Archive for May, 2011

May 29th, 2011

May is Speech and Hearing Month

May is a good time to remember that many people have difficulty talking and hearing.  It is estimated that 10 % of children have speech or language problems.  This might include difficulty with speech sounds (articulation), putting words together or understanding language as well as stuttering or voice difficulties.  To the listener a mild speech or language problem may not seem like a big deal, but the impact on learning in the classroom or self esteem can be great. It’s important to identify problems early.

The Hanen Centre is a non-profit organization dedicated to training parents and early childhood professionals to help preschool children develop language, social and literacy skills.  Visit their website for great information:

Other websites for good information about communication disorders relating to adults or children are:

May 23rd, 2011

Wonderful Word Games

I’ve just returned from a vacation without children! It reminded me that everyone needs some time off- even kids who are learning new sounds or language skills.  I often tell my clients to take a break from speech therapy over the summer if they’ve been working hard all year.  For  younger school age and preschool children who are learning speech sounds it’s a chance for development to take place.  For some children timing is everything.   My son wasn’t ready at age 6 1/2 to say R correctly, but by seven he could imitate it at the beginning of words.  That’s when we really started to practise.

On the other hand, there are fun ways to practise speech and language skills while on holiday.   My vacation reminded me of all the road trips we took with our 4 children.  We played a lot of word games in an effort to keep everyone from getting bored.  These games are great for working on spelling, vocabulary, memory, story telling – they’re fun too.  If you want to work on the R sound while travelling, check out the posting “R in the Car” ( August 8, 2010).

You don’t have to be on vacation to play these games.  We’ve also played them while stuck in a traffic jam or driving to a field trip.


1. 20 Questions – One person thinks of an noun which has to be an animal, vegatable or mineral.  The others have to guess what it is, but they can only ask 20 questions.  Whoever guesses gets to think of the next word.

2.I spy – We usually used a colour as the clue.  For example, “I spy with my little eye something that is red.”  Keep going until someone guesses the answer.  Watch out for the person who keeps changing their mind about the object they’re looking at!

3.Word String – One person starts with a word, say “giraffe”.  The next person has to think of a word that starts with the last letter, for example; “elephant.”  This game can go on for a long time-that’s the idea.

4.Alphabet Game – This game starts with the sentences;  “A my name is __.  I come from ___.   I like ____.”  Each word starts with the letter A.   The next person says; “B my name is ___.” Each word then has to start with the letter B. I don’t know if we ever made it through the entire alphabet, but if you do, just start again.  The rule is you have to come up with new words.

5. Round Robin Story– Each person takes a turn adding a sentence to the story.  The first person starts with “Once upon a time there was a ____.”   Be prepared for some wierd and wacky stories with lots of laughter.