Kids can Benefit from Therapy Dog Visits

Kids can Benefit from Therapy Dog Visits

Today’s Parent Tip of the Week is brought to
you by Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center

Lucy has been coming to Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center since October 2014. Lucy arrives at therapy with lots of energy. With a wag of her tail, therapy clients are just as happy to see Lucy as she is to see her “clients.”

That’s right, Lucy is a dog. Lucy, CHSC’s first therapy dog, and her handler, Beth, come twice a month to visit clients at the center. Lucy has a busy schedule while she is at CHSC — she participates in the school-age reading group and the fluency group. Lucy is always ready to listen and does not judge anyone’s reading or speaking abilities.

Michelle Foye, director of Speech, Language and Learning Services, has seen a dramatic increase in her reading clients’ willingness to practice assigned tasks at home so that they are prepared to read to Lucy when she comes for a visit.

Raymond said, “I like reading to Lucy because she is a good listener and she is nice.”

Teresa said, “I like Lucy’s cute little face and reading books to her.”

Lucy also visits with the fluency group so that they can practice using their fluency strategies. Maggie Cifra, a CHSC Speech Language Pathologist, commented, “It really helps the kids feel at ease and decreases anxiety that they may have about their own communication skills. It is comforting for them to know that they have Lucy as a companion who will listen and not judge them if they stutter. They also love petting Lucy, learning about her, and watching Lucy give ‘high fives’ for a treat from Beth.”

Lucy is certified through Therapy Dogs International (TDI). In order for a dog to be certified as a therapy dog with TDI, the dog must pass the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen Test, pass a TDI temperament evaluation, and the dog’s handler must submit yearly updated health record forms signed by a licensed veterinarian.

To learn more about speech therapy with Lucy, and other speech therapy programs for children, contact Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center at 216-231-8787 or visit

— By Michelle Foye, MA CCC-SLP, director of Speech, Language and Learning Services at Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center

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Child Developmental Chart and Age-Appropriate Toys

Today’s Parent Tip of the Week is brought to
you by Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center

This developmental chart lists some skills typical of a child’s development from infancy through 5 years old. Children may vary in their development. If you have any questions concerning your child’s development, contact your pediatrician and/or ask about an early intervention program, such as that provided by Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center (call 216-698-7500 for information).

1-3 Months

Babies like to:
Listen to musical sounds
Stare at movement and light
Be held and rocked
Reach/feel with open hands

Give your baby:
Soft musical toys/rattles
Lamps throwing light patterns
Your arms, singing, smile

4-6 months

Babies like to:
Shake, feel and bang things
Sit with support

Give your baby:
Crib gym
Cups, spoons and pot lids
High chair suction toys

7-9 months

Babies like to:
Roll over and pivot on stomach
Throw, wave and bang toys
Gum objects

Give your baby:
Bathtub toys
Teether and gumming toys
Space to roll around

10-12 months

Babies like to:
Play pat-a-cake
Pull up and get back down
Place things where they’re wanted

Give your baby:
Motion toys
Baking tins and clothes pins
Nestled plastic cups

1 year to 15 months

Babies like to:
Use one or two words
Be hugged
Try feeding themselves

Give your baby:
Lots of conversation
Personal dish, cup and spoon
You on the floor

16 months to 2 years

Babies like to:
Get into everything
Identify parts of themselves
Fetch and carry
Turn pages

Give your baby:
A childproof house
A shape sorting box
A toy telephone
Picture books

2 years to 30 months

Babies like to:
Help with housework
Kick a large ball
Play on riding toys

Give your baby:
Large balls and push toys
Tricycle or big wheel
Shelves to put things away

30 months to 3 years

Children like to:
Put clothing on
Work with their fingers
Sing songs and repeat rhymes

Give your child:
Big crayons and paper
Tape player or record player
Construction sets

3 years to 4 years

Children like to:
Cut with rounded scissors
Play games with other children
Play with sand and water

Give your child:
More responsibility
Things to cut and paste
Backyard pool or sandbox

4 years to 5 years

Children like to:
Play ball
Repeat nursery rhymes
Dress themselves
Sing songs

Give your child:
Balls of different sizes
Time to dress himself
Love and affection