A Little About Me and This Blog

I have been a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) since 1987. I am a member of the American Speech and Hearing Association. I have worked in the states of New York, Hawaii and Florida. I am currently in New York State. I have worked in settings that include public schools, special education preschools, hospitals, adult day treatment programs, home health rehabilitation, early intervention and preschool homebased therapy. I have provided evaluation and therapy to people ranging in age from 6 months to 100 years. I have worked with a wide range of conditions and treatments including fluency, aphasia, apraxia, voice disorders, dysphagia, cleft palate, hearing impairment, articulation delay, language delay, augmentative/alternative communication, autism, and many others through the years.
The purpose of this Blog is to share information and answer questions that you may have. I will strive to provide the correct information to the best of my professional knowledge. I may not share the same professional opinion as other licensed speech pathologists and I encourage second opinions if you want to be as informed as possible.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Keep A First Words Journal

  When I first go into a home to start therapy with a toddler that is delayed in their speech I always ask the parents how many words the child currently uses.  At first, parents usually do not know exactly how many words their child has.  They may then start remembering that their child has said "mama" or "baba" or "dada."  There are situations where this is actually the number of words the child has. More often, however, the child may actually have ten to twenty words in their expressive vocabulary.  Parents can forget easily, even though at the time they think they will remember every word the child uses.

   One of the first things I do is to have the parents start a "First Words Journal" in the form of a piece of paper placed on the refrigerator. I find this is the best method for ensuring that the parents use it.  They see it and are reminded of it often.  Whenever their child uses a word, they are to write it down as soon after they hear it as possible. The date should be added so it can be determined how often new words are added. If they hear the word again, they are to put a tally mark next to the word that had been written previously.  This helps to see the number of times the child uses specific words and which words may have just been a one time production.

     Parents aren't expected to keep a perfect record, but in one week an impressive log is often compiled.  Through the course of therapy, I have parents continue to keep the journal as the child uses more words.  Before long, there are often two word phrases added to the list!  This is a great way to see the child's progress and have the parents be more aware of their child's speech attempts.  Parents tend to get  more involved trying to encourage new words to be able to add them to the list.

     This is a great way to document any child's first words and phrases and becomes a keepsake for memory books.  I especially encourage parents to use this if they suspect a delay.  Be sure to date the new words the first time they are used.

1 comment:

  1. this is a great idea... to do with any child... time goes so fast and you are right, as parents we do not remember.. no matter what our intentions are.