Homophones of Early Intervention Notes Part 1

homophones early intervention 1

“This one time when I was reading notes in an early intervention record…”

When it comes to early intervention notes, service coordinators are expected to be thorough and professional and accurate.

This one time when I was a beginner service coordinator, I received a caseload from another service coordinator that had left. In one of the files there was a note to document a particular incident in which an adult in the home was passed out. The service coordinator recorded her unsuccessful attempts to try to wake up this adult. The note was about 2 handwritten pages documenting the incident in which half of it was describing her attempts to wake up this person.

(Disclaimer altert: details have totally been changed to protect privacy.)

(Spoiler alert: the child is fine and so was the adult eventually, but that is not the point of the story)

Trying to arouse the parent

This service coordinator was trying, but she was not able to arouse the caregiver. Try as she might, that person was not getting aroused. That is the word she used over and over arouse.

When you read that did you think my coworker was trying to bring about sexual feelings in the caregiver? Can you just picture a social worker doing a sexy little dance to a passed out grown up on the couch and getting frustrated with her lack of success. After a giggle fit. I looked up the words in the dictionary. This is what I found.

Arouse, Rouse

arouse: to awaken from sleep. For example, I was aroused from a deep sleep by a loud noise. To stimulate to action or to bodily readiness for activity, EXCITE. For example, a book that has aroused debate. To excite (someone) sexually: to cause sexual arousal in (someone)… For example, “the girls whose perfume scent frightened him and aroused him.— Elizabeth Berg”

rouse 1: to arouse from or as if from sleep or repose: AWAKEN. To stir up: EXCITE. For example, I was roused to fury. 2: to become stirred. For example, “I’ve been unable to rouse her. I was so tired I could barely rouse myself to prepare dinner.”

After reading the definitions, I realized rouse or arouse could both work in the context. According to this article on grammerist, one does seem to fit better than the other.


“Arouse vs. rouse: The verbs arouse and rouse both mean (1) to awake from sleep and (2) to excite. But arouse is usually used figuratively or in reference to feelings, while rouse more commonly refers to physical action and things that inspire action. Also, arouse is more often used in relation to sex, and rouse more often relates to coming out of sleep.”

Early Intervention Notes

The vocabulary of Early Intervention includes other potential pitfalls if you don’t pay attention. Let’s look at a few homophones. These are the ones I have a hard time with. 


“What are homonyms, homophones, and homographs?” https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/homophone
“Homonym can be troublesome because it may refer to three distinct classes of words. Homonyms may be words with identical pronunciations but different spellings and meanings, such as to, too, and two. Or they may be words with both identical pronunciations and identical spellings but different meanings, such as quail (the bird) and quail (to cringe). Finally, they may be words that are spelled alike but are different in pronunciation and meaning, such as the bow of a ship and bow that shoots arrows. The first and second types are sometimes called homophones, and the second and third types are sometimes called homographs—which makes naming the second type a bit confusing. Some language scholars prefer to limit homonym to the third type.
Examples of homophone in a Sentence “To,” “too,” and “two” are homophones.”

The following definitions come from https://www.merriam-webster.com

Early Intervention Notes: Pallet or palate

pallet: a straw-filled tick or mattress, a small, hard, or temporary bed, a wooden flat-bladed instrument, a portable platform for handling, storing, or moving materials and packages.

Palatethe roof of the mouth separating the mouth from the nasal cavity— see HARD PALATE, SOFT PALATE. A usually intellectual taste or liking: the sense of taste.

Early Intervention Notes Example:

The baby is scheduled to have palate repair surgery next month. Today his mother and I discussed using a pallet for naps at childcare.

Early Intervention Notes: Gate and Gait

gate 1: an opening in a wall or fence

gait 1: a manner of walking or moving on foot. 2: a sequence of foot movements (such as a walk, trot, pace, or canter) by which a horse or a dog moves forward

Early Intervention Notes Example:

Gait is how you walk. A gate is what you open and close on the fence. As I worked with the toddler on walking, I noted her gait was smooth and steady as she ran toward me standing by the gate. 

Early Intervention Notes: Illicit and Elicit

Elicit: to call forth or draw out (something, such as information or a response), For example, her remarks elicited cheers

illicit: not permitted: UNLAWFUL.

Illicit is bad stuff like drugs and sex. Elicit is what we do with language and skills. Playing with children while modeling environmental sounds is a good way to elicit sounds. 

Early Intervention Notes: Affect and Effect

Affect (noun) the conscious subjective aspect of an emotion considered apart from bodily changes.

Affect (verb): to produce an effect upon.

Effect: something that inevitably follows an antecedent (such as a cause or agent).

Effects: movable property: GOODS. For example, personal effects.

Early Intervention Notes examples:

Affect is a verb meaning to have an impact on. Such as how does this medication affect your energy level? Or how will the new baby affect my sleep schedule? The new income requirements had negative effects.  Or the new communication strategies had a positive effect on his vocabulary.

HERE IS THE TRICKY PART: affect can also be a noun when you are talking about an emotion. Use a positive animated affect to keep the attention of a child whose attention wanders. A red flag for autism is having a flat affect. 

The child was receiving  early intervention service due to his language and social delay including flat affect. Due to the budget cuts, the provider changed policy which affected service frequency. The decreased frequency had a negative effect on progress. 

Early Intervention Notes: Ade, Aid, Aide

ade: product, especially : sweet drink

Aid: to provide with what is useful or necessary in achieving an end

Aide: a person who acts as an assistant

Early Intervention Notes Examples:

Sometimes when babies have a stomach virus, moms put watered down gatorade in their baby’s sippy cup. Medicaid is a program that provides hearing aids for children who go to school and are taught by teachers and their aides. While I was at the house, the child fell down and bumped is knee, and his mother applied first aid. 

Early Intervention Notes: Bear and Bare

Bear: large heavy mammals of America and Eurasia that have long shaggy hair, rudimentary tails, and plantigrade feet and feed largely on fruit, plant matter, and insects as well as on flesh

Bear: to support the weight of: SUSTAIN.

Bare: lacking clothing like bare feet. 

Early Intervention Notes Examples:

That baby is walking bare-footed. She is walking while carrying a large Teddy Bear. This is such a huge progress considering in the beginning of the year, she would not even bear weight on those feet.

Early Intervention Notes: Break and brake

Break: to separate into parts with suddenness or violence, “broke a plate”brake

Break: to interrupt one’s activity or occupation for a brief period, “break for lunch”

Brake: a device for arresting or preventing the motion of a mechanism usually by means of friction, “apply the brakes”

Break is what happens when something crashes or shatters or does not work. Brake is something that you use to make the car stop. You better get those brakes fixed or you may break your neck.

Early Intervention Notes example:

His mother decided to take a break from early intervention services because of surgery resulting from her leg break. The child was trying to break the dish by throwing it on the ground during a tantrum. When the mom was using the wheel chair, she forgot to apply the brake, so she wheeled away suddenly causing her phone to fall on the floor and break.

Grammar Lessons from Early Intervention Notes

The rouse arouse example is not quite a homophone. Does anyone know what two words that sound “similar” but not the same are called? Rhymes maybe?

The other word pairs are examples are homophones. I call them the homophones of early intervention because they come up in early intervention notes all the time! I’ll admit when I’m writing my hand written special instruction progress notes, I sometimes switch these up. I have had to look then up when I’m thinking of it. I can’t imagine how many mistakes are out there that I didn’t even notice.

October 6, 2019


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