App Review: PEEP Where’s Quack?

As a speech-language pathologist, I individualize my treatment plan for each child.  For example, some children are more motivated by outdoor play whereas others might be more interested in books or structured games.  One tool that I have added to my bag of tricks over the last few years is an iPad.  With iPads and similar devices becoming more and more commonplace, many of the children I work with have access to a tablet and most of them show a lot of interest in them.


I have downloaded a wide variety of apps and have developed a list of favorites that I would like to share.  I plan to review one of my favorite apps each month to give parents and caregivers ideas for making their child’s screen time more beneficial.  This list consists of apps that are free or inexpensive and can be beneficial to different ages and skill levels.  My favorite apps are ones that all children could benefit from.  Please note, however, that an iPad or other tablet is NOT a necessary requirement for developing speech and language skills.  Please read my reviews as supplemental suggestions to the real-life experiences that your child is already learning from.

Where's Quack?

PEEP Where’s Quack? by WGBH is an app that I was introduced to by the Smart Apps for Special Needs blog.  (I highly recommend this blog!  It is where I have found many of the apps on my favorites list.)  It is a rather simple app in which two animated characters play a game of hide-and-seek.  The hidden character, Quack, calls out periodically to encourage the listener to use the sound of his voice to determine his hiding place.  Touch a location (a tree, a doghouse, a pile of leaves, etc.) and if Quack is not there, another creature emerges.  When you find Quack, a new game automatically begins in a new scene.  There is a total of four scenes and Quack hides in new places each time.

While playing this app with your child, you will foster development of several communication skills such as:


  1. Understanding and answering where questions – Ask your child, “Where’s Quack?” while holding the screen in sight, but out of his/her reach.  Encourage your child to tell you a location such as “Tree!” or “Slide!” or, in older children, “Behind the tree!” and “Under the slide!”
  2. When your child names a location, allow him or her to touch that location and see what animal emerges.  Ask, “Is that Quack?” to work on yes/no questions.
  3. When an animal comes out of a hiding spot ask, “Who is that?” to work on answering who questions and foster vocabulary development.  The app includes some less-common animals such as hummingbirds and raccoons in addition to easier vocabulary.
  4. If your child is not responding to your questions, you can still ask and provide simple answers as models.  For example, “Where’s Quack?…Behind tree?… No!…Porcupine!”


Although your child may enjoy independent play with Where’s Quack, he or she will receive little to no language stimulation unless an adult is participating as well and maintains control over the screen.  You can continue to foster the development of the skills practiced in Where’s Quack with these extension activities:


  1. Play hide-and-seek with your child.  Depending on his or her developmental level, they might benefit from having a hiding partner (sibling or another parent, etc.).  Talk about places you’re looking (e.g., “Is she under the bed?”) and even ask, “Where are you?” to see if your child can label his or her location.
  2. Play hide-and-seek using your child’s toys.  Give your child directions for where to hide each toy (e.g., “Put the train in the drawer.”) or if your child wants to hide the toys on his or her own, you can ask, “Where is the __________?”  Your child will love being in charge!
  3. For older children, make the hide-and-seek game more of a scavenger hunt.  Hide pieces of a favorite game or activity (e.g., train tracks) around the house.  Give clues (verbal or written) that include location words (e.g., behind, between, beneath, above, etc.).  After your child has found all the necessary pieces, play the game or do the activity together.


Theresa Sonderman, M.A., CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist at Marian Hope

The Amazing Bone Broth

Bone Broth Pic

If I was forced to name a favorite food. I honestly think I would have to say bone broth. Not at all the “cool kid” answer but I never aspired to be that anyway. Bone broth is one of the most versatile, nutrient dense, and cost effective healing foods available to us. When I say bone broth, I mean your basic homemade chicken or beef stock. These homemade stocks deliver powerful minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium as well as necessary amino acids such as glycine and proline and glutamine. I could literally spend hours talking about all the benefits nutritionally of bone broth, but links below will give you more in-depth information if you really want to geek out on why I think this should be a staple food in everyone’s diet. For now, I’m sure you will settle for some basics on the benefits of bone broth:


  1. The bones when simmered for hours release gelatin which is a major player in gut healing. Gelatin helps to seal the gut lining which increases nutrient absorption, and decrease food sensitivity reactions. Overall, the health of the gut is fundamental in the gut/brain connection therefore having significant impact on mood, behavior, and all things associated with autism, ADHD, and general spectrum disorders.
  2. Glycine is a conditionally essential amino acid which means the body makes some but we need more from our foods. There isn’t any part of the body that doesn’t use glycine in some capacity. It’s like glue that supports and holds cells together. It also helps control blood sugar and insulin levels which is way cool and it builds the cells that are the “front line defense” of our immune system.
  3. Bone marrow from simmered bones gives the body extra building blocks for making red blood cells (RBC) and hemoglobin (Hgb) production which can be a massive support in anemia or risk for anemia.
  4. Because of the powerful ways bone broth aids in digestion, it can actually improve digestion of gluten and casein while producing a calming effect. This isn’t a substitute for GF/CF diets when needed, but can sure help to decrease the ongoing threat of cross-contamination.
  5. Bone broth is a legitimate calcium supplement! If you are on a dairy-free diet and wonder if your child is getting enough calcium, bone broth can be a major help. Additionally, it already comes with the magnesium needed to assimilate calcium well. And, believe it or not, when used with grass-fed butter or ghee, Vitamin D and K2 (also necessary for good bone development) are present.


I could literally go one for days about more benefits of bone broth, but above are a few that will hopefully convince you it’s worth trying!


Below are links to recipes. My suggestion is don’t overthink the details. You really can’t mess this up! Bone broth is an amazing food that comes right out of your kitchen!


More resources regarding bone broth:

Dr. Josh Axe – The Healing Power of Bone Broth for Digestion, Arthritis, and Cellulite

Weston A Price – Why Broth is Beautiful

Dr. Allison Siebecker – Traditional Bone Broth in Modern Health & Disease

Complete list of conditions bone broth benefits


Links to recipes/guides to making bone broth:

Complete guide to making, using and storing broth

Quick broth-making basics

Bone Broth 101



Gluten-Free Can Change Your Life: A Family’s Testimony


I just wanted to send you an email this weekend to express again how truly thankful we are for Marian Hope.
This weekend we had D.’s and J.’s birthday party and I can honestly say that out of the 7 kiddos there, the most well behaved were D. and B. (from D.’s class.) As we experience more and more things with the Gluten Free D., we are just blown away by his behavior change. We are also noticing that it is still improving the longer we go with it.

I was thinking about it today, and I think that his behavior change has impacted, pretty much, every area of our lives. The most important being, his relationship with his twin, J. Now that D. is changing, J. is also changing….I am changing…we all are changing.

[My husband’s] dad and his wife were here this weekend and they were speechless. (When we told them we were trying GF they were very, very skeptical.) When they left they told us that they had compiled a scrapbook of their visit last summer and they noticed that D. wasn’t smiling during any of the pictures and they were very sad about that…and now, seeing him this visit, there is a different kid, who is smiling…often.

Thank you so much, and I know, if D. could say it he would…thanks for bringing my smile back and making it possible for me to be who I truly am.

– N.S.


Everyone is invited to learn more about the gluten-free diet and other special diets at our FREE Nutritional Management Support Group meetings, held on the first Wednesday of each month at 6:30PM at Marian Hope Learning Center OR schedule a consultation with our dietician, Blakely Page (

ADD/ADHD and Nutrition

Almost all of the nutrition-related information provided on this blog is beneficial for anyone with any type of developmental delay from Sensory Disorders, Apraxia, ADD/ADHD, Autism and usually even Down’s Syndrome. However, I wanted to highlight a couple of key factors in ADHD and diet that I think are important to keep in mind.

I am generating most of my practical applications from the scientific basis given by a Psychiatrist who believes that nutrition is one of the most important factors in treating neurological issues. Did you catch that? A psychiatrist advocating for food first for mental health. Yes! Her name is Georgia Ede, MD and you can bask in her passion and intelligence at I must give the disclaimer here that although I have read and learned from many of her posts here I have not ready everything she has written, but so far, everything she writes, I agree with and she does an amazing job at giving the science/biochemistry behind what she discusses.

The main point I want to make in this post is the importance of animal foods for the brain. One of the primary factors in ADD/ADHD is the poor production and assimilation of DHA which requires EPA (both of which are fatty acids) and minerals (primarily Zinc). Animal foods, when chosen wisely, can provide both EPA/DHA and Zinc in forms very bioavailable to the body.

Many will tout the need for whole grains because of their mineral content. But, also present in whole grains are phytates which are the plant’s natural mechanism for survival as a plant species. This means that when we eat grains, we also eat phytates. Phytates decrease mineral absorption of that food in the body. So, whole grains may start with a good mineral count, but they are highly depleted in the processing to get it to the form we eat, and our body does not absorb minerals well from grains. So, at the end of the day, grains are a very poor source of minerals.

Animal sources, however are a great mineral source and very bioavailable in the body. Furthermore, grass-fed beef, pastured chicken, and wild fish offer forms of minerals, EPA/DHA (Omega 3 Fatty Acids) in forms the body can utilize very well.

This means animal fats and proteins are powerful foods to be eating for ADD/ADHD and whole grains in large amounts (particularly gluten-containing grains) can be problematic for ADD/ADHD.

To read a great series on ADD/ADHD check out Part 1 by Dr. Ede

If you need more support with how nutrition can aid in ADD/ADHD, Autism, Apraxia or Down’s Syndrome, individual nutrition consults are available. Email if you have questions or email Sue to schedule at

Busy Times!

This is my meditated scripture from now until Marian Hope Academy begins its second school year on August 20th: “Do not be anxious about anything but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God“~ Phillippians 4:6

I have the prayer part down but I am still working on the “do not be anxious.”  Honestly, the Lord’s hand is at work with this sweet school so we will conquer through some of the disarray.

Our small staff is working diligently to finalize all the last minute details. There may be some disorder the first week or two of school but the heart of what matters is superb: excellent curriculum, amazing teachers and, most importantly, the beautiful presence of the Holy Spirit at MHA.

We have some purchases we would like to make but do not have the funds in our budget. If you feel called (or know someone who would feel called) to donate toward any of the following, your gift would be greatly appreciated.

1. lockers
2. 2 Smart boards
3. 3 storage cabinets on wheels
4. 3 laptops

Remember any donation is tax-deductible.  I trust in God to provide just what we all need.

Here is a little devotional for all of us from

Trust is a valued character trait often lacking in today’s world, as we have to learn to trust God in every circumstance and in every area of our lives. We cannot live in fear. We must trust God in all of the decisions we make.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”~Joshua 1:9


~ Angie Knight, Founder of Marian Hope

Letting the Lord Lead

Marian Hope Academy has been opening it’s doors to prospective students to shadow for the 2014-2015 school year. I have been so proud of the character within our first year students as they have kindly embraced their new friends with excitement to share their school. It has been eye-opening for me to listen to the child’s perspective of what I consider a modern education.

IMG_4528As I talk to the students and answer questions, I am taken back by how much “testing” is being done in mainstream America. Now, don’t get me wrong…teachers need to assess periodically to make sure they know if the student(s) are processing what is being taught. Teachers should utilize assessment information to change teaching strategy, modify speed of delivery, or to keep moving forward if their students are the right track (no need to fix something that is not broken). Bombardment of testing for grades, however, can create a competitive classroom atmosphere and steal the joy of learning from children. It can frequently elicit inhibitory anxiety in certain personalities. The time teachers spend on testing is time away from the actual learning process.

Another eye opener is how much some children, boys especially, fear “getting in trouble.” At MHA, we desire children to do good because it is the right thing to do, not because they “fear” the consequences of doing bad. Of course we believe there needs to be effective consequences for poor choices, but we also believe in finding the root of the behavior, helping the child find better solutions, impressing upon them Christ-like character, breathing positive affirmation in them when they demonstrate acts of kindness, patience, self-control, gentleness, joy, etc…

Behavior management is a process and should be done with consistency, love, and grace – not shame. I sometimes think we educators forget that “love wins every time” and we need to balance authority and discipline with Grace. We must try to model our master teacher and friend, Jesus Christ, and remember His undeniable “Grace.” Despite all of our sins and short-comings, He still loves us and wants to be with us…wow, now that is love unmeasurable. I sometimes wonder if all the childhood behavior problems we see in our world would exist if we adults were a better reflection of the love and Grace of Jesus Christ?

I had a phone call the other day from an educator out in Kansas. She had heard about the Marian Hope Center for several years and had just found out we had additionally started a school. Now that Marian Hope services close to 400 students, she asked me what the key was to our success. The answer was quite simple…let the Lord lead! 

~Angie Knight, Co-Founder of Marian Hope

Feeling overwhelmed in the kitchen? We can help!

In my almost 10 years as a dietitian I can say one thing with absolute certainty: those who have support are more successful.

Making changes to the way our families eat is difficult. It takes time, energy and resources that you may feel like you simply don’t have. It is because change is hard that I believe it should be done with a balance of support and challenge.


Image courtesy of marin/”.

Marian Hope believes so wholeheartedly in the necessity of good nutrition for the developing child that we offer a monthly support group for our families. We offer a fabulous place for you to start making the changes you need, one step at a time, in a supportive environment of other moms and dads in the trenches just like you. Our Nutritional Management Support Group meets monthly as a place to help families make and maintain the changes to the way their family eats.


As a nutrition professional, I attend these meetings to offer support and guidance, but the real value and power is in the support one mom gives to another when simply getting dinner on the table seems like a monumental task. The Nutrition Management Support Group that Marian Hope offers is invaluable. It is the place for support in our challenging food environment. There will always be a mom there who will assure you that you can do it and that it is worth it. If you’re considering going gluten free/dairy free, or desire to decrease processed foods we want you to know:


You CAN do it and it IS worth it.


But, take my advice, you can’t do it alone, and the glorious part is, you don’t have to! We are here ready to help you in the journey of your family’s “nutrition makeover” at whatever place that begins. The amazing journey to health that many of our Marian Hope families have embarked on has literally changed the lives of their children. Several of our families have stories that exemplify the positive influences the nutrition support group can have on a whole family. Read below to learn what one mom has gained from the monthly meetings at Marian Hope Center. Christi is evidence that as moms doing our best to feed our families, we are better together than we are apart.

~ Blakely Page, Registered Dietitian


My name is Christi and my family has been involved with Marian Hope Center for the past seven years. For the past three years I have been attending the Nutritional Management Support Group. Our journey to understanding nutrition was a slow one. Our family was happy with our doctor’s advice that all calories are the same, and that Pediasure would take care of my malnourished daughter. After dragging my feet for a while, I finally decided to try the meetings out and see what they were like.

 It was such a wonderful experience; Angie and Theresa were there to provide a guiding hand. All of the moms that attended had walked down the exact same path that I was starting down. I found a wonderfully encouraging group of moms – all with their own challenges at home, but always there and available to share their stories, their tricks, and their advice.


I have been attending the Nutritional Management Support Group meetings ever since. This group has given me incredible insight and taught me so much on this road to better health. I now have a network of people that help me feel like I am not the only one. We share recipes, tips on where to get the best deal on products, and even the day-to-day stuff like packing healthy lunches and snacks to bring to school.


If you are interested in replacing processed foods with whole foods in your diet, wanting to try going gluten- free, or just interested in nutrition and feeding your family well, this group is for you! I encourage you to give it a try. We meet on the first Wednesday of every month at 6:30 pm at Marian Hope Center.


Nutrition Management Support Group

Who:          Anyone!

What:        Support for making nutrition changes

When:       The 1st Wednesday of every month; 6:30 PM

Where:      Marian Hope Center (14820 E. 42nd St, Independence, MO)


Trick or Treat for Health

Halloween can be a really fun holiday, but also controversial and difficult for parents to manage.  I’m never going to be a no-candy dietitian/mom, but I do think that some level of moderation and intentionality can keep the health and food culture of a family on track. There are a million ideas, methods, and tactics thTrick or Treat for Healthat parents use for candy mayhem management none of which any of you need me to walk you through.

Instead, we’re offering you a fun Halloween event that focuses on activity and games rather than sugar and food. Marian Hope Center is partnering with Yes! Youth Fitness to bring you a night of fun and games!

All the proceeds from this event go towards building the nutrition and fitness programs at Marian Hope Center and Marian Hope Academy. Your support is needed to keep offering nutrition resources and help our kids be all they can be!

Come join us! Invite your neighbors, family, friends and co-workers!

Trick or Treat for Health on Friday, 10/25 from 6:30-9:00pm at YES Youth Fitness (12 NE Skyline Dr. Lee’s Summit, MO). Wear your costumes!

$10 per child at the door.

Identify the Signs of Communication Disorders: A Critical Tool


Thousands of young children in the Kansas City area headed back to school this September. During the initial months of the school year, there is heightened attention on students’ development and academic progress. Let us hope they have healthy speech and hearing, for there aren’t many other settings where the ability to communicate matters more.

With nearly 20 years of experience working in the field of communication disorders, we have seen the debilitating effects that these issues can have on the people of the Kansas City area when left untreated. Too often, people of all ages struggle with these challenges and fail to seek proper, timely treatment because they cannot recognize the early warning signs. Early detection of speech, language and hearing issues is absolutely critical to improving academic, social and career outcomes.

For people with communication disorders, those closest to them are often their biggest asset. Unfortunately, many parents and caregivers are unable to identify the early warning signs of these issues or dismiss them too readily. A recent poll of the speech-language pathologists and audiologists of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)—a professional association of which many of our therapists are members—reported significant parental delays in getting help for children  with communication difficulties.

To remedy that, ASHA has launched a national campaign, Identify The Signs. This multimedia effort addresses the importance of early detection, helps the public identify the early warning signs of communication disorders, and encourages people to seek the best professional help through a series of TV, radio, print and digital public service announcements and a media outreach push. I encourage you to visit for information and resources, and to share it in your community. Above all, though, we hope you will seek help if you suspect that you or a loved one shows signs of having a disorder.

Every day, we see in our work that untreated, communication disorders often lead to larger academic, social and developmental issues. Please visit and learn more about the early signs of speech, language and hearing disorders. Early diagnosis is the most powerful way to reduce or even reverse their impact and can give your loved ones the opportunity to lead the fullest lives possible.

Real Food Part 4 – Fats

In my opinion, the most confusing parts of nutrition today are fat and carbs. These are the last two parts of our Real Food series. First, we will deal with fats. There is so much confusion, even in the nutrition world, about what to do with fat. Low fat? High fat? Oils? Butter? How much fat should kids eat? And the questions go on and on and on…

I’m not the most conventional dietitian. If you haven’t noticed yet, this post may seal the deal because I love fat.  I also love for kids’ developing brains to have fat!  And guess what, I actually lost weight when I increased my fat intake! No joke, but that’s another blog.

If you have questions like: Won’t fat make me fat? Will saturated fat clog my arteries? Is saturated fat okay for my kids? I hear you and I understand those are real questions. But, those are the questions we’re trained to ask by the public health message about fat which is just flat out wrong.

The idea that saturated fat from foods causes heart disease or that to lose weight we just have to control our fat intake isn’t only false, but most would agree that it doesn’t work. Did you know over 70% of people who have heart attacks have normal cholesterol levels? It’s true. Here and here and here are some links to resources about the fat myth questions if you need help trusting me on this one. Moving on…

What fats should we eat?

1. Butter (pastured/grassfed if possible. Dr. Mercola agrees)

2. Coconut oil (cool video)

3. Avocado

4. Olive oil **

**Olive oil is a fabulous fat, but it breaks down when heated. Use olive oil as salad dressing or on cold foods, but do not saute or roast vegetables in olive oil. Please. Don’t do it. Oxidation of olive oil can happen at 300 degrees and higher.

What fats should we avoid?

canola, vegetable, soybean, cottonseed, corn or any other “seed” oil

– any hydrogenated fats, margarine, butter spreads or sprays

– heated olive oil

These fats increase inflammation in the body, increase risk of cancer, and are reeking havoc on all of our bodies. I’ll be the first to admit it is hard to get these completely out of the diet, but start trying! The processed oils/fat in the diets of children is one more of the toxins their little bodies are having to work overtime to eliminate and recover from moment by moment everyday. If this doesn’t convince you that, as Dr. Shanahan says,”canola oil is death in a bottle,” then I can’t help you anyway :)

If you’ve talked to me about your child’s nutrition for more than one minute I’ve probably told you to increase the fat in your child’s diet. I mean it. Kids developing brains need fat so badly! But, the type of fat we feed the brain is extremely important. It is widely accepted now that an ADHD brain (child or adult) is either starved or toxic. Our low-fat culture is part of the brain starvation that contributes to many learning difficulties and emotional instability. We cannot expect kids to learn and develop well on low-fat diets or toxic oils. We are starving their brains.

Another helpful addition to fat in the diet is supplementing with Cod Liver Oil. This is beneficial for the brains of both children and adults. At Marian Hope Center, we frequently see language increase and behaviors improve when kids start taking Cod Liver Oil. For kids 3 months to 12 years old, start with 1/2 tsp and work up to 1 tsp daily. I recommend only these 3 brands of Cod Liver Oil: Nordic Naturals, Carlson Labs, and Green Pastures.

So in conclusion, I leave you with wisdom from Julia Childs, “With enough butter, anything is good.”