November is Epilepsy Awareness Month

Epilepsy is a chronic neurological condition caused by recurring seizures impacting three million people in the United States. It’s slightly under the population of Chicago. While you’re are exploring the streets of Chicago, a stranger, a family member, or friend may have been affected by seizures. A seizure is caused by neurological sparks in the brain. Imagine flashes of lightning on a stormy day or confetti bursting at a New Year’s Eve celebration to some this may be a way to describe Epilepsy.

In order to diagnose and treat seizures, a neurologist may recommend an EEG or MRI to determine the best treatment method. This can often can be a long and daunting experience for a family to undergo. Explaining seizures to a child, siblings, or a school classroom can be challenging. A book called, Wally The Whale: A Tale About A Whale With Seizures or Great-Katie-Kate-Explains-Epilepsy capture a child’s perspective of a living with seizures.

Anticonvulsants or seizure medications are used to mitigate the risk of a seizure. Lack of sleep, missed medication, and stress can increase the likelihood of a seizure happening. Newer technology, such as wearable devices may be utilized to help better manage seizures.  To learn more about Epilepsy check out the links below:

An interesting approach to public speaking

As students enter middle school, high school, and beyond giving presentations is a crucial part of the learning process.  For some, this can provoke speech anxiety. They are told to practice multiple times in front of a family member to ease their public speaking jitters. An article by the New York Times offers other alternatives to practicing public speaking skills, such as speaking in front of a furry creature or using a virtual app.

To learn more about this topic check out the link below.


May is Better Hearing and Speech Month!

During the month of May, carve out some reading time for you and your child.  If weekly schedules are hectic, set aside some time on the weekend to read.  Create a special reading nook in your home or designate a room for reading, such as your child’s room, a pile of pillows on the floor, etc.  Read aloud to your child, too.  A read aloud helps engage your child in the novel.  You can talk about the characters, the setting, and background information of the story.  Take turns reading aloud.  For a struggling reader, listen to books on tape to develop a positive association with books.

Cell Phone Etiquette?

The use of a cell phone is an integral part of our daily routine, but it’s slowly changing the way people communicate.  We can check emails, make phone calls, send pictures, etc. all in a matter of seconds, but fail sometimes to be present in the moment.   Have you ever sat in a crowded room and observed the number of individuals with their heads bent down looking at their phones possibly getting a neck cramp?  Teaching cell phone etiquette may be an opportunity to slow down for a minute and reconnect with your child at the end of the day.  I came across this article that suggests ideas to teach cell phone etiquette for teenagers, but thought we all may benefit from the suggestions.  I really liked the “no-call zones”.   Establishing “no-call zones” with your family will indirectly become a language learning opportunity.  Below are some questions to ask your family:

  • When should we have our “no-call zone”? Dinner?  Weekend? Car rides?
  • Why should we have our “no-call zone”?
  • How do you feel if somebody’s is talking on the phone, but doesn’t answer your question?
  • What should we do if we break the “no-call zone”?
  • Make a list of the pros and cons of our “no-call zone”.
  • What happens if our “no-call zone” rule is broken?

Check out the article below to learn more about cell phone etiquette.

Winter Fun!


As we all experience this snowy, bitter winter many thoughts come to mind.  Will my car start?  Will school be cancelled?  What am I going to do with my kids all winter?  Winter can be long, but remember winter is an exciting season.  This year the 2014 Winter Olympics will begin in February!  As the Olympics approach, take this opportunity to learn about the host country as well as all the sports.  What is curling?  What are the different types of skiing?   Yes, we cannot get outside as much, but we can still find activities to keep everybody busy.  Gather the troops and create a list of winter activities to do as a family.  Have each family member contribute an idea to the list and do not forget to cross off all completed activities.  Take pictures to make a 2014 winter scrapbook.  Here are some suggestions to get you started.


  • Game nights.  Play your favorite board game.
  • Jigsaw Puzzles.
  • Watch the Winter Olympics.
  • Family reading nights.  Have older siblings read to younger siblings.
  • Write a letter to a family member or friend that doesn’t live close.
  • Drink hot chocolate.


  • Do a winter scavenger hunt.
  • Make a snowman.
  • Make snow angels.
  • Take a day trip to the Chicago Botanical Gardens.
  • Go sledding.

February Sports!

As we gear up for two big sporting events in February, many people will be talking about the super bowl and the winter olympics.  Not everyone is interested in participating in a conversation about sports, so I’ve developed some questions to make talking about sports more interesting.

Super Bowl Questions:

  • What is the NFL?
  • What NFL team is from your state?
  • How many teams are in the NFL?
  • Where will the  NFL play offs be held in 2014?
  • When is the super bowl?
  • What two teams will be playing in the super bowl?
  • What states are the two teams from?

Winter Olympics:

  • What events are in the winter olympics?
  • In what city will the winter olympics be held?
  • In what country will the winter olympics be held?
  • How many countries will participate in the winter olympics?
  • What are the symbols of the winter olympics?
  • How long is the winter olympics?

Winter Words!

Brr…brr…brr…As winter approaches, many words come to mind-boots, hats, melting, mittens, chilly, cold, snow, wet, hot chocolate, etc.  Can you think of other winter words?  Here are some activities to build language skills.

Look in a magazine for clothing items you wear in winter.

Have your child describe his or her favorite winter item.

Name foods that are chilly.

Make hot chocolate with your child.  Have your child tell you the important steps.

Compare and contrast winter clothes.  mittens versus gloves or hats versus earmuffs

Find a winter craft to do.

Make a list of winter sports.

Have your child draw a picture of a favorite winter memory.

Ask your child to think of winter words that start with each letter of the alphabet.