Vocabulary Cards: Toys Your Child Should Know

According to the MacArthur-Bates CDI Words and Sentences Assessment, 

these are the toys that your child should know and, more importantly, say or sign.

 

Here are printable vocabulary cards you can use with your child.

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What Is…Executive Function?

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Executive function is a set of mental processes that helps connect past experience with present action. People use it to perform activities such as:

  • planning,
  • organizing,
  • strategizing,
  • paying attention to and remembering details, and
  • managing time and space.

How Does Executive Function Affect Learning?

In school, at home or in the workplace, we’re called on all day, every day, to self-regulate behavior. Executive function allows us to:

  • Make plans
  • Keep track of time and finish work on time
  • Keep track of more than one thing at once
  • Meaningfully include past knowledge in discussions
  • Evaluate ideas and reflect on our work
  • Change our minds and make mid-course corrections while thinking, reading and writing
  • Ask for help or seek more information when we need it
  • Engage in group dynamics
  • Wait to speak until we’re called on

What Are the Warning Signs of Executive Function Problems?

A student may have problems with executive function when he or she has trouble:

  • Planning projects
  • Comprehending how much time a project will take to complete
  • Telling stories (verbally or in writing), struggling to communicate details in an organized, sequential manner
  • Memorizing and retrieving information from memory
  • Initiating activities or tasks, or generating ideas independently
  • Retaining information while doing something with it, for example, remembering a phone number while dialing

Source: http://www.ncld.org/types-learning-disabilities/executive-function-disorders/what-is-executive-function

A Day in the Life: Meet Stephanie

Stephanie is 8 years old. She was identified at 1 ½ years old with a moderate hearing loss. She was diagnosed at 5 years old with autism. Her parents, Dan and Shelly, work full time and they just welcomed a newborn to their family. Stephanie attends school at the public school down the street from her house.

 

7:15 AM

 

Dan is out of town on business, and Shelly is scrambling to get Stephanie out the door on time. Her bus arrives at 7:30 and Stephanie is just now getting dressed. Shelly tries to get Stephanie to move more quickly, but Shelly is also holding a crying newborn. Juggling two children has proved more difficult than Shelly imagined. In the hustle and bustle of the morning, she forgets to put new batteries in Stephanie’s hearing aids.

 

Lately, with things being more hectic around their home, Stephanie’s progress has waned and Dan and Shelly are concerned. Stephanie is not reading on grade level and the other children in her class are making age-appropriate academic gains. They are on the waiting list at the Marcus Autism Center’s Language and Learning Clinic, where Stephanie will receive services to help her improve her communication and social skills.


 

Research: “The Importance of Fingerspelling for Reading”

“The Importance of Fingerspelling for Reading”
Visual Language & Visual Learning (VL2)
What is fingerspelling?
On the most simplistic level, fingerspelling can be defined as the use of handshapes to represent letters of the alphabet.

Key Findings on the Importance of Fingerspelling for Reading:
• Deaf families fingerspell to their deaf children when they are very young.
• Early exposure to fingerspelling helps these children become better readers.
• Fingerspelling, reading, and writing are interrelated.
• Fingerspelling facilitates English vocabulary growth, and larger the lexicon, the faster new vocabulary is learned.
• Fingerspelling positively correlates with stronger reading skills. Deaf and hard of hearing children who are good fingerspellers are good readers, and vice versa.

Source:
Visual Language and Visual Learning Science of Learning Center. (2010, July). The Importance of Fingerspelling for Reading. (Research Brief No. 1). Washington, DC: Sharon Baker.

A Day in the Life: Meet Franklin

Meet Franklin who is 5 years old. He is profoundly deaf and was identified at 1 year old. His parents, who are hearing, have chosen ASL as his modality. He is in kindergarten in a mainstream classroom.

4:03 PM

Franklin is just arriving home after a long 7 hour school day. He is hot and sweaty after his 45 minute bus commute from school to his house. He has homework to do – read a book and draw a picture of his favorite scene in the book. He can’t read yet, so he has to wait until his parents are able to read to him and help him with his homework.

Franklin is preparing for his homework activity by setting up on the kitchen table his paper, colored pencils, and the book he’s chosen. Mom works from home but doesn’t finish work until 5 PM. Dad won’t be home until much later, usually after 9 PM. Mom is a hearing parent whose ASL has improved greatly over the past several years, but she doesn’t feel confident in her ability communicating with Franklin.

Monday: A Day in the Life

Meet Harry, who is 24 months old. He was identified at 8 months old with a profound hearing loss. He now has bilateral cochlear implants. His mom, Sara, has chosen Listening & Spoken Language as his modality. They receive services at the Auditory Verbal Center.

8:03 AM
Sara has slept through her alarm and baby Harry’s auditory-verbal therapy is at 10 AM on the other side of town. When Sara realizes this, she rushes to get Harry up and ready to go. Their bus picks them up at 8:25, so they don’t have even a second to lose. If they miss this bus, they will miss their therapy appointment, which will take another four weeks to reschedule. At 8:24, they make it to their bus stop, which is, luckily, right outside their apartment. They hop on the bus and head off to the Auditory Verbal Center.

Sara has been tossing and turning for the past six months, ever since her pediatrician told her that if Harry doesn’t receive the proper early intervention services, he will not have the language he needs to learn how to read. Sara’s a single mother whose worries range from How will I make rent this month? to Will my baby ever talk?
She wonders if she’s reading to him enough, talking to him enough, interacting with him enough.
Harry is a happy baby, interested in the world around him and the new sounds he hears every day. He enjoys reading books with his mommy and he has just started saying “mama.” Sara was overjoyed to hear her baby boy speak her name…

Update on Georgia Pathway

You’ve probably noticed that our blog and social media sites have been quiet over the past few weeks. The mission of our coalition has changed a bit. We have been collaborating with the Department of Public Health on the 100 Babies Project, and our work at Georgia Pathway will continue to inform the work of the 100 Babies Project. We hope to complement the work of the 100 Babies Project by narrowing our focus to parent engagement and parent education within social media. This new venture will begin next Monday, June 16th.

On Mondays, we will feature a family, either a family who uses ASL or a family who uses LSL (listening and spoken language). We will give the child’s background – age, age of identification, hearing status, modality, etc. Then, Tuesday through Friday, we will provide information that could help that family access language and services to help their child on a path to grade-level reading.

Monday:  We will share “a day in the life” of a featured family.
Tuesday:  We will share research relating to the child and family featured on Monday.
Wednesday: We will provide a language lesson that the featured family could use at home.
Thursday: We will feature a service provider, locally and nationally, that might benefit the family of the week.
Friday: We will answer common questions that someone might have who is new to the deaf/hard of hearing community. This will be entitled, “What in the world?”

If you would like to feature research, a language lesson, a service provider, or if you have a question you would like us to answer, please email us at gapathway@gmail.com. We would love to hear from you!

The 100 Babies Project

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More about the 100 Babies Project, in the words of former Project Manager, Dr. Jessica Bergeron:

“Georgia Pathway started off as a community of practice for teachers, teachers who serve children who are deaf and hard of hearing. It started in June of 2011 in an effort to provide online support for teachers and improve their practices around literacy. We are the only group to combine LSL (Listening & Spoken Language), state-run ASL (American Sign Language)/bilingual programs, with county comprehensive programs with the common goal of grade level reading. We are the only group of our kind. Our 3rd grade goal is the same as our governor’s, which is that all children will be on a path to 3rd grade reading by 2020. Once we became a coalition in 2012-2013, we were working together to examine research-based practices that promote literacy development. Then, we recognized that we couldn’t be successful if we didn’t also target the system from birth to three. We then had a coalition meeting in June 2013. At that meeting, we made an effort to target the system, all of the people within the system instead of just teachers. This included policymakers, pediatricians, Department of Public Health, et al. Many great things happened at that meeting, but one of the best things that happened at that meeting was the creation of action teams. The Funding and Policy Action Team included Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald who is the Commissioner of the Department of Public Health in Georgia. She declared at that meeting that the next 100 babies who are diagnosed with hearing loss in Georgia would be on a path to grade level reading. She committed herself to making the changes that were needed to make it happen.

The mission of the 100 babies project is to create an efficient system that ensures that all children will be on a path to grade level reading. At the beginning of the project, the coalition started at the beginning of the literacy process, from pre-birth medical visits to 3rd grade reading, examining all interactions that would promote language growth, which is the foundation for literacy. It was an investigation of all parties that contribute to a child’s birth to literacy plan. It helped the coalition identify gaps and system failures. The gaps were places where issues arose that weren’t owned by any particular agency. The agencies have taken responsibility for their part. We are committed to staying six months ahead of the process. The 100 Babies is a first-run, testing the working system in place in Georgia for babies birth to 3rd grade. The breakdown of the project begins with investigation, then helping agencies problem solve and trouble shoot, and finally filling in the gaps. For each transaction, the focus is twofold. What capacity are we building in parents to empower their children? And how is this step building that child’s language?”

Stay tuned for more information about how you can get involved in this groundbreaking work!

 

A Baby’s Language Development: Motor Imitation

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One of the most important early steps in [language and] speech development is to copy or imitate movements.

Helping your child learn to imitate movements will improve eye contact and interaction. Set aside one or two periods a day to focus on movement imitation. Establish a time and place that eliminates distracting noises and reduces visual distractions. No specific time period is recommended. You know your child best. Remember these sessions should be enjoyable for you and your child.

To begin, sit at your child’s eye level in a face to face position. This will assist eye contact and help direct attention. Children may be in a high chair during these play sessions to focus attention and reduce the tendency to roam the house. The following activities are perfect for beginning to learn to imitate.

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Make a box of functional objects that can be used for imitation. Your box may include: cups, blocks, cars, spoons, balls, hats, small boxes to open and close, toy hammer, toy vehicles, etc.

There is no specific number of skills that your child must learn. The above activities are suggestions. Use your imagination!

The above article was written by Linda Mawhinney & Mary Scott McTeague, which can be found in their book, Early Language Development. You can find their book online.

For a helpful chart that outlines imitation and child development, visit http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/re/itf09cogdevfdimit.asp from the California Department of Education.

A Baby’s Language Development: Joint Attention

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What is Joint Attention?

From birth, parents respond to their infant’s coos, smiles, and movements as though they are meaningful communicative acts, and may smile, vocalize, or otherwise imitate their infant’s actions. These types of exchanges, sometimes called “proto-conversations,” are important for the infant’s developing emotional and social competence, including bonding and attachment, as well as early understanding of turn-taking and meaningful communication.

Beginning around six months, as infants become more mobile and start to explore the world around them, the focus of their attention shifts to the objects in their environment. Soon after that, they begin to coordinate attention between caregivers and objects in a meaningful way by looking, for example, back and forth between the caregiver and the object. This kind of shared focus between a child, a caregiver, and an object or event is known as joint attention. ¹

The Importance of Joint Attention

Infants’ ability to engage in joint attention is an important developmental milestone. Joint attention serves as a foundation for developing communicative competence and is one basis for the development of early social and cognitive skills.
For both hearing and deaf children, joint attention interactions are also crucial for language development. Specifically, the language children hear and see during this particular type of interaction with their caregivers is strongly linked to early vocabulary development. When caregivers share attention with their infants, and comment on the object or event on which the infant is focusing, infants acquire new words more easily and efficiently than if the caregiver simply attempts to redirect the child’s attention. Joint attention interactions that focus specifically on shared book reading have also been linked to later language development and reading ability.¹

How to Develop This Skill (Listening & Spoken Language)

  • Tell your child, “Look at me,” then tap his/her face and then your face. After you have given this verbal cue, give your child time to respond.
  • Point to a toy that your child likes and say, “look.” Gently turn his/her head toward the toy. When he/she looks at it, play with the toy or give it to him/her.
  • Hold up a toy or favorite item and say, “look.” Your child should look at you and then the object. Reward by giving the toy to your child.
  • Blow bubbles and say, “look.” Point as your child traces the bubbles. Blow more bubbles when he/she looks at you, repeat the word “look,” and point.
  • Blow up a balloon, but don’t tie it or let it go. Say, “look,” and release it when your child looks.
  • When your child becomes interested in books, point to a picture and say, “look.” Help your child point to pictures. The goal is for your child to look at you and then the picture. By sharing awareness and interest in the same picture or book you are achieving joint attention.
  • When another family member comes into the room, point and say, “look.” Reward your child for looking with a physical activity, such as tickling or patting.

Your child may need more time to understand what turning his/her head means, so don’t be discouraged if this skill is slow for him/her to learn.²

How to Develop This Skill (ASL)

  • Placing signs into the child’s current focus of attention;
  • Using attention-getting signals (tapping the child, waving towards the child) to establish eye contact before signing;
  • Physically setting up the interaction so that both the parent and the objects can be seen with minimal shifting (for example, sitting across from the child);
  • Waiting for spontaneous looks from the child before signing;
  • Providing relevant signs when the child spontaneously looks up;
  • Giving the child time to explore objects before eliciting attention; and
  • Using specific signs such as LOOK, along with a pleasant, positive manner, to prompt the child that linguistic input is forthcoming.¹


¹Visual Language and Visual Learning Science of Learning Center. (2012, June). Eye Gaze and Joint Attention (Research Brief No. 5). Washington, DC: Amy M. Lieberman

²Mawhinney, L. & McTeague, M.S. (2004). Joint Attention. Early Language Development. Super Duper Publications.