Month: October 2020

Spooky Speech

Speech Language Pathologists love a good theme!  Themes can unite all of our kiddos but allow scaffolding for every child’s needs.  They also allow for perfect home carryover for all our families!  Here are a few spooky speech activities that you can do with your children at home or in your community to promote speech and language development.



Books are fabulous!  You can target specific vocabulary, different grammar (i.e. prepositions), comprehension, sequencing, feelings, and speech sounds!  An example of a spooky themed book is Pete the Cat: Trick or Pete, an interactive book with flaps.  We love to practice our speech sounds with this particular book!  For example, the t sound is on every page with CAT and PETE!  


Sensory Bins:  

You cannot go wrong with a sensory bin!  They hold children’s attention and their bodies in one space.  Sensory bins can also encourage some spooky speech with what we call “focused stimulation”, when you pick a few words to target over and over again during play!  Spooky speech sensory bins can easily be made from items around your house or a few clicks from amazon! If you are in need of some inspiration Busy Toddler has fantastic options. 



Technology does not have to be a curse if used correctly!  There are so many books and programs that provide ample spooky speech opportunities! You can play Peppa Pig Pumpkin Party and pause the video, ask simple wh questions, name vocabulary items, make predictions, and try to recall details of the program!


Bingo Card:

A fan favorite at the clinic is using a free printable Halloween Bingo Card.  We use these for matching, naming, identifying, and speech sounds!  You can take the Bingo Card into your community (i.e. grocery store, on a walk, flashlight to find items around the house) for a scavenger hunt.  Target and Michaels have Halloween dollar-sticker-books that we use to say the spooky words as we match them to the bingo card. 


Halloween SweaterFestive Wear and Decor:

As cheesy as it may seem, children LOVE pointing out spooky vocabulary on clothing items and decorations.  If you are trying to be eco and/or budget friendly, we highly recommend looking at your local thrift store, facebook marketplace, or your parent’s house for the clothing and decorations!  Some of the best items come second hand!  Another more eco friendly, minimalist approach would be to get items that will be re-purposed or consumed!  I.E. a pie pumpkin, a wreath that can be decorated for all season with items found in nature! 

If you feel like your child’s speech and language development isn’t spook-tacular and you’d like to speak with someone about your pumpkin’s speech and language development, please call 708-478-1820 or visit our website to schedule a free screening


Written by Jessica Keenan, MA, CCC-SLP/L, inspired by Kristen Santoro, MA, CCC-SLP/L

How is a Developmental Optometrist Evaluation Different than a Vision Test?

We often hear from parents that their child “passed their eye test” which was most likely offered at school or at a well baby visit in the pediatrician’s office.  Sometimes our Occupational Therapists identify that although a child’s visual acuity test may not have shown a deficit, there are some visual skill deficits that may be present. Difficulties with vision skills often contribute to the challenges that are addressed by an Occupational Therapist, which is why we will occasionally recommend a Developmental Optometrist Evaluation. Today we welcome a guest writer to our blog from the developmental optometrist offices of Dr. Marini & Dr. Campbell to help our parents understand the importance of this referral! Dr. Marini & Dr. Campbell are two of the excellent doctors featured on BDI’s trusted professionals list who specialize in this area, have worked with us often, are eager to collaborate with us, and consistently help our kids achieve great results!

Website: Drs. Marini & Campbell Website

Facebook: Drs. Marini & Campbell Facebook

What is a Developmental Optometrist?

A developmental optometrist is an eye doctor who has more specialized training than regular optometrists. To gain the distinction of Developmental Optometrist, one must complete several extra years of post-graduate training. Like regular optometrists, developmental optometrists check acuity and health of patient’s eyes, but they also run additional tests to determine if patients have the visual skills necessary to perform tasks regularly required in daily life, especially at work or school. Due to these tests, developmental optometrists specialize in diagnosing and treating delays in visual skills, amblyopia (lazy eye), and strabismus (crossed) or wandering eyes.

When to See a Developmental Optometrist

There are certain symptoms that may be indicative of vision problems, especially in children. These include: squinting, eye rubbing, and excessive blinking. Other warning signs may occur when, and immediately after, reading. Some of the most common behaviors that are indicators of visual difficulties are: head tilting, closing or blocking an eye, headaches, dizziness, or nausea.

Besides physical clues, there are also performance-based clues, as well as secondary symptoms and specific labels that children with vision problems have. Generally, children with visual difficulties display one or more of these visual performance clues: avoidance of near work, difficulty copying from the board, and poor handwriting. When reading, these children may consistently: lose their place, have poor comprehension, omit, insert, or reread letters and words, confuse similar looking words, and fail to recognize the same word in different sentences. This can lead to the development of secondary symptoms such as: seeming smart in everything but school, as well as significant frustration, stress, and fatigue with written work, as well as a child being mislabeled as a slow learner, working below potential, or as having Attention Deficit Disorder.

If your child is displaying any of these symptoms and you would like some help specific to your child, please contact Dr. Marini & Dr. Campbell’s office to set up an evaluation or consult with one of the Occupational Therapists at BDI Playhouse Children’s Therapy to find a trusted doctor near you.

Written by: Julie Metzler, Manager of Vision Therapy