My Toddler Talks & Kimberly Scanlon

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As of this writing, little Miss Piper is sleeping in her crib upstairs. She has a hearing test in the morning and this mama’s a little anxious. For those of you here for the first time, Piper turned two on October 21st. She’s a firecracker to be sure, and while my love for her knows no bounds, the days can get long. And incredibly frustrating.

You see, Piper has speech delays. She “talks” a great deal, yet much of what she says is garbled, unintelligible. But then suddenly she’ll burst forth with a bubbly, “Hiiiiii!” coupled with a toothy grin, and I know that somewhere inside neurons are firing and things are clicking.

We’ve been working with an incredible team of therapists thanks to Johnson County Infant & Toddler Services. We have a regular visit once a week where we mainly focus on speech, and then once a month or so her PT and dietician will drop in. Piper’s had delays in other areas (she was a late walker and she’s got awesome Chipmunk shoe inserts for extra arch support & to help her balance), and while she’s come a long way, some mountains still seem daunting before me.

Enter Kimberly Scanlon, MA., CCC-SLP, author of My Toddler Talks.

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What’s great about Kimberly’s book:

  • easy to read and understand — completely accessible! Short chapters at a quick glance.
  • practical tips with lots of examples for hands-on learning and activities.
  • wonderful acronyms to help busy parents remember what to do/what not to do.

What I’ve learned so far from My Toddler Talks:

  • Self-talk/narration is great, but I need to work on using shorter phrases & sentences.
  • Questioning a little is great, but NOT TOO MUCH! I’m guilty of this, too. But if we make Miss P feel like we’re quizzing her, peppering her with, “What’s this? Who’s that? What’s he doing? Where are we going?” she’s gonna shut down and go into overload mode.
  • Wait & anticipate. Give your kiddo a chance to respond. Wait and smile.
  • Use lots of silly sounds and gestures. We’ve been using some sign language, but the therapists have warned us to be careful not to rely on signs too heavily. Signing is great for bridging the gaps or for little things.
  • Don’t overly anticipate your child’s needs! We’re still guilty of this with Piper. For me, it’s often an issue of my being in a hurry or my getting tired of her whining and pointing. I’m sick of the guessing games.

Kimberly’s cool troubleshooting list, i.e. her “Do Not List.” For this, her acronym is CUTIE:

  • Correcting your child’s communication.
  • Using too many negatives — no’s and negativity are not fun!
  • Teaching the ABC’s — I do sing the ABC’s to Piper, but Kimberly points out that it’s better to work on words that will give meaning to his speech. In other words, I’m putting the cart WAY before the horse.
  • Ignoring your child’s interest. Talk about what she’s pointing at or “talking” about, don’t start a new subject — stick to HER topic!
  • Expecting too much too soon. I’m sure I don’t even need to go into this. Let’s just say I’ve looked at Abby & Izzy’s (Piper’s big sisters who turn eight in two weeks!) baby books, so I’m well aware of what they were doing at Piper’s age. I have to stop comparing. Piper’s moving at her own pace, and we just need to enjoy this playtime together!

Enough out of me. I’ve been using Kimberly’s book to put some of her practices into place. I’m a little busy these days, so I haven’t done it all, but every little bit helps. Watch this clip below to see how far we’ve come. We still have a bit of a road ahead, but this was a BIG MOMENT. And I got it on video. I’m grateful not only to our team of therapists, but also to Kimberly and her book, because they’re always right here with me, giving me new ideas and things to try when we’re just hanging out around the house.

No more spoilers and teasers. Get thee over to Amazon and buy your copy of My Toddler Talks right now! While you’re at it, “Like” Scanlon Speech Therapy, LLC on Facebook and follow her on Twitter at @ScanlonSpeech.

Bye! See you later!

~erin

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  • Alison Lee

    Yay Piper!

    This sounds like an amazing book. My 4 year old is still not very intelligible, though he says many things all day, some I understand, some I don’t. His speech therapist is encouraged with his progress, slow as it may be, but we do need to work more on it at home. I’ll check Kimberly’s book out! Thanks for sharing, Erin.

  • http://www.about100percent.com/ Andrea

    Wonderful! What a sweetie! I always struggled with talking to my children at their level and often overwhelm them even now, even without speech delays on their end. This sounds like a great book – way to go Piper!

  • Kim@Co-Pilot Mom

    How wonderful – love the video! :)
    I remember that I used to anticipate needs all the time with my boys. It is so easy to get into a routine and try to save time by just fulfilling an unspoken request. Waiting is hard when things get busy. This sounds like a great resource with lots of useful information.

  • http://auercommunication.com/ Kerstin Auer

    This is great! A wonderful approach and book and Piper: you go, sweetie!
    Thanks for sharing this, Erin. I hope a lot of people choose this method to work with their kids!

  • Julie Gardner

    The advice here would seem to be good for all children, really – but I’m especially glad it’s going to help you with Piper.

    She’s absolutely precious – and I can’t wait to see the new haircut.
    You did have that sweet ponytail cut, right?

    Hope you’re enjoying your family for the holidays.
    Love to you all!

  • http://www.jenniferpwilliams.com/ Jennifer P. Williams

    That sounds like an awesome book. I’m glad it is helping you. I can only imagine how hard it is to work with a child that has a speech delay.

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