Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Spatial Concepts

Whats a spatial concept? A spatial concept is a type of basic concept that describes an object's location in space. Words such as: in, top, in front, beside, behind, and outside are all examples of spatial concepts. Spatial concepts are also known as prepositions.

So why should you care about spatial concepts? Well for one, an understanding of spatial concepts is needed for everyday receptive language skills like following directions. "Bring me the blue book on the middle shelf". 

Children also need knowledge of spatial concepts to be strong communicators, Giving directions is an expressive language skill. A child who gives directions loke the following, "Bring me the book from there." may have weak language skills.

So what can you do to help reinforce spatial concepts? Many things. Have you ever read a book with your child and asked them "where" something was while looking at the pictures? "Where is the boy?" An answer that I often get is "right there", this is accompanied by pointing. If the child used spatial concepts his answer could have been more descriptive to include something like, "He's on the bench" or "outside at the park" or "next to the tree". So I teach the concept by modeling correct usage and expanding on the child's response. ""Yes, he is right there, next to the tree". 

Children start learning spatial concepts at a young age. However, children with language disorders have a much harder time learning these concepts and often use non-specific language. Repeated exposure to the concept and practice is needed to make progress.

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Welcome to the sweetest, pediatric, speech and language practice in Northern Virginia. Chocolate Maltz Speech Therapy provides in home speech and language services for children in the Greater Alexandria and Arlington areas. We specialize in using evidence based practices for the treatment of speech and language disorders. Please contact us for a complimentary consultation.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Lets talk Toys

I'd like to talk toys in this post. I'm a kid at heart, so one of my favorite things about being an SLP is that I get to play. The truth is that if you're choosing materials correctly, your clients will be having so much fun they won't even know that they are learning. So when it comes to developing language in preschool children I find that imaginative play sets can't be beat. I'm talking about doll houses, farms, zoos, train sets etc... Playing with toys like these make it so easy to target many expressive language goals simultaneously; vocabulary, basic concepts, sentence expansion, requesting, the list goes on. Another great thing about playing with toys is seeing the joy on my student's faces when they find out they are going to get to get to play!
This brings me to my new favorite toy, Melissa and Doug Reusable Sticker Pads. You'd be hard pressed to find a 3 or 4 year old that doesn't love playing with stickers. I have a few different sets of these sticker pads, and while the trains and diggers in the vehicle set are really popular with my kiddos I'm really loving the play-house set. The play-house reusable sticker pad has 5 different scenes; a play-ground, kitchen, bathroom, living room and a bedroom with matching reusable plastic stickers. These scenes are all great for learning basic household vocabulary and working on pronouns and verbs. When working with groups of children who have speech delays I typically have the kiddos take turns choosing the sticker they want. We then describe what the sticker is doing in the scene. (ex. "It's my turn","I want the girl", "She is cooking eggs on the stove"). You can get great language targeting all sorts of goals including: requesting, turn taking, length of the utterance, pronouns, adjectives, basic vocab and more all while kids are having fun!

Another plus for this play set over a traditional doll house is portability. You can just stick these sticker pads in a bag and go, perfect for a traveling therapist or parent on the go. The sticker sets are totally affordable at under $5 a pop. With those prices you can afford to buy two sets for a barrier game to target higher level expressive and receptive language skills, such as describing and following directions. If you're not sure what a barrier game is follow the link to a Super Duper Publication's Handy Handout for more info.