Improving Language Processing for Children with Sensory Processing Disorders
Development of Language Processing Birth to 6 Months Response to voice and sound Often quieted by familiar friendly voice Attends readily to speaking voice Responds to own voice Responds to angry vocal tones by crying or becoming agitated Responds to pleasant tones by cooing and calming or smiling and laughing Responds to noise and voice by turning toward the source of the sound
Development of Language Processing 6 to 12 months Listens with increased intentness to new words Responds to a specific person by showing affect on face and with body language (8 months) Understands “no” and own name Responds to “bye bye” (9 months) Nods head “yes” or shakes head “no” to some questions (10 months) Follows simple instructions (11 or 12 months)
Four Key Non-Verbal Elements to Listening
1. ATTENTION SHIFTING
STOP LOOK LISTEN
STOP (sign + get your voice and body calm)
LOOK (get down to your child’s level + sign)
Language Used with the Child “STOP, quiet body” “LOOK at me with your eyes” “LISTEN, with your ears” “THINK, with your brain”
2. SOUND ASSOCIATION and LOCALIZATION
Sound Association and Localization Identifying what makes a sound and from where the sound comes. GAMES TO PLAY: “What do you hear?”: while taking a walk outside or in your own home (i.e., footsteps, dishwasher, car engine, fire engine, bird, echo, bathwater running, toilet flushing, doorbell, etc.)
Exploring sound makers (i.e., horns, whistles, musical instruments, pots and pans, etc.) Have a sibling or another parent go into another room with items that make sound and see if your child can listen for the sound and find the person and the sound maker. When listening to music in the car, see if your child can pick out the different instruments that they hear.
Matching an object to a sound made (i.e., shake some keys under the table, then place 2- 3 items, including the keys, on the table and see if your child can pick the object that made the sound they heard). Tap out a beat on a box, drum or ball (start with 2-3 taps and increase as your child is able) and see if the child can imitate the beat. For example; tap…tap.tap or tap.tap…tap Exploring high and low notes on a recorder, slide whistle, piano, etc.
PBS Daniel Tigers Neighborhood: Trolley and Bathroom games Maisy’s Playhouse: Train Game and Exploring each room (order on Earobics, Step 1: Clown Game (order on Thinking Things Collection 1 : Several games promote listening.
“ Hear the World” game “Listening Lotto” game
3. Thinking with Your Eyes The importance of looking at what you are thinking about. Your eyes tell you what your ears don’t hear.
GAMES TO PLAY: Place 2 large items on a bare table and tell the child to guess which toy you are thinking about by watching your eyes. Take turns with looking and guessing. Once successful with this, expand to 3 items spaced apart and smaller items. When this is successful you can begin having the child look at items or people within a room. Using big blocks, instruct the child that you are going to tell them how to build a tower without using any words. They will need to use their eyes to read your face and body language. Then use thumbs up/down, head nods/shakes, and facial expressions to let them know if they have chosen the right block, placed it in the right place, or placed it the correct way.
We listen with our entire body… Our eyes are for looking Our ears are for listening Our mouth stays quiet when listening Our body stays quiet when listening Our hands and feet stay quiet when listening Our brain thinks about what it sees, hears, knows, guesses (Adapted from Michelle Garcia Winner’s “Thinking About You Thinking About Me”) 4. Listening With Your Whole Body
Key Linguistic (Verbal) Elements to Listening at Home and in the Classroom
Get down to your child’s level both physically and with the level of the language that you use. Encouraging your child to “stop, look, listen, and think” about what is being said. Give directions slowly so that the child has adequate processing time. Present information in as many modalities as possible (i.e., visual, auditory, tactile, gestural)
Don’t be wordy. Be succinct and to the point. Think through your directions before you begin speaking. Build vocabulary. The larger a child’s vocabulary the less effort he/she has to exert when trying to comprehend what is being said. Teach vocabulary via context (as it happens) and stories. Talk about objects, people, emotions and activities happening around your child or in a book. Talk about what you are doing and what your child is doing. Use language that is rich and varied.
When teaching early Vocabulary, focus on: Objects/Nouns: people, places and things that the child encounters often. Descriptors/Adjectives: colors, sizes, shapes, temperature, speed, quantity, age, condition, etc. Possession: “mine, yours, Mom’s, Dad’s,” etc. Actions/Verbs: focus on actions that happen everyday in the child’s life. Locations/Prepositions: “in, out, on, under, in front, in back/behind, beside/next to, above, below, on top, on bottom Notice: “I see____, I hear____, I smell____, It feels____.”
Teach synonyms, antonyms, multiple meanings (i.e., “park” the noun and “park” the verb) and figurative language/idioms (i.e., It’s raining cats and dogs really means it’s raining hard) and jokes/riddles for cognitive flexibility as well as to activate the frontal lobe for better learning. Recap longer directions by highlighting the key components (1-2-3, First-Then-Last, Mark steps on your fingers).
Let the child know that you want him/her to try first, but can ask for clarification or a repeat if he/she is not successful (this teaches the child to be an active listener and not always rely on repetition). Visualization: help the child learn how to visualize him/herself performing the activity/task by first drawing cartoons of the steps involved in the task/activity. The drawing can be done by the adult at first in order to give the child the idea, then transfer the act of drawing to them for greater memory.
First get your coat then your shoes and last meet me at the back door.
Games that help with Following Directions. Animal Scramble Green Eggs and Ham Speedy Diner Cranium Hullabaloo Cat In the Hat, I Can Do That Hyper Dash
Computer games that help with Following Directions. PBS Between the Lions: Messy Attic (Games) Thinking Things Collection 1: Fribbles Hearbuilder: Following Directions
In the classroom, the child should be positioned where he/she can see the teacher the most and also beside a student that can model the correct tasks. Teach the child to “watch what is happening around him/her” in order to know what he/she needs to do. We use our ability to look around and listen to our environment to know what behavior is expected of us.
Talk with teachers about writing key words, quick drawings, or picture symbols for directions on the board or on a paper near or on the child’s desk as a memory jogger. SpecificGeneral _X_ Book out___ Math page 10 ___ Page 10___ Science page 15 ___ # 1,3,5,7,9___ Reading page 23 ___ Turn in page ___ Talk with teacher
EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONING Described as the “Conductor” that helps us to orchestrate what we think, feel and do with all that goes on around us.
1. SELF REGULATION Being able to self-regulate helps you to be prepared for learning. Sensory Integration therapy is important in helping the child learn how to sense and respond to the needs of his/her own body. Self-regulation is also being able to understand other’s body signals (nonverbal communication), mediate emotions (his/her own and others) and sustain attention.
“The Incredible 5-Point Scale” By: Kari Dunn Buron and Mitzi Curtis
Self-regulation can be enhanced by beginning a learning session or new experience with a joke or riddle. This activates the frontal lobe which is the “rationale brain”. (www.ducksters.com/jokesforkids).www.ducksters.com/jokesforkids If the child is not regulated then the subcortex or the “reactive brain” is in gear and learning is much more difficult. SLEEP!!!: A tired brain is a perseverative brain (gets stuck) and that is not conducive to learning.
2. Awareness and Forethought This brings us back to “stop, look, listen and think” “You Are a Social Detective” by Michelle Garcia Winner and Pamela Crooke is a great place to begin teaching kids about reading their environment for clues.
STOP and read the room/situation! Look around, what is happening? S= Space, Where am I? What does that mean? T= Time (of day), Is it a routine time or non-routine time? O= Objects, What supplies do I need? P= People, Read the people: faces, bodies, mood, what they are saying. (Created by Sarah Ward, MS,CCC-SLP) THINK-DECIDE-ACT: teach the child to think about what is happening around him, decide what he/she needs to do based on what he/she has observed, then get the supplies that you need and get going.
You can also teach forethought via use of literature. When reading stories, stop periodically and ask the child what he/she thinks might happen next. Help the child to use what he/she has already learned from the story along with past experiences/stories that he/she has had/read to make a “smart guess.” You can also teach forethought with pictures: Before:? Now: Next: ?
3. Organization, Prioritizing, and Beginning an Activity Help the child learn how to keep his/her room clean and helping them to organize play/work spaces. Give items a consistent place to go. Daily routines where possible! Routines early in childhood help kids pay attention to: space, time, objects and people. These observations then transfer to school routines by helping kids stop and read the room. Familiar routines help kids predict what new routines will look like and how to problem-solve new sequences.
Visual schedules with frequent reviews help children to anticipate what will be happening next. Schedules help to reduce anxiety which triggers the “reactive brain” and impedes learning. 1.Car 2. Store 3. Brother 4. Home Teach the language to sequencing (First, next, last, etc.)
To-Do lists that can be marked-off are helpful for organization and planning. Lists for chores, parts of an activity/task, or directions to a longer-term project can help the child to stay focused and organized. Making a Jack-O-Lantern 1. Write name on back of pumpkin 2. Glue eyes 3. Glue nose 4. Glue mouth 5. Glue stem
Story Grammar Marker: (a.k.a. Braidy) a visual/tactile tool to help kids remember the parts to a story. Designed to help with organization of story retell and writing.
Break familiar and novel activities into “Get Ready, Do, Done” with estimates of the amount of time that each step will take. This helps the child learn how to break down tasks into more “doable” parts and teaches them about time management ( provided by: Sarah Ward, MS,CCC-SLP ).
Brushing Teeth 1. Get toothbrush out. 2. Get toothpaste out 1. Put the toothpaste on the toothbrush. 2. Put the toothbrush in my mouth. 3. Clean my teeth. 4. Put water in a cup and take a small sip. 5.Swish the water in my mouth. 6. Spit out the water and toothpaste. 1.Rinse my mouth. 2. Put toothbrush away. 3. Put cap on toothpaste 4. Put toothpaste away. 5. Throw cup away. 7:15 to 7:16 7:16 to 7:21 Approx. 7:20 7:21 to 7:24
Break long assignments/projects into parts and provide a timeline for when each part should be done. Reassure the child that they may need more or less time for some parts than originally planned and that they may have to make adjustments.
Provided by: Sarah Ward, MS,CCC-SLP
Visual Mediators: helpful for teaching the child how to visualize items needed or steps to an activity. For example: photos of the child’s backpack with all the items needed most days organized into “feature” groups or photos of the child performing a daily routine that helps them visualize themselves performing each step.
4. WORKING MEMORY “…a brain system that provides temporary storage and manipulation of the information necessary for such complex cognitive tasks as language comprehension, learning, and reasoning.” (www.pubmed.com)www.pubmed.com Working memory leads to long-term memory storage, helps build relationships between ideas and assists with problem-solving.
Steps in Memory Storage Process Stimulus Sensory Register Working Memory Active Processing Long Term Memory (“Source, Processing Disorders” by Gail J. Richard, 2001)
WAYS TO ENHANCE WORKING MEMORY Rich experiences and a variety of experiences allow the child to map new information onto those old memories. Pre-learning information so that when the student hears it in class, he/she can more successfully process because it is not novel material. When you know that your student will be learning about a specific theme/topic (ask the child’s teacher to give you these a little bit ahead of time) you can go to the internet and look up pictures, stories, information about the topic.
Games to help with working memory: Earobics, Step 1: Clown game Child identifies environmental noises, but they increase in the number presented. Earobics, Step 2: Fireman game Child will need to know his/her numbers (order both on Give the child numbers to remember and repeat back. Start with two numbers and work up. You also can give words to remember and repeat back. Help the child learn how to parse the numbers together (“1,3,5”=1,3…5). Help the child learn how to make connections with the words to form an image (“boy, dog, banana”= the boy saw the dog that was eating a banana).
Use acronyms, silly phrases or cartooning to help the child remember information. (For grades 5+, I recommend BrainCogs computer game at Acronyms highlight the first letter of each item that the child needs to remember and puts each beginning letter into a word or nonsense word that can cue the child’s memory (i.e., STOP= Space, Time, Objects, People).
Silly phrases also highlight the first letter of a word or words that a child needs to remember but instead puts them into a catchy, often silly phrase (i.e., On Old Olympus' Towering Top, A Finn And German Viewed Some Hops for the cranial nerves).
Cartooning helps the child to sequence events and add necessary details that help the student visualize the information.
Rehearsal of information is helpful for retention. Have the student tell you what he knows about the subject and/or have the student pretend to be a reporter and report about the topic from notes that he/she has taken.