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Hello, my name is Kara. I have some questions for you ladies if you could help guide me
Currently my 4 yr old son is in an early childhood program. He has speech therapy there and they are just starting occupational therapy (which he should/would have started at 6 months ago but that's another issue). He has a pretty serious speech delay and a sensory processing disorder. Hes behind. A lot.
Im going to try and work with him about half an hour to an hour a day this summer. I have been accumulating quite a stockpile of books and flash cards and activities, but I am wondering if anyone knows of any good resources for homeschooling type activities for a 4 yr old?
I'm mainly looking for speech, ABC's, counting, writing, letters, typical pre-k/kindergarden type activities. I would really like to see him caught up by the time he starts school.
Any Ideas or suggestions? And I'm not looking to purchase any kind of program, I want to be able to do different activities every day, unless there is something you ladies would highly recommend.
And the resources links are amazing, but holy bananas theres so much!
I also wonder If anyone knows activities to help with his sensory issues. They are using a weighed vest to start with, but its all kind of overwhelming for me with the options and not knowing what might ir might not help him.
Welcome!! I have a 6 year old with SPD and motor delays (no speech delays). We've been doing therapy since he was born.
Can you describe the SPD issues he's having? My son's issues are with sound and light, primarily.
Do you think your son has any sort of cognitive delay, or is it only speech? (Will you be able to tell if he's learning what you're trying to teach if he can't tell it back to you?) For learning letters and sounds, I recommend Leapfrog DVDs (not free), starfall.com (free), progressivephonics.com (free), and letteroftheweek.com (free). For handwriting, you can find free printables online, but I'd really suggest a program called Handwriting w/o Tears. (Many OT offices use this also.) You can find the workbooks at most teacher supply stores or you can order online. I usually don't recommend buying the entire kit, but you might consider it in this case. I only buy the workbooks (about $10 each, and with 1-2 pages a day, they'll last 3-6 months).
The most important thing is to read, read, read! Sit together and read picture books a lot. Speak very clearly, and point to the words while you're reading.
My sons sensory issues are all touch related. He needs high pressure/impact activities to focus. His speech therapist from birth to 3 used to have him bounce on a mini tramp when he was having trouble focusing.
He can speak and has been progressing, but hes 4 and his speech as it about a 2 1/2 yr old level after a year and a half of speech therapy. He has no hearing issues (hes had extensive testing) and doesn't seem to have a cognitive delay, but hes very borderline with everything. Last year he was even refered for autism spectrum testing. Childrens said he was "normal".
The audiologist thinks he has a disorder where his ears dont communicate properly with his brain but he cant be tested for it until hes 7. This is strongly evidenced by non verbal cues being something that helps his speech advance more easily.
Unfortunatly, we moved last summer and i have been very disappointed with his new therapists here. His new speech therapist only works with him 1/2 an hour instead of an hour and expects him to just sit and work with paper whereas his old one broke the hour down into 15 min segments with a different activity for each. Ive talked with her at length both in and out of his IEP meetings and she's........set in her ways.
Frankly, if we could afford it i would pull him and send him to a private therapist, but thats just not an option.
I also (this is horrible I know) don't have the patience to teach him at home all the time. I love him dearly, but he can be an extremely challanging child and i really need the 4 hour break when he goes to school. Im VERY blessed he Is so amazing with his baby sister dispite his issues.
Good grief, sorry for the book.
I will definitely look into Handwriting w/out tears. He's actually pretty good about tracing letters, but that's about it.
Its frustrating and a little sad for me with him. Ive always been the mom who played alphabet train with him, pointed out the colors, counted everything, etc.
And as for reading, I have read to both my children at least 20-30 min a day. When we moved I packed 5 full boxes of nothing but childrens books.
Actually, now that he gets books sent home from school, we probably read cliser to 45 min a day.
I wouldn't worry about pushing the academics so much over the summer ... it sounds like you are doing everything right in that area already A 4-year old really doesn't need to be sitting down and doing academic work but having experiences with academics is great (being read to, counting peas on the dinner plate, finding shapes on a walk around the neighborhood, etc...). As for the sensory issues here are some ideas:
* ball pits - you can get a cheap kiddie pool and a bag of the balls on their own and make one rather inexpensively. This develops spacial awareness, and helps with sensitivity to touch.
* sensory tables (or heck, dump out the balls from the ball pit and make it a full body sensory experience ) - for this a large plastic tub that is fairly shallow is perfect. Fill it with different things for the child to explore. Start with dry and move to wet. Rice, pasta (use varied shapes), shredded news paper, packing peanuts, and legos can be great dry items. Shaving cream, paint, cooked rice, pudding, clay, apple sauce, and goop (a 1 to 1 mix of corn starch and water and you can add coloring if you want) can be great wet items. Let the child touch and play with the materials. You can provide some sand toy type things for dry play and paint brush type toys for wet play, but the goal is to get the child to touch all the different textures. If he is really adverse to wet things, start with dry (rice works well as a starter) then add a little water to it. Keep adding until the child gets used to the wet feel.
* sensory input toys: vibrating pillows/toys, soft bristled hairbrushes, bumpy balls, massage tools, "koosh" style balls, .... anything with an unusual or interesting texture. Put all the toys in a box and when you get time to play pull it out and sit with the child. Encourage him to explore the items and try to get him to let you put them on different body parts (hands, feet, legs, arms, and back - in that order if he has an aversion). Brushing lightly against the skin with a soft bristled brush can be calming to many sensory craving children. Using a brush that is soft, but doesn't give too easily (think soft hair brush over paint brush) before bed or before a time the child needs to stay calm (like before waiting in the dr's office or going to a church service) can be helpful.
* large motor time - provide lots of opportunities for the child to run, jump, etc... climbing toys for the back yard are great, sit-n-spin for indoors is great too (esp for rainy days), and hopping balls (the kind with handles that you sit on and bounce) are all good for kids with sensory cravings. Try to alternate activities between high energy and low energy activities. Going at "full speed" all day can actually make it harder for the child to learn how to wind down, but not getting enough "full speed" time will make it hard for the child to handle calmer activities.
* music - use music to give him a sense of the expectations. Quiet, calm classical music for meal times or rest times. Loud, rock style music for high activity times. Experiment with lots of different music styles. Sing (even if you don't think you are good at it) as much as possible and encourage your son to sing as well. Make up little songs that can help him remember calming techniques and other behavioral things. For example: my daughter Arianna is pretty likely to hit first ask questions later. We have taught her a little song "I can breathe, I can breathe, and fold my hands, and fold my hands, then i will think, then I will think, what to do next, what to do next." (I can't remember the name of the song I set it too LOL). It has taken a lot of singing that little song to get her to use it, but now I hear her singing it when she is getting upset with her sister. And when I hear it, I know she is needing help navigating a situation. In addition to behavior modification, the singing can help a lot with speech issues too! Sometimes it is easier for a child (or adult) to sing a word than to say it. Also you can set sounds he is having trouble with to songs too. We sing a little ch ch choo choo song that I made up to help my daughter Serenity get her ch sound worked out.
I hope this helps and that you made it to the end of my novel LOL