Friday, June 23, 2017

Zoom In

Today on my lunch break,  I noticed I was feeling pretty stressed about all of the items still un-done on my to-do list.  I knew I had a busy afternoon full of patients to see after lunch (which translates into zero time to get those tasks checked off my list!), and I was nervous that I would end up taking work home for the weekend if I didn't get it all done.  When I sat down at my therapy table with my first afternoon patient, though, I took a deep breath and told myself to, "zoom in."

It took a few minutes.  I was face to face with my patient, so I tried to notice what he was noticing.  I tried to see what it was that made him light up.  I noticed he'd had a hair cut since last week, and I could see his eyes better today.  I noticed that he smiled when he tapped a shape-sorter block against the table.  When I copied him and made the same tapping sound, he laughed.  I noticed that he used his voice more when there was noise in the background, like a ball popper popping or a musical toy playing.  By the end of the session, I had forgotten my to-do list stress, and had learned a few new things about my sweet patient that made our session incredibly productive.   Just by zooming in.

It's the same at home.  When I'm caught in the big picture of who needs to be where, and what needs to be done when, and how best to juggle it all, if I can just "zoom in" on my daughter, or my husband, or my dog, or a neat flower that just bloomed, my stress will often flow away, without a lot of effort on my part.

And now, it's Friday!  And I'm home!  And my daughter's spending the night with her cousin!  And even though I brought a tiny bit of work home, I'm going to "zoom in" on my hubby and have a nice dinner with him now!


What can you "zoom in" on today, for a quick happiness boost?  


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Summer Speech Sound Practice: Make it Fun!

This is the timer function on my cell phone.
It's within the clock app. 
It's summer, hooray!  Time for vacations and trips and a break from our routines!

I'm all for summer fun, but as an SLP (speech language pathologist), I don't want my speech students to lose their speech skills over the summer.  So, I often give parents summer packets and word lists to practice over their summer vacations.  But this summer, I have a new twist on speech homework:   The Super Speed Speech Sound Game.

(By the way, I got the idea for this game from the Whole Brain Teaching authors -- they have a super speed game for learning math facts, sight words, etc., and I love so many of their ideas!  Check them out!)

Generally, in the Super Speed Speech Sound Game, I give families a numbered list of 60 to 100 words that contain their child's target speech sound. These words are usually words we have practiced many times in speech, so that children can be pretty successful saying the words correctly, even without me there.  The words can just be a written list if the child is a reader, or I'll give a list of pictures/icons if they aren't yet readers.  Then, you play the game like this:

The Super Speed Speech Sound Game


1.  Set a timer for 1 minute. (most cell phones have a timer function)

2. When the timer starts, the child starts at #1 and says as many words correctly from the list, in order, as possible.  You interrupt them if the word was incorrect and have them repeat it correctly (quickly) before they can move to the next word.  Don't let them slip an incorrect word past you--we don't want a child to practice a word wrong! So don't be afraid to interrupt them and have them repeat the word until it is right.

3.  When the timer buzzes, write down the number of the last word on the list the child said correctly. This becomes their "score."

4.  Then, challenge the child to try to "beat their score" two times.  Reset the timer for one minute and have the child start over at #1 and read the same words over again quickly and correctly.  Again, if they say a word incorrectly, interrupt them and have them repeat the word correctly.  When the timer buzzes a second time, compare the # they got to with their first attempt.  The second try is almost always higher!   Celebrate that the child "beat their high score!"  Then, reset the timer again, and do one last round.  When the timer buzzes, write down the # they got to.

5.  If the child beats their high score twice,  reward them with a dance around the kitchen table or something equally silly.

That's it!  Instead of begging your kids to practice their speech words, they will be begging you to play this fun game with them!  (Well, maybe at least they won't complain about it!)

The Super Speed Speech Sound Game will build automaticity and help children maintain their speech sound skills even when they are out for the summer.  Let me know if you try it, and how your child liked it, if you did!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Accept Help Gracefully

My view from bed, as my hubby greeted the pup this morning.
Today, I was very sick.  I woke up early in the morning to prepare some food for a pot-luck I was planning to attend at work today.  But within moments, I felt shaky and nauseated and just downright horrible.  A stomach bug had struck!

Luckily, it must've been a short-lived bug, because I felt much better by this evening.

But the thing that struck me today, was that immediately when I told my husband I was feeling sick, he jumped out of bed and got to work helping me.  He brought me ginger ale.  He turned on all of our fans, so I wouldn't be hot.  He got out the cleaning supplies and lysol.  He brought me a bucket.  He brought me a bell to ring in case he was downstairs and couldn't hear me.  He checked on me every half hour or so.  I felt so cared for.

It occurred to me that I am a grown-up and could probably have gotten all of those things for myself, even in my sick state.  I felt a little guilty that my busy hubby had to take time out of his day to help me.  Several times, I apologized to him, for being so needy.

But when I thought about it, I realized that if the tables were turned, I would want him to accept my help without feeling guilty about it.  I would want him to feel cared for and safe without having to apologize for needing help or care.  I would be honored to be able to help him, because I love him and being helpful is one way I like to show love.

And so I tried to just accept help, and appreciate his kind care, rather than feeling bad about needing help.

I do think that many times in loving relationships, if people don't accept help gracefully, it can put others off. A friend or family member who thinks they are being loving by doing things for others constantly but who never accepts help from others, can seem to be keeping other people at a distance, even if they don't mean to.  I think it's something we need to consider about ourselves.  How do our rejections of help, or our expressions of guilt, or our apologies when we do receive help, affect the person trying to lovingly give us care or help?  Does it make them feel that we aren't as close as they thought, because we are uncomfortable being needy in front of them?

Let's try to be graceful in accepting help from those we love.



Have you ever noticed this? How gracefully do you accept help from your loved ones?  How can you be better about this?