Should I force them to choose one or is it ok that they keep switching?
Is it normal that your child is constantly changing hands when coloring or eating?
One big question all occupational therapist that work with kids get !
The first question we ask is : how old is your child?
Before entering school…
It can be quite normal as a toddler or infant that have not started school yet to still be switching hand.
However, when they start to do structured activities so when they start kindergarten is when we want to establish dominant hand ideally.
Encouraging your toddler or infant to choose a dominant is good but we do not want to force them, as their body might not be ready to go only with one yet.
After entering school…
However, when schools rolls around and they are still switching between the two, it is time to consult an occupational therapist to see what is causing the lack of dominanceor the continuous switching.
Why is hand dominance so important?
What happens when we don’t have a dominant hand is instead of having one strong hand we have two mediocre hands.
This can cause some difficulties or challenges when trying to be precise when coloring or cutting or any fine motor skill.
When doing anything-fine motor related, we need both hands; they just have different roles sometimes. The other hand is considered to the assistant to the dominant hand.
Are you concerned about your child’s hand dominance? It is driving you crazy that they seem like they cannot choose between the two? Then it might be time to consult an occupational therapist.
Usually, things tends to be more relax and less structured. However, that does not mean that in our typical summer days that our children motor skills cannot be workedon, improved on or challenge. In summer we are all about having fun and being outside. Here are some recommendations for some fun activities that will get their motor systems going.
Fine motor outside activities :
Summer is all about being outside, taking in the sun, getting dirty and going swimming on those warm days. As parents you are probably worried but how can I do fun activities but incorporate fine motor skills activities ?
Water gun competition :
It gets the child to separate/isolate their little fingers that can help with their dexterity and pencil grasp plus they are working on their arm strength and accuracy.
What kid doesn’t like to get dirty. Have them dig holes, separate the flowers and then fill up the water cans .
This activity is not only stimulating their motor system but also tackling their sensory (tactile) system.
Perfect example to stimulate their pencil grasp and refined their handwriting and then have so much space to draw what their heart wants.
Water balloons contest :
Who can fill the most water balloons without bursting them?
Yes their motor system is working but also the cognitive side as they cannot over fill them and lastly they have to tie a know.
Gross motor outside activities:
Kids are so happy to be outside, it can be difficult to even get them inside for supper or before dark. Now we know how their fine motor skills can be worked on but what about gross motor skills. Yes, we have swimming and biking but there is so much more.
Potato sack race:
This one can be a whole family experience.
Take the large gardening brown paper bag and gather is the backyard.
Not only are working on our their jumping skills but also coordination.
Take the chalk sticks and create hopscotch on your driveway.
In addition to jumping, we are also working on number recognition.
Baseball with pool noodles:
Cut your pool noodle in half, take a medium size ball and voila !
We are working on their accuracy, control and precision.
When a student has difficulty understanding text, there is rarely a single cause for these difficulties. Indeed, decoding letters is not enough. You have to get a mental picture of what you read. But what exactly must we do to create this mental image?
Identification of words
Decoding letters to identify words is the basic skill to develop in order to understand a text.
Typically, students experiencing difficulty in identifying words (e.g., dyslexia) will dedicate all of their mental resources to trying to decode what they are reading.
So there is little resource left to think about the meaning of the words read, to link the different words and to think about the overall meaning of the sentence. It is as if you were able to decode the words of a foreign language without understanding it.
Besides, how can you keep in memory a whole paragraph when decoding two words took you a long time? A child taking time to decode will have more difficulty retaining all the information in memory.
Make links and … inferences
Need for mental imagery
Then, the student has to link the various pieces of information in order to form a complete, rich and coherent mental image of what has just been read.
First, it is necessary to link the information read at the moment with the information read in the preceding sentences and paragraphs. This allows us to create more than a mental image, but rather a mental film as we read.
However, in order to fully understand what is happening, linking only the information read in the text is not enough. Here is an exercise:
HE PUT ON HIS SUIT, PUT HIS GLASSES ON HIS FACE AND TIED HIS HARNESS FIRMLY. THN, HE APPROACHED THE EDGE OF THE PLANE, TURNED HIS HEAD TOWARDS THE PILOT, GREETED HIM AND JUMPED INTO THE VOID.
What led you to conclude that it was a skydiver since it was not written explicitly in the text? Some key words and phrases suit, harness, pilot and jumping into the void have automatically made you think of skydiving.
In other words, you have linked the information read from the text with your own general knowledge about the world to create a complete picture of the scene described.
Some children may have limited knowledge of the world for a variety of reasons. Thus, although a child may decode with ease and remember all the information read, if he does not know what skydiving is, he will not be able to understand the small text above.
The example above also presents the question of inferences very well; the ability figure out new information (not explicitly mentioned in the text) by making links between the different pieces of information of the text but also with our own background knowledge.
For children with language difficulties, making inferences is often difficult. The great challenge of some students is to know that not everything is said in the text, and that one has to deduce from the hints read.
Some students do not stop at the periods finishing the sentences. They read a whole paragraph at a stroke without being able to stop and process the information contained in a sentence.
It is difficult not to do anything other than pure decoding in this case, especially if you add the other difficulties mentioned above. It is therefore important to stop at each sentence to think carefully about what has been read.
But that’s not all, pausing at commas is important to understand the meaning of what is being read. For example, these two sentences mean two different things, because of the comma:
Viewing educational and relevant documentaries and films,
Visiting museums, national parks, botanical / zoological gardens, library visits,
Web browsing (supervised by an adult)
Enrich the vocabulary :
We did not talk about it but meeting an unfamiliar word in a text is less intimidating and poses less difficulty than when the text is composed of 50% words that we do not know.
Read a text with the student :
Encourage her to take a break at points and commas, to reflect and visualize what she has just read.
Highlight keywords if necessary.
Encourage the student to predict what he will read next.
Do not hesitate, after reading the text, to openly discuss the text (to start a debate, to ask for an opinion with justification) in order to encourage the pupil to think more about the text and to make connections with his own experience or reflections on the subject.
As soon as you feel that the difficulties are significant, do not hesitate to consult in speech therapy for assessment and follow-up if needed.
It is the stock of words that we possess to express ourselves and understand.
Indeed, the more rich and elaborate the vocabulary, the more the child is able to understand the world in which they live, to use a precise vocabulary to express themselves, and to enrich their thought and imagination.
MOST OF THESE SKILLS ARE LEARNED IN SCHOOL. HOWEVER, PARENTS PREPARE THIS KIND OF LEARNING THROUGH THIS INTRODUCTION TO READING AND WRITING !
To go further, we wanted to provide you an additional tool to accompany your child in this learning: enriched reading !
The first reading is decisive ! It is this one that will inspire your child to listen to it again and again !
When you tell the story, have fun interpreting the characters, taking different voices, commenting, involving the child by asking his or her opinion, drawing attention to a word, a pun, a picture or a situation…
During other readings, you may ask questions or ask them to tell you the story in turn, as they will be familiar with it.
Furthermore, your children will benefit from the model you gave them during the first reading and they will integrate this information when they repeat it!
Your child’s active participation is also important !
Indeed, this will motivate them during reading and encourage their learning.
Also, it will make them want to read independently when they have learned !
Questions or concerns?
Finally, if you have any questions or if you think your child needs more support to accompany their reading and writing, you can contact us at 514-224-8822 or by visiting our website for information about our speech and tutoring services. Places are available at our two points of service in Lasalle and Vaudreuil-Dorion. We are here to help your child with all their language and academic needs.
We also invite you to visit our Facebook page on which we publish and regularly share articles and videos in order to nourish your reflection and your curiosity about !
Let us be clear: every situation in everyday life is an occasion for discussion, exchange, explanation, narration, etc. In short, our daily life is full of situations conducive to stimulating the language of toddlers and the older ones!
Through this blog, we would like to draw your attention to attitudes and activities beneficial to your child’s language development.
Some tips for language development:
Follow your child’s interests:
First, your child will be more interested in communicating and interacting with you if you are interested in the toy they’re eating or in the book they are looking at.
When your child is focused on something, describe what he or she is watching or doing.
Use it as a model:
When you talk to your child, place yourself at their level so they can see your face. They will be able to take in your facial expressions and a good articulatory model.
Reformulate what they say by enhancing their productions.
In addition, it is not necessary to have the child repeat for them to take in the correct model.
For example: when they say “ca” for cake, offer them an enriched model: “You want to eat the big cake. Hmmm, the cake looks good. “
Children generally like to be told stories. This can, for example, become the bedtime ritual and offer you an intimate moment of sharing and tenderness for two.
For a period, children will always want the same story! It is sometimes tiresome for the parents, but for them it is a way to absorb the vocabulary, phrases, intonations, narrative schema etc.
When the same story has been read, re-read and re-reviewed, you can change the roles and ask the child to tell you the story. Help them by asking questions about the continuation of the plot, the character’s feelings, etc.
One must also make connections with one’s experience. For example, the character in the story has lost his dog.Remember, it’s like us when we thought Fido was gone, but he was just hiding in the garden. Do you think the character will also find his dog?
In addition, stories and tales are an opportunity to address certain themes of human life: birth, difference, freedom, anger, sadness, death, separation … However, the content is adapted to the level of understanding of the child and transmitted in a safe environment: your voice!
Imagesare also important because they are excellent discussion and commentary media. You can vary the pleasures by choosing books without text or albums with rich illustrations (not too simple, not too stuck to the text …).
Finally, visit the library in your neighborhood! It is an opportunity to discover, look, feel, leaf through books and let your child explore and choose!
Stories awaken interest in writing and develop the imagination!
Play, Play, Play
Not only is playing games an enjoyable activity but it is also an immense source of learning: respect for the rules, taking turns, social skills, learning to lose … To which are added learning to think more readily: food lexicon with a dining set, parts of the body with the baby, means of transportation with the cars etc …
Actually, a child who plays does not feel like learning or working !! We still need to offer supports that are stimulating!!
Some ideas for games:
Treasure hunt (in the sand, moss bath, bag of balls …) where we hide images (plasticised) or figurines that the child must find groping.
Journey of the adventurer: the child must go from point A to point B of the living room, for example without touching the ground and retrieve a certain number of images / objects on the way.
Memory games, freelancing in the lake and lotto are easy to make, with your child or children. Internet is a goldmine to explore to inspire you!
Wooden construction sets allow the child to imagine, create, organize, manipulate wooden parts, make all kinds of construction and …. destroy everything to start over! What a pleasure!
Village / cottage / farm games offer children the freedom to create ever-renewing scenarios and dialogues!
Role-playing games (playing doctor, school, merchant etc.) are activities that familiarize the child with different types of dialogues and make them discover their pragmatic skills since they must take on the role of a character and the characteristics that define it!
Games allow the child to build, understand and tame the world in order to be able to integrate.
When you think about it, everyone is playing, even adults!
Are you worried about your child’s language development?
Despite good attitudes and activities, does your child seem to have difficulty expressing, understanding or communicating? We invite you to contact us. Our team is made up of speech-language pathologists who offer their services at our two services locations in Lasalle and Vaudreuil. By meeting your child, they will be able to analyze their language development and determine their needs!
France’s “brain week” is an opportunity to take interest in the neurosciences!
The arrival of digital and new technologies in our lives and those of our children is revolutionary. However, it is time to question the impact of screens on children’s brain development.
The brain of digital children
Here is a video capsule that sums up the effects of digital exposure on the brain of children and teenagers.
And the body in all this?
It must be noted that the more children are users of screens, the more sedentary they are.
However, less movement means motor and sensory experiences are more rare. Yet these experiences are fundamental in the development of the brain and language in particular. Beatriz Padovan, and before her, Rudolf Steiner, developed the idea of an interdependence of the three great neuro-evolutive movements: walking, talking, thinking!
We could summarize it as follows:
Consider the number of steps the child takes before they can straighten and move on their legs. These movements mobilize the entire body (legs, arms, trunk, head).
Remember your child’s early years and the speed of his or her evolution! In about 3 years, the child goes from a prone position to the ability to run and jump after crawling, rolling, walking for all fours, crouching, etc.
Here we are referring to the steps that the child goes through before being able to formulate complete sentences.
It all begins with the cry. Then vocal games and babbling appear and diversify. Finally, their first words, first combinations of words and then phrases emerge in turn.
However, these stages are based on “pre-linguistic” functions, so called because they develop before the emergence of language and communication:
Respiration which is the primordial resource of speech (lungs, vocal cords, nose and mouth).
Suctionthat ensures the reinforcement of the structures that support the speech (cheeks, lips, tongue).
Chewing that promotes the rhythm and stability of the system (jaw, teeth, tongue).
Think of an elderly person who tries to talk to you without his dental prosthesis: without the support of the teeth, the lips and the tongue lose their points of support and their landmarks. In this context, the person has more difficulty expressing himself and being understood!
Finally, swallowing helps to strengthen the muscles of the tongue (17 in total!) and its mobility. In this respect, we must know that the support points of the tongue when swallowing are the same as when pronouncing the different sounds of speech.
In short, speech results from a series of precise and complex movements that organized and coordinated in a smaller space: the mouth.
In a schematic way, we are thinking of all the movements of thought: from the infant’s sensation of hunger to older children’s capacity for logical reasoning ! One can easily see the diversity and complexity of the stages of the cognitive development!
One can illustrate this visually by imagining the transmission of information in our brain through the maze of neurons that compose it and the neurological movements that it effects. Think of the motor drive for example!
It can be illustrated in a more general way by giving concrete examples of cognitive movements: mental flexibility, hypothetical-deductive reasoning, social skills and so many others! It is the mobility of thought that allows the individual to adjust and adapt constantly to their environment!
Finally, we can give the example of our memory faculty. Indeed, it is thanks to our memory that we can “go back” to the past without physically moving, but by putting our memories in motion!
The understanding of this interdependence and the importance of movement in child development have led to the development of a comprehensive therapeutic approach to treat sensory, motor and language disorders. This is what is known as the Padovan method or Neuro-Functional Reorganization.
If you would like to know more about this, we invite you to visit our website! We offer this mode of treatment in our two clinics in Lasalle and Vaudreuil!
Many parents want to know how they can work on their children’s motor skills at home without breaking the bank.
The question is how creative can you be?
If possible, your child’s occupational therapist will make recommendations of activities or games with every day items rather than spending money. We are all about repurposing things or making things have multiple purposes.
Here are some ideas to get your started.
Home base fine motor activities
First at all, kids are use to the typical coloring and puzzle activities. As parents, we want to stimulate the brain and motor skills. Most of all, we also want them to have fun and enjoy themselves. Here are some activities that can be done with items found in the household and that can include the whole family.
Kids love helping out and to prepare food.
Have a pizza night where they can work on their hand strength by rolling out the dough and cutting up the ingredients.
Do some baking where they have to stir, which will work on their upper body strength and bilateral skills
Playing dress up:
Let your children roam free in your closet.
Let them pick out their outfits where they will have to do buttons, zippers, clips or belts.
Shaving cream window design:
If you aren’t scared of getting a little bit messy:
Llet your children use shaving cream to design your patio windows.
Not only is their hand strength being worked in both hands, but their sensory system is also getting some stimulation.
And for clean up, give them a spray bottle filled with water and some paper towels, and let their hands go to work
Indoor gross motor activities
In addition, living in Canada, we can be forced to stay inside as the long five winter months are not very appealing to go outside. Some days, the weather is so cold that going outside to build a snowman is not an option.
So now, we are stuck inside and you are wondering what you can do with your children that is fun and but also stimulates their motor skills.
This game works on colors, motor planning, differentiating between the sides of the body, balance, core strength and it is so much fun
Every child loves this one and they do not realize that they are working on balance, endurance and motor planning, but, please note, remove all breakables and have a vacuum handy!
Crab walk or wheelbarrow race:
This can be a family activity as all members can play and work on their core and arm strength
All activities above are children approved.
Finally, Almost any household item can be turned into a game or activity; sometimes, we are just missing some creativity to put things together. As the occupational therapist who works at the clinic, we suggest you think carefully before you throw something out and think about how to re-use it: Scott towel rolls, egg cartons, Kleenex boxes, empty containers can all be useful, we just need to put our thinking caps on.
If you have any concerns or need inspiration, please note that we have two clinics in Lasalle and Vaudreuil!
Your child is living in a bilingual environment and it seems he is delayed in comparison with their peers?
You begin to worry but everyone says « it’s normal »?
Children with bilingualism are the subject of many questions about their language development. What is really happening?
First, this article wants to demystify the idiosyncrasies of language acquisition in a bilingual/multilingual environment. In addition, it aims to inform you about the « red flags » that would lead you to consult with a speech-language pathologist.
♦ What is normal?
First at all, it’s a reality: the development of language in bilingual children may have certain differences. However, this does not mean that they will never attain a level of language ability that is equivalent to their monolingual peers in both languages.
During the acquisition of a second language, several behaviours can be observed:
Children can mix sentence structures from one language to the second one. For example, they can formulate a sentence in French by employing the word order that is typical of the English language.
Period of silence:
If a child is learning a second language, it is likely that they will speak less for some time in order to concentrate on understanding. Their comprehension of the language will then be superior than what they can express in that same language.
Children can also interchange languages within the same sentence. Code-switching is related to the development of the executive functions that was mentioned in our previous article, so it is not worrisome if it is present in very young children.
In addition, it is wrong to think that a child that is learning to languages simultaneously is necessarily less advanced than their monolingual peers. For example, concerning their vocabulary, we expect the child to have a more restricted vocabulary in each manguage separately, but the combination of the number of words in each language is equal or superior to the number of words known by a monolingual peer.
Certain studies have also shown that bilingual children can present a cognitive advantage with better metalinguistic abilities (consciousness of language processes) that are necessary for learning.
♦ When should I consult?
If your child is demonstrating language difficulties that are not uniquely due to learning a second language, these would be present in both languages.
Furthermore, their first words as well as the combination of words should appear at the same age as a monolingual child. Here are a few ‘red flags’ that can indicate whether or not a consultation in speech-language pathology is necessary:
⊗ Does not say any words between the ages of 18 and 24 months.
⊗ Does not combine words between the ages of 24 and 30 months.
As with a unilingual child, you can also on the look out for several aspects such as communication by gestures, the amount of babbling as well as its variety, the understanding of instructions with or without visual cues, etc.
♦ A Few Tips
Here are some tips to help develop your child’s language in a bilingual context:
Speak the language in which you are most comfortable.
Indeed, we want to establish a pleasant atmosphere, and provide a good model to your child, which is easier to do in our mother tongue. In other words, it is not advisable to speak only the language spoken at daycare or school if it is not the language with which you are most comfortable. In short, we want the child to associate communication with something positive and to have a rich model.
If possible, apply the strategy to a context so that a language is associated with a particular context.
For example, you might decide that only you speak French to your child, while his father only speaks to him in English. Or, bath time can always takes place in French, while supper takes place in English. This structure will favor the distinction between the two languages in your child.
Do not forget that all children are born with the ability to learn several languages, even if they have language difficulties.
♦ Do you have doubts? Come visit us!
If you are concerned about your child’s language development, you can contact our receptionist to make an appointment at 514-224-8822. Our speech-language pathologists will be able to conduct assessments in English and French, and advise you on the steps to be taken.
Your children have been in school now for just over 2 months. Come November, the first report card comes out and the parent-teacher meeting follows soon after. Sometimes, teachers will tell you directly that your child needs to consult an occupational therapist. However, with large class sizes, this is not always the case.
In that case, you can analyse your child’s report card yourself and start looking for “warning signals”!
What should you look for?
First at all, several key words can be find in your child’s report card. For instance:
At the fine motor level:
Difficulties with cutting
Immature pencil grasp
Unable to copy their name
Difficulties with the alphabet
Undefined dominant hand
Constant dropping of small objects
In terms of physical and sports activities:
Difficulties with catching and throwing a ball
In terms of routine:
Refusing to use the washroom
Slower than their peers to get dressed
In terms of socialization:
Limited interaction with peers
Inappropriate boundaries with children
In terms of classroom behavior:
Constantly moving/fidgeting on chair
Having trouble following directions
Lacking appropriate posture
What to do next?
If you have identified one or more difficulties in the enumerated proposals, then an occupational therapy consultation may be required to help your children.
However, your first step would be to discuss these problems with their teacher in detail and have them provide you with specific examples of difficulties encountered in the classroom.
After that, you can contact the receptionist at Clinique Evolution to book an appointment for an evaluation with the occupational therapist (Haley McKitterick) or consult our website for a more complete description of our occupational therapy services.
Do you have more question?
Feel free to call us at 514 224-8822 or write us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, to discuss your questions and concerns. We are here to work in conjunction with the child, parents and educators, in hopes to improve on these difficulties and to help obtain better results for future report cards.
We have worked hard to create a great learning and rehabilitative atmosphere at our multidisciplinary clinic located in Lasalle.
Did you know…?
We offer now occupational therapy (OT), speech-language pathology (SLP), neuropsychology, psychology and tutoring in our multidisciplinary clinic!
Our therapists at Clinique Evolution work with people of all ages.
Moreover, our occupational therapist, speech-language pathologist at Clinique Evolution are bilingual and offer their services in both English and French.
Clinique Evolution’ therapists can also offer daycare, school and/or home visits in specified areas.
We also offer the Padovan ® Method, which is a form of neurofunctional reorganization therapy qui:
Is aligned with the logic of the development of every human being
Is based on the interdependence of the three major neuro-evolutive movements: walking, talking, thinking
Furthermore, the occupational therapist, speech-language pathologist, psychologist, neuropsychologist and tutors at Clinique Evolution work in close contact with their team as well as an individual’s family, daycare and school to provide the best care possible.
What do Clinique Evolution professionals do?
Our occupational therapist:
Is trained to assess and treat more than just fine motor skills.
Their scope of treatment extends to gross motor skills, self-care, sensory integration, visual motor skills, handwriting, visual perception and much more.
Our speech-language pathologist is trained to assess and treat:
Difficulties in many areas such as language, communication, speech, voice, and swallowing.
All aspects of language including oral comprehension, oral expression, reading, writing, and social language skills.
Our psychologist and neuropsychologist can :
Diagnose the presence of an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,
Support children that suffer from anxiety or stress,
Care for children that have tantrums,
Finally, she can draft recommendations for school derogations.
Our tutors at Clinique Evolution :
Offer academic support for students in both elementary school and high school.
Can your help your children with their academic difficulties and help them recover if they have fallen behind in their schoolwork.
To finish, our therapists and tutors have flexible hours and offer after school hours to better suit your schedule and needs.
The multidisciplinary clinic is easily accessible by highways 20, 30 and the 40