During our recent "Lunch and Learn" workshop, presented by Kids Physio Casey Legault, Physiotherapist and Community Engagement Manager, we learned about the importance of incorporating movement in speech and language therapy for children with DCD. Casey described many different activities and exercises designed to improve motor planning, coordination, and sequencing skills.
Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) is a motor skills disorder that affects an individual's ability to plan and coordinate movement. This disorder affects approximately 5-6% of school-aged children, and it can have significant impacts on an individual's ability to perform daily activities, including academic, social, and self-care tasks. DCD can also impact speech and language development. Children with DCD may experience difficulties with articulation, phonological processing, and language comprehension.
Using the CO-OP model, helps children develop strategies to support their own function. Think . Plan . Do . Check .
Another useful strategy presented was breaking down movements into smaller, more manageable steps, and gradually increasing the complexity of the movement as the child becomes more confident. For example, to learn how to throw a ball, use cues like "point", " hand behind ear" and "throw". Another strategy was using mirrors to help children with DCD visualize their movements and identify areas that need to be focused on.
Skill-specific tasks can be used such as animal walks including crab walk, bear crawl or flamingo stand. Simon Says and yoga are other wonderful ways to encourage movement. These activities are effective ways to improve motor skills in children with DCD. For example, animal walks can help children develop coordination and balance, while yoga can help improve body awareness and control.
Incorporating movement in speech and language therapy can be a wonderful and effective way to improve motor skills and speech and language development in children with DCD. If your child has been diagnosed with DCD, consider working with a speech and language therapist or a physiotherapist to learn more about how movement-based activities can help.
We had a busy Spring Break here at Grow – we hosted a Spring Social Learning Group for children in grades K-3, led by Samantha, an SLPA at Grow, alongside the incredible Melody from Music with Melody and a volunteer. Our camp was one week long, and focused on developing skills in the areas of flexible thinking, emotional awareness, joining and maintaining play, as well as friendship and language skills. We followed a similar routine each morning, building on skills from Day 1 – Day 5.
We started each morning with free play stations – we encouraged children to pause at the door and STOP and read the room – thinking about the space, time, objects and people. We encouraged campers to “point their choice” choose a free play station and supported joining play. By Day 5, many campers were able to independently “point their choice” and ask a peer to play before joining the group.
We did a morning check-in; thinking about how our bodies felt and what Zone of Regulation they were in at that moment. At first, this looked like matching pictures of children with different feelings to the different Zones, and eventually grew into a participatory exercise, wherein children were able to move their name tags through the Zones throughout the day as they checked in with their bodies.
Each day, we did lots of music and movement! Sometimes, this looked like sitting in a circle and playing turn-taking or cooperative games with different instruments, including taking turns being the leader and pointing at a friend to shake their music shaker, and taking turns shaking by looking at a friend. and sometimes this looked like a freeze dance party! Near the end of most days, campers were able to practice asking a friend to join them in a duet dance on “stage”, or participate as an audience member.
On Days 1 & 2, we took some time to get to know each other. On Day 1, we drew and wrote about ourselves, sharing what we like to think about and what we like to talk about. On Day 2, we created “friend files” for ourselves, sharing what we like to eat, play, watch, and learn about.
We sat together to each snack each day, and a camp leader read a story. All of the stories we chose focused on social-emotional themes, and we asked and answered questions as a group. The stories we included in our curriculum were:
Starting on Day 3, we worked as a group to decide on a theme and roles for our final musical performance! The group was split into two roles; musicians and dancers, and we collaboratively decided on a theme for the show, “Animals”. This meant that each group member had a role as either a musician expressing the sound or feeling of an animal, or as a dancer, expressing the movement of an animal. The animals we chose were octopus, shark, crab, lion, giraffe and snake. We worked as a whole group to create a collaborative backdrop for our performance, see below! Campers were able to communicate their ideas for the sounds and movement of each animal, and we presented the final show to families on Day 5!
It was incredible to see campers learning and collaborating throughout the week!
Today is January 27th, which means it's Family Literacy Day! Today's celebration was created by ABC Life Literacy Canada, a non-profit organization, that helps spread awareness about the benefits of reading and aims to promote literacy related activities. Reading involves multiple, complex steps and is a wonderful milestone for many children, as well as a vital piece of speech and language development. By incorporating literacy activities into your home, you can help your child develop a love of reading that will last a lifetime.
Here are some ways to incorporate literacy activities at home:
For Early Learners: (Infancy to Toddlers)
Pick books for their level
For Older Learners: (School Age)
Highlight narrative themes and sequencing in books
For All Ages:
Embrace the emotions in books
Where to find books?
Here are some of our favourite books:
Remember that every child develops at their own pace, and it's important to adjust these reading activities to match your child's needs and interests. With your encouragement and guidance, your child will develop their literacy skills and make their own special reading memories.
Here are some additional resources to use and learn more about increasing literacy at home:
The holidays are the perfect time to take a break from our routines. Enjoy the magic of our winter-wonderland of snow this December and create some cozy family times together. By spending quality time with your child you encourage their communication development.
At Grow Speech & Language Therapy we truly value having the opportunity to support your child’s speech and language growth throughout the year and to be part of a team with you.
Here are some ideas for winter activities that promote speech and language learning and embrace the winter theme:
2. Create a winter craft: There are so many fun craft ideas that you can do with your child over the winter holidays. You can make a melting snowman, create winter-themed puppets using recycled carboard, or decorate gingerbread houses (try using graham crackers). Crafts are great for: Sequencing (first, then, next, last); Requesting (Can I have the gold paint please?; and Planning – what will it look like when it’s done?; what do we need to do to make this craft?; what supplies do we need to get ready for the craft? It’s fun to get creative and see how each person’s craft looks a little different.
3. Play games: Games give an opportunity to practice social interactions- take turns, problem solve and follow instructions (or make up and share new ones)! A few popular games at the clinic this December have been: "Don’t Break The Ice" (take turns hitting the ice block but don’t let the penguin fall. Penguin pile-up - a cooperative game where you see how many penguins you can balance on an iceberg. “Santa, Cookie, Elf, Candy, Snowman” . Say the words in the same order as you take turns slapping down the cards. When the word you said matches the card – time to be the fist to slap to collect the deck!
4. Make a winter-themed sensory bin. This is really fun! You can get some things from the dollar store – cotton ball "snow", coconut shavings jewels, tinsel, sparkly pompoms, anything that is safe for your child to explore with their hands (if you know they will not put this in their mouth). Put in some characters like dinosaurs or their favourite figurines. Make up stories with your child about the characters' snowy adventures. Encourage lots of imaginative play.
5. Bake some tasty treats: Baking is a great activity to do with children as it involves following a plan, sequencing various steps, using vocabulary, and following instructions. It’s very motivating to taste things along the way. Plus, who doesn't love the warm and comforting aroma of cookies, cakes, and other treats baking in the oven? Here are some sourdough cinnamon rolls made by our Admin Assistant, Roza.
6. Sing holiday and winter songs: Singing is a fun and interactive way to practice language skills through repetition, rhyme and gesturing along to the music. Try playing freeze dance with your child’s favorite music - you can find favourite songs on YouTube. At the clinic, "Rudolph", "Jingle Bells" and "Frosty the Snowman are popular. Bells and shakers are simple instruments add to the music. Get together with friends and family and sing all together. What are your favourite songs?
7. Get outdoors and enjoy some of the holiday events in the city: Some free or low-cost favourites include: Burnaby Village Museum-Heritage Christmas, Coquitlam-Lights at Lafarge, Vandusen Gardens-Festival of Lights, or Ice Skating at the Shipyards. Go sledding, build a snowman, or make snow angels. Take pictures on your phone and later look at the pictures and talk about these fun experiences with your child or encourage them to tell others about what they did. It’s great to practice telling personal narratives (stories about ourselves) where you can encourage your child to let the listener know where they were, what they did, and how they felt about it (e.g. We had so much fun!). Here is a picture of Deb's daughter, Sylvia enjoying the lights at Vandusen Gardens this December, and Carla's daughter's Teagan & McKenna goofing around with their snowman.
We hope you make some magical memories with your children and loved ones this holiday season. Grab some cozy blankets, put on your warm winter gear, and have lots of fun this holiday season. We look forward to hearing all about your holidays when we see you in the New Year!
The Grow Team
We acknowledge with great gratitude and appreciation to be able to work, learn, and grow on the traditional, ancestral, unceded territories of the səl̓ilwətaɁɬ təməxʷ (Tsleil-Waututh), Skwxwú7mesh-ulh Temíx̱w (Squamish), and šxʷməθkʷəy̓əmaɁɬ təməxʷ (Musqueam) Nations.
In observation and in honour of the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation day, Grow will be closed on Friday, September 30. This is a day that honours the experiences of Indigenous Peoples, celebrates resilience and affirms a commitment that every child matters. The College of Speech and Hearing Health Professionals of BC (CSHBC) has adopted a Standard of Practice for Indigenous Cultural Safety, Cultural Humility, & Anti-Racism, which acknowledges the racism Indigenous groups face in health care and supports anti-racist and culturally safe care from Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists in BC. This is an important step towards Reconciliation that we at Grow, as a group of health professionals, fully support in taking on to ensure Indigenous clients are treated with respect and dignity.
How do we take a step towards Truth and Reconciliation? It is important to acknowledge and have meaningful conversations with your child about how truth and reconciliation can go beyond wearing the orange shirt. You don't have to be the expert, but can learn alongside your child. Here are some ideas of how to approach this with them:
The Grow Team
We hope you’ve had a wonderful summer and wishing a great start to the school year!
We are looking forward to welcoming you back to Grow this September. We appreciate your patience and flexibility while we completed our small renovations this August. With the extra room we will welcome members of the STEPS team (https://stepsbc.com).
We look forward to seeing you soon! Here is a Welcome Back to Grow and Back to School story you can share with your children.....
With Gratitude, The Grow Team
Wow, here we are near the end of August!
As back-to-school is just around the corner, the last few weeks of August are a good time to take steps towards getting back into a routine and to talk about school so we start to pre-imagine it. Besides going back-to-school shopping, routines are important to practice to ease your child into the back-to-school transition.
September can be a particularly demanding time for some children as they might be transitioning to kindergarten, starting at a new school, changing classrooms and teachers, etc. Children (and all of us) tend feel more secure and regulated when things are predictable. Having some established and predictable routines in place supports children to handle the transition to school and new activities with less stress.
Routines can help develop a child's executive functioning skills such as:
Having a routine can also take the hassles out of morning, after-school transitions and evenings for both your child and yourself!
It can be extremely overwhelming to jump right into a full schedule right when school starts. We recommend a gradual introduction of a week to two weeks of re-establishing routines.
Here are some tips for what your family can do this week to start easing back into a routine:
We like this blog post about supporting your child's Executive Functioning and Back to School by our colleagues in Burnaby Schools: http://blogs.sd41.bc.ca/slp/topic/executive-functions/
Here are some other helpful webpages on this topic:
Enjoy the last beautiful days of summer - go out and play together!
- Grow Speech & Language Therapy Team
We are RENOVATING!
Our clinic is undergoing improvements. We will be temporarily closed starting on Monday, August 22, 2022 and we will be reopening on Tuesday, September 6th, 2022
Please talk with us about alternate arrangements for appointments during this time.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
We will see you soon with new rooms and we will welcome some therapists from the STEPS BC team (https://stepsbc.com)
Thank you for supporting us as we grow! 🪴
Our Cool Collaborators Social and Music Learning camps have been super fun this summer! Thank you so much to the group who participated as we loved learning alongside those who were able to join us in our July 18-22nd camp. Our second camp of the summer is happening this week (Aug 8-12) with a new group and we are loving their energy!
In these camps we have a fun and engaging time learning about ourselves, other group members, and how to play and collaborate together. We sing, play instruments, and move our bodies to music -cool musical collaboration!
We practice skills like:
It is awesome to see all the children smiling and having fun!
A huge thank you to our volunteers for helping our camps run so smoothly.
Way to go, Cool Collaborators!
We look forward to other groups this fall and spring. Please inquire at email@example.com
Welcome to Grow's new home at 327 Renfrew Street, just around the corner from Wonderkids OT!
We can't wait to welcome you to our new space on Friday April 1st! We have been busily setting up the clinic with many toys and materials. We will continue to grow into our new home as we work with your children and you at the new location.
Thank you to our team (especially Amanda), and our families for helping with the move. We are so excited with this STEPS expansion and look forward to continuing to partner with the fantastic Wonderkids OT & STEPS therapists sharing part of the new space with Grow and working just around the corner.
Spring Break was a great time to move in!
Two of our new therapy rooms...all set up for learning and playing!
Our new location is around the corner and in the same building as Wonderkids OT.
Please let us know if you have any questions by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
See you at 327 Renfrew Street in April!
Carla & Deb and the Grow Team!
Carla Monteleone & Deborah Carter own and operate Grow Speech and Language Therapy in Vancouver, BC