Speech-Language Pathologist
Certified Autism Specialist
Serving Adults and Children

  Mayflower Autism and Therapy Services, LLC

         Brittany Naumann, MA. CCC-SLP


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Interactive Book to Teach Language

Posted on March 17, 2017 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Some kids love looking through books, looking at all the pictures in the book, pointing to things and turning the pages. Other kids don't have much interest in board books. This book is a way to make looking through a book fun and interactive. It has soft stuffed animals that children can take and place in the right 'home'. It's perfect for making reading books fun for toddlers! There are so many ways to help teach your child to understand language (receptive language) and talk (expressive language) using this book alone. Just one example if your child is struggling to understand simple questions such as "where's the bird?" or "get the turtle", the soft plush animals that are removable can be presented in an optional way so your child makes a choice after you ask("where is the cow") and is rewarded by placing the animal in it's 'home'. It's a great book to work on basic pretend skills for the bird to fly to it's nest or have the fish swim to it's fishbowl. If your child can choose the right animal when asked, see if they can work on more difficult skills such as, "what lives in a shell?" or "what grazes behind a fence?". Next, hide the animal options so the child now has to talk to get the animal (which will work on expressive language and speech skills). Is your child learning to reading? Can they match the animal to the written words on the pockets at the front and back of the book? So many great ways to use this book to teach and make reading fun. Click the link to check it out now! http://amzn.to/2mQQYX5


Visual Schedules Made Easy

Posted on March 8, 2017 at 3:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Polaroids are making a comeback! Do you ever wonder how parents are supposed to find the time to create visual schedules? After all, time and time again if your child is on the spectrum, you've probably been told to use a visual schedule. Well, here is a simple solution for making visual schedules quickly which can save you time to get other things done. Just take a picture, push the print button, and three seconds later you've already made one picture for your visual schedule! So simple, efficient, and highly recommended for busy parents and professionals alike! Click the link to view the polaroid camera and make your life a little easier! http://amzn.to/2mZK1WS

Helping Your Child Speak More Words

Posted on February 9, 2017 at 6:00 PM Comments comments (0)

How to Help Your Child Speak More Words

Let’s say your child is delayed on their speech and language skills. They haven’t spoken more than five words, and they are just about two years old. The first strategy I would teach families I work with are to hold the object your child is wanting by your mouth and say the object’s name. For example, you are blowing bubbles with your kiddo. They are loving it! You take out the wand, blow bubbles, and wait for your child to chase them, pop them or stomp on them. Then your child looks up at the wand to get more bubbles. Instead of just blowing bubbles right away, hold up the bottle next to your face, say “B U B B L E S” (nice and slow) and then blow bubbles! After a few times your child might start looking at your mouth anticipating you to say the word bubbles. This is good news! Now your child is looking at your mouth moving. They are watching your mouth move to make sounds to create a word they are now associating with something they love! So, you are doing this for some time and your child still hasn’t said the word yet. Occasionally you see their mouth start moving to almost start saying the word but still nothing comes out. Try waiting a few seconds right before the sounds come out of your mouth next time. Perhaps they will beat you to it.

Just to review, why do we hold objects by our mouth and say their name before we give them to your child? You got it, so your child will see how sounds and words are made to eventually imitate them. The more they imitate, the more words they will eventually use on their own. Pretty soon that screaming they have been using will go away because they now have words to use!


What is Accent Reduction? Why would a client want accent reduction? How exactly is an accent reduced?

Posted on September 8, 2016 at 6:05 PM Comments comments (0)

What is Accent Reduction? Why would a client want accent reduction? How exactly is an accent reduced?

   First off, I’d like to point out that many languages may have different regional dialects within the languages. For instance, in the English language, there are dialectal variations between speakers from the Southern US and speakers from the Northeastern US. Individuals in America and individuals in England have noticeable speech differences as well. The production, perception, and systematic organization of these speech sounds characteristic to each distinct dialect is what is generally referred to as an Accent. The form of English that is relatively devoid of any regional characteristics is called Standard American English (SAE). Individuals whose first language is different from English may have distinct differences when speaking English from the form of English that is relatively devoid of regional characteristics, SAE. Speaking English that is anything other than SAE does not mean there is speech sound disorder present. I will repeat that in a different way: Language differences that are attributed back to a person’s native language or dialect does not mean that a disorder is present. Accent Reduction is not therapy! Accent Reduction Programs for nonstandard English speakers, also known as Accent Training, is helping to assist in reducing an accent that is affecting intelligibility without jeopardizing the integrity of the individuals first dialect.

   Why would someone want to change their accent or dialect? Sometimes it is just because the person is tired of repeating themselves to others. They may want to be more easily understood, intelligible, to the mainstream population. Someone may want to speak SAE to gain more confidence when speaking. Reaching towards career goals where public speaking is necessary may be a reason to look for training in SAE. An actor who has to play a certain role may need to use SAE for their character. Particular career positions in law enforcement may feel it necessary to use SAE while working to protect their own identity. It may be a requirement for someone to get Accent Reduction Training. There are numerous reasons people may seek accent reduction, but how exactly is an accent reduced?

   The accent reduction program and characteristics of an accent targeted depend on how mild or pronounced an accent is (based on results from an evaluation/speech analysis). Example characteristics that may be targeted to reduce an accent to Standard American English include speech sounds, phonological patterns, syllable/word stress, intonation, word order, grammar, and conversational skills. Speech sounds and phonological patterns may include learning to articulate and produce those specific sounds and patterns in speech. Learning to link sounds together when used in sentences might be addressed. Emphasizing or reducing stress in words or sentences may be targeted. Using intonation in conversation and SAE word order may be necessary to increase intelligibility. Using SAE grammar such as articles, plurals, irregular verbs, prepositions and contractions could be necessary to succeed in reducing an accent. Communication in conversation may change depending on contexts such as formal or informal situations. It is important to learn to hear the difference, called auditory discrimination, between speech sounds or other targeted characteristics in production. You must be able to hear the difference to know whether or not you are making the target sounds. Learning to Self-monitor your own speech is key to completing an accent reduction program.


Visual Supports

Posted on August 17, 2016 at 3:00 PM Comments comments (0)

   What are visual supports and why are they so important?

Visual supports are teaching tools used to increase communication skills, promote acquisition of a variety of functional skills, stay on task, decrease inappropriate behaviors, promote appropriate behaviors and reduce anxiety. They are important because of why we use them. I use my calendar every day to check what clients are on my schedule. I make lists for chores that need to be done around the house. I create my own visual supports to help me prepare and complete tasks accordingly. For individuals on the spectrum, visuals are a valuable tool to use when teaching. Think of the ease of teaching skills when the individual can learn to follow the sequence of directions to get dressed, wash their hands, or write a report? Understanding that lunch will happen after art time because that is what the visual schedule shows can decrease anxiety for the individual that does not know how to ask when lunch time will be. Showing a change in the usual routine on a visual schedule can provide time to self-regulate when changes in routines are typically difficult to manage. Transitioning away from a fun activity can lead to the most extreme meltdowns for some; however, showing that another fun activity is next on the schedule using the visuals can ease the anxiety of the transition. 

   What is the difference of speaking and showing a visual of what I am trying to communicate? When I speak or sign, my voice and hands are heard or seen for only the time I am talking or signing. A visual, on the other hand, is there constantly for as long as it's not moved or replaced. It is more permanent than my voice. A visual schedule is organized in a specific sequence and can be referenced back to as many times as necessary (see examples). A FIRST/THEN visual can be created to sequence two tasks (example unable to upload to this site). When a task is completed on the visual schedule, it can be checked marked or physically removed and placed in the "All Done" pocket (see example). A with-in activity schedule can break down an activity to each step (see singing schedule listing songs). A with-in activity schedule can break down activities such as each step to wash hands or get dressed. A conversation is visually shown through a comic strip conversation and can help increase social interactions (see example). Foot prints on the floor can show a child where they are expected to stand. A semantic web can break down concepts, connect ideas to one another among many other uses for it (see example). A visual timer can show how much longer an activity will be happening. Learning the difference between "Who", "What" and "Where" can be taught by sorting visuals into each respective "Who", "What" and "Where" boxes. Visuals can be presented for the nonverbal individual to make a choice. Depending on the level of understanding, the type of visuals used matters. From simple to more complex the type of visuals can range from the following: real objects, miniature objects, real photographs, cartoon photographs, line drawings and lastly written words. Polaroid cameras are a great tool for taking fast pictures of real objects. Plenty of businesses sell pre-made visuals and visual stands or organizers. Google images is a great resource. Your creativity is the limit when it comes to making visual supports. Planning, creating and organizing visual supports can be time consuming, but the end result makes it worth it to put forth the effort.



How to use Mr. Potato Head in therapy?

Posted on July 22, 2016 at 11:25 AM Comments comments (0)

What are some ways to use the Mr. Potato Head toy in therapy?

See product here https://www.amazon.com/Playskool-2250-Mr-Potato-Head/dp/B00000IW3G

Activity: Take apart and plan to offer one piece at a time to child. Before piece (ex: nose) is given to child, hold it next to mouth and say name of piece (ex: "nose!"). Then give piece to child to put on Mr. Potato Head. Why? Modeling speech and language is an evidence-based strategy. The child will see how the mouth moves to make sounds, and the child will hear the word to build comprehension of what that word means by associating word to item.

Example of category for long-term goal this activity targets: Increase Spontaneous Speech

Activity: Hold up one piece (ex: eyes) and instruct child to get the specific piece (ex: "Get eyes"). Why? This is errorless learning. The environment is setup such that child will always get the correct piece. Pairing the instruction with the correct piece is teaching comprehension of what the word means. Increase difficulty to offering two or more pieces with the instruction to get one specific piece. If the child reaches for incorrect item, pull it out of reach and repeat instruction. Increase complexity of activity to giving instruction to get two items.

Examples of categories for long-term goals this activity targets: Follow Directions; Increase Receptive Language; Identify Body Parts

Activity: Hold up two (or more) pieces and ask which is used for specific function. Example: Hold up the eyes and the hat. Ask: "What is used for seeing?"

Example: Hold up nose and ears. Ask: "What is used for smelling?"

Examples of categories for long-term goals this activity targets: Understanding Function of Nouns; Increase Receptive & Expressive Language

Activity: When Mr. Potato Head is put together ask child to point to something (above, over, higher than, below, under, next to, on top of, etc.) another item. For example: "Show me what is under his nose." Child could point to mouth or feet.

Example of category for long-term goal this activity targets: Understanding Prepositions

Activity: When you and the child have a Mr. or Mrs. Potato Head each, pretend play! Speak for your character and model social skills. Example: When the child's potato head is getting in the toy car, your potato head asks the other one "where are we going?". A simpler question could be one that the child would answer "yes" or "no". For example, "Mrs. Potato Head, are we going to grandma's house?". Bring back your creativity and imagination by engaging in pretend play. Possibilities are endless! Follow your child's lead to keep them engaged and just comment on what is happening in the play if they are not using verbal language. Why is pretend play important? "For all young children, the wonderful world of pretend indulges their cretivity and use of words. With older children, imagination leads in to making up songs, telling stories, creating new rules for games, inventing new dance steps, and on and on...Innovative thinking is the foundation of science, technology, and the arts, and we don't want a focus on rote learning and memorization to undermine this. Your child's ability for abstract thinking and problem-solving, and success as an adult in general, will depend more on creativity than on any other skill." (Greenspan, Greenspan, 2010).

Examples of categories for long-term goals this activity targets: Increasing Spontaneous Communication, Increasing Social Skills, Increasing Joint Attention

Activity: Play hide and seek with Mr. Potato Head. Child and Mr. Potato Head can take turns hiding. Model asking "where" questions with the correct response.

Example: "Where is Mr. Potato Head?"

When found, model using prepositions/location. Example: "He was under the chair!"

Examples of categories for long-term goals for this activity: Increase Turn-Taking Skills, Ask Questions, Answer Questions, Initiate Play, Use Prepositions

Due to time constraints, further ways to use Mr. Potato Head in therapy will be added at a later time. Check back for updates!


Greenspan, S. I., Greenspan, N. T., & Lodish, R. (2010). The learning tree: Overcoming learning disabilities from the ground up. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press/Lifelong Books.