Getting Toddlers to Greet Others

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Greeting as a language function

There is a function to the language we use. It might be to requisition for something, reject something or greet someone. The act of greeting someone has a particular function. And that’s to be polite, sociable and to get someone’s attention. If the child doesn’t understand the function to greet someone, then no matter how you force the child it will be futile. 

The way to teach new language functions is to demonstrate them. It’s better that you show rather than tell. Because a child who is speech and language delayed cannot understand your explanations. Many parents who we work with wouldn’t even greet a stranger sharing a lift. It’s actually socially awkward to do so. Yet, we teach our children to say hi to “uncles” and “aunties” wherever we go!

If you want your...

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Autism Red Flags - Which is the Most Important One?

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Lack of Communication Intent

This is perhaps the tell tail sign of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Not saying that a child who doesn’t want to speak will immediately be on the spectrum. Sometimes children who have other speech and language disorders also suffer from this. However, if you can see that your child is using words to sing, count and label just not using those words to communicate with you… Then your child has a low communication intent. 

This means your child would rather do things the hard way than speak up and communicate his/her needs. This usually comes as a hand pull or crying. The child needs to learn the power of using words to get the message across. 

Lack of communication intent is also the root cause for all the other red flags. Why would a child want to look at you, respond to his name or share an eye gaze if...

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Child Speaks When She/He NEEDS Something From You

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Limited Language Functions

There are loads of reasons why we use language to communicate. One of them is to request items or activities. Sometimes children get stuck at this particular language function. We need to expand a child’s language functions (reasons for using language) in order to get a child to communicate naturally with us.

To name a few functions, we have describing, commenting, protesting, rejecting, answering questions, asking questions, expressing emotions and etc…

If a child does not have these language functions, then his/her language would be limited to requesting only.

Teaching More than Need-Based Communication

To get away from a child to only say “I want” we need to create situations that aren’t only about getting what they want. Most of the time, therapists and parents engage the...

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Speech vs Language Delay or Disorder

Uncategorized Jan 12, 2022

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Speech vs Language

Speech is a part of language, it’s the sounds we make that we use to communicate. When a child/person has a speech disorder, it means that there are errors in speech sounds. It might be that there’s a difficulty in producing /s/ sounds. For example, a child named “Staci” would be pronounced [teiti] if the /s/ sound was a problem.

Language on the other hand is the message that we’re trying to convey. It isn’t limited to speaking, it could be a hand gesture, eye contact, a facial expression, or anything. As long as there’s the content we want to tell others, that’s the language. Of course, language is a lot more sophisticated than that. We need to learn vocabulary, how to string sentences in an appropriate way, and make sure the grammar makes sense. 

If a child doesn’t have a language...

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Toddler Sings, Recites ABC and Counts Numbers But DOESN’T Talk

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Language Function

When children recite ABC, count numbers, or sing songs, the main language function is to entertain themselves. They aren’t saying these words for any other purpose. This means that these words will only be used in these contexts. The child simply does not know that words can be used to communicate. Nor do they know that words can manipulate us to give them what they want. Instead, they would pull our hands and put our hands on something that they want. 

The missing link is the connection between words and action. That’s why we emphasize teaching gestures first. So that the child will get what s/he is asking for quickly. In their minds, language is for entertainment. Not for requesting, commenting, playing, or any other function. That’s the reason why they’re not talking to you.

Lack of Communication Intention

Children who...

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Speech Therapy vs Occupational Therapy for Autism

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Disclaimer: I am not an Occupational therapist, please seek professional advice from one.

Speech Therapy (ST) Teaches with Communication

Occupational Therapy (OT) Helps with Sensory

What about sensory? Children with a sensory processing disorder (a diagnosis that overlaps with Autism and other speech-related disorders quite frequently) are either over or under-stimulated. 

Ok before I lose you… When a child is overstimulated, it means their trying to avoid sensory. It’s too much for them to handle and you can physically see that the child is struggling. On the other hand, under-stimulated means that the child is seeking sensory. 

OT helps to normalize sensory disorders so that the child can function better.

Fine Motor, Cognition, and Feeding

When a child cannot hold the pencil correctly, the first thing we do is refer to an OT. Just like...

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How to Get Rid of Echolalia | Tips From Speech Therapist that Worked

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Why is there Echolalia?

We can get to a bottom of a problem by asking as many "why" questions as we can... So here we go!

why does the child have echolalia? because he has nothing else to do

why does s/he have nothing else to do? because s/he isn't playing with toys

why isn't the child playing with toys because s/he doesn't like it

why does the child not like to play with toys? well, because s/he doesn't know how to!

why does the child not know how to play with toys? because no one taught him/her how to play properly

At the end of the day, your child has echolalia because there isn’t anything else to do. Teach him/her something fun and meaningful to do and you’ll see drastic changes!

Teaching Meaningful Play

Many parents think that if you buy a toy the child will immediately know how to play with it. Some tell us that the...

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Speech Therapist Reacts to Supernanny

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Supernanny gives a lot of good advice for special needs children. Check out our reaction to her ways.

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Why Do Children Stop Talking? | Speech Therapist on Language Regression

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The most common inquiry we get is that the child used to use words to describe and call “mama” then suddenly, the child stops talking and starts pulling your hand to get whatever s/he wants.

Sometimes it feels like your child is losing words and “forgetting” what they’ve learned already.

Why? There are actually 3 reasons.

Language Facilitating / Language Rich Environment

Reaction to spoken words can be exaggerated especially when your child only speaks a few times a day. We make the mistake of screaming and clapping our hands when we hear those precious words… However, that is not language facilitating. The child was experimenting with language and would be taken aback by the huge reaction. You should have exaggerated reactions when the child imitates your words but certainly not when your child says a word by...

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Toilet Training for Autistic Children

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Disclaimer: None of the techniques discussed here are evidence-based. We are only sharing what appears to be working in our practice, you may or may not have the same results. I learned this technique from a clinic I used to work at, however, what I say here only reflects how I carry out the training.

There are loads of evidence-based techniques out there for toilet training. If you’ve tried everything and nothing has worked, I suggest you try this out!

Make the Toilet a Good Experience

The last thing you want is your child hating the toilet. When a child becomes defensive about going into the toilet, it makes the whole process impossible. Children (actually everyone) need to feel safe and comfortable when using the toilet. It’s a personal matter, so let’s make it as comfortable for the child as possible. Put toys and books, make it less of a place where...

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