How to improve eye contact and spontaneous language in children



Thanks to my four children as seen above demonstrating the use of my parachute….I bought this one through Amazon…and like it because it is the perfect size for the little ones I see for therapy. 

Once again I would like to post about another amazing session I had with AK and NK…this time I was co-treating with Michelle (NK’s ABA therapist).  I see AK for speech and language therapy…his twin brother also receives services…so often times we will co-treat.  As I stated in my previous post…co-treating with my colleagues is a perfect opportunity for us to learn from one another….all of us bring to the table different strategies that help the little ones to understand language better, use language more functionally, improve play skills, improve eye contact and develop overall cognitive skills.  So for me and the other therapist’s on the K team…our goal is to not only help AK and NK individually…but also to encourage the twin boys to desire to interact with one another.  Remember NK has an autism spectrum disorder and AK has a speech and language delay…so it has been wonderful to see the progress in AK and NK…on an individual basis and socially…as they desire to interact with one another.

The parachute is a very motivating activity for all children…you can put them on the parachute and carefully swing them back and forth (kids love this!)…or you can go under the parachute and make a tent with them (bring the parachute high up in the air as you are sitting on the floor and then bring back down behind your backs)….or put small stuffed animals on the parachute…and they can move the parachute up and down and watch the stuffed animals bounce in the air!  Not only is it motivating…tying the motor action (the actual movement on the parachute)….with language…helps to encourage language development. 

So Michelle and I put AK and NK on the parachute…and as we pick the parachute carefully UP…we say the words: UP, UP, UP…and before we are about to swing we say the words: READY, SET, GO!!….now after a few times on the parachute swinging AK and NK back and forth and saying: READY, SET, GO!….the next time…we do it again…but say: READY, SET…… and we leave out the word: GO…..well both AK and NK…not only are they able to say the word GO….they also are saying: SET, GO!  Filling in the blank…how great!

As Michelle and I move the parachute back and forth…we move it slowly and say: SLOW….and then move the parachute faster and say: FAST….just introducing new concepts…but not placing any language demands upon them to say these more abstract concepts.

Next….when we put the parachute back down…we do NOTHING…looking for both boys to say something to indicate that they want to go on the parachute again…will they say MOR?…will they say GO?…will they say UP?…will they try to say PARACHUTE (definitely a more challenging word to say)….well as of right now..they both need to be prompted…which means they need the verbal model produced by myself or Michelle in order to say the word…but we are hearing language from both of them!

What’s next?…..we go under the parachute…so Michelle and I sit on the floor with AK and NK….and then we bring the parachute high up in the air….and then around our backs behind the four of us…like we are under a tent…and what happens?….GREAT EYE CONTACT BY BOTH AK AND NK!!!!!!…..and Michelle and I then say hi to each other and to the boys. How wonderful to see these little ones interacting even if it is non-verbal at this point…to see them desiring to be with one another….and using language when prompted to request this desired activity. 

Thank you to the K family for allowing me to be a part of their journey and to Michelle….it has been great to learn from one another!


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 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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