Meet Tuned In Parent Keri Vandongen

imageMeet Tuned In Parent Keri Vandongen. She is a certified speech-language pathologist, runs a part-time private practice helping families in speech-language therapy, and is the creator of Speech Party.

Does your child struggle with listening? (Mine does. Her pediatrician chuckled when I told him why I had her hearing checked. Her hearing is fine.) It could self-correct over time, or it could be improved now with speech-language exercises. (I’m all ears!)

It’s a busy time of year in the speech-language world, for this is the time when parents are booking communication screening sessions for their preschoolers with SLPs like Keri. And she recently met a wonderful boy with a “busy-mind” named Ethan. Ethan struggles with listening at home and at school. If your child does, too, then you’ll find Keri’s expert advice for Ethan’s parents particularly helpful.

Tips to Improve Your Childs Listening

  • If you want your child to listen to you, before you begin talking, have them stop what they’re doing and redirect their attention to you.
  • Use and ACT OUT the following words when talking to your child:
  • Read stories to your child and have him clap every time he hears the special word(s) you pre-selected for him.
  • Teach your child new board and card games, so he has to listen and follow instructions in order to play. Enjoying the game is positive reinforcement for listening and following instructions.
  • Play good old listening games like “Simon Says” and “Red Light, Green Light.”

imageEthan’s parents took Keri’s advice and practiced the above tips with him for a month. When Keri reassessed him, she found Ethan’s listening skills had significantly improved! “He focused and listened for a full 10 minutes while he answered questions about pictures,” she reports. And he was “able to sit quietly while listening to stories, game directions, playing cards and so much more.” That’s remarkable improvement.

It’s surprising, but a lot children suffer varied and pervasive speech-language impediments that may not be easily identifiable by parents or even teachers. And this is unfortunate because with therapy and practice, improvement, even reversal, is possible.

That’s why Speech Party is such a valuable resource. Keri created it to offer parents and caregivers who are practicing speech-language skills with a child additional support online. Through it, families can access educational tips, videos, fun activities, products, case studies, new techniques, and supportive services. Speech Party is also a community. And community is key, for it’s not easy working to improve speech-language skills in children, especially in addition to all the other demands of family and work life.


According to the University of Michigan Health Systems, “Delayed speech or language development is the most common developmental problem. It affects five to ten percent of preschool kids.” So, if you suspect your child could benefit from speech-language practice, I recommend you check out Speech Party, and check back here for more tips from Keri on Tuned In Parents, as well!

Thank you for being tuned in parents. I welcome your comments, suggestions, stories, and tips! There’s more for you, too, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest!

-Elle C.


About Elle C. Mayberry

Elle C. Mayberry is a mom and author, who just released a new children's book with her young daughter. With a passion for parenting and degrees in psychology and "make it workology," she created Tuned In Parents (TiP).

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