How can I help my dd at home?

Avatar for littleroses
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
How can I help my dd at home?
Sun, 05-11-2003 - 12:57pm
Since my dd (5 1/2 years) was just diagnosed, I am wondering what I can do at home to help her. I find all kinds of therapies and diets and everything on the internet, but since I am home all the time, why couldn't I learn how to help her? I just don't know what to do, however. In a month, she will see the developmental ped. again and begin to be scheduled for speech once a week. There's all the days of the week in between. Once a week is all my insurance allows. I just don't know what to do to help her? Where do I begin? I haven't found any info about activities at home parents could do to be more therapeutic-like. If there is any!

My dd is very intelligent, knew abc's, numbers, shapes, etc. at age 2. She can talk, but not well. She annunciates well, she just has a hard time processing language and forming her own sentences. She uses mostly phrases she's already heard and repeats those often. Her language development is comparable to a 2 year old. What should I be doing now? And not simply speech, but just to grow in general. How can I help her at home?

This is so frustrating! You know, on many other problems, there seems to be more clear goals and treatments. One of the hardest parts about this is feeling like I have to find help for my child for something I know nothing about with very little guidance. It seems like being asked of me to come up with a cure for AIDS or something. Holy cow, where do I begin knowing nothing about nothing? I either have to investigate things on my own and hope I don't come up with malarky or trust these official people who all along told me she seemed fine until I pushed it. This part of the process sucks. There is no clear path or direction for parents or kids to follow. (It feels to me). I am a listmaker person anyway so this is very frustrating and daunting. I feel much better being able to refer to the veterans (you moms and dads out there) for support. I will be back here often! haha. Anyway, I am still wondering what are really good activities at home that you or your family do? Thanks!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 05-12-2003 - 11:26am
There are a couple things you can do. First you mentioned she is 5 1/2. Where is she at with regards to school? Do you live in the states? If you do and she is not kindergarten age yet she could qualify for special education services through the district and they would most likely provide preschool special education for her including additional speech and language which she will need. You would just need to call your districts special education department and request testing.

Next, it is terribly overwhelming to try to figure out what to do as a parent. If you want to help at home, start in small steps. Really sit and think of 1 or 2 "objectives" you want to accomplish at home and come up with a plan for those. When those are mastered you can move on to others. It will become quicker and quicker to teach and master new skills as she gets used to learning at home and you get used to her learning style and how best to teach her.

I often find what I need to work on at home are basic living skills and those skills that will be needed for life outside school. For instance, going to the store and not haaving tantrums in public, eating a better variety of foods, how to dress and take care of personal hypgeine. Now my kids are working on organizing and being responsible. We use lots of visual cues and checklists all around the house to help with this.

Also, having a structure at home is very helpful. If you can make some sort of visual schedule of the routine it helps as well. Speech pathologists typically have access to a computer program of "mayer Johnson symbols" also known as "PECS pictures" these are very helpful for making picture schedules. Perhaps the speech person could make some pictures for you to use at home. She should also be able to show you how to makepicture schedules of routines and different things you would like to teach.

Lastly, language. With that one of the best things you can do at home now is to get into the habit of always providing a good model for her to copy. You mentioned she has a lot of words but can't really structure sentences. So if she is trying to say something or says it wrong, you can model how she should say it. For instance if she is asking for something, you can model the correct way to ask and have her say it that way to get the item. My dd had that problem with language to. She is much better now but still occasionally gets stuck on how to say something. I still just model they way it should be said and she uses that or even expands on it once she gets the idea. My son has a habit of being demanding and saying things in a not so nice way. I just calmly say what he should say and he has gotten good at repeating what he wants correctly. He is getting better and better at using the right words so long as he is in a good mood.

Also, on language, as the speech person to teach you what she is doing in the sessions so you can continue it at home. Many speech paths will gladly provide homework for you to work on.



iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 05-12-2003 - 12:53pm
A couple of thoughts for you (in addition to the great ones in the last message!).

I'd start by picking up a book called The Child with Special Needs by Stanley Greenspan.

His approach, which he calls Floortime, is VERY parent friendly, and involves a form of intensive, directed playing. I found that it really pushed my son to build skills in symbolic play and language -- plus it was a lot of fun, and nice as a bonding experience.

You can also get your child involved with activities that build social skills like... supervised play dates; activities at the YMCA (you can actually be there and coach her, if you like, and explain what's up. The Y has a mission to serve kids with disabilities, so they should almost certainly be cool with this).

You can try music groups, or even going to a concert or two. Listening and dancing to CDs together. Talking about different sounds. Working on concepts like fast, slower, super-slow while dancing together. Working on concepts like over, under, in, out, while playing.

Does any of this help? :-)


Avatar for littleroses
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Wed, 05-14-2003 - 11:04am
Thanks for your great answers. I picked up a couple of books from the library and one that has Greenspan's name on it, but I forget the title at the moment. Thanks for leading me towards a useful direction.