Speech therapy at home…and how to teach recalling an event.

Recalling an event…what exactly does that mean?-Asking your little one questions such as: What did you do in school todayDid you go to the park Did you have fun with your friend today, what did you do on the playground with herHow was campWho did you play with?……these questions will start off simple…and then as she gets older and her language skills become more developed….she will be capable of answering more complex language questions. 

But what do we do when a little one is having difficulty in processing of language, in answering questions, and in the reciprocity of language (the back and forth of language that takes place between two people…the questions and answers…initiating a conversation and in maintaining a conversation-pragmatic language)…..how do we help a little one to begin to understand these…more complex language demands…such as recalling an event?

Well….today…..I once again was lucky enough to work with my friend Kristen…she’s the one who introduced me to Hyper-Dash….but more importantly has given me lots of tools and strategies in reference to ABA and how to use this model with certain children.  But most importantly she is an amazing ABA teacher and person…I love working with her!  So today we were able to collaborate….and yeah! how much I enjoy when we do….it’s like our brains are working together to help the little one we are working with….we fill in each other’s blanks….we come up with similar strategies…and then the other just tweaks it a little bit…to make the strategy that much more beneficial for the child. 

Collaborating together is not done enough…..but with Kristen….and also with my friend Patricia (I love working with Patricia too!)….we work together for the good of the child…but also because we teach each other…they have their area of speciality and I have mine….so working together just makes all of us better at what we do!

Back to today….this little one is someone very dear to my heart…and her mama too….(because my goal is to not only help the little one…but to help the mama get her little one where she should be)….and this mama really follows the “embedded model” that we follow in Suffolk County early intervention…..our goal is to give the parents the tools to help their little one….and I love when I am working with a mom that uses the strategies in all aspects of her day….and that is what this mama does…she uses the strategies during baking (and this little one likes to bake!)…during bathing…dressing….playing….and then out in the community….even when it is a challenge…because the challenges are what help the little one to move forward….and the mama knows that now….and I am so proud of her for not being afraid to take some risks and challenge her little one.

Anway….so during our session today…..Kristen and I were brain-storming…..how can we help our little A (to remain anonymous)….how can we help her to understand what it means to recall an event.  A’s processing of langauge has come so far…..she is now answering some yes/no questions…some WH questions….Kristen told me today that A is starting to understand the function of an object….and making some inferences….these skills are emerging….A is responding to her name more…making better eye contact….pointing to named pictures…locating objects…understanding some spatial concepts…..and we have been sure to use the RSA strategy in order to help her understand language better….that is “ready, set, action”…..tieing your language with an action helps your little one to understand language better (you can read more about this on my teach me to understand page)…..and I am thrilled that this has worked with A….glad we know that this is a successful strategy…..

okay….so back to me and Kristen….it was great…meaning I could feel both of our brains working together to come up with a plan…at one point she was talking…and I was looking out of the sliding glass door…just processing what she was saying….and thinking…okay what would be a starting point for our goal: A’s ability to recall an event…we can’t just say: what did you do in mommy and me today?…..that’s too much language for her….a little to abstract…she needs to start off with concrete…I know that…what would be concrete…what’s a good starting point…..the three of us…me, Kristen and mom tried a few things….they did not work….we laughed at each other…but kept trying….I was not leaving until we had a starting point…….okay….so maybe she at first needs to see an object…then I will hide it….and then we can ask: “What is hiding under the blanket?”……will she remember…will she understand the language….what will happen….

At first…though….we tried hiding an object in a popcorn cup (A saw the bear…she watched me put the bear in the popcorn cup)….and when I hid the bear in the popcorn cup…I asked her what is in the cup….she answered popcorn.  You see she was not processing the question….I knew that then….she just saw the popcorn cup….knew I asked a question….and even understood that I used the word IN….so that is great…she knew and understood that I was asking her what was in it…..but see she forgot already about the bear that was in the cup…she could not recall that….and she did not process the question…..ugh…what do we do……okay a regular cup….we tried that…put the bear in the regular cup….so first I showed her the bear….put it in the cup…and then said: What’s in the cup A?…..she said: water…..ugh again…what to do…..okay…she knows that water typically goes in the cup…but she still did not recall what I just hid in the cup….and she did not process the question……Oooooooooo then I said to myself…hidhiding….I bet she knows that word…but I have to use something else to hide the object….a blanket!!  That will do it!

Sooooo……I hid Kristen under the blanket….and I said: “A, who is hiding under the blanket?”….and she said Kristen!……..we hid mom….and then a few objects…using the same phrases: Who is hiding? or What is hiding?……I was thrilled and had the chills of course…because this was the first step in her understanding a simple phrase and also in her visual memory…which will help us to improve her ability to recall an event.

So what will happen next????……after she has completely mastered this skill.  We will show her two objects at one time….hide one of them….and say: What is hiding?  Can she recall the two objects that were there…and will she remember which one was removed?  Then we will add more objects….

Next….we will use very simple picture books….and see if she can recall some facts from the story….Like….if there was a picture of a girl on a bed….and then I turned the page…and said: A, where was the girl?….and then on the next page the girl was eating pizza….I would turn the page and say: A, what was the girl eating?….and so on…

Next…..we will begin to ask her questions about something that happened a few minutes ago..(after she finished her pizza…asking: A, what did you eat?)…..and then see if she can still recall  in five minutes, in 15 minutes, even half hour later…..an hour later…..we will continue to work on her processing of questions…her understanding of language….and her ability to recall.  For now though, her visual memory will be targeted….tieing words and actions together with the presented task to help her to recall.

When we move to the recall of the short stories…I will be sure to post…..I was thrilled today…A is showing that twinkle in her eye…the one that tells me she really is starting to “get it”….she laughs when I am being silly…showing me that she is “getting it”….that makes me happy…

And I also know that the plan Kristen and I put in motion…may need to change…be edited…be ammended….and we will know that as we move forward with her..

So thank you to Kristen, to A and most especially to the mama for having patience with us as we work with A…..and for believing that “she will get there….it’s the small steps everyday that matter”.

Kim

About Kim

My name is Kim Marino and I have been practicing as a licensed speech and language pathologist since 1993. I work on Long Island providing diagnostic evaluations and services to children from birth to age 21. My experience is vast and am proud to say that I work with children that may present with articulation and phonological concerns, oral motor feeding concerns, Down Syndrome feeding, cognitive rehabilitation, auditory processing delays, receptive language delays, cleft palate feeding and sound development and expressive language delays. Most importantly, I am the mother of four amazing children and am happily married to my childhood sweetheart. I feel blessed to have my four children and so lucky to share this journey in life with my husband. I always had it somewhere in my head that I wanted to develop a blog or a website of some sort so that I could provide families with an additional resource....so that parents could help their little ones become a better communicator. And as I was developing this blog....I realized that I also needed to share the stories about my life and my children....and the funny things along the way that help to keep me smiling. Whether you are a working mother or not...finding balance between home, children and life can be a challenge....I hope that my blog helps to bring a smile to your face..and also some tools to help you help your little or big one. I hope you enjoy! Kim
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