Last week in Dallas, I had the pleasure of accompanying my “daughter” and first grandson to the local library for “Baby Time”.  At 4-months, you might expect him to be unaware of anything beyond his immediate surroundings.  However, in observing B. from the perspective of my long career in Early Childhood and Speech Pathology, I was elated, to see him attending to every book read aloud to the children and to every puppet, responding with smiles and squeals.  Following the story time, I took B. to the children’s section of the library, picked out a wonderful, interactive board book called “Woof-Woof”, and read it two times to him.  Once again, he was quite attentive!  While we were reading, B.’s mother was at the desk, obtaining B.’s first library card.  As you can see from this picture, he is very aware of the significance of his “ticket to the world of knowledge”!






Reassurance Mastered by a Two-Year-Old

When meeting the daunting task of having to say goodbye to one of your favorite “little” friends following a faraway visit: listen carefully to his/her method of handling your unwanted departure. Recently, I experienced this event with one of my favorite and brightest two-year-old buddies. She gave me one of her most precious pouting, thoughtful expressions and proceeded to review the sequence of events for the day that she had gathered from our conversations and actions: “Grandma and Terry going to Marble Falls, Ab going school, _____ drive car school, ____ pick Ab up, Mama come home, Mama come home see Ab.” Well done, Ab! Of course, I proceeded in following up with extending her language by repeating her well-spoken sequence of the day back to her, affirming her beliefs. Then,
she was all ready to say goodbye and get in the car to go to school.

We listen to our children and learn how they comfort themselves!

Levels of Play in Early Childhood and Imitative Match Strategy for Extending Abilities in Play

Here are the levels of play in children:

Solitary Play: Playing alone
Onlooker Play: the child observes other children in play
Parallel Play: the child plays beside another, playing with the same materials, but not together
Associative Play: the child plays together with several children in a disorganized manner
Cooperative Play: the child accepts a role in play with others, but depends on the others to achieve his goals in play

I encourage you to move with the child from where she is functioning now, rather than trying to pull her up to a level of functioning expected for her age level. She will make more progress this way and you will enjoy the journey!!

The play strategy I am suggesting that should be used in every Early Childhood classroom for children with disabilities and by parents at home is the following:

Imitative Match Play
–When you are playing with your child, provide several different like pairs of toys, if possible. If you are a parent, just find these objects in your kitchen—2 measuring cups, two spoons and two bowls, etc. Initially, just get down on your child’s level, so you are not towering over her, and observe her playing with the objects, noting what she is doing with the toys.
–Next, copy what she is doing exactly (put the toy up to your mouth, bang it , tap something else with it, etc.). Do whatever she does with the like object in the same way that she does, and make the same sounds (you will feel silly, but that is o.k.). Be sure you are on her level on the floor while playing beside her and that you look at her face, frequently. Do this as long as she is with you. If she turns away, simply follow her and copy her actions with the next object in the same way.
–If The child’s eye contact is fleeting, whenever she does look quickly at you, say “There you are!”. You are wanting her to eventually notice you doing the same thing she is doing with the object like hers, and for her to note that you are imitating her noises, sounds, words, as well and enjoying the interaction with her. You are letting her know you are accepting her on her level and are willing to move with her in her world.
–When your child shows she is aware of your actions, go back and forth with her, imitating her sounds and playing with the toys or other objects in her environment (Ex. she taps the spoon on her mouth-you tap the spoon on your mouth-she taps the spoon on her mouth-you tap the spoon on your mouth, etc.). After you have gone back and forth with her like this several times, she is ready for you to change your movement and extend her play with the object (Ex: you tap your spoon in the bowl-stop and wait to see if she copies you). If she does copy you, continue to follow her actions. It may take several times of playing with matching, before she will follow your new action. That is o.k. I find kiddos eventually start going back and forth in turn-taking with you after you play beside them and copy their actions for several minutes. Depending on the child’s abilities, this matching may take several play times over a period of time.
–Once your child copies your actions in turn-taking, she is ready for you to extend her play further by doing something like stirring your spoon in the bowl. Be patient and eventually she will get to the point that she is wanting you to copy her, play beside her, interact with her, etc.
In summary, during play with familiar objects, you copy her actions with the object until you get into a back and forth turn-taking with her; then, extend her play by doing something a little different and see if she will match you.

This technique is so effective in building your relationship with her during play, in order for you to move her forward in developing her abilities and variety of play schemes. I am more than happy to answer your questions, or help you in any way that I can! Have fun!
Terry Grosvenor

Sent from my iPad


It occupies my days and my mind.  I used to give presentations on information from Dr. Jane Healey, who I brought to Abilene to speak about her book “Failure to Connect” regarding her prediction that technology would ultimately change our children’s brains.  As I assess 2- and 3-year old children as the SLP on an Early Childhood Autism team, I am seeing a great number of children who  do not meet the criteria of autism, but who do demonstrate evidence of  “different brains” and spend an extraordinary time within a “television” or “game time” environment.  If you begin hours of this activity  prior to age 2, there will be differences.

Praises from Mr. Andy

During my Early Childhood teaching years, there were many moments enacted and communicated by young children that I want to remember forever.  None of these moments was sweeter and more sincere than during Work Time with Mr. Andy.  It was the time when we truly believed children needed to be provided opportunities to use their own language to create their own experiences, facilitated expertly by adults.  Creative thinking and problem solving were heralded as what children needed to become successful adults, backed by longitudinal research studies.  Mr. Andy demonstrated significant visual disability, as illustrated by extremely thick glasses, which he covered on a daily basis with another pair of glasses minus the lenses.  On this particular day, Mr. Andy invited Mrs. Grover to accompany him to the top of the loft.  He dressed himself in a suit three times his size and found the largest book he could, lumbering carefully one step at a time to the top of the loft.  He called two other friends to join him as he carefully climbed the steps without stepping on the hem of his suit.  Once we all reached the top step, he told the three of us “Sit down right here, right here, right here”.  Mr. Andy then proceeded to pass out a book to each of us and told us to sing.  He then leaned as far over the top of the loft railing as he could without toppling over, holding the open book out before him, as he spouted “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus”  to all of the little people below in the classroom.  He then announced “And now it’s time for Ms. Grover to sing “Praise Me”.  Did I sing “Praise Me” even though I have never been a singer?  Of course, and I’ve never sung better! You’ve never seen a wider, more glorious smile on a child’s face.  I will never know if Mr. Andy became a Preacher, but it was pure joy to watch him practice that role as a child:  pure delight at the event of one’s own creation.

Teacher Tip:  Promote meaningful play in young children; allow them to create events their way with adult facilitation–creating play schemes and solving problems through trial and error.  These abilities will last forever!