5 Minutes for Special Needs Books

Enter your name in the comments to win a free copy of this book!

Today we’re taking a look at The New Language of Toys: Teaching Communication Skills to Children with Special Needs, A Guide for Parents and Teachers by Sue Schwartz. It’s a book that was recommended to me by my son Avery’s speech therapist, and was the 2004 iParenting Media Award Winner too.

Using 65 store-bought and homemade toys as examples, Schwartz creates “toy dialogs” that show parents/teachers how to play with children (birth-age 6) in ways that help encourage receptive language skills (understanding), expressive language skills (communicating), and speech.

The book is organized by language development stages, and each section includes toy dialogs, photographs, a toy list, a list of suggested vocabulary, a children’s book bibliography and a checklist. The book also discusses the use of videos, DVDs, television, and the computer as language enhancers.

Better yet, it’s fun!

Especially in the beginning, when I was a new mom to Avery and it seemed as if there were so many things we needed to be doing for him, so many ways in which it was all up to us to make sure he got every chance to reach his potential, therapy sessions could sometimes become overwhelming. This book helped me remember that the first job of childhood is play, and that my responsibilities to my son also included making sure our days were filled with laughter, and love.

If you’d like to have a copy for yourself, leave your name in the comments and I’ll choose a winner at random.

Jennifer Graf Groneberg is the author of Road Map to Holland, a memoir about learning to mother her son Avery, who has Down syndrome. She also writes at her personal blog Pinwheels.

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