Speech & Language Strategies for Parents and Educators: Grammar and Vocabulary

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by Sophia Guarracino, Speech-Language Pathologist

by Sophia Guarracino, Speech-Language Pathologist

One of the most important points to keep in mind when your child or a student in your class is receiving speech and language services is the importance of carrying over intervention in both the home and school settings. It is ideal for parents, therapists, and educators to work together and discuss the techniques that will be effective for each child. There are many strategies that can be incorporated into a child’s daily routine to boost their speech and language skills. In this post, we will focus on two areas: grammar and sentence structure and vocabulary and word meanings.

Grammar/Sentence Structure: These strategies are intended for students who have difficulty with grammar and/or sentence structure.

  • If the child says something incorrectly, repeat it for them correctly in a natural way. Be sensitive about not calling negative attention to their language. For example, if the child says “I goed to the store.” You’d say, “Oh, you went to the store.”
  • When the child’s speech or writing contains grammar or word order errors, show them in writing the correct form.
  • When working with the child individually with written or oral language, repeat the error and ask the child how the sentence sounds. For example, if the child says or writes, “I goed to the store.” You say, “I goed to the store? Does that sound right?” If the child is unable to correct it, give them a choice. For example, “Which sounds better, ‘I goed to the store.’ or ‘I went to the store.’?”
  • For frequently occurring errors, build oral language practice into the daily routine for the entire class.


Vocabulary/Word Meanings: These strategies are intended for students who have difficulty with vocabulary/word meaning.

  • Prior to introducing new units or stories, compile a list of key vocabulary words. Discuss the words and their possible meanings with students.
  • When introducing words, try using a graphic organizer or visual mapping to come up with word relationships, including antonyms or synonyms.
  • When possible, pair a picture with the vocabulary words. When vocabulary is abstract and pictures are not available, try to relate the words to a personal experience to which students can relate.
  • Place words and definitions on note cards. Use the cards to play games such as matching or memory.
  • Create a word list with vocabulary and definitions to display in a visible place within the classroom.
  • Provide students with a vocabulary list including definitions one week prior to beginning a new unit.
  • Encourage the use of word-games at home (Tribond, etc.).
  • Consult with a speech-language therapist for more ideas using graphic organizers.

Spring Cleaning: Medical and Academic Records

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Spring has arrived and with it, the urge to straighten up the house and prepare for summer travels. One important item that should be on your checklist is time to organize your child’s medical and academic records. Keeping your records current and accessible is not just for the tidy-at-heart folks who relish clear desk tops or room to work on the kitchen counter. For families of children who receive therapy or learning support services, it can be an essential part of being an effective advocate and responsible caregiver.


Be prepared

The ability to quickly review the history within your child’s records can help to illuminate progress, goals that still need to be met (or met again), and techniques that have or have not been effective. Having ready access to information will help you present your ideas to service providers or ask questions with confidence, contributing to an atmosphere of respect and professionalism at school meetings, doctor visits, therapy sessions, or other encounters with the professionals in your child’s life. When the inevitable paperwork snafus happen—lost files, records that don’t get transferred—many headaches can be avoided when you are able to quickly retrieve copies from your own files. Perhaps the most critical reason for keeping a well-structured filing system is so someone else could step into your shoes and continue managing the services for your child in the event you are no longer able to.



Most of the critical documentation will fall into the categories of education, healthcare & financial records, as well as information for caregivers. Useful documents include observations from other adults who have a personal relationship with your child, articles about your child’s diagnosis, reports on scientifically-based teaching methods, and a list of tips on ‘what works’ for your child. Receipts, insurance statements, and other financial documents are an important part of your record keeping.


Ready? Go!

Getting started is often one of the greatest obstacles to getting organized. A good initial goal is to create a summary sheet that contains the basics: name, age, address, phone, identification numbers, emergency contacts, diagnoses, contact information for providers including doctors, school personnel, therapists, and other support professionals. Also list medications with dosage instructions, allergies, and insurance information. Breaking large tasks into smaller projects or stages can make it easier to tackle the effort to consolidate and update your child’s records.


What to keep:
  • Signed release of information forms
  • Annual school student handbook
  • Individual Education Plans (IEPs)
  • Report cards and IEP progress reports
  • Standardized test results
  • Evaluations and behavioral assessments
  • Copies of your child’s school records including attendance and any disciplinary file entries
  • Journal entries on your child’s behavior or development
  • Correspondence (letters, email, informal notes)
  • Notes from meetings
  • Contact log (record of conversations, incoming and outgoing phone calls)
  • Samples of school work (best, worst, and typical)
  • Medical records, including information about all medications
  • Therapists’ reports
  • Receipts and billing statements


How Can We Help?

Whether you are preparing for appointments over the summer with professionals in your home country, getting ready to repatriate, catching up with your insurance provider, or simply resolving to organize all of the paperwork that accompanies parenting, we can help if your child receives services at Olivia’s Place.  We are committed to maintaining clinical files to internationals standards to ensure excellent continuity of care, regardless of where you are in the world. Please contact us if we can answer any questions or be of assistance with respect to your child’s clinical records or Olivia’s Place financial documentation.