Sunday, February 17, 2013

Guest post by: Leslie Lindsay

Guest Post

Gnoming For Words
By Leslie Lindsay

          Looking for some crafty things to do with your children during the winter months?  What about combining crafts with speech work?  If you are a fan of Natalie Boatwright’s speech therapy techniques, you know that she too, is big into crafting.      
          About a month ago, I introduced my daughters to the miniature world of gnome homes, one of which is recovering from severe CAS. Now, don’t get wrong, this is not a how-to post on creating your own gnome homes, rather it’s a lesson on how to incorporate speech-language skills into your projects. 
          Rule #1:  You don’t have to be an artist.  Repeat that.  You don’t have to be an artist.           
          Rule #2:  It’s about the process, and not the finished art piece.
          Rule #3:  Grab your child(ren). 
          Rule #4:  It’s okay to get messy, encouraged even.  (Wear old clothes or a smock)
          Rule #5:  Have fun!

          Now for that part about how to incorporate speech work into your crafting.  For children of all ages and all skill levels, you can begin by just talking about what you are doing.  “Today, we are going to build gnome homes.  Do you know what a gnome is?”  Or how about, “Can you say gnome?” 

          Got a tactile-learner? A kid who loves to dance? Or maybe your child really loves color? While every child has a constellation of sensory strengths (shape, color, movement and sound are just a few), your child probably has one or two that really stand out — that you notice in his or her artwork or in elements of his or her collections and activities.  Here’s how you may be able to those sensory strengths to gnome homes, or any other type of craft you attempt. 

·         Shape:  Ask your child for descriptive words related to their gnome home.  Is it tall?  Big? Flat?  Round? 
·         Sound:  “What do you suppose your gnome may hear at their home?”  Water trickling/rushing/splashing?  (Let’s practice making that sound), “How do you think a gnome talks?  Let’s try it.  Can you make your voice high-pitched or low-pitched?”  What are some other sounds in nature that may be heard at a gnome home? 
·         Color:  “What colors are you using?  Oh, green!  Look, I see gray and brown, too.”  Can you say ‘gray?’
·         Texture:  “Is that bumpy or smooth?  Can you say those words?”  “I am going to add a little texture to this door.”  Can you say the word texture? “I have some moss.  What does moss feel like?  Here, touch it.” 
·         Light:  If you could imagine what kind of light is shining on this gnome home, what colors would you pick?  Is it sunny or rainy?  Should we add sparkles to our house? 
·         Movement:  You may not be able to add much movement to your creation, unless you get mechanical and add a water wheel or something of that sort…but you can still incorporate movement in your crafting by having your child get up and retrieve a supply.  This works on receptive language, “Will you grab the glue/moss/rocks?” 
·         Extend the activity:  Now it’s time to do something different, but similar to your craft project.  Can you read a book to your child about gnomes?  Draw a picture?  Watch a movie that incorporates gnomes?  Here are a few to get your started. 

Here are a couple of suggestions: 

Bio:  Leslie Lindsay, R.N., B.S.N. is the author of the 2012 Reader’s Choice nominated SPEAKING OF APRAXIA: A Parent’s Guide to Childhood Apraxia of Speech (Woodbine House, 2012).  She is a former child/adolescent psychiatric nurse at the Mayo Clinic-Rochester.  Leslie is now a full-time writer at work on her first novel, an active blogger,, and frequent contributor to several speech-related websites.  She devotes her free time to her two school-age daughters, Kate and Kelly and a spoiled basset hound, Sally.  Leslie is married to Jim Lindsay and resides in the Chicago area. 

References: The Missing Alphabet, A Parents’ Guide to Developing Creative Thinking in Kids (Greenleaf Book Group, 2012). http:/ Book available on and where books are sold.

Thank you so much Leslie for your willingness to collaborate and share your family's story with us! We appreciate your story and information. I love this idea and will definitely be giving it a try with my boys! 

Have you participated in a similar activity? We'd LOVE to hear about it. Share your story in the comments below.

 Take care everyone, 
Natalie :)

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