Thursday, December 9, 2010

Yarn Octopus

I have a box in my office, and I try to keep it stacked with bagged activities in case I am ever in the need of something instantly.

Well, the other day Cannon asked to play with an octopus.
I didn't have one of those lying around.

But I did have the materials to make one in my handy little box:

Materials Needed:
- Yarn
- Ribbon (to tie around neck)
- Two small buttons (for the eyes)
- String (for the smile)
- small ball (ping-pong or golf ball size)

Step 1:
Cut 24 pieces of yarn into equal lengths (about 1 1/2 - 2 feet long)
Make them into a spider web.

 Wrap the middle section around your ball and tie the neck off with your ribbon:

Glue the eyes and mouth on.
You should have enough strings to make 8 braids (6 strands per braid).

I pretty much won the "awesome mom of the day award" for actually producing an octopus upon request.
It was pretty easy, too.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Developmental Ages for Sound and Speech Development are some helpful resources to let you know all about speech and language development pertaining to your young one(s).
This post will go over what sounds come first, what to expect by certain ages, as well as examples that will help you understand what kind of sounds and words they should be saying.

What Sounds Come First?
Written by Elaine L. Hicken, MS, CCC-SLP (2/96)

The first vocalizations a child makes are vowel-like sounds.  These are the easiest sounds to produce.

The respiration needed for speech is much different from quiet breathing.  Quiet breathing is easier than breathing for speech, because fewer muscles are required.  For speech, the diaphragm and muscles of the rib cage and between the ribs pull the ribs out and up to draw air into the lungs then the muscle of exhalation push the extra air that is needed for speech out of the lungs.  Respiration for speech develops as the child learns to push up with their arm, sit, crawl, stand, and walk.  Newborns breath from their "belly".  By about 12 months they primarily use chest breathing as they begin to stand and walk.

Consonant sounds are made by either stopping the air in the oral cavity (p, b, t, d, k, g) or letting it glide through restricted areas formed by using the lips, tongue, teeth, and palate (f, v, s, z, th).  Some consonant sounds require a stopping and a gliding action (j, ch).

There are three sounds that are made by forcing air through the nasal cavity and out the nose.  Air is prevented from coming out the mouth with the lips to form the /m/ sound.  The air is stopped with the tongue and palate to produce the /n/ sound.  The air is blocked in the back of the mouth with the base of the tongue and palate to form the /ing/ sound.

Some of the sounds used in English are voiced (vocal cords vibrate) and some are unvoiced (vocal cords remain open).  There are several consonant sounds that are made exactly the same way with the exception of voicing.  These are called pairs.  Some examples of pairs for consonant sounds include /p/ and /b/, /t/ and /d/, /d/ and /g/, /f/, and /v/, /th/ and /th/, /sh/ and /j/, /s/ and /z/.

Our brains have to program all of the necessary structures to preform simultaneously in order for a sound to be made correctly.  There are some sounds that are easier to make than others.  These sounds develop first, with the more complex sounds developing later.  It is not uncommon for a child to substitute an easier sounds for a more complex sound until he or she learns the correct sound.

This chart shows the sounds that should be mastered by the given ages.  If a child is not able to produce the sounds listed at his or her age level they may need some extra help.
A speech language pathologist may be contacted to offer help and suggestions.

Developmental Ages for Sound Development
(Utah Office of Education, Comminucation Disorders Guidelines, December 1991)

Speech Development: What to Expect

A toddler's mother is often the only person who understands much of what the toddler says.  The ability to correctly articulate the sounds in the English language develops at a varying rate in typical children.
The following describes the range of ages for mastery of consonant sounds.

Acquisition of Consonant Sound

This chart shows the average age estimates and upper age limits of customary consonant production.  The solid bar corresonding to each sound starts at the mediam age of customary articulation; it stops at an age level at which 90% of all children are customarily producing the sound.

(From Templin, 1957: Wellman et al., 1931.)
Source: Sander, Eric K. When Are Speech Sounds Learned?  JSHD, 37(1), 55-62, February 1972.

For more specific inquiries, try the following links:

LD Online: Speech & Language

Communication Connects