Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Design Your Home to Encourage Early Language Development (Guest Post)

Let's Talk Tuesday is a bi-weekly series with ideas & resources for promoting healthy speech development for your children (of any ability), but especially those with Apraxia, Autism, speech disorders or late talkers.  I am not a speech therapist, but I am a mom of child with Apraxia.  I share these ideas in hopes that they will help someone else.  You can view all of the Let's Talk Tuesday posts here.  

If you have a story or an idea that you would like to share, please click here for more information.

If you would like to sponsor the Let's Talk Tuesday Series, click here or contact me for more information. 

Today I'm excited to have Stef from the amazing AskaNanny.com here to guest post for us with some very helpful tips on encouraging early language development in the home!  


Design Your Home to Encourage Early Language Development

I am a firm believer that a child’s environment plays just as an important role as a parent in development. Even before they can talk children are hard at work observing what makes up their world (which when they are babies and toddlers is basically the room or house around them), what you place in it and how you do so.

There is a focus and value you can add to language development by celebrating books, words, and a diverse vocabulary throughout your home. If your child sees you place value on a concept or idea then it will be inherently important to them - just like any other value you bestow such as kindness or sympathy.

Here are 3 easy ways to adapt your environment to support early language development:

1. Books are important, read often, celebrated, displayed and respected. Simply put if you want your child to love reading you must show them that books are important and have them available to them and always around and be read to on a daily basis. That also goes for adult books as well. They should see you read! and your books displayed as special and important parts of your home.

2. If you want to build a strong vocabulary (which will directly translate into a strong brain muscle) offer a variety of diverse things to talk about and share within their environment. Listening to you say new and different words strengthens their receptive language and their brain in the early years which is the basis for all language development in the future.

3. Surround them with letters, words and text. This is important for language development but also for reading as well. (Experts call this an emergent literary development or pre-reading skill building.) Exposure via labeling, abcs, their name and their initials at their level without pressure or pretense from an adult makes text and our language a normal part of their every day life. Since children are whole body learners, when they can associate an actual object with the word that represents it they will retain this information longer and stronger even before they can read because of both the physical and cognitive connections made.

Lastly there is the best tool of all for future language development is you! Talking to your baby and developing their receptive language is FREE and you can take it where ever you go! So go chat it up!

- Stef the nanny from AskaNanny.com


Stef Tousignant is a mom, professional nanny, and blogger helping parents of babies and toddlers on AskaNanny.com by cutting out the trial and error of the first years with customized answers to the most perplexing parenting questions. Just real support for parents of real kids. Email her your question at unravelme@askananny.com or find her on Facebook or Twitter #thenannyisin

Monday, April 21, 2014

Make a Difference Mondays Link Up

I'm so excited to be a part of the Make a Difference Mondays Link Up!  I've joined forces with some amazing bloggers who have similar goals as I have with blogging - to make a difference! 

These women have inspired me in many ways & I'm excited to introduce you to them!  (click to view larger... sorry, blogger isn't agreeing with my images today)

What is 'Make a Difference Monday'?

Our Vision:
Make A Difference Mondays is a weekly linkup designed to encourage and inspire one another to live each day on purpose—making a meaningful difference in someone’s life in even the smallest of ways.

Our Mission:
Our mission is to provide a consistent gathering place for like-minded women to build online connections, share inspiration, and provide mutual encouragement and accountability as we seek to live intentionally and make a difference in the lives of those around us.

How To:

Every Monday we will invite bloggers to link-up any blog posts that encourage women to live life on purpose. This could include testimonies or goals from your own life, small acts of kindness, creative tips or ideas for showing consideration to others—the possibilities are endless.

To “Link Up” simply enter the direct link from your post in the Link Up tool each week! Also, please remember to comment on at least one other blogger’s post after sharing your link. What better way to start each week than by making a difference and encouraging another blogger in our Link Up!

Now it's your turn! Link up with me!!


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What's on Our iPad? iPractice Verbs

As many of you know, I have a daughter with Apraxia.  We love to review many speech therapy apps to help other kids like Paige & parents like me to know which apps are out there & which apps are helpful.  

iPractice Verbs

From the iTunes store:

iPractice Verbs is an app developed to help children learn and practice basic English verbs in a variety of levels (word, phrase, sentence) and tense forms (present, present progressive & past tense). iPractice Verbs was designed by a licensed and certified Speech-Language Pathologist to serve as a tool for children with language delays and as a tool for children and adults learning English as a second language.

This app contains over 158 regular & irregular verbs in the present, present progressive, and past tense with corresponding high quality images and audio (totaling to over 1000 stimuli). Practicing verbs and verb tenses has never been so easy or intuitive.

::: Features ::::
  • Contains regular and irregular verbs
  • 158 verbs at the word, phrase & sentence level
  • It includes present, present progressive & past tense options
  • Voice recording available
  • Built-in audio for all verbs
  • Compatible with the Therapy Report Center
  • Multi-player
  • Track correct & incorrect response
  • Players are advanced manually to give user flexibility
  • Generate certificates
  • Built-in homework sheets
  • Print, email or export results
  • Built-in reward system with prizes
  • Backup and restore data via iTunes file sharing

iPractice Verbs is one of the many good quality Smarty Ears Apps.  In fact, I think it's Smarty Ear's best kept secret! 

I'll walk you through the app.

When you first start the app, you have 2 options for activities, you can select either the 'flashcard' mode or the 'find it' mode. 

Once you select either, you'll have the option to narrow your selection of verbs to work on. 

The flashcard mode has a lot of variety!  You can pick which tense you'd like, and if you'd like it in a word, phrase or sentence.  In my mind, apps with variety = an app that will grow with my child. 

The find it mode is a multiple choice game.  This activity was designed to help students practice the techniques of listening in a variety of situations (e.g., focusing attention, reflecting, interpreting, analyzing, responding to messages).

I love that they added some extra fun into this app with their power cards.  The power cards will help motivate the child to keep going. 

My favorite part as a parent is that this app has built in homework sheets and certificates... something I have never seen before! 

And because this is such a great app, I'd love to share it with one lucky winner!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Read even more about this app here.
See more Smarty Ears apps here.
Read other app reviews & see more app giveaways here.

Tell me... what's your favorite app on your iPad?

*This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may get a small commission if you decided to purchase anything from that link.  Clicking on the link will in no way make you pay more, in fact, I love to look for the best prices to save you as much money as possible!  I only recommend products & companies that I use & love myself, so I know you will be in good hands.  Thank you!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Let's Talk Tuesday - Getting Involved With Your Special Needs Communities

Let's Talk Tuesday is a bi-weekly series with ideas & resources for promoting healthy speech development for your children (of any ability), but especially those with Apraxia, Autism, speech disorders or late talkers.  I am not a speech therapist, but I am a mom of child with Apraxia.  I share these ideas in hopes that they will help someone else.  You can view all of the Let's Talk Tuesday posts here.  

If you have a story or an idea that you would like to share, please click here for more information.

If you would like to sponsor the Let's Talk Tuesday Series, click here or contact me for more information. 


I think it's extremely important to surround yourself in a community when your child is diagnosed with a special need.  It provides the support, friendship & understanding you can't get anywhere else.  Here are 3 ways to get involved with other families who have similar situations as yours.

Go to or organize a walk
There are many organizations who hold annual walks for kids with that diagnosis.  There are Autism Walks, Down Syndrome Walks, Apraxia Walks and many others!  If you don't see one in your area, you can organize your own!   It can be as small or as large as you want it to be.

Helpful Hint: You can find organization tips here.

Join or start a Facebook page
I've joined several Facebook pages for Apraxia, Sensory Processing Disorder and other diagnosis pages.  It's so nice to be able to ask questions to those who have been where you are & to read other's questions.  I've learned a lot by looking through other Apraxia Moms' questions - things I never would have learned anywhere else!

Helpful Hint: When you're a part of the Facebook Group, there's a search bar where you can search for previously posted comments and questions.  This can come in handy if you have a question, but aren't sure if it's already been asked.

If there isn't a page you want, you can create one!  Sometimes it's also helpful to create local diagnosis pages.  For example, I created the Utah Apraxia Families page because I wanted to surround myself with local Apraxia families.  It's also been beneficial to talk to them about different school districts in the area and get references to local speech therapists.  

Helpful Hint:  If you're starting your own local support group on Facebook, check out this page for more info.  

Local Support Groups
Ask your doctors or therapists for any local support groups.  You can also ask them to give your contact information to another family they work with in a similar situation as you are in.  Chances are, that family wants to reach out to other families, too!

Helpful Hint: You can create Mommy Cards for your therapist to give to the family.  I've found them very useful! 

No doubt you'll benefit from surrounding yourself and your children around others who understand your situation.  I've loved meeting other Apraxia families!  It's been great to get Paige around some other kids with Apraxia as well.

Do you have any other tips on getting involved with your special needs community?  Tell us below!  

Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.  I will receive a small commission from anything purchased through these links, but you will in no way be charged extra from purchasing through these links.  Thank you! 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Big News! Utah is having an Apraxia Walk!

This year we are holding the 2014 Walk for Children with Apraxia of Speech in North Salt Lake City on Saturday, June 7th. 

Last year was my first year going, but it was so nice to meet other families going through the same thing.  I also really loved seeing everyone on our team come to show Paige they love her.  It really meant a lot to me! 

If you live in Utah & have a child with Apraxia, I'd love to see you there!  You can start your own team, or you're welcome to join Team Paige



 For all of the details, click here.

Friday, April 4, 2014

What My Special Needs Toddler Has Taught Me About Facing Challenges - Faith Filled Mommy Moments

Faith Filled Mommy Moments is a safe place for moms of any religion to share their experiences on how their faith &/or beliefs helped them through a moment in motherhood. Because Heaven knows I need all the inspiration I can get!  I will be accepting Guest Posters for the majority of this series & have some awesome moms lined up for you!  I'm hoping this series will inspire other moms, help them draw nearer to their beliefs (whatever they are), & unite us all together.  If you are interested in sharing one of your stories in a post on this series, email me at michelle@trustmeimamom.com for more information.

My daughter has been diagnosed with Apraxia & Sensory Processing Disorder.  Although I realize there are many more severe special needs, she definitely has them. 

For any of you who know a child with special needs, you know they are amazing.  Now, I'm not necessarily saying they are automatically qualified into superhero status just for having these special needs, but I do think they deserve a little credit for going through everything they have to go through.

Usually, they go through these challenges with such an amazing spirit. 

It's inspiring! 

Paige (my 4 year old) has an extra hard time with her speech.  You don't realize how much you talk (or how important it is) until a loved one has a hard time speaking clearly.  Paige has to work really, really hard for people to understand her.  Although she's made tremendous improvement in the past year (her pediatrician was almost in tears at her 4 year check up because she was so impressed and proud of Paige), she still has a long road ahead of her.  This might be something that affects her for the rest of her life.
I can't imagine how frustrating it would be to not be understood, not even by your own mom

I get frustrated just when I'm in the other room & my husband can't hear one sentence of mine. 
Imagine you can't tell anyone what you want to eat.  You can only sign that you want to eat.  Imagine you can't tell anyone what show you want to watch on TV.  You can only point to the TV.  Imagine you can't tell someone your tummy hurts.  You can only... well, there's no way she could have communicated that to me when she was younger.  Imagine you want to make a friend, but you can't talk in a way they understand.  You can only smile at them and hope they give you plenty of time and attention to figure out what you want. 

Now imagine this is your life.  Day after day. 

That would be an incredibly hard & lonely life.  To be honest, I am sure I'm only pointing out a small portion of Apraxia's challenges. 

Despite these trials (and many more), Paige always seems to have such a happy spirit about her.  

She's amazing & teaches me daily to be better.  I'd love to share what she teaches me about how to handle life's trials with you. 

She rarely gets frustrated with herself and others.
(even though she would have been justified many times)
People often don't understand her, or try very hard to understand her.  This is something I would get frustrated with.  She's patient with them & if she needs help, she turns to me to translate.  Same goes for when her body doesn't work the way she wants it to.  She's usually very patient with herself.  When I'm not feeling my best (AKA in the middle of a trial), I find it very hard to be patient with others.  That's usually when I snap or say something I later regret.  I need to remember to try to be more patient with others.  As far as being patient with myself, well... we are our own worst critics.  So I love her example on being patient with herself. 

She turns to the Lord when she needs to for help with what she can't do on her own.  
She knows that God is there for her, so when she needs help, she prays.   (read here for an inspiring story about her praying)  I love the faith she has. 

She gets creative in how to solve her problems/communicate.
Paige has always been great at communicating, just not necessarily verbally.  She finds creative ways to communicate & let others know what she wants to tell them.  I think it's often hard when we're in the middle of a trial to be open minded & creative, but if we let ourselves be open to other ways to solve our problem, we will come out on top more times than not. 

She laughs at herself when her body won't work the way she wants it to.
Paige's occupational therapist pointed out to me that kids with similar motor control challenges as Paige often make their mistakes into something silly.  This totally made sense to me because Paige used to be as serious as can be, but in the past year or so, she's become more silly & it's usually when she's trying to control her body, but it doesn't always work the way she wants it to.   Having a good sense of humor and a positive attitude can make or break you in a hard time.

She accepts her challenges & makes the most of them.
Paige knows she has a hard time with certain things.  She does a great job making the most of what she's been given in life.  She has a positive attitude, is patient with the situations she faces & still loves herself & those around her.  

I love Paige for teaching me so much.  I want to follow her example & use these tips each day as I face different challenges and trials.

Tell me!  What has your child taught you about challenges??  Let's learn from each other's littles!  

Linked up to Fellowship Fridays, Love That Max, How Do You Do It? Parenting Link Up, LDS Link-up Party & The Homemaking Party

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Even a Child Can Make a BIG Difference in Someone's Life

This past weekend, I was able to watch a Women's Conference with my mom, some other family and friends.  It was a really neat and uplifting conference.

One of the things they spoke about that touched me the most was serving others (surprised?).

My favorite quote was by Bonnie Oscarson, after she told a story about a mom and daughter serving a neighbor who had Multiple Sclerosis.  She said, "even a child can make a big difference in someone's life."  [Re-tweet this]

You can watch her whole talk here.

I just wanted to share it because I know it can be true.  Children have such a beautiful spirit about them and they can help in a way that no one else can.  This is one of the many reasons why I started the Mommy & Me Monthly Service Challenge, so that we can help our kids have many opportunities to help others. 

I want to know...
How has a child made a difference in your life?  Tell me in the comments!  

Speaking of conference... another similar conference is this weekend (basically a continuation of the Women's Conference, but it's for any one, not just women).  This is a conference that my church puts on to uplift people from around the world.  You're welcome to watch it here with me!

Here's a highlight about it.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...