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ReadyStepGrow. Empowering Parents of Prems
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Helping families give their prems the best start with programs & professional support.
Helping families give their prems the best start with programs & professional support.

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Did your child go through a period of developmental stuttering?
Ready Step Grow Knows…
Stuttering is a communication issue that may occur more commonly in children born preterm.
There are many myths about stuttering. It is important to know that anxiety, stress, bullying and trauma do NOT cause someone to have a stutter (although they may worsen stuttering in someone who already has a stutter). Stuttering is not associated with low intelligence. Ignoring the stutter will not cure it, and talking about it will not make it worse. And not all children ‘grow out of’ stuttering.
So here are some facts:
• We don’t know exactly what causes stuttering, but we know that there is a genetic component because stuttering is more common in people who have a close family member who stutters. We think it may have something to do with the way that speech movements are organised in the brain.
• Many children go through a period of what we call ‘developmental stuttering’ – which usually co-occurs with a sudden improvement in language skills. Developmental stuttering usually involves repetition of whole words or phrases only, and usually the word or phrase is only repeated one to two times. Developmental stuttering usually does not require treatment, and ‘goes away’ by itself.
• Most stutters emerge around 2-4 years of life – although some adults may start to stutter after a medical event such as a stroke or traumatic brain injury.
• Some experts recommend watchful waiting for 12 months after the stutter emerges. However if the stutter is distressing to you or your child, or is interfering with their ability to participate in and enjoy their daily activities (including communicating effectively with other people), please seek Speech Pathology as soon as possible. Also remember that many services have long waiting lists – and so you may wish to do your ‘watchful waiting’ under the supervision of a Speech Pathologist, or at least on a waiting list.
• Therapy for pre-schoolers who stutter is usually very effective – provided that family commits to therapy and home practice. The therapy that is used for pre-schoolers who stutter in Australia is called the Lidcombe Program. Its efficacy has been proven in high quality research trials, and it is increasingly used worldwide.
• Therapy for adolescents and adults can also be effective, but is much more challenging, so it is important to get in early! In adolescents and adults, stuttering often co-occurs with anxiety, depression and a history of bullying. Mental health treatment can be an important adjunct to stuttering therapy in adolescents and adults, and can reduce the chance that the stutter will return.
As with everything – early intervention is key to managing childhood stuttering! So if you are concerned, don’t wait. Speak to a Speech Pathologist who is experienced in stuttering management.
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ReadyStepGrow family book club favourites. Edwina the Emu (Sheena Knowles) In this sequel to Edward the Emu, Edward and his mate Edwina are the proud parents of ten little emu eggs. "Don't get depressed. I'll find a job, you stay on the nest," says Edwina to Edward. And Edwina goes about finding a job! Rhythmic, rhyming verse and hilarious illustrations by Rod Clement make this an entertaining picture book that finds the place in the hearts of readers young and old alike.
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ReadyStepGrow family book club favourites. In My Heart (Jo Witek)
"Sometimes my heart feels like a big yellow star, shiny and bright.
I...
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What toys do your children most enjoy playing with? Do you notice a difference in how much language they use with different toys?
ReadyStepGrow Knows…
Often the best toys to promote communication development are the simplest! Toys that are ideal for communication development are those where the CHILD is active, and the TOY is inactive. That is, the toy does nothing that the child (or natural forces, like gravity!) is not controlling. That is because with these toys, the focus is on the child’s thinking and creativity and on the other people they are playing with. In other words, the focus is on what the child can do, not on what the toy can do. This means that the child is challenged to use their skill set rather than sitting passively while a toy entertains them.
Inactive toys that provide wonderful opportunities for language development include:
• Blocks
• Balls
• Nesting/stacking cups
• ‘Pretending’ toys like toy phones (without batteries!), kitchenware, dolls, dress-ups etc
These are toys that do not require batteries, are usually quite sturdy, and most of them will grow with your child. For example, a ten month old may play with blocks by banging them together. A five year old may play with them by building a rocket.
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ReadyStepGrow family book club favourites. The Gruffalo (Julia Donaldson) “A Gruffalo, a Gruffalo, why don’t you know? The Gruffalo is a funny tale that keeps children enthralled and eagerly anticipating each coming page. The rhythmical style captivates very young readers as they develop their verbal skills & it invites the child to get into character themselves!
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ReadyStepGrow family book club favourites. "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, what do you see?" (Bill Martin) "I see a red bird looking at me.”...
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ReadyStepGrow family book club favourites. Waiting (Kevin Henkes)
What are you waiting for? An owl, a puppy, a bear, a rabbit, and a...
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Has your child ever surprised you with unexpected additions to their vocabulary?
Ready Step Grow Knows…
Vocabulary is an important predictor of a child’s future success at school, particularly with reading.
Preschool and school aged children who have difficulties with vocabulary often use a lot of non-specific words like “that one”, “this”, “it”. They might use non-specific verbs – for example perhaps they always use “wash” instead of also using “clean”, “wipe”, “scrub”, “mop” etc. Sometimes they may gesture or talk around the topic (this is called ‘circumlocution’) to try to get their message across.
There are lots of things that parents and teachers can do to support vocabulary development. These include:
• Read! This is the simplest strategy but is hugely important! No child is too young to be read to. Read early and read often. Read every day. Read at bed time and play time. Read books, and menus, and road signs, and food packets. Encourage family and friends to read with your child when they spend time together. Go on excursions to the library and story-time. Reading exposes children to new vocabulary that they might not encounter in their own routine.
• Define unfamiliar words when you encounter them. For example, the children’s book ‘Click Clack Moo’ features the word “strike” (as in a labour strike). You might say “strike! That’s a new word. A strike is when people stop working because there is something they want from their bosses, like more money.”
• Talk about words that are in categories. For example “cats and dogs are both pets! And they are animals, too!” or “we’re buying apples, oranges, bananas and nectarines. They’re all kinds of fruit.” You may even like to make a category scrapbook, where you dedicate each page to a category and cut out magazine and catalogue pictures that fit into that category.
• Talk about the way words relate to one another. Talking about opposites, words that sound different but have the same meaning, and words that sound the same but have a different meaning can be helpful for children learning new vocabulary. For example “this ice is so cold! Cold is the opposite of hot” or “Whew, that is a large truck! Large and big both mean the same thing” or “this bear is an animal. It’s not the sort of ‘bare’ where you have no clothes on! They sound the same, but they’re different.”
• Teach your child how to ask questions like “what does ___ mean?” and “what is that called?”
• Play guessing games, where you take turns to describe a mystery item which the other person has to guess. For example “I’m thinking of something with a handle. You use it to eat soup or cereal. You hold it in your hand, and put it in your mouth. It can be made of plastic, metal or wood.” For a younger child, you might like to have a selection of objects (or pictures) visible and describe one of them for the child to guess.
If you are concerned about your child’s vocabulary development, speak to a Speech Pathologist.
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ReadyStepGrow Family book club favourites. Odd Velvet (Mary E Whitcomb)
"From the first day of school, Velvet's classmates think that she is strange. When the other girls bring their dolls for show-and-tell, she brings a milkweed pod. With her purple dress, huge glasses, and peppermint-stick tights, this girl is clearly too odd to be picked as a play partner-or a friend. But slowly, her unique characteristics -- her rock collection, her ability to draw lovely pictures with only the eight basic crayons -- seem more interesting than strange, and a wonderful birthday party at her house cements the other children's acceptance of this imaginative child....Both the artwork and the writing save the story from becoming too saccharine. A promising debut for both author and illustrator, and a commendable addition to libraries." -- Tana Elias, School Library Journal
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Valentine's Day - an extra special day for us at ReadyStepGrow. Did you know? We began our first programs on Valentines Day back in 2013!
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