School readiness refers to whether a child has the knowledge, skills and behaviours that allow them to transition to school easily and successfully. It’s not just about academic skills like reading, writing and counting- it’s so much more!
How can you tell if your child is ready for school?
There are a broad range of skills that are referred to when we talk about ‘school readiness’.
We’re really excited to announce our new group program Move, Groove and Connect. This is a small group creative dance class, specifically designed to enhance each participants motor, language, and social skills.
Each group class will have a maximum of 4 participants per group, and will be run out of the beautiful dance studios within our Preston Location. We are super excited to be offering children this unique opportunity to build upon their skills in a highly engaging and supportive environment.
The program will commence in March 2019 and will be run on Wednesdays. It’s sure to be a lot of fun!
Some children with Autism Spectrum Disorder can be oversensitive or under sensitive to light, noise, temperature or clothing. Children with ASD can be either under sensitive or overactive to their environment. Here are some examples:
Sensory overload is often hard for us to really appreciate and understand, but it can certainly be challenging for your child to manage.
What can you do to help?
The first thing is to be aware that this might be happening. It’s ok. The next thing is to understand the intensity of the activity.
If it’s possible you might be able to notice, what are the ‘triggers’ for your child. We mentioned some. Is it possible to eliminate our reduce some of these to make the environment more comfortable?
What does an Occupational Therapist do?
Simply put an occupational therapist helps with children with the common ‘occupations’ of being a kid – running, playing, getting dressed, staying on tasks, and important safety concerns .
An Occupational Therapist (OT) can help children:
If you think it might be suitable, or if you have any questions, I’d be delighted to discuss further!
Develop your child’s pre-reading skills
Your child isn’t expected to be able to read when they start school, but they are expected to be able to do things like infer what a book is going to be about based on its cover, and retell the story after hearing it. Sit and read with your child and let them be the “teacher”- where they read the story back to you. Do this over and over- repetition is key!
Grow your child’s vocabulary
Help your child learn new words by using more complex words, explaining to your child what the word means, repeating new words in a sentence over and over again. As above- repetition is key. The more words your child knows, the easier it will be for them to learn and remember new words!
Teach your child to speak to unfamiliar people
Role play, practice answering questions. Children need to be able to talk to office staff, different teachers
Teach your child to ASK for HELP
You won’t be there to help your child when they don’t understand! Show your child how to ask for help, then give them a chance to practice it
If you’d like some more ideas about how to help your child be ready for prep, let us know.
We have some school readiness “Prep ready” 1:1 sessions running in Feb.
Most children will usually spend anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours a week in their speech therapy sessions.
If you think about what it’s like to learn a new language or a musical Most children will usually spend anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours a week in their speech therapy sessions. If you think about what it’s like to learn a new language or a musical instrument, then I’m sure you can understand how important it is to practice between lessons as well. Simply put, the more practise you can do (without your child becoming resistant), the better!
However, struggling to find the time for home practice can be a real challenge!
We understand that many parents are busy with work, other children, after school activities, pickups, drop off, and the list goes on! So sometimes parents aren’t able to do as much home practise as they’d like to.
The key is to be able to incorporate therapy, as much as you can, into everyday life...
In practice, what this means is that you need to ‘generalise’ the skills learnt in therapy and associate them with everyday tasks. It’s also really important for these to include different settings, people, times, locations and objectives.
To explain more let’s take Lily. Hi Lily! Lily is 4 years old. She attends weekly 1-hour speech therapy sessions, where the Speech Pathologist demonstrates strategies and teaches Lily’s mum how to get Lily to use words to ask for things she wants.
For example: we might suggest Lily’s mum places Lily’s favourite foods out of reach to encourage Lily to make a sound to ask for them.
Outside of Lily’s sessions, every time she takes her mums hand and walks her to the fridge (her current way of telling her what she wants), Lily’s mum encourages her to use the strategies she learnt in her session.
Over time, because Lily’s mum has used the strategy (in other words, mum has done lots of “home practice” without her even realising!) she gets much better at using words to ask for what she wants.
How therapy assistants may be able to help...
Another way, especially for busy parents, is for a therapy assistant to help reinforce the learning and play activities. Therapy assistants are trained to not only interact with your child, becoming a close positive role model, but can also reinforce activities as outlined in the therapy plan.
Some benefits include:
If you are interested to learn more about therapy assistants – please let us know I’d be really happy to have a conversation about whether it is right for you.
Well, here are some REAL LIFE examples of a day in the life of a Zanda Speech Therapist!
This week our Speech Therapist:
1. Provided training to kinder staff about how to use sign language and pictures to help kids: understand instructions, reduce anxiety transitioning between activities, and to help kids who are not yet using words to start to use words to request things they want (like food, toys, and people!)
2. Helped a school-aged child learn to say sounds like "g" and "sh" in words and sentences, in a "make your own obstacle course" game. The student created their own obstacle course, with dedicated sections (the hoops in this case!) for practicing the sound in a "silly" sentence.
3. Used playtime on the floor and outdoors to demonstrate to parents how to help their toddlers master the skills they need before they are ready to use words! This included using fun, repetitive sounds like "weee", "boom", "beep beep", and "moo" during ball play, to encourage the toddlers to imitate the sounds.