Sunday, December 8, 2013

Homemade Baby Wipes

For so long I thought, "why make them when they are so easy to buy and I really do not need to add one more thing to my list".  Well I finally did it months ago and I am so glad that I did, we will never go back to store bought wipes.  They are so cheap and easy to make, in fact I still have the original ingredients that I purchased to make these wipes.  I am only now about to reorder.  The best part about it....I know exactly what is going on my children's skin.
As always, when researching something I was stunned at the REAL ingredients .  Why would I assume that this would be any different?  When doing my research I found it very difficult to find out what all of the ingredients in wipes are.  The harder it is to find ingredients on something the more suspicious I get.  I looked and looked and looked and could not find where Huggies disclosed what all of the ingredients are in their wipes.  I could find some ingredients online, only the ones that we all know are good though.  They did not mind disclosing aloe, cotton, and vitamin E, unfortunately they do spin the other ingredients as many companies do.   Finally I had to turn to the box and another mother who researched the same subject.
All baby wipes contain water, skin conditioners, product enhancers, synthetic cleansers and synthetic preservatives (to prevent the growth of bacteria).  In each ingredient category, ingredients vary on the scale of toxicity. As Irina Webb, writer of "I Read Labels For You" states, "All baby wipes use synthetic cleansers and most of them (even plant-based ones) use toxic chemicals in their manufacture.  Product enhancing ingredients are relatively ok, although some of them may be quite toxic.  As for preservatives (and they have to be used in baby wipes because a moist environment is a breeding ground for bacteria), they are the most problematic group in baby wipes.  There are no synthetic preservatives that are absolutely free of any concerns."  Again, it is a matter of toxicity degree.


Huggies Baby Wipes
Huggies describes their baby wipes as “Natural Care” baby wipes.  But what do they mean by “Natural?”  Let’s take a look at Huggies baby wipes ingredients and see for ourselves if they are truly natural and if their manufacturer made choices that are in the best interests of babies.  Apparently, there are a few different formulations.  And from what Irina Webb discovered, this formulation is not the most toxic.


Huggies Baby Wipes Cleansers

There are two synthetic cleansers in the Huggies baby wipes, which are potassium laureth phosphate and polysorbate-20.  These cleansers have something in common.  To produce them, a carcinogenic chemical, ethylene oxide, is used to make harsh petrochemicals less irritating to the skin.  There are three problems with that: 1. The manufacturing process is toxic; 2. The cleansers remain irritating to the skin; 3. Ethylene oxide produces carcinogenic 1,4-dioxane that may remain in the final product (for more information see Irina's post ”1,4-Dioxane in Cosmetics and Personal Care and Cleaning Products” post).  Often manufacturers do not make an effort to remove 1,4-dioxane from the final products, even though it is not expensive to do. According to a 2008 Organic Consumer Association and EWG study, 46% of personal care products and 57 percent of baby soaps are contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, and not much has been done since then to fix this situation (,4-DIOXANE/).


Huggies Baby Wipes Preservatives

There are two preservatives used in Huggies baby wipes, which are methylisothiazolinone and methylparaben,  Baby wipes are a breeding ground for bacteria because of their moist environment, this is why the preservatives are added.  Why so many companies refuse to use essential oils that serve the same purpose is infuriating to me, especially when it is a product for our babies.  There are no absolutely non-toxic synthetic preservatives; however, some preservatives are more toxic than others. Methylisothiazolinone and methylparaben are potent toxins. Methylisothiazolinone may cause an allergic skin reaction and lab studies in mice suggest that it may be toxic to brain cells ( The major concern about methylparaben is that it mimics estrogen and disrupts the function of the hormone system (


Huggies Baby Wipes Enhancers

Tetrasodium EDTA and malic acid are two ingredients used to help Huggies baby wipes do their work. Tetrasodium EDTA is a chelating agent and malic acid is a ph-adjuster.  The EWG gives a favorable rating for Tetrasodium EDTA of only 2 out 10, with 10 being the most toxic (  However, there are other sources on the Internet that consider it much more toxic.  Irina looked at the Tetrasodium EDTA MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) and what stood out for her the most was as follows, “The toxicological properties of this substance have not been fully investigated.” (  As for malic acid, its main concern is that it may cause skin irritation (


Huggies Baby Wipes Skin Conditioners

Lastly, there are a few ingredients in Huggies Baby Wipes that are actually good for the skin, such as glycerin, aloe barbadensis leaf extract, and tocopheryl acetate.  All of them have skin conditioning properties.  There are two things I want to say here.  One is that tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), if derived synthetically, might be contaminated with carcinogenic hydroquinone (  And the second thing is that given the concerns I have mentioned above, any benefit is outweighed by the potential harm.


Here is more information about baby wipes and their ingredients at
Now on with our recipe for wipes.
1 roll of heavy duty paper towel (I recommend Bounty)
Container for wipes
1 Tablespoon pure aloe vera-we use Mountain Rose Herbs
1Tablespoon pure Witch Hazel-again we use Mountain Rose
2 Tablespoons liquid Castille Soap-we use Dr. Bronner's
1 teaspoon of Vitamin E (optional)
1 Tablespoon almond oil (optional)
1 3/4 cups boiled water-cool a little
Essential oil of choice

First put water on to boil.
Next, using a good serrated knife cut the paper towels in half.

Then either you or your assistant can put one half in container, with cut side down.
Add witch hazel, vitamin E, aloe, oil and soap and stir carefully.
Have your assistant add desired essential oils and stir.
This time we used lavender. eucalyptus and lemon.
Pour mixture over paper towels.
Let sit for a few minutes then pull cardboard piece out of middle.

And here is the final product.

They smell wonderful and are safe.


For further information regarding essential oils please visit Baker's Guide to Essential Oils.

Thursday, December 5, 2013


Hippotherapy has been on our radar for Emma for a long time.  We first ruled out Atlantoaxial Instability by x-ray when Emma turned two.  As soon as we got the okay from our pediatrician we pressed forward as quickly as possible.  Horses have always been a part of Chad's family and I wanted to continue the tradition with our children.  Grant and Olivia love the horses and enjoy riding them, I want the same for Emmalin.  We were very relieved the day we received the news that riding would be safe for her. 

Understanding the majestic power horses yield may help explain the power of hippotherapy, which “refers to the use of the movement of the horse as a treatment strategy by physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech/language pathologists to address impairments, functional limitations and disabilities in patients with neuromotor and sensory dysfunction,” according to the American Hippotherapy Association (AHA).

The horse's pelvis has a similar three-dimensional movement to the human's pelvis at the walk. The horse's movement is carefully graded at the walk in each treatment for the patient. This movement provides physical and sensory input which is variable, rhythmic and repetitive. The variability of the horse's gait enables the therapist to grade the degree of input to the patient and use this movement in combination with other treatment strategies to achieve desired therapy goals or functional outcomes. In addition, the three-dimensional movement of the horse's pelvis leads to a movement response in the patient's pelvis which is similar to the movement patterns of human walking. A foundation is established to improve neurological function and sensory processing, which can be generalized to a wide range of daily activities and address functional outcomes and therapy goals.
Lori Garone is a physical therapist who also is a board certified clinical specialist in hippotherapy. She explains, "the horse's movement… access[es a patient's] central nervous system… by the repetitive and innate rhythm of the horse's walk."
Garone says that movement creates "new motor, sensory and speech pathways in the brain" that can help a patient reach developmental, motor and speech goals.
Garone works for AHA and is a AHA past board director. She says after being around horses her entire life, their ability to heal has never surprised her.
"Incorporating the horse into human rehabilitation certainly is a more natural way for us to heal ourselves in any variety of ways," she explains.
She emphasizes, "[Hippotherapy] is not riding a horse, nor is it horse therapy or equestrian therapy. It is either physical, occupational or speech therapy, and when a specially trained team of therapist, horse, horse handler and side helper incorporate it into a patient's therapy, goals are reached faster."
Hippotherapy is a treatment strategy that "has been incorporated into patients [Plan of Care] for over 25 years in this country and over 40 years in Germany, Austria and most of Europe," Garone explains. Garone began a private practice on Long Island, New York, in 1990 called Physical Therapy In Motion, which incorporates hippotherapy into patients' treatment.  AHA's website shares testimonials from parents of children who have achieved significant success through treatment with horses. "Hippotherapy is more effective than traditional therapies because horses have a unique ability to motivate children to try new things," explains the parents.
For a parent of a child with Down syndrome, the hint of a promise at progress is compelling enough to pursue hippotherapy even when health insurance provides no coverage.
"I cannot say enough wonderful things about [hippotherapy]," shares Ashley, whose 8-year-old son has Down syndrome and recently began treatment at Horse ”N” Around in Lancaster, South Carolina. "It was expensive for us; insurance did not pay," she says. "But, when we were there, I always had a moment of: 'This is worth it, and I will do whatever it takes!'"
As Ashley watched her son interact with his speech therapist (who is trained specifically in hippotherapy), she marveled at his response on various levels, from following commands to talking to and guiding the horse.
His therapist adapted the treatment plan to his sensory issues, finding a larger and thus stronger horse with a heavier trot. "He didn't do as well with the smaller horses," Ashley explains. "He needed the strong input of the bigger horses."
"He was so at peace there," she shares. "I loved hearing him talk so much, follow directions, smile and just enjoy the whole atmosphere and experience."
To find a physical therapist, occupational therapist or speech/language pathologist who is trained in hippotherapy, visit AHA’s resource page.
We currently use Beyond Boundaries and they are amazing.  Our OT, Lori Tankersly, who has been one of my anchor's over the past couple of years, works with Emma during hippotherapy.  She is assisted by Tyler Stone, who Emma absolutely LOVES, and Kandi Brandon, so sweet and patient.  Below is a video of our experience with hippotherapy.
I also want to recognize Jimmy McMinn who is the Barn Manager at Beyond Boundaries and Beth Stamp who is the Executive Director and owner of Allied Therapy and Consulting Services.

You can read more about Down syndrome and Atlantoaxial Instability at

Beyond Boundaries is located at 2195 Peyton Street in Ward AR.  For more information call 501-941-1522 or visit their website.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Essential Oils-God's Medicine

Essential Oils are the life blood of a plant.  They are mentioned more than 200 times in the Bible, most commonly for anointing or healing.  They are similar in composition to the human body and are easily absorbed by the body.  If you inhale an essential oil, it will reach the brain within 22 minutes.  If you apply it topically, it can be detected in the bloodstream within 2 minutes, and within 20 minutes it will have affected every cell in the body.  Essential oils do not treat, cure, or prevent any illness.  Rather they  help the body to function as God designed it to.
 Why Young Living Essential oils?
They are truly pure, therapeutic grade essential oils.  They are steam distilled, usually right in the country where the plants are grown.  They are tested by Young Living and also a third party testing facility to ensure purity and the maximum number of beneficial properties.  In the US, to be labeled a 100% pure, essential oil, the bottle only needs to contain 1 drop of pure, essential oil.  The rest can be fillers or impurities.  You do not want impurities in your essential oils because many essential oils contain properties that allow them to pass through the blood-brain barrier, and you do not want them to carry toxins to your brain.
Methods of application:
1.    Aromatically.  You can diffuse the oil with a diffuser (the Basic Plus Starter Kit and Premium Starter Kit both come with a Home Diffuser, and there are several others that you can purchase), inhale it from the bottle, or place a drop on your hand and cup your hands over your face.
2.  Topically.    Apply as directed on the bottle.  Essential oils are often applied to the bottom of the feet or the area of need.  When applying essential oils on young children or sensitive skin, you will want to dilute the oils with a carrier oil (coconut oil is our favorite!).  For the young children, I will often put 1-2 drops of essential oil in 1 Tablespoon of carrier oil.  Essential oils can also be mixed with Epsom Salts and added to a bath.
3.  Internally.   Some oils are recognized as Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS) for consumption.  The citrus oils are among those oils.  When consuming oils, never put them in a plastic cup.  Always use glass.
How do I get started?
I recommend starting with the Everyday Essentials Kit (which is also included in the Premium Starter Kit).  It contains 10 of the most popular Young Living essential oils and gives you a fantastic start to your family’s natural health toolkit. 
young living OTC makeove
LAVENDER:  I find myself using the oil almost every day!  It is “first aid in a bottle”.  It contains antihistamine, antidepressant, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, anti-infectious, and sedative properties.  Lavender is my first choice for cuts, scrapes, burns, and other boo boos.  It is very soothing to the skin, and a wonderful choice for eczema, rashes, and cradle cap.  You can dilute it with coconut oil and massage it around your eyes for any kind of eye trouble.  It is also my first choice for allergies (just place one drop under the tongue or place a drop on your thumb and put your thumb to the roof of your mouth). 
LEMON: Lemon is an antiseptic, antifungal, antiviral, antioxidant tonic.  I start out each morning by consuming one drop in a glass of water (make sure you use a glass cup) with some Apple Cider Vinegar, which can help with gout, kidney stones, gallstones, and digestive problems.  It helps to balance the pH and supports the immune system by making white blood cells.  Lemon is also an astringent.  It works extremely well in removing stains, gum, and grease.  I add it to the steam cleaner to help disinfect, clean, and purify.  Lemon is invigorating and a can help with poor concentration.   We often diffuse lemon during school time. 
PEPPERMINT:  Peppermint is an analgestic, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory, making it wonderful for aches and pains (including headaches).  It is also good for tummy aches.  For centuries peppermint has been used to soothe digestive troubles such as colic, constipation, heartburn, indigestion, and nausea.  It can be used to help reduce fever and aid respiratory function (useful for asthma and bronchitis). 
FRANKINCENSE: Frankincense is known as a cure-all.  It is mentioned in the bible at least 52 times, most notably known as one of the gifts the wise men gave to Jesus. It is anticancer, anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antitumoral, and an immune-stimulant.  It contains sesquiterpenes, which enables it to pass through the blood-brain barrier.  It also increases the activity of leukocytes, so it can be effective in fighting infections.  One drop on the big toe has been said to stop seizures.  It a good choice for allergies and supporting the respiratory system (coughs, asthma).  Apply topically to remove growths from skin (i.e. warts, moles).  Frankincense is also clarifying and can be diffused during prayer and meditation.  It is approved by the FDA for use as a food additive and flavoring agent, however consumption for children less than 6 years old is not recommended.  Mix Frankincense and Copaiba for a powerful anti-inflammatory.
PANAWAY:  Wonderful for pain, arthritis, and injuries (sprains, strains, bumps, bruises).  PanAway is a blend made up of Wintergreen, Helichrysum, Clove, and Peppermint.  Wintergreen contains 99% methyl Salicylate, which gives it properties similar to aspirin or cortisone.  Helichrysum is a powerful anti-inflammatory and improves circulatory function. Clove is a topical anesthetic and anti-inflammatory.  Mix PanAway with coconut oil and apply on location.
PEACE AND CALMING:  A blend that contains Tangerine, Orange, Ylang Ylang, Patchouli, and Blue Tansy.  It does exactly what the name implies, brings peace and calms the nerves.  This is a great oil for children with ADD, sensory issues, anxiety, or trouble sleeping.  It can also reduce depression, stress, and tension.  Apply under the nose, on the back of the neck, and on the feet.  You can also put it in the bathwater.  This is an especially good choice before bedtime.  (Taking Citrus Fresh, another blend,  internally each day – 1 drop in a glass of water or rice milk – is also recommended for helping with sensory issues)
PURIFICATION:  The oils (Citronella, Lemongrass, Rosemary Cineol, Malaleuca, Lavandin, and Myrtle) contained in this blend have powerful antiseptic, antibacterial, and sanitizing properties.   Lemongrass is known to kill even MRSA.  This blend purifies the air, repels bugs and pests, and neutralizes poison from insect and spider bites.  Place a drop on a cotton ball and place it in the air vent in the car to freshen the car.
THIEVES:  This blend of Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon Bark, Eucalyptus radiate, and Rosemary cineol is a powerful antiviral and antiseptic.  It got its name because it was used by the thieves in England to protect them from the plague when they were stealing from the dead.  A study conducted by Weber State University in 1997 showed a 90% reduction in  the number of Gram-positive Micrococcus luteus organisms after diffusing Thieves for just 12 minutes, and a 99.3% reduction after 20 minutes.  It is also effective against mold and can penetrate into the sheetrock and insulation in a house (diffuse for 24 hours if dealing with a mold problem).  Apply to the bottoms of the feet or massage under the arms at the first onset of flu, colds, strep, bronchitis, etc.  Young Living also makes several Thieves products, including hand sanitizer, hand soap, wipes, and spray.  These are great alternatives to the commercial hand sanitizers and cleaners that are loaded with harmful chemicals.  I like to keep the wipes in the diaper bag to wipe down shopping cards, tables and high chairs, and hands.
VALOR:  Known as “Chiropractor in the Bottle”, Valor contains Spruce, Rosewood, Blue Tansy, and Frankincense.  It balances and aligns electrical energies within the body.  It is a great choice for scoliosis and spinal pain.  You can also use this blend to empower the physical and spiritual body.  It is calming for hyperactivity and ADD in children.  Best applied on the bottom of the feet (up to 6 drops), but also on pulse points.  To balance the left and right brain, put valor on the right rights and rub the left temples, or do the reverse.  It is also an oil used in the Raindrop Technique where it is applied along the spine.
JOY: A powerful blend comprised of Bergamot, Ylang Ylang, Geranium, Rosewood, Lemon, Mandarin, Jasmine, Roman Chamomile, Palmarosa, and Rose.  It promotes feelings of love and being held, something every child needs!  Rub over heart, ears, temples, and wrists.  You can wear it as a perfume or cologne.  It is also an excellent choice for the bathwater.  Dilute with V-6 oil to make a massage oil.  Add a few drops to a wet cloth and place in the dryer for great smelling clothes that lift the Spirit all day long.
10 Must Have Essential Oils for Children  #essentialoilscynthia   See more at
Where can I learn more?
*Oil Testimonials is my favorite internet resource.  You can search nearly 8,000 testimonials by keyword.  Enter a symptom to find out which essential oils have worked for others.  Or, enter an oil to find out new and alternative uses for that oil.  Remember, essential oils are highly versatile, so one oil can be used for many different ailments.  You do have to register with a valid email address, but it is free to use. 
*Reference Guide for Essential Oils by Connie and Alan Higley
*Gentle Babies by Debra Raybern
*Healing Oils of the Body by Dr. Stewart
*Search Facebook Page “Baker’s Guide to Essential Oils”.  Stop by to say hello, learn more, ask questions, and share your story.
To see the full line of Young Living Products and to get started using essential oils visit  Order as a Young Living Retail Customer, or sign up to be an Independent Distributor (you need to purchase one of their kits) to receive a 24% discount on product purchases and receive bonuses and commission.  The Premium Starter Kit contains the Everyday Oils Collection highlighted in this article, as well as Stress Away (a mom’s lifesaver!), a home diffuser, Essential Oils at a Glance user’s guide,  and several sample packets.  If you order the Premium Starter kit under my team (Please use Member ID 1570232 and Enroller ID 1572032), and send me an email letting me know 3 of 21 referred you ( I will donate one bottle of Lavender (per kit) to Precious Baby Ministries to include in their newborn gift baskets.  Thank you! 
Robin and I have been using essential oils for a while now and we currently use them every day.  Below is just a small example of their many uses.
Many uses for 4 of the favorites... 
Below is information regarding two classes that Jessica will be hosting.  Please contact or for directions if you are interested.
Essential Oils 101
Thursday, December 5th @ 6pm
Learn about and how to use the Everyday Oils.

  Rhonda Favano, a Doctor of Naturopathy and Certified Natural Health Practitioner, will be presenting a class on the Practical Applications of Essential Oils in Siloam Springs, AR, we will be fortunate enough to Skype in and learn some valuable wisdom. If you are interested in learning where, when, why, and how to apply essential oils, please join me at my house shortly after 6pm. The class will start at 6:30, so this will give us some time to introduce ourselves and get settled. I will have some essential oils to sample and apply. You can message me for more information or if you have any questions. Have a blessed day everyone!

Essential Oils for the Homeschool Classroom
Tuesday, December 10th @ 1pm
Learn how to enhance your homeschool classroom with the Everyday Oils Collection.

*These suggestions are intended for the YLEO's only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

NACD scholarship for Arkansas families

Due to the high success of the recent fundraiser, Precious Baby Ministry is proud to offer up to 4 scholarships to the National Association of Child Development (NACD) for our Arkansas families who have a child with Down syndrome.

The scholarship will pay for the initial evaluation and the first 6 months of payments for the child with Down syndrome.  These payments will be made directly to NACD.  This does not cover any equipment or additional expenses that could be recommended by the NACD staff.

The scholarship application will only be open for one week, beginning today, Tuesday, November 19, 2013 until midnight on Tuesday, November 26, 2013.   Applications must be requested by email at  (please note there are three L's in tollliver)  You will receive the Precious Baby Ministry application, but you will also be required to download the NACD application: ) Both applications will be returned directly to Precious Baby Ministry. 

The qualifying applications will then be forwarded to NACD for the final selection of who will receive the scholarships.  

You may learn more about NACD at  Please contact me at for further questions.

Robin and Tricia
Precious Baby Ministry

Friday, November 15, 2013

Strategies to teach your young child to read (Down syndrome & typical)

By: Robin Tolliver

My background:

*  Flight medic, LPN, RN
*  Emergency Medicine Physician Assistant
*  22 years Army National Guard, retired MAJ
*  Precious Baby Ministry for children with Down Syndrome
*  I do not have a degree in education, but I have two daughters ages 2 and 4 who are reading well. I would genuinely like to share what has been successful for us and perhaps provide ideas and motivation for parents.

I implemented the following programs for Payton from 3 months old.  Looking back, it seemed so easy.  I really took it up a notch though when Presley was born.  I added much more to the program to ensure she would someday read as well as her sister.

This is Payton reading a poem the week of her 4th birthday I printed this off less than 24 hours before.  She makes it look so easy.

However, everything was different from the beginning with Presley.  When Presley was born, in our fog of mixed emotions, we heard the words "I'm sorry" many times as they told us Presley was born with an extra 21st chromosome (Down syndrome).  Next, the doctor told us all the potential health issues she may have.  Then, he began to tell us everything she would not do, such as "read, write, drive a car, or have a decent IQ".  I remember thinking "he is not talking about my child, and why is he is already placing limits on what she can do".  As I began my research, I came across a website called Einstein syndrome  (  I loved their philosophy and felt renewed.  They basically said, what if the doctor had come to you instead and said "Your daughter has Einstein syndrome. She has the potential to be brilliant, but it is up to you to expose her to a rich learning environment, teach her, show her one of everything and expect her to absorb it all".  At that moment, every parent would leave the hospital and begin this incredible educational journey with their child, believing they had unlimited potential.  This is how is should be.  No one can determine your child's future or abilities.  No one should place limitations on your child.  We need to believe in them and raise our expectations to help each child reach their maximum potential and determine their own point of success.

Here is Presley reading:

Age 19 months video #1

Age 19 months video #2

Age 25 months

This is Presley showing she knows her alphabet by choosing letters:

Age 24 months:
Age 28 months:

I think both of our girls are pretty amazing!


I believe each child gets a immune and cognitive boost through good nutrition.  Here are some of the basics to consider:

* Minimal amount of sugar - this causes inflammation throughout the body and feeds infections and bad bacteria.  Sugar is also hidden in large amounts in juices, kool aids, along with artificial colors. Read your labels.

* Avoid processed foods as possible

*  ACH study connecting “gut bacteria” with autism (  It states that children with autism possess a certain gut bacteria that thrives off of unhealthy diets and therefore increases the autistic symptoms.   It is obvious there is a gut-brain connection.  Think about how seeing something distressing causes immediate nausea or when you get "butterflies" in your stomach because you are nervous.

* 3 meals daily with healthy snacks

* Smoothies - we sneak lots of fruits and vegetables in our smoothies

* Help strengthen immune system - 80 % of our immune system is located within the gut.  Every child needs a healthy system to learn.

Recommended books for early nutrition:
  Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron. Tells you directly what food to introduce each month in the first year.  Also gives lots of healthy recipes for older children. 

  Deceptively Delicious - helps you hide all types of healthy foods (esp vegetables) in regular recipes to secretly add nutrition to your children's meals.

Laying the foundation for learning:

* First five years very important in development - I read once that most of what a child will learn will be in the first five years. Don't wait for a teacher to begin laying this foundation.  Begin early. 

* Input, input, input for receptive language.  Do not expect output yet, just repetitively continue inputting.

* Frequency, consistency – 5 minutes here and there will make a difference

* TV is not recommended before 2 years old

* No more than 2 hours total screen time age 2-5 (Per American Academy of Pediatrics)

* Good time to increase auditory skills
         -Turn on the radio
         -Children’s songs on Pandora - sing songs that encourage participation
         -Audio books
         -Work on auditory sequential processing (keep reading for further

*  Use multiple techniques to keep interested

*  Multisensory approach – involve as many senses as possible to leave a vivid mental imprint (ex apple – see the apple, touch the apple, taste the apple, smell the apple, hear the apple crunch) This is a Montessori type approach.

Determine your child’s best learning type: While most people will use a mixture of each, there should be a dominant one



Visual spatial learners

*Learning comes through imagery of the whole concept
*Visualization provides organizational construct for assimilating and processing new ideas, excellent organizer
*Astute observers
*Need more time to process information and think in pictures
*Need to see a concept in order to understand it
*Focus on ideas not details
*Often generate unusual solutions to problems and perceive the whole quickly
*Can recognize patterns easily
*Can experience difficulty with verbal instructions, sequential problem solving, and with drill and practice

Visual learners can learn best by handouts, studying alone, overhead slides, powerpoint presentations, watching videos, watching a demonstration, creating outlines, using various colors of highlighters, writing practice test, and mind mapping.

Auditory spatial learners:

*Good listeners - they recognize changes in tone easily
*Learn sequentially
*Rapid processors
*Think in words
*Well developed short term “working” memory
*Remembers what they hear, can follow complex set of oral directions and memorize easy
*Can express themselves well and fluently
*Can show their work easily b/c they took a series of steps that they can retrace, orderly, well organized which helps academic performance
*If hearing issues early in childhood, often experience language delays and difficulty with comprehension
*They typically are recognized as high achievers in school because school is geared more towards the auditory learner.  This is why auditory sequential processing is so important to help improve your child's ability to learn.

Auditory learners can learn best by working in groups or with a partner to discuss things out loud, recording their classes or lectures, reading assignments out loud, audio books, associating music with ideas/concepts, giving oral reports, mnemonics, rhythms, talking to oneself, and singing their notes,

Kinesthetic learners:

*“Tactile learners”
*Learn best by demonstrations and manipulating things
*Needs a “hands on” approach
*Usually volunteer to help with demonstrations
*May become bored trying to listen to a lecture.
*Like to experience the world and act out events
*Can remember complicated directions once they have acted them out
*Good at sports
*Typically can not sit still for very long
*Likes adventure books and movies
*Likes martial arts, dance, role playing
*Can study with loud music on
*Handwriting is usually not the best
*Likes science lab and doodling

Tactile learners can learn better with short study periods, taking lab classes, role playing, using flashcards and highlighters, having a "worry rock" in their pocket to fidget with when they have to be still and learning on the go.

If you have a child that is struggling to learn, please have his vision and hearing checked.  You can not learn if you can not see or hear the information accurately. During this presentation, we also discussed the importance of hand, eye, ear congruency.  If you are right handed, you should be right eyed and ear as well.  Information will not be processed correctly as a child.  

Increasing auditory sequential processing:

This is a way to increase their auditory learning ability.  A typical adult should be able to process a 7.  That is why phone numbers in the United States are 7 digits long.   A child should process roughly 1 for each year old.  1 year old processes a 1.  2 years old processes a 2. 

"Simply smarter" app  for the computer or IPAD/iphone by NACD takes the thinking out of it.  It does the processing and reverses it also.  You have a variety to choose from, just auditory, just visual, or combination.  You choose whether images, colors, animals, or what you would like your child to use. I highly recommend this app.

*  Stay 1+/- their processing level through out the day
*  In car (for example: sign, car, park, horn)
*  While cooking (spoon, pot, oven, sink)
*  Increase with following 1,2,3 step directions
*  Advance to reverse processing
*  Learn more:

Techniques to develop reading skills:

Your Baby Can Read
Introducing them to their world

Using variety, repetition, and frequency enhances success.

Your Baby Can Read: 

*  We began at 3 months old – no other TV
*  Similar to learning sight words
*  Same concept as Rosetta Stone with picture word combination & repetition
*  20-30 minute video twice a day
*  Flashcards 5-10 min once or twice a day
*  Books once or twice a day
*  Your Baby Can Discover as they are older
*  Youtube – videos available for free but not as good of quality
*  Sight word recognition gives the child confidence as they begin to recognize words and see the parents positive reaction.
*  As with any program, it is very successful if you follow through with it




*  Little Math, Little Musician, and Little Reader
*  Downloadable program
*  Discount to children with disabilities (50-100%)
*  Large resource for additional downloads
*  Can modify program to your child
*  One year curriculum 1-2 times a day for 5 minutes
*  Also has app for iphone
*  Both of my girls loved the books.



*  Typically cost $1-$14

*  Make your own.
*  Lamination machine: $25 at Wal Mart
*  Lamination sheets: $10 for 50 sheets (fit 4 cards on each sheet so
    approx .05 cents a card)
*  Laminate: personal photos: mom, dad, objects, actions (begin with
    immediate surroundings then expand out)
*  Store bought cards, stickers, preschool activity book pictures, magazine
    photos - just print a word label for the back and laminate
*  PSB Cubed – . Girl with Down Syndrome who prints flashcards for cost/S&H only.

*  Fast flash techniques (1-3 seconds)
*  Emphasize phonics while doing alphabet cards 2 minutes 2-3 times a day *  Stop while they are still interested and before they are bored
*  Add 10 cards each week,  Review old each day.
*  Keep moving whether they know the old or not

Other programs:  I have not used each one, but I know parents who liked each of these.

*  See &Learn
*  Love & Learning
*  How to teach your baby to read – Glenn Doman
*  Reading the Alphabet – PreK reading ciriculum that is a combination of Montessori, Handwriting w/o Tears, & word study.  I found this more than I could do with our current neurodevelopmental program too, but she gives out free printables almost daily that are extremely good.

Additional online reading resources for children:

*  Starfall
*  Clifford interactive stores and books: 
*  Owl and Mouse:
*  Reading Bear:
*  Between the Lions (PBS)
*  Readeaz:


*  Goal 5-10 each day.  These may only have 3-5 words on the page.  It is
    about exposing your child to various books and developing a love for
    reading also.
*  If too many words then just talk about the pictures, point out details (“red
*  Be very animated Picture – word books, hand over hand technique

Reading area:  This is their special place dedicated for reading and learning.  Small, comfortable, well lit and easy access to lots of books!

The following books are for beginner readers such as Presley.  These are examples of books that use color, texture, sound, and associate and image with a word.  Here is a detailed list of good learning books for children with special needs:

Starting out: contrast colors, large pictures, very simple.  I wrote the words in this book as we began to work on sight words.

Simple pictures with sound: 

See more examples at:

Lots of word books for receptive language :  shows the word with the picture  (example is by Priddy)

Little Scholastic – touch, feel, lift flaps = stimulating more senses


Brainy Baby:  colorful, interested, simple yet covers topic well

DK books – always very detailed and uses real pictures. DK also has extremely informative books and videos as children get older. Look for the videos on youtube.

Make your own book. We made this one to try to get Presley to talk more. We used words that we knew she would say as soon as she saw the word or picture. Seeing, hearing, doing, repetition.  It requires a printer and laminator.  Super easy!



*  Brainy Baby (DVR smile of a child channel for free)
*  Signing Times –early communication
*  Rock & Learn – lots of videos with music
*  Make your own videos: cheap, easy, fun. Make large print words. Display things around the home. Add clips to windows movie maker, pick transition method. Hit play! I plug the computer into our TV and they watch their home video on the TV. Watching themselves keeps them interested and they do not even realize they are learning words.

* Here is one we made just reviewing colors with the left over balloons we had from a party.  There is also a clip of the girls playing and wrestling in bed, which keeps them interested in the video.  They ask to watch this video EVERY day!  Word movie:

IPAD, Iphone, Ipod:

*  Flashcards: ABA, animated, sight words, talking cards on youtube
*  Matching shapes & colors that say it out loud
*  Little Reader, Laugh & Learn, Fisher Price
*  Phonics games Talking books
*  Videos on youtube
*  Search apps: baby reading, early learning, baby’s first words

Introduce them to their world: (yes, this is actually our house)

*  Labels through the house
*  From early age, tell them what everything is
            Walking around the house
            While shopping, especially produce section
            Walking outside, acknowledge sounds you hear

Here is a link to an extraordinary Mom whose son is an excellent reader. She shows you all the techniques she used.  She also gives links to other children with Down syndrome who are successful readers for even more inspiration.

My last advice is to remove limitations and raise your expectations.  Typical child or special needs child, we should expect more. Invest the time, you will never regret it. Continue with large amounts of input, and wait patiently on the output. It will come when they are ready. Watch them absorb the knowledge and enjoy it. Thank you for your time and interest.

Many blessings,
Robin Tolliver