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School holidays are looming and with it the dilemma on how to entertain your child. Thoughts of children slouching around in front of the TV all day whilst parents are still at work dredges up mixed feelings of relief and trepidation:
At least they’ll be entertained and kept out of mischief but we know that too much TV cannot be a good thing.
The first 2 years of life are considered a critical time for brain development. TV and other electronic media can get in the way of exploring, playing, and interacting with parents and others, which encourages learning and healthy physical and social development.
As kids get older, too much screen time can interfere with activities such as being physically active, reading, doing homework, playing with friends, and spending time with family.
But TV does not have to be the evil electronic monster turning our babies, toddlers and children into a generation of square-eyed ‘blobs’. Research has shown that not only is television (with controlled and limited screen time) good for kids – it actually makes them smarter.
Here is how:
1. Watch TV with your child
- Watching TV with your kids allows parents to get a check the content of what they are viewing and allows parents to provide input, guidance and perspective on what they are seeing.
- Children who watch educational programs in the company of caregivers actually learn more from the material than children who view without co-viewing caregivers. Why? Children pay more attention to the TV, and view the material as more important, when a parent/caregiver watches with them.
2. TV can help kids learn about a variety of subjects
- If there’s a subject your child enjoys, more likely than not, there is a TV show, movie, or educational DVD or You-Tube clip that explores the subject in detail. You might be even be surprised to find out how many kids watch and love educational shows aimed at adults – “Masterchef” and “Who wants to be a Millionaire come to mind.
- Most children are not able to visit the rain forest or see a giraffe in the wild, but many have seen these things on TV.
3. TV can help build analytical thinking skills
- Asking questions such as “What do you think will happen next?” “Who did it?” “What will the result be?” “What could that character have done instead?” will help children learn to think, problem solve, and predict, making TV viewing a more active experience
- Compare and contrast: Develop these skills by comparing characters in movies, sitcoms, or even reality shows.
4. Use TV and movies to motivate children to read books.
- Many of the movies and TV programmes are based on books. Encourage children to read the book or read the book with younger children and then allow them to see the movie. Discussions comparing and contrasting the book and the movie will facilitate language development and thinking skills.
5. Discuss Advertising
- Young children often do not understand the difference between the TV programme and an advert. It is import to discuss the role and purpose of advertising. Thinking skills and creative skills can be developed in older children by discussing and analyzing the methods that advertisers use.
6. Good role models and examples on TV can positively influence children & teach social skills.
- Children are influenced by people they see on television, especially other kids. Obviously, this can have a negative result, but it can be positive too. As kids see their favorite characters making positive choices, they will be influenced in a good way. Parents can also point out positive traits that characters display and thereby spark valuable family discussions
- When children of the same age all watch the same programme, they talk and recreate parts of that programme in their play. This is important for group inclusion as well as the development of social narratives.
7. TV shows can inspire kids to try new activities and engage in learning.
- Children enjoy learning activities more if it involves their favorite characters. TV characters can be very motivating especially for younger children.
We live in a rich media environment with so much choice and whilst the web is very open, it is much easier to control what is suitable for children to watch on TV and how much time they spend watching.
So, sure, you may want to throw up when you hear the theme song to Barney, Dora Explorer or Ben 10 yet again!
But maybe you don’t need to feel so guilty about it. 😳
Developer: Hamaguchi Apps
CC whose blog is entitled “If Only I had Super Powers” http://ifonlyihadsuperpowers.blogspot.com/ recently wrote a post on trying to teach social-pragmatic skills to children. I totally concur with her. “Social –Pragmatic skills are HARD to teach” and yet more and more children are experiencing difficulty learning and generalizing these skills.
Between the Lines by Hamaguchi Apps is designed for primary(elementary) school students through young adults, who would benefit from practice interpreting vocal intonation, facial expressions, perspective-taking, body language, and idiomatic or slang expressions. There are three levels available – Level 1, Level 2 and Advanced.
The app uses real photographs, voices and short mini-video clips of a variety of social situations and expressions. This app provides a dynamic way to help learn and practice interpreting the messages that are “between the lines” and simply can’t be replicated with worksheets and static flashcards.
All three levels adopt the same format. Although Level 2 is slightly more difficult than Level 1, there is not much in it and the division between the two levels is largely due to the size of the app rather than the difficulty level. The Advanced is slightly more difficult, but I have been able to use this level with my primary school children (9-10 year olds) with success.
Format of App:
The user hears a voice speak a sentence, e.g., “Oh wow, I can’t believe he’s here!” A question is then asked, “Who said it?” The user is shown a series of photographs. Depending upon the settings selected, there can be 2, 3 or 4 choices shown. The user touches the correct facial expression that matches the voice.
Who said it?
2. Body Language
A very short video-clip is shown that depicts an interaction or situation. For example, a girl is sitting on a bench waiting for her friend. Her friend eventually strolls along and sits down and she exclaims “It’s almost 8:20! Hello!” Her body language suggests she is really exasperated. The camera closes in this actor and says, “What is she thinking?” The user’s task is to look at the choices of responses and select the one that matches the facial expression/body language. Depending upon the settings selected, there can be 2, 3 or 4 choices shown.
What is she thinking?
A very short video-clip is shown that depicts an actor speaking a sentence that contains an idiomatic expression, e.g., “I feel like I’ve been run over by a truck.” The user is then asked, “What does that mean?” Depending upon the settings selected, there can be 2, 3, or 4 choices shown. Text can be read to the user by touching the sentences.
What does that mean?
Level 1 contains 204 tasks in total.
Level 2 contains 199 tasks in total.
Advanced contains 225 tasks in total.
- All three levels can be played by up to 75 users or as a group.
- The percentage correct is reported for each user’s performance on each of the three activities.
- Individual users can select their own settings; the group must have the same setting selections for the entire group.
- Settings include:
– Selection of the activities,
– Order of the activities (or random)
– Praise phrases and correct sound effect bell on/off
– Answer choices (group of 2, 3 or 4),
– How to display choices (automatically or manually)
– Automatic progression to next activity or manual progression using the arrow.
– Progress can be tracked, and displayed or not displayed.
– Reward animations are provided at selected intervals for a welcome fun and break including Dunk Tank, Bull’s Eye (darts), and Knock ‘Em Down
- Data can be saved, stored, printed and emailed.
Although the App only provides a correct/incorrect reinforcement, each level has an Extension Activities sheet which provides specific guidance on how to extend the child and improve performance.
App Review Checklist & Rating Chart: Total Score /20
GENERAL INFORMATION & OPERATION
|Content is appropriate
|No in app purchases required for use
|Students can launch and navigate in the app independently
|App is fairly priced and/or comparable to other similarly priced apps
|App can be customized for different users
|App can be used for single user or groups
|Content/data can easily be exported
|User data is saved from session to session
|1 ½ /2
|Design graphics/sounds are appealing
|App is interactive, engaging & motivating for user
|App is designed to target speech/language skills
|App is designed to target auditory processing – phonemic awareness
|App can be adapted to target speech/language skills
|App encourages critical thinking and higher level language
|App has good potential for interaction between user and therapist
|Response to errors is specific and results in improved performance
|Targeted skills are practiced in an authentic learning environment
|App offers complete flexibility to alter settings to meet students needs
|App can be used across a variety of age/developmental groups
|19 ½ /20
17 – 20 Points – 5 Stars
13 – 16 Points – 4 Stars
9- 12 Points – 3 Stars
5 – 8 Points – 2 Stars
0 – 4 Points – 1 Star
There is very little that I can fault with this App apart from the motivation games. The choice of three different games is great, but the games themselves don’t provide the user with any control of the game other than touching the “THROW” icon and hoping for the best. The children soon worked this out. As a result, the motivation to continue playing was dampened to some degree. There is also no limit to the number of times the child can press “THROW” when they have a reward game, and even though there is no skill involved in the game, the children still enjoyed seeing the man dunked and it was occasionally difficult to redirect them to the task.
Never the less, I feel that this App is an invaluable source of targeting those difficult to teach social – pragmatic skills and it is not a bad thing to only work on one or two areas at a time in order to generalize these skills optimally.
Thank you to Patti at Hamaguchi Apps for providing me with Levels 1 & 2. The Advanced level was purchased of my own volition. 😀
The opinions expressed are my own.
A lisp is a relatively common speech disorder in which a person has trouble pronouncing the sounds of the letters “s” and “z.” The toddler that says “pleathe” is really cute, but how do you decide when the lisp is no longer cute?
And why on earth does the word “lisp” contain an /s/? 😛
There are a number of factors to consider:
Type of lisp
- Interdental/frontal lisp: The tongue protrudes out through the teeth and the /s/ and /z/ sounds will then sound more like a “th” sound
- Dentalized lisp: This is when the /s/ and /z/ sounds are produced with the tongue actually touching or pushing up against the front teeth.
It is a perfectly normal developmental phase for some (but not all) children to lisp until they are about 4½ years old.
However the following types of lisps are usually NOT developmental and will usually require intervention
- Lateral lisp: This lisp is often referred to as “slushy.” A lateral lisp occurs when the tongue tip is in a similar position to make the /l/ sound, but the air flow, instead of being directed forward and out of the oral cavity, escapes out and over the sides of the tongue.
- Palatal lisp: A palatal lisp results when “the mid section of the tongue comes in contact with the soft palate, quite far back. If you try to produce…an “h” closely followed by a “y” and prolong it, you more or less have the sound” (Caroline Bowen)
A tongue thrust is likely to result in an interdental or dentalised lisp that does not self correct.
What is a tongue Thrust?
All babies have a tongue thrust or reverse swallow. When the baby swallows, his tongue pushes forward toward his gums or front teeth. For example when feeding a baby pureed food. The baby’s tongue pushes forward, pushing some of the food back out of his mouth. The adult scoops the food off his lips and face with the spoon and puts it back in his mouth and the cycle continues. As babies mature, they learn, not only to keep their lips closed when they swallow, but to effectively move the food back toward the throat with a more mature swallow.
In the mature swallow, the tongue tip is held on the alveolar (gum) ridge behind the top front teeth and the tongue efficiently moves the food backward with a rolling motion.
Children should have a normal, adult swallow by the time they are 7 years old.
What causes Tongue Thrust?
- Thumb sucking and/or nail biting
- Prolonged use of a dummy
- Prolonged use of Sippy Cups
- Mouth breathing
- Premature loss of “baby” teeth
- Lack of muscle coordination
- Hereditary factors
- Enlarged tonsils & adenoids
What are some signs of having a tongue thrust problem?
One or more of the following conditions may indicate that there is a tongue thrust and should be further investigated by a speech therapist.
- Tongue protruding between or against the upper and/or lower “front teeth” when forming /s/, /z/, /t/, /d/, /n/. The /j/, /ch/ and /sh/ sounds may also be affected.
- Response to traditional speech therapy poor.
- Frequent open-mouth resting posture with the lips parted and/or the tongue resting against the upper and/or lower teeth
- Protrusion and/or “splaying” of front teeth.
- Lips that is often cracked, chapped, and sore from frequent licking
- Frequent mouth breathing in the absence of allergies or nasal congestion
Treatment of a tongue thrust requires breaking a habit that has been ingrained! It requires dedication and practice. For this reason, I would advise waiting until the child is around 7 years old.
Remediation of a functional articulation error of the /s/ and /z/ sound can be done at an earlier age.