Toyology Toys: Tell us a little about yourself.
Randi Fried: Hi, my name’s Randi, I’m married to an awesome guy named Steve and together we have three fantastic kids, Ella (12), Ari (10), and Brody (4). We live in the West Bloomfield area, where I was born and raised. I love raising my kids with so much family around. Together we love to play games, visit local parks and arcades, and travel. When I get time to myself I love to go on a long walk or go to yoga. I also love theatre.
Toyology Toys: What is your occupation?
Randi: I have been a pediatric speech language pathologist (SLP) for the past 15 years. I love helping children find ways to meaningfully communicate with their family, friends, and people in their community. Sometimes this means helping a child acquire first words, other times this means helping kids understand words and directions, or it might mean helping a child say their speech sounds more clearly so they are understood. Still other times, it means finding a alternative way for a child to communicate such as an augmentative speech device or sign language. I love being an SLP because each child I work with has their own unique way of learning and I get to creatively find ways to engage the child and build language skills.
Currently, I stay at home with my children so I can provide language rich activities for my youngest who has Autism. We often look like we’re ‘just’ playing, but most times that play has a goal built into it.
Toyology Toys: Why are you interested in contributing to Toyology Toys?
Randi: I’m so excited to be a contributor to Toyology Toys because I love to play, I love toys and I can’t wait to share the many ideas I have to help others.
Toyology Toys: What do you love about toys?
Randi: I love that toys can bring a smile to almost anyone’s face. I love the way the right toy has the power to engage a child and help them learn. I love that toys are fun and colorful and help us interact with each other and the world around us.
Toyology Toys: What does the “power of play” mean to you?
Randi: To me the “power of play” means the power to connect with a child, the power to learn, and the power to have fun. Play is the work of childhood and when you are able to connect with a child in play or a child is able to play on their own they are able to learn so many valuable life long skills. Children practice social skills through play, they practice language during play, and they learn to experiment during play. All these skills set kids up to be excited to learn and help create a foundation for academic skills when they are ready.
Toyology Toys: What specific topics would you like to contribute to Toyology Toys and the Power of Play?
Randi: As a Toyology contributor, SLP, and mom of a child with Autism, I can’t wait to share more information on the importance of play on speech and language development. I’d love to share ways to add play to your everyday activities such as bath time, mealtime, and shopping to build speech and language skills. I’d also like to share ways to play and connect with your child, grandchild, or friend with Autism. We can look at some of the unique needs (i.e. joint attention and social interaction) of children with Autism and the way that play can help develop these skills.
Toyology Toys: Where can people follow you? (Facebook/Instagram/Pinterest)
Randi: Follow me on Facebook: /RandiRolandFried, on Instagram @randidays, or on Pinterest @RandiFried
Randi is wife and mother to three kids aged 12, 10 and 4. She was born and raised in West Bloomfield where she is currently a stay-at-home mom to provide language rich activities for her youngest, who has Autism. Prior to making the switch to full time mommy, Randi was a pediatric speech pathologist for the past 15 years.