Free Printable Flip Up Pronoun Speech Cards

Today Squid is poorly home from school, and Mum is low on inspiration, so we will be working though some activities gleaned from the Internet.
I found these beautiful free printables on pronouns. The link explains them, but I had to go to ‘teachers pay teachers’ to download it (for free). I hope she loves them as much as I think she will!

I was enthusiastic enough about them to laminate them. Junior’s reading is not sufficiently advanced to mention the whole sentence, so I cued her in with questions: Q“Who is reading? ” A “She is” or “She is reading” (led by how confident Junior was with the rest of the sentence).

The genius is folding up the bottom of the cards so the answer was on the back. She was shameless about ‘cheating’ – but it really reduced her anxiety. It also passed the ‘distracted facilitator’ test – I had to leave the room and on my return she’d carried on working with the cards.

Source: Free Printable Flip Up Pronoun Speech Cards

Words wanted; will pay biscuits 

My speech therapist advises Hanen inspired approaches which involve a lot of pregnant pauses to give your child the opportunity to speak, without ever pressuring them. My mother-in-law, however, won’t hand over biscuits without a credible attempt to request it politely.
A standoff. Subliminal calculation of grandmotherly intransigence versus grandmotherly generosity. Then she acquiesces. She really tries.
Then, with crumbs still spilling out of her mouth, she is back asking for another one. She doesn’t ask me – she knows I only pay in apple slices.

Psychology of keeping going 

Supporting a child with speech delay is a long and often frustrating journey. Here is a list of a some tactics that help me. I’d love to hear other people’s ideas in the comments!

  1. Reasonable expectations of attention span  10 minutes on a single activity is fine for a preschooler
  2. Routines when things happen at the same time every day, exhausting tantrums are less likely. There is another reason routines help – they define what ‘good enough‘ is.
  3. Set the bar to ‘winable’ define an achievable workload for yourself and your child – and make sure to take a moment to pat yourself on the back for sticking with it. It is easy to get overwhelmed looking at everything your child has to catch up with.
  4. Holidays Your kid’s speech therapist has holidays. Your kid’s teacher has the whole weekend without having to be patient or encouraging. Parents are allowed holidays too – even if their kid has extra needs. Accept offers of help when they come – even if ‘help’ sticks your kid in front of the TV for eight hours with a bag of crisps.
  5. Forgive yourself 
  6. Let your support crew in Invariably there is a ‘primary caregiver’ who is disproportionately involved in the therapy, planning and decisions. It’s so easy to become isolated and rigid though. Talking to other people, and taking time to keep your own friendships is important to keep you sane and motivated.
  7. Fun strengthens your bond Silly fun with your kid strengthens your bond and helps you progress more effectively when you work.

I see the past 

I see the little boy who would get so angry that he wouldn’t be understood – but I need to blink him away. The real boy is up on stage projecting his voice so that the whole hall can hear him.

I see the little boy who would be too shy to socialise – but he’s grown. He’s leaving pauses in the speech so that the audience can laugh. A confident, perfectly timed arched eyebrow knowing he’ll get a response.

We’ve worked with him for over 8 years on his speech. While I was worrying about each little milestone, I didn’t realise that underneath it all we were growing a confident communicator.

He still has a lisp. Not all his sounds are consistent. But I’m the only one that hears that now. Everyone else saw the young thespian loving every moment on stage.

I need to make an effort to see that too. I remember the little boy – but I see the big boy too – and I will take a moment to be so proud of all of us for leveraging a weakness into a talent.

This week I have done no speech work with my child. 

I set myself a target of blogging once a week – but this week I have nothing to say about speech. Speech has been pushed out by her brother’s school play, her parent’s evening at school, volunteering at school, looking after ill kids, visiting ill friends, entertaining guests, pretending to clean, bad lifestyle choices, dealing with a kid having a major wobble and failing to pack for our holidays.
She has: had giggles with her sister; worn a new dress; watched a movie; played Nintendogs; spent an entire day pretending to be a dog; made some beautiful pictures; been sick on the carpet; decorated 12 cupcakes; and, entertained a special little friend beautifully. Not all on the same day.

Life happens. But next week we’ll try to do more speech.

“Mum did you just Instagram the baby’s dinner??”

Well, actually I use YouFood, but yes I did.
Social media saturation – epitomised by hipsters photographing their cappuccinos – is widely accused of damaging users mental health. However this social media habit keeps me sane in the Sisyphean task of serving delicious balanced dinners to my children.

My children each only willingly eat a handful of foods. The intersection of these foods is smaller still. I understand that imprinting on certain foods very strongly is a component of autistic spectrum disorder – but I didn’t want to set myself up for a lifetime of re-heating Captain Birdseye – so I persevere.
I serve the food, I insist on table manners but I don’t force them to eat or get emotional about it. Then I scrape perfect little meals into the bin. I stay sane by eating the lovely grub alongside them – so I’m confident it’s good. And I stay sane by posting a beautifully framed photograph of the food on my YouFood feed. I don’t care if anyone else looks at it.  The rejected food looking vomitous in the garbage; the faces of my children looking bilious as I serve it; it’s a better last image to carry from my effort.

* Going into my YouFood to get some images to illustrate this post – I see that I am unfairly accused – and I normally photograph my own food. Which is a perfectly normal thing to do of course (!) The kids dinners have the same ingredients but were served in little molehill mounds of individual items to avoid contaminating a borderline acceptable foodstuff with an utterly unacceptable foodstuff. And obviously I haven’t logged the ‘bowl of plain pasta with cheese on the side’ staples we actually live on.

7 ways the UK school funding formula steals our hope

1) Institute for Fiscal Studies calculates that U.K. schools will see an average 8% real-terms reduction in per-pupil funding between 2014 and 2020. The overall funding is basically static, but there are large additional expenses. The shortfall can only be met by staff cuts.

2) Schools need staff beyond teachers. Having a TA in the room gives SEN pupils a real chance of overcoming their difficulties and accessing education. Having a pastoral support team stops a mental health wobble derailing a young person’s future. And that all frees up teachers to focus on quality  teaching.

3) We’re Brexiting. The government’s stated aim is to have fewer European migrants here. So we either need to start training more of our own hotshot accountants, doctors, nurses, IT dudes – or learn manage without them.

4) Extremist politics is on the rise. Soundbites are in fashion and facts are passé. As a democracy, we must respect people voicing their views. However, we can only survive as a functional democracy if we can effectively debate, discuss, analyse and reason. Schools are trusted by society to teach our children the skills and values that make them engaged citizens. If schools are struggling, the door is ajar for alternative ‘teachers’ to influence our children.

5) DfE can’t recruit enough maths & science graduates. Who is going to train the world-leading engineers of the future? Who’d apply to train as a teacher when funding is under threat and you might end up working with insufficient support staff?

6) We claim to be a modern economy. We don’t really have factories or fields any more. If we don’t have the skilled workforce to make the most of modern-world opportunities, then our economy will be based on soft services and property speculation. Sport and music are part of this – extra-curricular opportunities will be some of the first things to be cut in a budget squeeze.

7) I’m no expert – but ‘fairer funding’ seems to be biting an awful lot out of areas which have high deprivation. It might be ‘equal-er’ – but it’s hardly ‘fair-er’ to reduce support to kids who are already facing extra barriers in achieving their dreams.

Maybe the government have lost hope in us just like we’ve lost hope in them.

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