differ from ADHD?

            Children with ADHD have difficulty understanding verbal information due to lack of attention not neural processing. Children with APD may also experience articulation difficulties by confusing similar sounds such as three instead of free. Articulation problems in children with ADHD are caused by extraneous factors unassociated with ADHD.

What are other signs/symptoms of APD?

  • Difficulty understanding speech in noisy environments.
  • Frequently asks for clarification.
  • Frequently asks for speakers to repeat themselves.
  • Demonstrates difficulty rhyming.
  • Easily distracted by loud or sudden noises.
  • May experience problems in school such as spelling, reading, and understanding information presented verbally in the classroom.
  • May prefer reading stories independently, rather than listening aloud.

Who can diagnose APD?

            Although many professionals including speech language pathologists are involved in the treatment process, only Audiologist may diagnose APD. Auditory processing disorder cannot be diagnosed through a symptom checklist alone, and requires careful and specific diagnostic measures. Most auditory processing disorder tests require the child to be at least 7 or 8 years old.

What is involved in the treatment of APD?

Treatment for APD is individualized towards the child. Treatment usually focuses on three areas: environmental modifications, developing higher order skills to compensate, and remediation of the auditory deficit.

  • Environmental modifications may include the use of electronic device (FM system) to reduce background noise and amplify the speaker. Extended time for reading and writing, preferred seating in class, quiet work space, use of pictures and gestures to enhance spoken word, and classroom notes are other examples of environmental changes in school.
  • Higher order skills are recruited to assist and compensate for auditory deficits. These skills include language, problem solving, memory, and attention to help aid with cognitive tasks.
  • There are a wide variety of treatment activities to help remediate the disorder itself. Treatment is individualized for the child and may include computer-assistance, one-on-one training with a therapists, or home-based programs. There is no one-size fits all treatment strategy for APD.

Will my child grow out of APD?

            With appropriate intervention and therapy, children with APD can be successful in school and life by becoming active participants in their own listening, learning and communication. The auditory system is not fully developed until age 15, so many children can improve auditory skills over time before the auditory system fully matures. While some children may experience complete improvement, others may experience some lifelong residual degree of deficit.

Contact Lumiere Children’s therapy for additional information on auditory processing disorder, as well as a consultation with one of our speech language pathologists.



“Auditory Processing Disorder.” Edited by Thierry Morlet, KidsHealth, The Nemours Foundation, Sept. 2014,

Bellis, Teri James. “Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) in Children.” American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, ASHA,

Rosen, Peg. “The Difference Between Auditory Processing Disorder and ADHD.”,

Child Speech Therapy: Reading Comprehension

U.S Department of Education
U.S Department of Education

Beginning of upper elementary and middle school, the emphasis of reading shifts from fluency and pronunciation to reading comprehension. Children are expected to read a text fluently while interpreting and inferring the message. For some children, comprehension of the text may be challenging often times resulting in academic problems at school. In many cases, reading comprehension deficits may go unnoticed until Middle school or high school so it is important to be aware of causes, signs, and therapeutic treatment.

Steps of an efficient reader:

1.-  Read and decodes meaning of words on the page.

2.-  Keep passage information in working memory long enough to process. *Working memory is the place new information is briefly stored prior to being transferred to executive function.

3.-  Organize and interpret the written message stored in working memory utilizing adequate vocabulary, grammatical and syntactical skills.

4.-  Access higher order thinking skills to process written message and infer possible meaning.

**If breakdown occurs in one or more steps, the child may fail to fully understand and interpret the message.

Where does the breakdown usually occur?

In most cases, reading comprehension difficulties may result from poor reading fluency or weak language skills. If a child struggles with the ability to pronounce and decode the words in a given passage (step #1), then the remainder of the steps may be impacted leading to poor comprehension. For some children, they may read the passage perfectly, but lack the appropriate language skills to interpret and comprehend the material. Unfortunately the latter often goes unnoticed due to adequate oral reading in the classroom. Children with reading comprehension deficits may have good decoding and spelling skills but the breakdown occurs when they need to analyze and sort through multiple layers of text meaning. Poor reading comprehension due to language weakness is often unrecognizable until the reading material becomes more complex with advanced syntactical and grammatical structures. Therefore, children with poor reading comprehension may not qualify for services until it affects their academic grades.

Poor reading comprehension may result in a number of academic consequences, including: 

• Reduced interest in reading resulting in slow vocabulary growth.

• Oral and written language skills may be impacted due to poor vocabulary.

• Homework will take longer due to poor comprehension.

• Grades may not reflect the child’s academic efforts at home.

• Low self-esteem may result from constantly being told they are not trying enough or are unmotivated.

Therapeutic Intervention:

A speech language pathologist is able to assess and identify a reading comprehension deficit based on either poor reading fluency or weak language skills. Skilled language therapy will focus on higher-level language skills such as figurative language, inferencing, predicting, understanding ambiguous language, and multiple meaning words, using contextual cues, and support for advanced vocabulary development.

Contact Lumiere Children’s therapy for a reading evaluation in order to create an individualize treatment plan for your child!



Reading Comprehension. (n.d.). Retrieved September 03, 2017, from

Child Speech Therapy: Social Groups✨


Social skills are more than just communicating with others; they are the ability to engage in conversation, problem solve, recognize and relate to other’s feelings, and respect other’s differences and opinions.  Social skills are the basis for friendships, and eventually the ability to succeed and keep a job. For some people, social skills do not come naturally and require time and effort to develop. At Lumiere Children’s therapy we offer social skill groups lead by skilled therapists to help children gain the skills and confidence to interact successfully with peers and the community.

What are social groups?

Social groups are led by skilled therapists to facilitate a safe environment to practice and teach the appropriate skills needed for interaction with peers of the same age. Depending on the age group, therapists will address the skills needed for interaction such as greetings, maintaining a conversation, appropriate body language and personal space, problem solving, and controlling of emotions. It is a safe space for kids to role-play and practice new social skills while receiving positive feedback.

What are the benefits of social groups?

There are many positive outcomes of social groups, including:

Interaction with peers their age

Improving turn-taking skills

Increasing verbal initiation for greetings and maintaining conversation

Initiating and joining in play

Dealing with confrontation and rejection

Learning how to cooperatively play

Understanding nonverbal communication such as facial expressions, body language, and personal space

Problem-solving and negotiation

Listening to others

Building social confidence

Who can benefit from a social group?

If you have any concerns about your child’s ability to communicate and interact with others to create meaningful relationships, social groups are a great resource for you and your child. Some indicators for enrolling your child in a social group:

Your child often ignores or avoids other children in public places

Your child demonstrates difficulty initiating or maintaining a conversation

Your child feels afraid to attend social gatherings such as birthday parties

Your child lacks opportunities to interact with peers of the same age

Your child’s teacher reports difficulty with peer interaction at school

Your child uses physical actions instead of words to communicate to others

Lumiere Children’s Socialight clubs ✨

We offer four social clubs at Lumiere Children’s therapy for a variety of ages ranging from 2-11 years old. The clubs are designed for children to practice and master the age-appropriate social skills in order to graduate to the next social group.

🌟  Twinkle stars

Ages: 2-3 years old

Focuses on developing appropriate play skills needed to interact with others including functional and pretend play, sharing, and using words to comment or request.

🌟 Shooting stars

Ages: 4-5 years old

Focuses on appropriate conversational skills such as initiating, responding, turn taking when speaking, and engaging in appropriate topics.

🌟 Shining stars

Ages: 6-8 years old

Focuses on collaborating with peers such as problem solving, working in groups, and leadership skills. It continues to teach appropriate conversational skills such as topic maintenance, expressing emotions appropriately, and initiating conversation.

🌟 Super stars

Ages: 9-11 years old

Focuses on social skills needed to succeed in school such as public speaking, group presentation, and creating engaging conversations.

For more information on the groups or to register, please call 312.242.1665



Patino, Erica. “FAQs About Social Skills Groups.”,

Swallow, Deanna. “How Social Groups Can Help Your Child Navigate Friendships.” North Shore Pediatric Therapy, Deanna Swallow Http://nspt4kids.Com/Wp-Content/Uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-Color-logo_noclaims.Png, 28 Apr. 2014,

Child Speech Therapy: Stuttering

Nothing breaks a parent’s heart more than seeing your child sad, frustrated, and/or embarrassed. A person who stutters may experience all of these feelings while associating communication with negative emotions. Stuttering may affect a person’s social relationships, academic success, and/or career opportunity if not treated affectively. Learn more about the components of stuttering and how to best communicate with your child who stutters.

Philippe Put
Philippe Put

What is considered stuttering?

       Stuttering is defined as a disruption of the forward flow of speech. The three core behaviors of stuttering are repetitions, prolongations, and blocks.

• Repetitions of sounds, syllables, or one-syllable words. For example, “The b-b-b-baby is crying” (sound repetition), “I li-li-li-like this” (syllable repetition), “Can, can, can I have a cookie?” (one-syllable word repetition)

• A prolongation is when a speech sound is held out but the mouth/tongue/lips have stopped moving. For example, “Caaaaaaaaaaaall me back"

• Block is when the sound and air are both stopped. For example, “where…. are you going?”

When does stuttering occur?

          Onset of developmental stuttering typically occurs just before age 3, with an average onset between ages 2 and 3.5 years old. Although rare, some children start stuttering up to 12 years of age.

What should you do if your child stutters?

          When your child stutters it may be tempting to say, “slow down”, “relax”, “take a deep breath”, and “think before you speak” but these comments may increase frustration and tension. Instead of drawing attention to the stuttering, model good communication skills such as,

Maintain eye contact with your child

Allot enough response time for your child to finish their thought

Refrain from filling in words or sentences for your child

Use actions and gestures to acknowledge what your child is saying, not how they are saying it

Model wait time by allowing two seconds before you answer your child’s questions and insert more natural pauses in your own speech

           Continue to encourage talking and socializing regardless of their stutter, by creating talking opportunities (e.g. asking an question or starting a conversation). Reassure your child that people care more about what they have to say than if they stutter while speaking. Do not draw attention to the stuttering during conversations and praise your child for sharing ideas and speaking out.

       If you notice your child stuttering, contact Lumiere Children’s therapy for an evaluation with a speech-language pathologist (SLP). SLPs help people who stutter by decreasing the severity or impact of disfluency as it occurs. The goal of therapy is not to completely eliminate disruptions, but to minimize the impact on communication. Speech therapy can be very effective to help a person who stutters learn strategies to reduce the amount of disfluencies and feel confident in social situations.



“FAQ's for Parents.” Stuttering Foundation: A Nonprofit Organization Helping Those Who Stutter,

Guitar, Barry. “Nature of Stuttering .” Stuttering: an Integrated Approach to Its Nature and Treatment, 4th ed., Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2012.

Child Speech therapy: Encouraging First Words

Creating a language rich environment at home encourages expressive language development in children.  Whether it’s your child’s first word or expansion of vocabulary, below are strategies to implement at home.

At-home strategies:

- Communicative temptation: Create a scenario to encourage your child to vocalize or gesture towards a desired item. For example, show them a cookie or toy but refrain from giving it to your child until they make a gesture or vocalization for it.

- Narration: Talk about everything! Name people, objects, and actions throughout your daily routine. Although it may feel strange at first, modeling speech through repetition can increase child’s expressive and receptive language. If your child provides a vocalization or word, expand their output with a longer phrase. When your child says ‘dada’ respond with “yes, daddy is home”.

- Imitation: Begin by imitating all sounds and vocalization your child makes whether it’s “ah”, “ooo”, or “dada”. Once they hear you imitating their sounds, they might start to imitate you. Continue narrating during each activity and gesturing during appropriate instances to further initiate imitation.

- Read aloud. Books, books, and more books! If your child cannot sit still during story time, pick out a few vocabulary words on each page and point to the pictures while naming.

- Start conversations: Even if your child isn’t speaking yet, allow for a response while talking to him or her. Ask questions during play, pause, and answer the question through narration. “What are you doing with the blocks?”….pause…. “You are stacking the blocks”.

- Sing a song. “Head, shoulders, knees, and toes”, “ring around the rosie”, and “old McDonald had a farm” are all great, catchy songs with repetitive words and gestures for language development.

- Celebrate each new word. Language development is an exciting milestone for families. Cheer, clap, and smile with excitement for every new word expressed. Rewarding the new word will reassure your child’s attempt at language and encourage further usage of the word.

            If by 18 months your child does not say 15 true words, contact your pediatrician. Babies develop at their own unique pace, but the sooner a speech evaluation is completed, the sooner you can help initiate communication. Contact Lumiere Children’s therapy for an evaluation with one of our speech therapist.



4 Fun Ways to Get Baby to Talk. (2014, July 10). Retrieved August 08, 2017, from

Rosetti, L. (2006).The Rossetti Infant-Toddler Language Scale. LinguiSystems, Inc. Typical speech & language development. Retrieved from

Child Speech Therapy: First Word Users

After a year of detecting the meaning behind each type of cry, laugh, and sound, parents are anxiously awaiting their child’s first word. Typically the first word emerges around their first birthday or a few months after. Between 12-18 months, children are considered first word users for communication. (Pepper & Weitzman, pg. 8).  The stages leading up to your child’s first word is particularly important, in a previous post we discussed the typical speech development timeframe.  We will discuss the comprehension and expressive qualities of a first word user.

Ed Ivanushkin
Ed Ivanushkin

What do they communicate?

            Your child’s first words will most likely be objects, people or actions that are familiar to your child’s routine. The first word may be an imitation of a word they hear you say or produced completely on their own. Name all objects, people, and actions exposed to your child throughout the day to encourage talking. In order to be considered a true word, it should have a clear intention, be recognizable, and be used more than once.

First words do not need to be the exact pronunciation of the word. Before the age of 3 years old, speech therapists are less concerned about speech pronunciation compared to language development. Nana for banana and paci for pacifier are acceptable first words if your child is referencing the correct item. As your child uses the words more frequently, you will start to recognize what your child is communicating. Children will also over-generalize words and use the same word for multiple objects or people. For example, a kitty may be used for all 4-legged animals, and a ball may be used for anything round.  One word may be also be used to express a whole message, for instance, “juice” may be expressed for “I am thirsty”, “I see juice”, or “is it time for lunch?” By attending to your child’s action, tone of voice, gestures, and facial expressions, you will be able to decipher between each meaning. 

What do they understand?

A child’s receptive language (understanding of words) is always greater than expressive language (spoken words). During the first word stage, your child increases the amount of words they comprehend. Your child will be able to point to familiar objects if you state, “Point to the flower”.  Your child will also start to understand 2-3 word phrases such as “time to go”, “bath time”, and “get your cup”. Continue to model 2-3 word phrases while speaking to your child.

Check list for First word users:

If you can check at least 3 boxes in the understanding section and the first box of the expression, your child is considered a first word user.  As your child progresses in the first word phase, they will be able to check all boxes before they start combining two-words.

Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 8.56.58 AM
Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 8.56.58 AM

            Next week on the blog, we will provide tips and strategies to encourage your child’s first words. If you feel your child is delayed in language, contact Lumiere Children’s therapy for a consultation with a speech therapist.



Pepper, J., & Weitzman, E. (2004). It takes two to talk: a practical guide for parents of children with language delays. Toronto, Ont.: Hanen Program.

What Babies See May Be Able to Predict Their First Words. (2017, March 01). Retrieved August 07, 2017, from

Child Speech Therapy: Otitis Media

Have you noticed an increase in crying spells, clutching the ear while wincing in pain, pulling on ear, sleeplessness, irritability, fever, lack of balance, or hearing loss in your infant or child? These are all common symptoms of an ear infection, otitis media.  Ear infections are the most common reason for a visit to the pediatrician, other than wellness baby visits. Ear infections occur when the Eustachian tube, connecting the middle ear to the back of the throat, traps fluid in the middle ear.  Ear infections are often secondary to common cold or flu due to germs from the nose or sinus cavities climbing up the Eustachian tube.

Donny Ray Jones
Donny Ray Jones

Read more for risk factors, causes, and treatment for otitis media:

Risk Factors of otitis media:

•  Children between the ages 6-36 months

•  Individuals with a family history of ear infections

•  Babies who are bottle-fed instead of breastfed

•  Children who attend day care centers

•  Exposure to cigarette smoke or high levels of air pollution

•  Abnormalities with the palate such as cleft palate

•  Recently having a cold, flu, or sinus infection

•  Experiencing changes in altitude or climate

Causes of otitis media

•  As mentioned above, if the Eustachian tube is clogged it may cause poor air ventilation leading to a warm, damp environment in the middle ear. Therefore, germs can form in the middle ear causing infection.

•  Ear infections occur most frequently in infants and children because the Eustachian tube is often too soft to stay open long enough for the air to pass through.

•  The Eustachian tube may become swollen or clogged for many reasons, including:

• Upper respiratory viral infection such as cold or flu

• Allergies: pollen, dust, animal, or food

• Smoke, fumes, or other environmental toxins

• Infected or enlarged adenoids

• Infants drinking while laying down


There are three different types of otitis media: acute, recurrent, and otitis media effusion. Acute otitis media is a single, isolated ear infection that may become a recurrent otitis media if it occurs at least three times in a six-month period. Otitis media effusion is when fluid remains in the ear secondary to ventilation issues but germs not yet manifested.

• If acute otitis media, your doctor may suggest over-the-counter ear drops, over-the-counter pain relievers, or prescribed antibiotics if persist for a few days.

•  If recurrent otitis media or otitis media effusion, surgery may be indicated. A procedure called myringotomy inserts tiny tubs into the child’s ears to allow air and fluid to drain from the middle ear. The tube allows airflow in the middle ear keeping it dry.

Prevention of Otitis Media:

• Wash hands and toys frequently

• Avoid cigarette smoke

•  Seasonal flu shots

•  Breastfeed infants instead of bottle-feeding if possible

•   Limit pacifier use

            Early identification and treatment of ear infections are crucial to prevent further problems down the road such as recurrent ear infection, ruptured eardrum, growth in the middle ear, and speech delays. Contact your pediatrician if you suspect your child has an ear infection. If hearing loss or speech delay occurs, contact Lumiere Children’s therapy for a consultation with one of our speech therapists.



"Ear Infections: Diagnosis and Treatment." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 26 July 2017.

Kivi, Rose, and Winnie Yu. "Acute Otitis Media." Healthline. Healthline Media, 05 Jan.                   2016. Web. 26 July 2017.

Child Therapy: Sensory Integration Therapy

Lumiere Children’s Therapy offers a therapeutic preschool to prepare children of all developmental needs for their academic future. Throughout the week, students will receive sensory, fine motor, gross motor, and speech therapy. Sensory integration therapy is used daily and often takes place in the clinic’s sensory gym. Sensory integration can impact many children struggling with Sensory Processing Disorder. To better understand sensory processing disorder, read our blog post here.

Donnie Ray Jones
Donnie Ray Jones

What is Sensory integration therapy?

      Sensory integration (SI) therapy is a sensory intervention frequently utilized by occupational therapists. Sensory integration is a play-based therapy used to change how the brain reacts to touch, sound, sight, and movement. SI therapy helps the brain’s nervous system better process sensory information through play activities and other therapy techniques such as weighted vests and brushing. Play activities include riding a scooter board, swinging, sitting on an exercise ball, squeezing between exercise pads or pillows, and other similar activities.

      Sensory integration targets vestibular, tactile, and proprioceptive senses of the body. Sensory processing disorders can be caused by an imbalance of one or all of these senses. Common signs of a sensory processing disorder are listed below the corresponding sense.

1. Vestibular senses aid in movement or balance. It gives the sense of the body in space.

Common signs:

•  Slouching or leaning on desks or tables.

•  Difficulty maintaining balance while running, walking, skipping, etc.

•  Fearful of movement activities such as playgrounds, swings, and stairs.

•  Fidgeting often or constantly moving.

2. Our tactile sense is how we interpret the information received from the receptors on our skin. It helps us detect textures, temperature, and pain.

Common signs:

•  Avoids getting hands or face dirty.

•  Avoids messy activities such as finger-painting, play dough, and messy foods.

•  Extreme reactions to brushing teeth, bathing, and haircuts.

•  Sensitive to certain fabric of clothing or aversion to tags on clothes.

• Excessive touching of people and objects.

3. The proprioceptive system helps coordinate our body in order to play or achieve gross motor skills. The proprioceptive sense helps us become aware of our body parts relative to one another. It directs the appropriate force for different activities such as the force needed to lift a heavy box verses the force needed to crack an egg.

Common signs:

•  Coloring with too much/ too little pressure.

•  Playing aggressively with others.

•  Constantly crashing into furniture or the ground.

•  Poor body awareness.

• Low tone or energy.

What are weighted vests?

A weighted vest is a heavy vest that typically has 10% of a person’s weight evenly distributed throughout the vest. Research has found that weighted vest increases one’s attention. Weighted vest provide a calming effect due to the deep pressure it provides. Although research is still limited on the topic, the deep pressure sends a calming feeling to the part of the brain that prompts a fight-or-flight response. Therefore, it can help a child become more relaxed and focused during activities in sensory integration therapy, home activities, and/or school.

What is brushing?

The Wilbarger Deep Pressure and Proprioceptive Technique (DPPT) & Oral Tactile Technique (OTT) is a specific sensory treatment that uses a pattern of stimulation from a special type of brush with gentle joint compressions. It is found to facilitate the relationship between the mind-brain-body processes. Some benefits of DPPT include smooth transitions between activities, increased attention, and decrease of tactile defensiveness.

Next week on the blog, we will discuss the benefits of sensory integration therapy for children diagnosed with Autism. For more information on sensory integration therapy or our therapeutic preschool, contact Lumiere Children’s Therapy.



Benefits of a Weighted Vest for a Child with Autism. (n.d.). Retrieved April 27, 2017, from

Braley, P. (2016, May 25). Sensory Processing: What is Proprioception? Retrieved April 27, 2017, from

Heffron, C. (2017, April 17). Sensory Integration: Red Flags and When to Get Help. Retrieved April 27, 2017, from

Heffron, C. (2016, April 24). SENSORY PROCESSING: THE TACTILE SYSTEM. Retrieved April 27, 2017, from

King , L. J. (n.d.). Sensory Integration Therapy . Retrieved April 26, 2017, from

The 7 Senses. (n.d.). Retrieved April 26, 2017, from

Therapeutic Brushing Techniques. (n.d.). Retrieved April 27, 2017, from

Child Therapy: AAC Early Intervention

One of the most memorable moments of parenthood is their baby’s first word. It is the sheer excitement of understanding what a baby is thinking after a full year into this world! Some infants and toddlers face communication challenges that delay or inhibit speaking due to neuromotor, cognitive, genetic, sensory, social/communicative and other disabilities. Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices can give parents the same, if not more, of an unforgettable moment when their child communicates with them for the first time. Whether a child communicates through signing, gesturing, or a computer device, being able to understand what they need and want is vital for parents.

白士 李
白士 李

What is AAC?

Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) is an intervention approach that uses unaided and aided devices to assistance the infant or child in communication with others.

• Unaided devices, no tech: Communication devices that do not involve additional equipment. Gestures, manual sign language, and use of facial expressions are all examples of unaided devices.

• Low-tech: Devices that do not need a battery to function but involve additional equipment. A popular low-tech option is a communication board with pictures. Other examples include books with pictures, photos and symbols, or objects representing a concept.

• High tech, aided communication: High tech requires a power source or battery. Most of high tech devices produce a voice or text to communicate. These include computers, tablets, and mobile devices. 

Early Intervention with AAC

Current research suggests that the earlier AAC devices are incorporated into therapy, the greater potential is for improving outcome. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part C mandates that, if necessary, infants and toddlers with a disability use assistive technology devices and services. AAC devices have shown to be productive in children as early as 12 months. Determining the appropriate AAC device for a child depends on the child’s motor, sensory, cognitive, linguistic, and social abilities. A team approach (speech therapist, occupational therapist, and physical therapist) is usually involved in the selection of AAC device. There is no one-size-fits-all AAC system, as it is based on the child’s individual needs. Often times, multiples modes of AAC devices and strategies are used to help develop communication, language, and cognitive skills.

Common concerns of AAC devices  

One of the most prominent concerns families have with using an AAC device is limiting spoken language. They are fearful that their child will become dependent on the AAC device and lose motivation to talk. Research suggests quite the opposite. AAC devices enhance the development of spoken communication in young children. AAC devices should be used simultaneously with verbal words, so children can associate spoken and visual symbols with the concepts. The myth that AAC devices are a “last resort” for therapy has also been proven wrong through current research. AAC devices are not contingent on the child’s disability to develop verbal speech skills. As described before, it is critical that AAC devices are introduced before communication breakdowns occur. AAC devices are a great supplement to incorporate language and verbal speech.

Incorporating AAC at home:

As with most therapy, families need to incorporate goals into everyday life in order to see growth. AAC strategies should carry-over into daily routines such as mealtime, bath time, play, daycare, etc.  Focus on a few familiar words when first starting to use AAC device. As your child becomes more comfortable, incorporate more vocabulary specific to the needs of the child and family. Lastly, all family members should model the AAC strategies while communicating with your child. Your child will stay more consistent with their expected output language if they notice other family members using it, as well. For example, if your child uses sign language to communicate, the caregiver should use sign and spoken language when talking. If your child uses a picture system, incorporate the pictures into your conversations while speaking. 

If you are interested in learning more about potential AAC devices for your child, contact Lumiere Children’s Therapy today!


Davidoff , B. E. (207, January). AAC with Energy- Earlier . The ASHA Leader , 49-53.

Romski, M., PhD CCC-SLP, & Sevcik, R. A., PhD. (n.d.). Augmentative Communication and Early Intervention Myths and Realities. Infants & Young Children , 18 (3), 174-185.

What is AAC? (n.d.). Retrieved January 19, 2017, from

Child Speech Therapy: To Sign or Not to Sign

Last week, we discussed the benefits of baby sign language for hearing children. Baby sign language promotes parent to child interaction, early language development, and less communication breakdowns. Although sign language can be helpful for hearing children, it is not always encouraged for children with a hearing loss. For this article, we will be discussing different type of communication methods for children with a hearing loss. Picture1

Deciding on Communication Method

When a family first learns about their child’s hearing loss, they must decide on the type of communication method that would be best used for their child. There are 5 different types of communication modes:

  • * Total communication- Includes signing, speech reading, listening and speech.
  • * Sign- Children only use sign language to communicate.
  • * Cued speech- System of hand cues that indicate consonants and vowels.
  • * Auditory oral- Mainly focused on listening and speech development, but also allows for visual cues such as lip reading and facial cues. Does not encourage the use of sign language.
  • * Auditory verbal- Only teaches listening cues and discourages visual cues.

The families determine the communication method during early intervention. The professionals working with your child will create methods and strategies around the family’s choice. The first decision of communication mode is not necessarily set in stone. If your child is not progressing or goals have changed, the mode of communication may be adjusted.

Making the Decision

There are many factors that influence the way language is learned. If a child is part of a deaf community, their family will most likely want him or her to learn American Sign Language. On the contrary, 95% of deaf children are born to hearing parents, so verbal language is usually top priority. For families that want to encourage verbal language, auditory oral and auditory verbal are used most frequently for early intervention. Children with hearing aids or cochlear implants are able to learn strong verbal skills with an intensive, auditory exposure. This includes auditory training and aural rehabilitation, which involves learning listening sills and teaching children how to incorporate those skills to use spoken language.

Teaching Sign Language

For families that want their child to use auditory oral and auditory verbal modes of communication, sign language is not taught as a mode of language. Some families choose to use early sign language before the cochlear implantation as a bridge to spoken language. Researchers have found that baby sign language with deaf children cannot hurt and may be beneficial while the child is waiting for their cochlear implants. Relying on sign language over an extended period of time may cause negative affects on the child’s capacity to learn spoken language. Families are encouraged to continue to provide auditory rich environments and verbalize each sign if using early sign language. That way, families will slowly decrease the use of signing and move toward listening and spoken language once the hearing aids or cochlear implants are working.

If your family needs assistant on creating a communication plan for your child with a hearing loss, contact Lumiere Children’s therapy and talk with one of our speech therapists!


Lumiere Therapy Team  32x32



Donaldson, Cheryl, CCC-S/LP. "Let’s Start With Babies." Aural Rehabilitation for the Speech-Language Pathologist: CMDS. Kentucky, Louisville. 6 June 2016. Lecture.

Donaldson, Cheryl, CCC-S/LP. "Understanding and Working with Families." Aural Rehabilitation for the Speech-Language Pathologist: CMDS. Kentucky, Louisville. 6 June 2016. Lecture.

Donaldson, Cheryl, CCC-S/LP. "Working with School- Aged Children." Aural Rehabilitation for the Speech-Language Pathologist: CMDS. Kentucky, Louisville. 6 June 2016. Lecture.

Mellon, Nancy K., MS, John K. Niparko, MD, Christian Rathmann, PhD, Gaurav Mathur, PhD, Tom Humphries, PhD, Donna Jo Napoli, PhD, Theresa Handley, BA, Sasha Scrambler, PhD, and John D. Lantos, MD. "Should All Deaf Children Learn Sign Language? Pediatrics. 2015." Pediatrics 136.4 (2015): 781. Web. 6 June 2016.