Updated: May 12, 2021
I'm excited to announce the launch of my new podcast! You'll get information to help you support the communication development of your child, solve problems, and work around roadblocks to develop your child into the most effective communicator they can be. Seasons 1–8 give you the foundation for making sure that all areas of speech, language and social communication develop together. You get daily activities to build skills in social interaction, play, language and literacy while you interact with your child in daily routines. Later seasons address more advanced communication development and also what can be done to support children who have difficulty with their communication skills. It's a huge field, so there's lots to talk about!
Season 1–8 episodes are short so you can do a quick listen and then try out a new activity daily. You can use the ideas with your child to help strengthen their communication skills and get them to the next level of development.
These parent-child activities are based on the concept of mediation — we identify what a child can do independently, then give them a little support to help them practice a skill that’s a little more advanced.
Parents are the ideal mediators because they spend the most time with their child. You can make your mediation even more effective when you can do two things:
1. Recognize all the little details that tell you where the child is performing right now
2. Know what would be the next, little-more-advanced level of performance
That’s the information you get with these podcast episodes. When you can identify your child’s current performance in detail, recognize all the little changes that are happening and know what to look for next, you are going to make the most out of every learning opportunity your child has throughout the day.
Another huge benefit of being able to recognize all the small details in development is that it helps change your mindset. Instead of worrying about what your child is not doing, you can celebrate the changes that happen every day that will build up to the bigger skills we are looking forward to.
You can subscribe to the podcast on your phone’s podcast app, on iTunes or on this webpage so you don't miss an episode.
HOW TO USE THE PODCAST
Listen to one episode per day. I’ll give you a little pearl of wisdom about the area we’re targeting, and then I’ll describe one activity you can do together with your child to build a skill.
Don’t just do the activity that day, though. Think of a time you can integrate the activity into your daily or weekly routine. Repeated practice is what builds learning and gets your child to the next level.
IMPORTANT— Each of the eight levels in this series is based on typical development that requires at least three months.
You can cycle through the episodes so you listen to each one several times. You might run across some activities that don’t make sense for your home. That’s okay. Just skip to the next one.
The important idea is to do some of these activities every day. Try them all out and then use the ones that work best for you and your child.
WHERE TO START LISTENING
I recommend you start at the beginning and work your way through in order. Your child may be well beyond Level 1, but you can learn some important background knowledge by listening from the beginning. You can “speed-listen” through multiple episodes until you reach your child’s current level.
Another option is to use this checklist to help identify your child’s current performance level. Check off items in the column titled Skills until you find gaps. Start doing daily podcast activities at this level.
MONITOR YOUR PROGRESS
Each time you start a new level, you will download a table called Activities to Build Skills. Each table lists all the skills and activities for that level, aligned with the podcast episodes.
Each table divides the skills into four communication domains: social interaction, play, language and literacy.
Some other big skills areas (like motor movement) are listed inside these big four domains. That’s because I want you to see how all of these areas interact and support communication development.
The column called Targets lists skills we expect to see by the end of the level. Keep that in mind. Your child won’t start doing the skill when you start using an activity. Gradually, though, you will see small changes in how they respond until they get to the target level.
The column called Activities lists the one-a-day prescription of activities that help build your child’s skills and get them to the target level.
Keep the table somewhere handy so you can refresh your memory on the activities you’ve selected to use. Keep it some place visible to help remind you to use the activities.
You may also use the blank space in or near the Target column as a mini-diary of progress. Add a date and short note to describe how your child is currently responding to an activity. Your notes will help you notice and remember all the signs of progress that happen along the way.
KEEP IT UP!
They say it takes two months to establish a new habit. One of these suggestions may help you form a daily habit of listening to the podcast. Set a reminder on your phone to cue you to listen at a certain time of the day. Integrate listening into an existing routine: before you get out of bed in the morning, fixing your hair, traveling to work, break time. Invite a family member or friend to listen to the podcast and talk about it with you. There's no time like the present to get started. Download the quick checklist (below) or the table of Targets and Activities and start listening today!