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Have you ever thought about how the language you use around your child and with your child directly relates to how well they do in school? Oral language and vocabulary development are integral components and predictors of success in reading. With the holidays coming now is the perfect time to think creatively about how to actively engage your child in meaningful interactions to encourage language and vocabulary development. Here are a few ideas to encourage meaningful language development and fun memories.
Involvetheminthedecisionmakingforwhattypeoffood/desserts or decorations to add to the celebration.
Havethemcreatetheshoppinglistandbringthemalong to help do the shopping.
Foryoungerchildrengivethemalistwith4or5pictureditems that they are responsible to find.
Involvetheminpreparingandthecleanupofmakingthe food/decorations. While doing this make sure you are talking about the experience in the moment.
During the celebration be sure to tell everyone that your child helped. If there are plans to buy gifts for your children, I challenge you to find items that will encourage creativity. The best toys that provide the most language exposure are toys that allow your child to use them in a variety of different ways, (i.e. blocks, art supplies, playdough, dress-up costumes, or any toys/objects that encourage pretendplay).Forolderchildrenthinkaboutsciencekits,toymodelcars or planes, fashion kits, etc. You are your childs best teacher.
Valerie Fisher, Mainstream Outreach CoordinatorSt. Joseph Institute for the Deaf
Fun Holiday Learning
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Having a child who has special needs can at times feel overwhelming. Your
heart may break when you see your child struggle with the developmental issues that appear to be keeping him or her from living a normal life. Developmental disabilities can keep children from being able to feel confident enough to socialize and develop a peer group that they can count on. Disabilities can keep your child from being able to do activities that require a certain physical aptitude. Regardless of what your child struggles with, there are many gifts to having a disability and it is your job to remind them of what those gifts are.
Perhaps the most important life lesson to teach your child is that being different is a good thing because it means that they will be able to look at life in a different way. Help your child to understand that they have unique qualities that make them special. Children can be more sensitive when they struggle with something and they learn skills that actually advance them in other ways. I am sure you've noticed that when your child is having difficulty reading, he or she may excel in math or design. When a child is socially isolated from others because they are not easily accepted into the peer group of their choice, they may resort to filling their time with other activities like drawing, being on the computer, or excelling in reading which may make them much more advanced in their academic skills. Regardless of the disability, find opportunities for your child to socialize that are structured and provide a sense of belonging. Camps, specialized programs, therapy groups are great ways to help your child feel included. Ask your child's school administrator or counselor if there is a mentor or special child in the school that can "buddy up" with your child? Invite this child over and
set up experiences for your child to participate in like going to the movies, paddle boating at Eagle Creek or the downtown Canal, arcading at Dave and Busters. These field trips will give your child extra opportunities to socialize and feel like one of the gang!
As you look at your child, ask yourself how has this gift of being different made them stronger? And of course reinforce this with your child.Make sure to comment regularly on those personality strengths that you treasure about your child. Perhaps they're kind, compassionate, generous, honest, or loyal. Reinforcing the strengths helps them to integrate their gifts despite their struggles.
Be the go to person that they can share their frustrations and heartbreak. This means that you need to cultivate the belief that your child is going to positively grow from disability. As a parent, do you have a support person or resource to turn to share your fears and doubts? Having a special needs kid means lots of self-care so you so that you can be there for your kids in tough situations.
Kids need to know that there is a safe person that they can be "real" with and there is no better person than their parent to share their feelings.You are a mirror for your child, so make sure you are comfortable reflecting back what you hear them say so they know that they know they are heard and have a voice when sharing their thoughts and feelings. Your unconditional love is exactly what they need to recognize their own strengths amongst their struggles!
Carol Juergensen Sheets
Carol Juergensen Sheets LCSW PCC is a psychotherapist and personal life coach. She does motivational speaking and empowerment trainings locally and nationally. To find out more
about her services--contact her at www.carolthecoach.comorcallherat317-218-3479.
Turn Their Struggles Into Strengths
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Kids Eat F
Monday Thru Sunday Multiple DaysJim Dandy Family Restaurant Kids 5 and under eat free 2301 Conner St.773-3288 Noblesville
PaPa Roux 8950 E. 10th Indy 603-9861 Nightly after 4Perkins 250 Noble Creek Dr. Noblesville Monday Thru Wednesday 4 to close 776-2800
Barley Island Brewing Co. 630 Conner St.Noblesville 770-5280 Tuesday and Wednesday Quiznos 14300 Mundy Dr Noblesville 7 days a week 4 to close dine in only 773-7041
The Original Pancake House 3 Free Pancakes for children 7 and under with adult entre purchaseMonday through Sunday at Noblesville, Fishers, and Indianaopolis locations Tucanos Brazilian Grill Noblesville Kids 7 and younger eat free everyday.
Chef Mikes Charcoal Grill 102 Woodland Dr Indy Kids 5 and Younger eat for 99 centsWuzzlers Grill and Spoon Greenwood 884-9468 Kids eat free w. adult meal Monday-Friday
MondayChick Fil-A 3360 W. 86th St. The Pyramids, Indy 871-5330
Mexico City Grill Emerson Ave Indy and Fishers In. Free kids meal with adult meal.Roscoes Tacos Greenwood Kids meal free with Minimum $6 adult meal.
Latitude 39 4016 E. 82nd Fee Game Bowling, Kids Meal and $5 game card with adult meal 813-6565Mexico City Grill Fishers 11653 Fishers Station Rd 577-1900
Mexican City Grill Indy 8028 S. Emerson Ave 884-4901Castlers Kitchen and Bar 11501 Geist Pavilion Dr.596-9810 Fishers 5-9
Texas Road House Fishers 12950 Publishers Dr. 585-5020 Family Night 1.99 Kids MealCulvers Kids NightFishers 96th St Every Monday, 5:30-8:30 pm and
Indy 71st and Georgetown Every Monday, 5:30 8:30 pmFace Painting Balloons and Clowns
TuesdayAll area Fazolis 99cent Kids meals Tuesday evenings 5-8 call for details.
MacKenzie River Pizza Carmel and 82nd St Castleton 564-4211 and 288-0609Scottys Brewhouse 3905 E. 96th Street Indianapolis, IN & 1 Virginia Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46204
CR Heroes 10570 E. 96th St. Fishers 576-1070 5-p Face Painting & Balloon Animals Cancun 6714 E 82nd St, Indianapolis 578-7054
Chick Fil A Avon Rt 36 Nov. 3rd. The Thankful Tree Family Night from 5:30-7:30 Chick-fil-A Noblesville Buy one Get one Free Tuesday 5-9 773-4100
Chick Fil A Carmel 14647 US 31 North Family Night each Tuesday from 5-8pm 815-9465Hellas Caf 8501 Westfield Blvd 257-6211 Indy
Champps Indy Northside 8711 N. River Crossing Blvd. 2 children eat free with 1 adult meal all day TuesdayBob Evans Family Night from DJ 6-8pm One kid eats free with adult meal purchase. Greenwood In
Perkins Castleton East 82nd St. Indy 842-9447 4-9Joes Shelby St. Diner Indy 783-9590
Tuesday Con't.Cheese Burger In Paradise South Indy 883-4386
Patriot Grill Restaurant 1265 N. Madison Greenwood 851-8252 Kids Eat Free and MagicianTeddys Burger Joint 222W.Southport Rd Indy 893-2791
Thr3e Wise Men Brewery