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Pretend Play: What to Expect Ages 24-36 Months

As an adult, it may be difficult to remember the wonder and magic of toddler pretend play.  Think back.  Do you remember what it felt like to play like you were really the doctor caring for your favorite doll or stuffed animal?  Maybe you were the fireman saving the day or the teacher teaching all your stuffed friends their ABC’s.  Either way, you used your imagination to take the real-life moments you experienced and make them your own through play.  So how do you encourage this kind of imaginative play with your own young children?

toddler pretend play

Understanding Toddler Pretend Play

At this point in development, your toddler can pretend that a banana is a phone or another ordinary toy is something other than what it was actually built to do.  Using an object to represent something else is an essential part of developing your young child’s ability to use symbolic thinking.  Using a spoon like a wand will eventually translate to understanding letters and numbers are symbols of sounds and values we use in everyday conversation and daily activities.  So the next time your child hands you a large block to answer as a phone, dial the number and have a fantastic conversation with your child who is on their block in the other room.  It’s building essential tools for the next level of development.

If you want to learn more about your child’s development and what to expect, please contact our team of child development specialists at  Speech Source Therapy, Inc. at SFV: (818) 788-4121 or LA: (213) 493-6698.

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The Value of Pretend Play: 18-24 Months

Think back to your earliest memories of playing pretend… Do you remember how fun and magical it was to pretend to be your favorite movie character, to be the conductor on the train going to a magical land or a veterinarian caring for all your stuffed animals?  Pretend play is an essential part of development especially for children ages 18-24 months.  It is a time to mimic what they see in their world and make it their own.  So how can you as a parent encourage pretend play?

pretend play

Understanding the Value of Pretend Play for Young Toddlers

To best encourage pretend play, it is vital to understand how your child can play pretend at their age.  For most 18-24-month-old toddlers, copying what they see in their everyday life is a large part of their imaginative play. Encourage your child to play with toys that they would find in the real world like a toy phone, a kitchen set, a doll, or stuffed animal. How many times has your toddler handed you the play phone to answer?  Answering that phone call over and over is doing more than repeating an action.  It is showing your child how to pretend to chat with an imaginary friend on the other side of the phone which, in turn, sets them up for real conversation later in life.  If your child wants to pretend to make you dinner, set down at the table and use this opportunity to introduce new conversational language such as “Mmm, this is delicious.  Will you pass me the bread?”  By pretending to have a meal your child prepared, gives you the opportunity to encourage conversation and speech development.

Tools to Encourage Pretend Play

One of the easiest ways to encourage imaginative play is to let your child take the lead.  Letting your toddler be in charge of how to “cook the brownies” or “where you are going on a trip” gives them the chance to express themselves in a way they might not be able to do in real-world situations.  You can also continue to use speech tools learned during speech therapy to encourage their speech development while having fun.  The main point is to encourage your child to enjoy the moment and play out what they are imagining on their own.

To learn more about the value of pretend play for your child’s development, contact our expert team of speech therapists at  Speech Source Therapy, Inc. at SFV: (818) 788-4121 or LA: (213) 493-6698.

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Promoting Self-Confidence in Children

As children grow many have a natural self-confidence that drives their everyday activities, emotions, and goals.  On the flip side, some children struggle to believe in themselves and their abilities.  For parents, this truth can be difficult to navigate because they see their child’s potential but may not know how to help their child realize it for themselves.  The good news is there are daily opportunities parents can take advantage of to help encourage self-confidence in children.

self-confidence in children

How to Promote Self-Confidence in Children

Many parents are surprised to find out that encouraging self-confidence can be as easy as noticing opportunities in your daily schedule to let your child take the lead, including:

Giving Them a Real Household Job

Even at the toddler age, kids can contribute to the life of your family community by doing regular chores.  Whether it is load utensils in the dishwasher, watering plants, checking the mail, or folding socks, children thrive when they have responsibilities.  Many children even take charge of their responsibility making the task their own.  Feeling connected to the greater household community and discovering they can do the task has the ability to enhance their self-esteem for future interactions.

Encouraging Friendships

Having friends you have things in common with is a confidence boost at any age.  Encourage your child to meet new kids at the playground or storytime in order to develop their confidence.  The more people they meet the easier it can be in new situations to be confident.

Using Their Words

It is easy for many young children to meltdown when facing a challenge.  When you notice your child is getting frustrated, encourage them to use their words so you can help them navigate what needs to happen to complete a task or work through an issue with another person.  Knowing how to communicate their feelings will boost their confidence and help them in future social situations.

To learn more practical ways to promote self-confidence in children, please contact our team at Speech Source Therapy, Inc. at SFV: (818) 788-4121 or LA: (213) 493-6698.


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Advantages of Visiting a Pediatric Speech Therapist

When you notice your child may have a speech delay, it is easy to jump into researching all the possibilities.  As a parent, you want to give your child the best resources available. Though there are many speech therapy options, one of the best resources available is consulting with a pediatric speech therapist.  A pediatric speech therapist has the knowledge and skills specifically for early speech intervention, including diagnosis and treatment.

pediatric speech therapist

Why Visit a Pediatric Speech Therapist?

When considering the therapy options for your child, it is essential to choose the best option to meet their individual needs.  By visiting a children’s speech therapist, you can expect professional, unique care to advance your child’s communication skills, including:

  • Personalized Care: Your pediatric speech therapist will work individually with your child to determine diagnosis and treatment plans.  You can expect your child’s therapist to create a plan that fits your child’s abilities and personality in order to encourage success.
  • Early Intervention: At Speech Source Therapy, Inc., our experienced speech pathologists understand the importance of early communication skills.  Our goal is to help your child in the early stages to improve their communication skills to prepare them for future learning.
  • Vast Knowledge:  With specialized training, your children’s speech therapist has expert knowledge of how your child’s brain works, practical ways to help your child, and how you can encourage communication as their parent.  In short, your pediatric speech therapist is a resource for your whole family to better understand your little one and how to take an active role in their speech development.

Schedule Your Consultation

At Speech Source Therapy, it is our team’s desire to help children improve their speech and communication skills early in order to give them an advantage in the future.  If you would like to learn more about our practice and how our speech therapists in Los Angeles and Van Nuys can help your child, please schedule a consultation by calling SFV: (818) 788-4121 or LA: (213) 493-6698.

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Early Communication Skills in Babies

One of the best moments is when your child imitates your facial expressions.  At that moment, you know they understand what you just did and how to communicate back.  It is fun and, most importantly, is building vital communication skills for your child.  As part of our dedication to early intervention at Speech Source Therapy, Inc., our speech therapists help parents understand the signs of early communication skills in babies.

early communication skills in babies

Encouraging Early Communication Skills in Babies

Encouraging early communication skills can be as simple as making funny faces at your baby to see if they mimic your expression.  Common facial expressions include:

  • Sticking Out Your Tongue
  • Raising Your Eyebrows
  • Smiling
  • Opening and Closing Your Mouth
  • Making a “Fish” Face
  • Playing Peek-a-boo

These simple movements are building your young one’s brainpower to grow into more complex communication abilities as they age.  It is essential to note that repeating expressions is necessary for development. The younger your child is the more you will need to repeat the action to help them process the movement and repeat your actions. In addition, it strengthens your natural connection with your child by creating bonding opportunities throughout your daily routine and beginning communication.

How Can a Speech Therapist Help with Early Communication Skills?

At Speech Source Therapy, Inc., we believe early intervention is key in helping young ones build successful communication and speech skills.  If you think your child may not be meeting early communication milestones, consulting with a trained speech therapist in Los Angeles can help you determine if your child would benefit from speech therapy.  If you would like to schedule an appointment, please contact our offices at SFV: (818) 788-4121 or LA: (213) 493-6698.

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Developing Fine Motor Skills in Young Children

Most young children are often on the go.  Their energy and creativity generally keep them busy; however, there are times that their play can help build their fine motor skills.  At Speech Therapy, Inc., our occupational therapists are experienced in promoting fine motor skills in young children.  Our team works with each child on an individual basis and offers practical ways to encourage the learned skills at home.

fine motor skills in young children

Ways to Build Fine Motor Skills in Young Children

There are several ways to strengthen fine motor skills at home.  Parents can encourage their children through daily play and routines.  Some options include:

  • Limit Electronics:  Tablets and smartphones are a good resource for fun activities; however, they do not aid in strengthening your child’s fine motor skills.  Building the necessary strength and control necessary for growth requires adjusting finger and hand movements to be in sync with optical information.
  • Visit the Park:  The more your child moves their bodies the more they learn about their bodies.  By strengthening their larger muscles through playing on the playground or running around in a game of tag, they are, in turn, building fine motor strengths by increasing their dexterity.
  • Play Crawling Games:  By crawling around your child will strengthen their hands which will improve their fine motor capabilities.  A few crawling games include: crawling races, pretending to be a bear, or crawling during a game of tag.
  • Helping in the Kitchen:  Many children enjoy helping prepare meals.  By having your child mash potatoes for dinner, peel a banana for a snack, or stir the cookie batter, it is strengthening their hands for continued development.

If you would like additional fine motor tips or feel your child could benefit by working with an experienced occupational therapist in Los Angeles, please contact our team at Speech Source Therapy, Inc. at SFV: (818) 788-4121 or LA: (213) 493-6698.

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Ways to Help Your Child Calm Down

Every child has moments with large bursts of energy or frustration.  However, some children may find it difficult to calm down on their own. Helping your child calm down well will create positive development opportunities that will prepare them for future activities at school, the park, or other social opportunities.  At Speech Source Therapy, Inc., our occupational therapist can help your child learn numerous ways to calm down easily.

child calm down

Common Techniques to Help Calm Down

Sing as Loud as Possible

Though it may seem completely opposite of calming down, singing loudly to their favorite song can help change your child’s mood by releasing endorphins.

Take a Hot Bath

Often when your child is restless a nice warm bath will allow them to unwind especially if you include their favorite bath toys.

Push a Wall

Sometimes children just need to release built-up energy in order to relax.  Pushing against a wall will allow them to exert a large amount of energy and eventually tire their body physically.  The physical motions release mood-altering endorphins to allow them to become relaxed.

Pop Bubble Wrap

Most people get a sense of enjoyment from popping the little bubbles in bubble wrapt.  The sensory-stimulating activity is a simple way to encourage calmness and concentration when your child needs a few moments to wind down.

Take a Walk

Getting out in the fresh air and taking a leisurely walk often creates a sense of calm for children.  By focusing on their steps, listening for outdoor creatures, or watching the wind blow the treetops allows your child to focus and release any pent up energy.

How Can an Occupational Therapist Help?

If you are finding it challenging to help your child find the best technique to calm down, we would love the opportunity to help your child.  Our skilled occupational therapist in Los Angeles understands the difficulty many children face when learning to regulate their bodies.  By working individually with your child, we can help find the best practices to relax in various situations.  To schedule your appointment, contact our offices at SFV: (818) 788-4121 or LA: (213) 493-6698.

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Activities to Help Improve Your Child’s Memory Skills

Often a child’s memory skills can be challenged when beginning kindergarten or throughout elementary school.  The change in pace or higher academic demands can create an opportunity to further develop your child’s cognitive skills.  Many parents find that a speech therapist in Los Angeles can help their child discover tools to help develop their memory skills.  Often speech therapists recommend activities to help strengthen memory ability.  Common activities include:

child's memory skills

Games to Develop Your Child’s Memory Skills

Playing games is a simple way to stretch your child’s thinking muscles.  With the wide variety of memory games available, you can find a style that best fits your child’s interest to help strike their excitement.  Some examples include memory card matching, BopIt, or Memory Train.

Enhancing Your Child’s Memory with Questions

A simple question can go a long way to encourage your child to stretch his/her thinking ability.  Questions require your child to stop and reflect on how they would like to answer.  This helps develop essential problem-solving skills that help to develop the memory.

Repetition Building for Your Child’s Memory Development

Most parents who visit a children’s speech therapist learn about the value of repetition for speech development.  Repeating phrases or reading the same books over and over help with memory development as well. So next time your child wants to repeat nursery rhymes or read a book for the eighth time in a week, remember it is building his/her memory skills.

To learn more about ways you can encourage memory development in your child, contact our speech experts at Speech Source Therapy, Inc. at  SFV: (818) 788-4121 or LA: (213) 493-6698.

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Stuttering Speech Therapy Techniques

Visiting a speech therapist for stuttering speech therapy can be a little intimidating for your child. Often children who stutter can be shy or fear opportunities where they need to talk with others.  Speech Source Therapy, Inc. is a safe and encouraging environment for your child to develop skills for successful conversation.  Our staff uses techniques that cater to the needs of each child individually; however, there are a few common techniques that help most children who stutter.

stuttering speech skills

Ways Stuttering Speech Therapy Helps Your Child

A few techniques that could help your child include:

A-E-I-O-U Technique

A common exercise used to help reduce stuttering is saying the vowels sounds loudly and pronounced.  This helps your child with stammering and can give them a sense of confidence during speech therapy.

Breathing Exercises

By teaching your child to breathe from his or her stomach, our speech therapist in Los Angeles can help your child speak with greater ease.  Sometimes stuttering is caused by tense muscles and by changing how your child breathes can help put his or her body at ease and, in turn, make speaking easier.

Intentional Pauses

Knowing when to pause is just as important as speaking during speech therapy.  For instance, learning to pause after a word rather than in the middle can help your child reduce their stuttering.

Using Straws

Using a straw regularly can help your child to learn to relax his or her tongue and help with their speech therapy success.

To learn more about how our staff can help your child with stuttering speech therapy, contact our offices at SFV: (818) 788-4121 or
LA: (213) 493-6698.

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Can My Child’s Sibling Help with Speech Therapy Skills?

Often siblings can play a vital role in your child’s speech therapy skills.  Siblings generally help to make their brother or sister feel more comfortable especially in challenging situations.  During speech therapy, your child receives one on one direction to practice new skills and abilities.  At home, a sibling can help create a similar environment by playing games or taking an active role in helping develop your child’s speech skills.

speech therapy skills

Ways to Include Siblings to Develop Speech Therapy Skills

Taking Turns While Playing Games

Some speech therapy exercises include playing games where you take turns.  These games are a good way to involve a sibling at home to help your child feel more comfortable during their speech therapy sessions.  If your child plays well with his or her sibling, their confidence will grow and show when they are at speech therapy.

Practice Speech Skills

Siblings can take an active role in helping your child practice his or her speech skills.  Since most siblings already play together and see each other more than anyone else they have an excellent opportunity to help your child practice what they have learned at home.

Identify Issues

Again, siblings know each other better than most other people in your child’s life.  Often they can identify speech issues in their brother or sister that their parent may have overlooked.  Check with your child’s sibling to help best understand what letters are most difficult for your child.

To learn more about the best speech therapy skills practices and how our staff at Speech Source Therapy, Inc. can help your child, call our offices at SFV: (818) 788-4121
LA: (213) 493-6698.

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