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How You Can Help Your Child Develop Speech and Occupational Skills at Home

As your child begins to work with their speech or occupational therapist, you may find yourself wondering how you can support your child’s development at home. Fortunately, your therapist can help you find various ways to develop your child’s occupational and speech skills outside of therapy sessions.

speech skills

Developing Speech and Occupational Skills at Home

There are severely ways you build upon what they are learning during therapy, including:

1. Interact With Your Child: Engage & Explain

Following a routine is important. Even more important is to actively interact with your child by engaging during routine and learning activities, while also making sure to explain each activity.

2. Observe Your Child

Some children with special needs perceive sensory input in different ways and may be unable to verbalize discomfort. Remember that all behavior is communication.  Always keep a lookout for these differences and think about what the child’s behavior is communicating to you.

3. Use Common Sense 

Put safety first and arrange the home environment or any place for learning/engaging for physical and emotional comfort.

4. Use Tactile, Auditory, Or Visual Cues With Your Child

Having the right cues in an environment can mean the difference between participation and non-participation for many children with special needs. Tactile cues like gently touching a person’s shoulder, offering a blanket or other soft fabric, or providing silly putty are easy ways to mark a transition and get a person’s attention. Using color or auditory cues can also help reinforce lessons.

5. Stay Positive, Every Situation Is A Learning Opportunity

A positive attitude is imperative for anyone who works with children with special needs. There will always be ups and downs throughout any learning process, but having the right attitude can make all the difference. Turn struggles into lessons, and bring light to every activity through your positivity.

Schedule Your Consultation

To learn more about early speech and occupational therapy, contact your speech therapist in Los Angeles today!

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How a Preschool Readiness Program Prepares Your Child for Kindergarten

Here at Speech Source Therapy, our Little Learners Early Intervention Program (LLEIP) is a preschool readiness program specifically designed for your child. Preschool readiness (which can also be called kindergarten readiness) refers to a child’s readiness to make a smooth and successful transition and integration into the preschool environment and its routines and expectation.

preschool readiness

What to Expect with Our Preschool Readiness Program

LLEIP is a comprehensive, multidisciplinary center-based group program designed for children between the ages of 18 and 36 months who are demonstrating overall developmental delays and/or disabilities in the areas of speech and language, social/ cognitive development, self-help, motor development, feeding and play skills.

Our program is geared toward children who are at risk or demonstrate global developmental delays or have a diagnosis of Down Syndrome or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

The Little Learners Early Intervention Program uses all of the below strategies to help children learn.

  • Build on a child’s interest
  • Offer a predictable schedule
  • Develop joint attention, communication and social understanding
  • Teach tasks as a series of simple steps
  • Reinforce appropriate behaviors
  • Make use of visual strategies to help understanding
  • Parent education during class time and in support group settings

To schedule a tour of our preschool readiness program, contact our Program Director Lusine Martirosyan at 818-788-4121 ext. 109.

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How Reading Aloud Can Improve Speech

Many children who struggle with speech difficulties or who are nonverbal benefit significantly from parents reading aloud to them. Reading aloud to your child provides a wide variety of opportunities to engage her in conversation which can help improve her speech and build her communication skills naturally. At Speech Source Therapy, Inc., we encourage parents to read aloud to their children when possible to build future confidence and learning.

improve speech

Ways Reading Aloud May Improve Speech in Children

  • Repeat Stories – You may have noticed your toddler or elementary-aged child enjoys reading the same story over and over. This repetition is no coincidence. Repeating stories helps your child better understand the story and communicate what they have heard.
  • Look at Pictures -Take time to discuss the pictures in the story. Often the pictures give greater detail to the action read in the story. Have your child point out different aspects of the story and explain what is happening.
  • Read Rhyming Stories – Rhyming stories are not only fun for your child, but also make it easier for them to follow along and understand. Have your child repeat the rhymes to practice saying certain sounds.
  • Ask Questions – While reading a story, pause to ask your child a question about what the characters are doing at the moment or what they believe will happen next. Questions create opportunities for your child to communicate her opinions in safe space in turn building confidence.

Reading aloud is one of the simplest and beneficial ways to strengthen your child’s understanding and communication skills over time. For more information on how Speech Source Therapy can assist your child, schedule an appointment at SFV: (818) 788-4121 or LA: (213) 493-6698.

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How to Encourage Self-Help Skills

At an early age, many children begin to show independence. For some, starting to exercise independence through self-help skills requires more intentional effort. At Speech Source Therapy, our occupational therapists work with children to better develop motor skills to encourage their ability to care for themselves including ways to encourage these skills at home.

self-help skills

Ways Parents Can Encourage Self-Help Skills

Meal Time Independence

One of the best ways for children to practice independence at an early age is allowing them to feed themselves. As infants and toddlers, using their hands to feed builds fine motor skills and gives them a sense of self-confidence. The intent of self-feeding continues as children grow through the use of utensils and cups.

Getting Dressed on Their Own

For many children, getting dressed is a way to express who they are as a person. Allowing your child to pick his outfit and put it on himself builds not only self-confidence but also motor skills needed for other independent activities. Even playing dress-up can encourage a child to dress herself for everyday occasions.

Helping Clean Up

Encouraging children to participate in the clean-up process after playing with toys is a fantastic way to promote self-help skills for the future. Children learn early the responsibility to care for their belongings and build fine motor skills by picking up and placing toys in their proper place.

These are only a few ways to encourage self-help skills at home. To learn more about how our occupational therapists can assist your child at Speech Source Therapy, Inc., call SFV: (818) 788-4121 or LA: (213) 493-6698.

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Should I Limit Screen Time for My Child?

TV can be a good learning resource for children but it’s not nearly as effective as interactive, hands-on experiences such as touching, shaking, stacking, feeling, or problem-solving with people they’re familiar with. Therefore, a limit on screen time can be beneficial for many children.

Results Based on Studies the Role of Screen Time

Most studies on the effect of screen time on early childhood development are based on watching television. Researchers agree that TV does not offer any merits for early learning, at least for children under 2 years.

Other studies suggest that toddlers learn best in an interactive environment, where they receive proper feedback based on their actions. The problem with TV is that the programming does not give the child time to process the information, form an opinion, and respond. Ultimately this denies them the type of engagement they need for learning.

The biggest argument against TV for early childhood learning is the fact that it does not provide any feedback. However, this is not representative of all screen media. In fact, some reactive screens that engage the user have been found to be quite beneficial to children. For instance, a recent study revealed that the ability for toddlers to learn vocabulary words from a virtual Skype session on a monitor was just as effective as via face-to-face interaction.

Although the research on touchscreen devices is minimal, the fact that they’re flexible enough to provide feedback in real-time based on your actions, means that they might be useful for early childhood learning. A recent study showed that 4-6 year olds could learn logic puzzle strategies from a 2D app and effectively apply them to a real-life 3D model. Other studies also show the benefits of apps and touchscreen devices, such as the use of Bedtime Math to cultivate children’s math skills.

Final Note

More research is necessary to provide conclusive recommendations. But for now, parents in Van Nuys, Los Angeles can rest easy substituting the television for a tablet or smartphone; not for their children to stream online entertainment, but to engage with apps that offer high-quality content for their development.

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Understanding the Benefits of Pediatric Occupational Therapy

According to popular research, occupational therapy is helpful not only in developing necessary life skills but also in reducing the risk of hospital admission (and readmission in some cases). At Speech Source Therapy, Inc. we pride ourselves on providing families with an occupational therapy program that is personalized to meet the unique needs of your child.

occupational therapy

Personalized Pediatric Occupational Therapy

Typical issues addressed in pediatric occupational therapy that can be personalized include:

  • Cognitive skills – remembering letters, shapes and sequences
  • Fine motor skills – finger dexterity, wrist and forearm control, and hand strength
  • Gross motor skills – balance and body coordination
  • Self-care tasks – dressing, bathing and self-feeding
  • Social skills – taking turns, listening and following directions

In addition to one-on-one training with a Speech Source therapist and your child, we also offer training to families and caregivers on ways to assist with maintaining range of motion exercises and other self-care tasks. Our goal is to help train your child in both the physical aspect of self-care and in the psychological aspects (stress management and coping skills).

The first step in beginning your child’s pediatric occupational therapy journey is allowing us to evaluate their sensorimotor, cognitive, and adaptive skills. Once this has been done, we can develop a strategy that includes milestones.

Speech Source Therapy Inc. facility includes therapy and sensory integration gym with the necessary equipment to ensure the needs and best quality of care for our patients. If you are interested in working with a professional team with whom you can grow, please contact us at SFV: (818) 788-4121 or LA: (213) 493-6698.

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Developing Self-Esteem in Elementary Years

For many children, developing self-esteem in elementary years has challenges and opportunities at school to grow their confidence by discovering new capabilities and greater independence.  Others may find opportunities such as making new friends difficult leading them to doubt themselves.  As parents, you can help your child grow their self-esteem through the essential elementary school years to help them build confidence for the future.

self-esteem elementary years

Ways to Help Build Self-Esteem in Elementary Years

  • Self-Help Activities: As your child grows, he will be able to do more for himself.  It is important to allow your child to button his shirt, tie his shoes, or fill his drink cup once he can do it.  The more children do for themselves, the more confident they are in their capabilities which boosts self-esteem.
  • Praise Wisely: Praising your child’s efforts rather than results is vital for them to learn how to persevere, have a positive attitude, and focus on progress.  Children who learn how to focus on trying their best instead of getting everything correct are more likely to have higher self-esteem because they can generally find a positive in their efforts to accomplish a task or reach a goal.
  • Helping at Home: Elementary-aged children can contribute to the household in various ways.  Giving children chores such as taking out the trash, watering plants, or feeding the family pet will provide them with a sense of purpose and grow their self-esteem.

If you would like to learn more about building your child’s self-esteem, please contact our knowledgable Speech Source Therapy staff at  SFV: (818) 788-4121 or LA: (213) 493-6698.

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Developing Memory Skills at Home with Your Child

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 children discover tools to help develop their memory skills.  Often speech therapists recommend activities to help strengthen memory ability.


memory skills

Ways to Enhance Your Child’s Memory Skills

  • Games: 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.
  • 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 memory.
  • Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.: 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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Helping Your Child Calm Down: How an Occupational Therapist

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

Ways to Help Your Child Calm Down

Sing as Loud as Possible

Though it may seem completely the 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.

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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Developing Communication Skills in Everyday Moments

Early language and communication skills are learned best through everyday moments with your child—reading books, talking, laughing, and playing together. These moments increase essential speech and language which lead to greater academic success in the future.

communication skills


How Parents Can Help Communication Skills at Hom

At Speech Source Therapy, we work alongside your child to help her grow communication skills essential for learning. The process continues at home with how you interact with your older toddler during everyday life. Ways you can connect with your child include:

Talking with Your Child

Talking with your toddler helps her expand her vocabulary and learn more complex sentence structures. Sit with her while watching her favorite show and ask her questions about what she sees. Take a walk around the block and ask her about what she is thinking about at the moment. The more she describes the better her communication skills will develop.

Pause and Ask Questions

This helps your child develop her own ideas and opinions. Maybe you see lions lounging in the sun during a visit to the zoo. You could ask her, “Why do you think the lion is laying there?”

Offer Choices

Everyone enjoys the opportunity to choose an item or opportunity.  To help your child choose, give specific choices for example, “Would you like an apple or string cheese for a snack?”

Interested in learning more options for developing your child’s speech and language skills at Speech Source Therapy? Contact us at SFV: (818) 788-4121 or LA: (213) 493-6698.

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