Friday, November 13, 2009

Toys for Language Stimulation in Toddlers

Choose toys this holiday season that will get your toddlers talking! Here are some recommendations from our pediatric language and speech pathologists to help you and your toddler develop strong language skills.

1. Hasbro Playskool Busy Ball Popper $26.99

  • Target words could include “ball, in, out, pop, stuck, more, ready-set-go, all done, want” (Ex: want ball, ball stuck, more balls)
  • Dump all of the balls out in your lap and require child to request balls one at a time using words/signs. Use target words as able.
2. Melissa & Doug Farm Wooden Chunky Puzzle $8.54

  • Target words could include animal names & sounds, “in, out, push, more, put on” (Ex: pig in, cow on top, baby chick)
  • Talk about each piece before child puts it in. Require them to label or request each piece before putting it in.

3. Melissa & Doug Pizza Party $14.12

  • Target words could include “want, cut, more, top, eat, on, off, pepper, mushroom, pizza, meat” (Ex: want cut, more meat, cut pizza)
  • Require child to label or request each piece before putting it on the pizza.
4. Smart Snacks Rainbow Color Cones $12.16

  • Target words could include “ice cream, cone, put, on, eat, more, top, colors, big” (Ex: blue on, you eat, more ice cream)
  • Take turns putting on a scoop of ice cream. Use “my turn, your turn” and then request a word/phrase before putting on the ice cream.
5. Fisher-Price Toddlerz Spiral Speedway $21.99

  • Target words could include “ready, set, go, car, more, down, up, stop, stuck” (Ex: cars on, cars go, cars down)
  • Hold cars and have child request for them. Say ready, set, and wait for them to say go!
6. Mr. Potato Head $18.16

  • Target words could include body parts, “put in, push, more” (Ex: want arm, hat on, eyes in)
  • Take two pieces and let child have a choice. Have them request which piece they want and then let them put it in.
7. Fisher-Price Little People Animal Sounds Farm $34.97

  • Target words could include animal names & sounds, “play, eat, in, out, on, climb” (Ex: want pig, pig eat, play farm)
  • Hold an animal and model a phrase for the child to say, have them repeat it and then give it to them to play with.
8. Fisher Price - Little People Lil' Movers School Bus $21.99

  • Target words could include “bus, go, fast, people, in, up, stairs, ride, window, beep” (Ex: bus go fast, people in, climb up, riding)
  • Take turns putting the people on the bus. Before they climb in, say “climb stairs/climb up” and have the child repeat. Use the same concept when they are sitting down, riding, or getting off.
9. Fisher Price Sesame Street Giggle Microwave $34.97

  • Target words could include “food, cook, eat, hot, bite, open, close” (Ex: food in, food hot, you eat, I eat)
  • Hold two choices of food up to put in the microwave and have child request one. Practice counting as you wait for the food to be ready.
10. Hasbro Playskool Busy Gears $15.96

  • Target words could include colors, “put, on, push, ready, set, go, turn, spin”
  • Practice counting gears as you put them on. Say “ready, set,” and wait for the child to say “go” to push the button.
11. Fisher-Price Loving Family Grand Dollhouse $69.99

  • Target words could include “mommy, daddy, brother, sister, puppy, sit, eat, walk, climb, jump, play, sleep, open, close” (Ex: mommy sleeping, dog playing, girl climbing)
  • Take turns playing with one doll and talk about what the doll is doing and have the child repeat.
12. Sesame Street Elmo Building Set $10.97

  • Target words could include body parts, “on, more, push, all done”
  • Have child say each body part before putting together.
13. Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Say Please Tea Set $15.97

  • Target words could include “I do, me, pour, drink, eat, more, please”
  • Wait for child to say “pour” then tip over teapot and wait for pouring sound.
14. LeapFrog Tag Junior book pal $29.97

  • Good for prereading skills
15. Baby Signing Time Volume 1-3 DVDs $16.49

  • Helps to teach early signs.
  • Pair verbal word with signs when practicing.
16. Small World Living Toys Fun-with-Fruit $19.99

  • Target words could include “cut, more, eat, food names” (Ex: want more, cut apple, all done, more food)
  • Cut food one at a time talking about each piece before giving it to the child. Require a verbalization/sign before giving him the food.
Note: All toys were available at as of November 2009. Please note that not all toys will be appropriate for your child and are dependent upon his/her developmental level.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Toys Ideas for Children with Autism

Looking for that perfect gift for your child with autism.  Here are some suggestions from our speech and language pathologists at Dayton Children's.

1. Tomy-Gearation $38.00
2. Gazillion Bubbles Motorized Bubble Blower (Funrise) $24.99-28.00
3. Melissa and Doug Farm Sound Puzzle $10.60
4. Just Like Home: Microwave Oven $23.99
5. Step2 Sand and Water Cart $98.10
6. Fisher Price Toddlerz Spiral Speedway $21.99
7. The Original Folding Trampoline (Galt) $73.90
8. Pin Art $14.11
9. Hop 55 Ball $28.59
10. Slinky $6.89
11. Drumset
12. Playskool Musical Sit and Spin $25.99
13. Tangle Jr. $3.99
14. Pacific Play Tents Find Me Tunnel $33.30
All of the above were available on in November 2009. Prices may vary. Please consider your child’s developmental level before purchasing toys.

Safety in the Kitchen

Going beyond protecting young children from sharp objects, safe kitchen habits include protecting your family from infections, illnesses, and even death. Germs are sneaky. You can’t see, taste, or smell them. You might even be healthy but carry them and then pass them along to another person who does get ill.

Keep yourself, your loved ones, and your holiday guests free from disease-causing germs by following these steps:

  1. Clean everything and often: countertops, hands, cutting boards, bowls, mixing spoons, spatulas, sinks, and even can lids before opening. Clean up spills quickly.
  2. Cook thoroughly and according to directions.
  3. Pay attention to “discard by” dates. In general:
    • Soft cheeses, 1 week
    • Fresh eggs, 3-5 weeks
    • Fresh or cooked meat, 3-4 days
    • Fresh poultry, 1-2 days
    • Cooked poultry, 3-4 days
    • Opened lunch meat, 3-5 days
  4. Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Put foods away before they’ve been at room temperature for two hours. Keep refrigerators cooler than 40 degrees and freezers below 0 degrees.
  5. Raw meats and drippings deserve extra attention. Keep them separate from foods that don’t need further cooking. Before using knives, cutting boards, countertops and sink surfaces touched by the meat or drippings clean them thoroughly.
To get your own “MBA” (Mastery of Mealtime Balancing Act) degree or for many more tips, visit the American Dietetic Association’s kitchen safety website. For more tips to stay healthy during the holiday season visit the Dayton Children's healthy lifestyles page.

About our expert - Rachel Riddiford, MS, RD, LD

Rachel has been an employee of Dayton Children's since 2004. She is currently the Manager of Clinical Dietetics and works as an eating disorder specialist in the Nutrition Clinic. Rachel completed her BS in Dietetics at Western Michigan University, Master's degree at University of Dayton, and dietetic internship at Indiana University/Purdue University. She has also completed an American Dietetic Association Pediatric and Adolescent Weight Management Certificate.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Teaching Your Teens to Drive

A couple weeks ago we posted a blog post about the importance of setting rules and boundaries for your new teen driver. 

The State of Ohio requires parents to log 50 hours of driving with their new drivers. Here is an opportunity offered by some of our partners, AAA Miami Valley and PDS Driving School, to make sure the time you spend with your new driver is quality time. 

Free parents only training class
Sunday, December 6 from 2:00pm to 4:00pm
AAA Conference Center
825 S Ludlow Street
Dayton, OH 45402
Call (937) 224-2826 to reserve a seat!

Each year over 6,000 young drivers are killed in car crashes. This parent class is a first step to reduce these devastating incidents.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Toys for Language Stimulation in Infants

No doubt you have started planning the perfect gifts for all of your loved ones.  Don't forget that toys can help children in their development as well.  Here are some toy recommendations that can help language stimulation in infants from our pediatric speech/language pathologists at Dayton Children's:

1. LeapFrog Learn & Groove™ Musical Table $34.97
  • Helps teach cause-effect relationship (push=music), word-symbol associations
  • Auditory/language stimulation (music, single words)
  • Introduces shapes, numbers and counting 1-10 in English and Spanish
2. Lamaze Garden Bug Wrist Rattle/Foot Finder Set $12.99

  • Helps teach cause-effect relationship (shake=rattle noise)
  • Auditory stimulation
3. Baby Einstein Takealong Tunes $9.99

  • Helps teach cause-effect relationship (push=music)
  • Auditory stimulation
4. Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Sing-with-Me CD Player $17.99

  • Four buttons to activate lights, phrases and songs; six songs to help teach abc's, numbers, shapes, colors, and classic nursery rhymes; helps teach cause-effect relationship (push=music); auditory stimulation
5. Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Learning Piggy Bank $18.92

  • Good for language/auditory stimulation (single words, e.g. “open, close”)
6. Stack Up Cups $5.97

  • Could help teach “putting in” and “taking out;” good for teaching verbal imitation (if cups are used as amplifier)
7. The First Years Massaging Action Teether $9.97

  • Helps teach cause-effect relationship (bite=vibration); mouth-alerting for those with low facial tone, those who enjoy vibration
8. Little Super Star Classical Stacker $13.87

  • Could help teach “on” and “1, 2, 3, 4”
Note: All toys were available at as of November 2009. Please note that not all toys will be appropriate for your child and are dependent upon his/her developmental level.

Questions from readers

By Gregory Ramey, PhD, child psychologist at Dayton Children's and Dayton Daily News columnist


My 3-year-old son won’t stay in his bed at night. He keeps coming into our bedroom, regardless of what I say to him. I finally threatened that the boogie man would get him if he came out of his room and this seems to be working. I hate to scare him, but I don’t know of any other way to control his behavior.


You should never threaten a child with consequences that you can’t or don’t want to deliver. There is a much easier way to deal with this common bedtime problem. Stop talking and threatening your son and instead, immediately put him back into his own bed whenever he goes into your room. Within a week or two he will learn that his behavior is not being reinforced and will stay in his own room throughout the night.


I think my in-laws are too tough on their 5 year old granddaughter. They seem very harsh with her - sometimes screaming at her, punishing her unnecessarily, and having expectations that seem too high for such a young child. I’ve spoken to my husband about this, and he is also surprised as that is not the way he was raised. I would like to talk to my in-laws, but I don’t want to hurt the relationship with our child.


You and your husband need to have a frank discussion with his parents. Keep your approach balanced and positive. However, be very specific about what discipline techniques you find appropriate. If they are doing things that you find seriously objectionable, then you may need to limit their contact with your daughter to times when you are present. Your daughter’s welfare comes before your in-law’s feelings.


My 10-year-old has almost a perfect life, but he still seems whiny and negative. He goes to an excellent school, has two parents who love him dearly and give him a tremendous amount of attention, and has pretty much everything he wants. Even so, it seems like whatever we do is not enough and he is always asking for more. Does it sound like he may need professional help?


Instead of seeing a psychologist, reflect upon your parenting approach. He has many of the characteristics of a spoiled child. Some kids develop a sense of entitlement. These youngsters depend upon others to entertain them, give them things, and satisfy their every whim. They are egocentric, self-absorbed, and generally unhappy.

It may be that you are giving him too much attention, and that he feels he is the center of your universe. Decrease the number of things you are giving him. Require him to do chores, and don’t attend to his whining and complaining. Volunteer efforts through his church or school may also help change his perspective.

Gregory Ramey, Ph.D., is a child psychologist and vice president for outpatient services at The Children’s Medical Center of Dayton. For more of his columns, visit