The Many Ways to Use Toys in Therapy

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Many times we purchase games and the games are too hard or too easy or don’t correlate to skills or goals we were aiming for for our clients. That’s when you can be creative and tweak the directions to make it work FOR you!

My latest and greatest two favorite games/toys!

PICWITS 

SORTING TOY 

 

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#1 PICWITS

In PicWits, the players hold 5-7 picture cards, and must choose a card from their hand that best matches the single caption prompt for that round. The game is played in rounds, and using the games directions, the winner is the first person to earn a given number of caption cards. Players earn caption cards via a single player who acts as the judge for that round. When judging, the player does not play their own card, but gets to choose the picture card that they feel best fits the rounds caption. This game is best played with 3 or more players, but can be modified for 2 player play as a therapy game.

This game has a similar underlying concept to BubbleTalk, but PicWits is easier to use with students who may still be struggling readers. This game is terrific for use in Social Skills groups, speech and language groups and counseling as well as for family game night.

In the reviewer’s opinion these are the following concepts that this game can be used to address:

  • Perspective taking and Theory of mind
  • Understanding humor
  • Interpreting picture based social situations
  • Flexibility and acceptance of other’s opinion
  • Verbal expression
  • Vocabulary
  • Discussing differences of opinions
  • Turn-Taking

This game works well with students in 2nd grade and up, but with caution can be used with younger students.

Parents/teachers/therapists will need to review picture cards when playing with younger to high school aged players due to a few of the cards portraying concepts or having items in the picture that might not be considered suitable for students in that age range. As far as I have seen there were only a few in that I felt might be questionable.

There are plenty of picture cards provided, and so supervising adults can remove any cards they deem inappropriate prior to gameplay without any concern.

Essentially the child would be asked to explain why they think their picture best matches the caption card. It requires them to explain their opinion, to create sentences, proper grammar, interpret the picture’s content and use their own words (unsolicited by the game) to connect meaning with the caption and the visual card. It can also be used with fluency clients as well as articulation and language clients. I was thrilled to see the reviewer on Amazon make the same connection I did when thinking about this game.

Even if working 1-1 you can have the child determine if your choice of picture “fits” or not and to explain why they agree or not. Therefore it can be done from both sides of the equation! They would have to look at the choices you made from your perspective that may differ from their own!

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#2 SORTING TOY

In this game you are given a set # of objects from different categories: food/fruit, animals, vehicles and dinosaurs. They are broken down by color and size which allows for comparison and addressing the following goals:

  • How they are the same/different
  • Colors
  • Actions
  • Plurals
  • Numbers/counting
  • Which pile has more/less in general or more/less by comparison
  • Word combinations
  • WH questions
  • Articulation
  • Part/whole
  • Big/small size comparisons etc.
  • What does not belong
  • Building word combinations

Examples include….

  • Comparing the different dinosaurs
  • Talking about if the red duck is bigger than the yellow duck
  • Where the pig lives
  • What sounds the animals make
  • How many green ____s they can find
  • Talking about what they do….where you find them (location) i.e. a bus drives kids to school and can be found on the road.
  • Discussing what things roll, hop or have a motor
  • Discussing things that go on the street, in the sky
    Talking about what parts things have (airplane has wings, a wheel, seats, windows etc)
  • You can also break down items like an apple:
  • What color is it?
  • Where do you keep it?
  • What do you do with it?
    What parts does it have?
  • What group does it belong in?

Once the piles were set and the groups established, you can ask “where are the bunnies? how many do you see? find me something you can eat” “find me something that can fly that is a vehicle/animal”.

If he couldn’t find it he was asked (i.e. find me something you can eat) he was asked, can you eat a duck? can you eat a firetruck etc. to work on yes/no questions.


Kids need to learn that they have to talk to get the toys – they do not come for ‘free’ so to speak. They need to work on saying things to get things. If they get them for free (i.e. without talking or doing anything) then they will continue to ‘not talk’ and hold out and refuse to talk until the item is just given to them out of frustration.

Really encourage them to SAY words when they would otherwise point or grunt. If they try but its not right – give them credit but encourage them to imitate with greater success by watching and listening to you. Sit down with them to work on saying words upon request so this becomes a habit.

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Where is the best place for OT services?

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Pediatric Occupational Therapy May be More Effective in the Home

More and more pediatric occupational therapists are traveling to provide home based services to their clients. The demands for home based services is growing exponentially. WHY the sudden shift? Why are so many parents leaving the clinic and opting for a home based provider? It may be due to their child learning and progressing quicker in their natural environments. I am a pediatric occupational therapist who works both in the home and in the clinic. I see a huge positive increase in children reaching certain goals when treatments occur in their natural environment, especially when working on self-care and home management skills.

Benefits of Home Based Occupational Therapy

  • Therapists can work on the actual tasks that a child struggles with – no more “simulating activities”. We can actually work on the skills the child has difficulty with! The SKY is the limit here!!
    • Bathing skills, dressing skills, feeding skills, feeding therapy, making simple meals, learning to make their own beds, learning home management skills! This list can SERIOUSLY go on forever!
  • Saves time for the family! 
    • Many clients have multiple therapies a week that they are having to drive to. Having a therapist travel to them can mean more time with their children! No more sitting in the car for 30-40 minutes driving to and from therapy appointments – SUPER difficult for some kids to tolerate, especially kids who have underlying sensory processing concerns.
  • Better carry over! It is much easier for parents to carry over therapeutic programs that therapist put in place. WHY? BECAUSE the therapist can easily adapt home programs to fit the needs of the entire family.
    • That is HUGH!!! One 1 hour session a week is NOT going to make the child reach their therapeutic goals— carry over will!

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  • Seeing a child in their natural environment helps the therapist understand and meet the child’s needs.
    • When a parents says, I can’t get my child to do XY and Z, it may be much easier for the child to learn these skills in the natural environment.

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  • Being in a child’s home allows the therapist to learn the family’s values and increase the rapport with the child and his/her family.
    • A child must trust his/her therapist and build a connection with them in order to improve therapeutic progress.

Limitations of Home Treatment

  • Space may be limited.
  • Therapist has less control over changing elements of the environment.
  • Adjustments may be required in order to accommodate therapy in the home – for example limiting the noise and distractions (turning TV and radios off, limiting siblings and or pets, and moving furniture around).

 

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The Misconception About Speech Therapy Practice

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Many people think that speech therapy needs to be conducted in a clinic or school setting using worksheets and drilling on certain sounds or or to be working in a very structured way – however, that is a total misconception!

While you ABSOLUTELY can address speech goals in a clinic or school setting using worksheets… I find it more beneficial to work on their goals in a more natural format – whether it is for articulation, fluency or language! After establishing the correct posture/positioning of their articulators or breathing strategies, clients (of all ages), are engaged in conversation about things that are interesting to them.

Whether its…

  • a 3 year old who says “look!” and wants to talk about something that caught their eye across the room
  • a 5 year old who wants to talk about Legos or an older child who wants to talk about the new video game they got for their Nintendo
  • a High-school tennis player working on /r/’s, the conversation can revolve around words that relate to that topic!

Ultimately the adult can STEER the conversation in the right direction IN ORDER FOR the goals to be addressed – meaning – the child should not just randomly say things off topic and that be ok – because its important for kids to work on maintaining topic as well.

While establishing correct positioning for the targeted sounds, I think its more beneficial for the child to work on vocabulary that THEY use rather than drilling on worksheets or random words they would not use in their everyday language. If the ultimate goal is CARRYOVER and wanting the child to USE the RIGHT POSTUREfor their sound, doesn’t it make MORE sense to practice words that are in their natural environment at various times throughout the day rather than in a structured setting on non-recognizable words??

So….when asked by your speech therapist to “practice at home” allow it to be addressed in natural conversation, while playing a game, while in the car, over breakfast, while discussing a tv show or while reading a book before bed. The possibilities are truly endless!

There are no “exact parameters’ for practice – yet – some kids do require more structure – but others need to realize that speech is not just sitting in a room or at a table, saying their sounds or answering questions. It’s about the real world and implementing their goals into their daily lives so that they grasp the connection that TALKING IS EVERYWHERE… Kids need to learn that working on and addressing speech goals is a constant thing not just a thing you do when you’re sitting at the table with your therapist for 30 min twice a week. It’s not just at home, it’s not just with their therapist – it’s everywhere – all the time. The more time you put into building your child’s awareness to their goals the quicker they will become SELF-AWARE and apply what they are learning in order to reach their goals faster – no matter what age they are!!!

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • On the phone
  • In the car
  • At the dinner table
  • With friends
  • With family
  • During bath time
  • Reading books
  • Ordering food at a restaurant
  • In the swimming pool
  • At karate practice
  • At the playground
  • In school
  • At home
  • When asking questions
  • When answering the phone
  • When singing a song
  • At grocery store

Bottom line - play is play BUT play is also learning – so why not address speech goals WHILE having fun? Who said it had to be work?

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Is it picky eating or a feeding disorder?

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Most children will demonstrate problems with eating at some point during their development. Picky eating is a common occurrence for children as their preferences expand. Most children outgrow this behavior by adolescence. Feeding disorders are more serious than occasional mealtime battles or reluctance to try new foods. A feeding disorder is diagnosed when a child will only eat a limited number of foods and completely avoids entire food groups or textures that are necessary for proper growth and development. It is important to understand the difference between a feeding disorder and an eating disorder. Eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, are serious psychological conditions which require treatment from a mental health professional. Feeding disorders may impact a child’s behavior as well as physical, social, and cognitive development. Children with feeding disorders may feel socially isolated, create financial strains for their families, or become so underweight that they begin to have medical problems. Pediatric feeding disorders are estimated to impact 10% of the infants and children in the United States.

Slikovni rezultat za picky eatingFeeding issues can present differently based on age. Newborns may have trouble swallowing due to breathing problems or a weak ability to suck. Older infants may have difficulty transitioning to baby food, table food or drinking from a cup. Toddlers and school-aged children with feeding issues often have extremely limited diets based on texture, often preferring soft foods such as yogurt and applesauce or crunchy foods like crackers and cookies. Typically, their diets do not include healthy items. Fruits and vegetables or protein sources such as chicken, beef, or fish are avoided. Other issues include children who over-stuff their mouth with food in order to trigger a swallow but often end up choking on food or even vomiting. Often mealtimes with these kids can last well beyond the recommended 30-minute window and become unpleasant for the child and the family.

Slikovni rezultat za picky eatingIf you suspect that your infant or child has a feeding disorder, it’s important to have him evaluated by a speech-language pathologist who can diagnose and treat these issues. Friends and family may advise that “he will eat when he’s hungry.” Unfortunately, this is not the case with children who have sensory issues and problems with the mechanics of eating. The Institute of Myofunctional Studies in Roswell, Georgia specializes in the treatment of oral phase dysphagia, a condition that can cause children to limit the types of foods that they will eat. Although children with this condition are often labeled as picky eaters, the problem is more complex than that. These children typically lack the strength and coordination necessary to successfully manage more complex textures of food beyond yogurt, purees, crackers, and other soft or easy-to-chew foods. In conjunction with working on the mechanics of eating, the speech-language pathologists at the Institute of Myofunctional studies create plans for children to safely try new foods and expand their diets to include foods to which they previously had an aversion.

For more information on the evaluation and treatment of pediatric feeding disorders, contact Jennifer Herring, M.Ed., CCC-SLP or Sharon Wexler, M.M.S., CCC-SLP at the Institute of Myofunctional Studies at 770-817-8002 or visit our website at www.myofunctionaltherapy.org. We are conveniently located across from North Fulton Hospital in the Roswell Business Center, 11660 Alpharetta Highway, Suite 520, Roswell, GA 30076.  Follow us on Facebook at The Institute of Myofunctional Studies for updates, more articles and helpful hints!


_I2A8150.CR2, 06APR16 @ 10274900Jennifer Herring, M.Ed., CCC-SLP

Jennifer earner her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the College of Charleston and her Master of Education in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Georgia State University.  She has worked as a speech-language pathologist in public schools, pediatric home health, and private practice.  Jennifer’s expertise includes evaluating and treating individuals with a wide variety of disorders encompassing feeding and swallowing, articulation and phonology, childhood apraxia of speech, dysarthria, social/pragmatic communication, receptive and expressive language, stuttering, and voice issues.  She is certified in the Hanen Centre’s It Takes Two To Talk program and has been trained by the PROMPT Institute.  Jennifer has completed additional training in the topics of pediatric feeding and swallowing, augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) and picture exchange communication system (PECS).  Licensed by the state of Georgia, Jennifer is a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and holds their Certificate of Clinical Competence.  She integrates research-based principles with the creativity required to help her patients reach their full potential.

How to Prevent a Speech Delay 

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1. Be familiar with developmental milestones

Be familiar with developmental milestones so that you know when they should be developing certain skills and sounds. It can also act as a guide for you to know what skills are to come and what you can be working on.

2. Correct errors

a. Acknowledge that you understand your child when they talk but correct misarticulations so that they are aware of the RIGHT way to say a word.
b. Don’t allow your child to say “wawa” for water or “baba” for bottle. If that is how THEY say it because they are unable to put the whole (correct) word together, that’s one thing – but always call things by their correct label.
c. What you reinforce will be repeated. In other words, if you do not correct the mispronunciation, your child will never know how to say a word right.

3. Read to your child

a. Reading is key even when your child isn’t talking and able to label pictures.
b. The more your child can sit and engage with a book will be instrumental in developing their attention span and focus.
c. The more you sit and read to your child on a regular basis, the wider their vocabulary will become. Children learn receptively (pointing to pictures named for them) before they are ever able to use words expressively on their own.

4. Engage them in conversation

a. Talk to your child even if it requires you to give them choices to respond to you. Always encourage a vocalization (or a sign if they are non-verbal) to reinforce turn-taking and communicating needs.

5. Pick up on cues

a. If your child is frustrated and grunting to get your attention - PUT A WORD TO IT. Do not allow the “grunt” to be a form of communication. WHAT YOU REWARD (respond to) is what you are REINFORCING. Therefore, if they need help – teach “help” or if they want something, encourage saying “more” or “please” to express themselves. If they pull you to the pantry and point, do not allow them to get what they are pointing to (by pointing alone) – encourage “eat” or “hungry” or saying, “Do you want a cookie?” Then – build on it to encourage a response (not a head nod) but a verbal response.

Developmental milestones and resources are available on the Advantage Speech Therapy Services website www.advantagespeech.com.

If you feel that your child needs a speech evaluation, call or email to set it up.
404-784-1252
robyn@advantagespeech.com

 

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New Speech (*in home*) Therapy Solution Available in Milton, Ga!

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Questions…

  • Has your child been in therapy for years?
  • Has your child had a hard time mastering their pesky sounds?
  • Do you feel that there is no light at the end of the tunnel for mastering misarticulated sounds?
  • Do people misunderstand what your child is saying?
  • Has this affected their self-confidence?
  • Has it affected their school-work?

Answer!

Look no further – this software program is your answer! Read the article below to learn more about the Complete Speech Program and how MY COMPANY can help your child in the comfort of your OWN home!

The American Speech and Hearing Association reports that roughly 6-8 million Americans have a language impairment. Thanks to a technology now available in Milton, that number may be shrinking. Robyn M. Drothler, M.ED CCC-SLP, a local Speech-Language Pathologist, has been using a new device called a SmartPalate with her clients. Drothler’s practice, Advantage Speech Therapy Services, is the first practice in Milton to introduce this technology.

The SmartPalate is a custom mouthpiece and computer software that displays where a student’s tongue is touching the roof of their mouth during speech. Speech-Language Pathologists, including Drothler, then create custom “tongue targets” for the sound(s) the student is working to develop such as /r/, /l/ or /s/. The visual target allows the student to repeatedly practice the sound simply by matching their tongue with the respective target.

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“This program greatly reduces the amount of time a child needs to be in therapy due to the benefit of visual feedback since they get to SEE where they need to put their tongue,” says Drothler. “The Smart Palate Program allows the child to take out the “audio” component (i.e. how THEY hear their sound) and rely on visual feedback to learn the correct placement of their articulators in order to ultimately create a NEW sound that they otherwise could not create on their own.”

smartpalate_navSmartPalate technology, known as electropalatography, was developed by Dr. Samuel Fletcher, an industry recognized audiologist and speech-language pathologist in the mid 1950’s. For decades, the use of the technology was limited to research facilities, primarily with speech students who were deaf or had hearing impairment. In 2010, a system was developed by CompleteSpeech for commercial use and Speech-language Pathologists have continually expanded the use of the technology to students with multiple speech disorders and backgrounds. In multiple cases, children, teens and adults who have struggled in speech therapy for years without significant progress have made immediate sizable improvements in their speech and consequently their self-esteem and confidence.

On the effect speech disorders have on students, Drothler says, “Not being able to say your name, volunteer to answer questions in class, speak with confidence and make new friends can be very daunting for a child. In my experience, this program has given so many kids the confidence they need to speak in all aspects of their life. They typically come to me after years of trying in the school system with traditional therapy. One-on-one therapy with the benefit of this software has been a game-changer.”

Robyn M. Drothler M.ED CCC-SLP is a licensed Private Practice Speech-Language Pathologist in Georgia. She specializes in providing speech therapy services to children with varying disabilities including but not limited to: articulation, developmental delay, fluency, Autism, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, and expressive language delay. Ms. Drothler can be reached at 404-784-1252 and/or robyn@advantagespeech.com and is currently accepting new client applications.

03For product information, visit Complete Speech website.

For videos on how the SmartPalate program uses APPs for carryover and home practice and reinforcement of goals check out this link on YouTube:

**This video shows you how the app can work on regular vowels – and it can also help with vocalic /r/ with an in app purchase**.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT ASTS WEBSITE WHERE YOU CAN SEE OUR PRODUCT SECTION. 

ADVANTAGE SPEECH THERAPY SERVICES SERVICES THE FOLLOWING AREAS:
Roswell, Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Milton….and surrounding areas.

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Summer Learning Fun

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Just because it is summer, doesn’t mean kids should stop learning. Remember learning can be fun – the more creative you are, the more fun it can be! Sometimes they won’t even know they are ‘learning’ in the process! That’s the best kind, right?

Start the summer with a plan – Have each kid make a to do list of what he/she wants to do. This will help generate ideas and interest that your kids have. If your child is too young, have them draw pictures of what they want to do over the summer. Then talk about it (building communication and expressing ideas).

By engaging your child in the various activities below you are working on any # of skills listed below:

  1.  Vocabulary
  2.  Following directions
  3.  Articulation
  4.  Comparing and contrasting
  5.  Listening/understanding
  6.  Being independent
  7.  Making choices
  8.  Expressing wants/needs
  9.  Sequencing
  10.  Story telling/journaling
  11.  Teamwork
  12.  Problem-solving
  13.  Responsibility
  14.  Fluency (when talking with different people in different environments)
  15.  Carryover of skills from therapy sessions!

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At home games to play….

  • Make bubbles – follow a recipe to make big bubble fun!
  • Cook a fun meal / dessert - understand measurements and more/less with fractions and serving sizes (good opportunity to teach nutrition! as well)
  • Have a picnic – make a plan, create a list of what you need (walk through the whole experience and write it all down!), follow directions to get it done with teamwork
  • Go to the grocery store and have your child write down the list of items and categorize the items such as “fruit, produce, breakfast foods, snacks, freezer items etc.”.
  • Go to the pool and incorporate learning there with cool water toys – for young kids, work on counting, numbers, colors, following directions. At the pool play a game where they copy each other’s moves in a sequence – works on following directions, recall, and memory!
  • Teach the value of money and have a lemonade stand – Have kids use their OWN money (or discuss borrowing) to get it started – what is needed. (cups, lemonade, ice, containers etc). Earn money in the process and then discuss “paying back” money that was borrowed and what it means to save. Discuss the breakdown of donation/saving/spending.
  • Start a piggy bank and generate ideas on how to make money and save. Count the money at the end of the summer! Discuss values of coins (more/less/equal – i.e. different ways to make the same amount!)
  • Start a garden and work on responsibility and enjoy the fruits of your labor at the end!

 

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If you are on a road trip – make it fun! However, hold back and ease into your ideas/rewards. Don’t flood kids with everything all at once. You want your creativity to last the duration! Address behavior and how items can be earned OR taken away if disagreements or fights ensue.

  • ABC license plate game – look for letters on signs and license plates from A to Z!
  • I spy - work on adjectives, naming objects, and word combinations. You could also talk about actions and articulation of specific sounds while taking turns!
  • Write a letter to a long distance family member or friend. Write on paper!! Nothing better than receiving a handwritten note. Discuss the envelope and Post Office Process.
  • Read a book – write a summary – create a short story with illustrations. If your child is younger, draw pictures to reflect different parts of a story/favorite part and then talk about it.
  • Listen to a book on tape. Pause and ask questions – make predictions.
  • Challenge each other to answering word problems or solve puzzles.
  • Be creative and draw a map of where you are going and what you will do. Make landmarks on the map and create a “key” so others know what is reflected on the map.
  • Start a journal of the trip so you remember what you did each day.
  • Create bingo boards of what you should look for along the way.
  • Bring card games along with you to play that don’t require game pieces.
  • Make your own passport or variation of where you went and what you did.
  • Bring a map and connect dots on where you have stopped and visited.
  • Check out this link (also listed below) for tips/tricks for traveling in the car as well as fun ways to incorporate games and printables that are available for you to add to your collection!

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Make sure that home tasks and chores are accomplished before they run to get their screen time in. Take advantage of the weather and encourage them to be outside – ride bikes, climb trees, play games and create memories.

Other resources and links to more suggestions to different activities!

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Pieces of a Puzzle

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There are many pieces of a puzzle that are required to make therapy work.

  • Establishing goals – There needs to be a plan in place to know what you want your child to accomplish, where you want their speech development to be in 6 months or a year.
  • Parent <—> therapist communication – There needs to be lines of communication open between a parent and therapist whether face to face or in follow up emails regarding therapy and progress.
  • Schedule – A schedule needs to be established so that there is consistency and a routine for addressing goals.
  • Consistency of sessions and goals – Without the consistency of therapeutic sessions, reinforcement of goals is absent, the communication component is missing, and the ability to make progress becomes slower. Everyone needs to be on board to make therapy work (grandparents, teachers, babysitters, siblings etc – not just parent and therapist)
  • Carryover of goals into everyday life – It needs to be understood that communication exists at all times. When kids are happy, sad, mad, frustrated, excited, on vacation, with friends, with family, on the playground, in bed, while eating a meal, or even taking a bath…it is not something that should be addressed when its convenient. It’s all the time.

The more you can incorporate the goals into every day life and work on the goals in all situations, the more progress you will see, the more involved your kids will be, the more your kids will talk. If you choose to address the goals ONLY when its convenient and on a periodic basis, your child will be confused on what is expected. If only one person (therapist) is reinforcing the goals, then the child isn’t understanding the expectation.

Many times I get asked “Why isn’t my child progressing?”
My response, “Tell me what you are doing at home….”
Usually the answer is that they aren’t working on the goals – they expect the two 30 minute sessions to ‘fix’ their child and that’s incorrect.

The GOAL OF THERAPY is to assist the family in learning what to do to help their child the other 23.5 hours of the day. Parent participation is KEY and VITAL to the results of therapy.

Therefore, the parents need to step back and look at what they are doing as its not all about what the child is/isn’t doing but more about what the parents are doing to help make a difference.

ASK YOURSELF:

  1. Am I talking too much or not enough?
  2. Am I giving my child time to respond or I am talking FOR them?
  3. Am I taking the time to get my child to TRY?
  4. Am I modeling correct speech?
  5. Am I helping or hindering?
  6. Am I working through the tantrums or am I giving in?
  7. What behavior am I reinforcing?
  8. Am I making it easy or am I giving my child an alternate solution to get what they want?

It’s obvious that doing things FOR your child is easy, but what you reinforce is what your child learns.
Therefore – reinforce TALKING. TRYING. IMITATION. It doesn’t have to be perfect but they need to at least TRY.
Do not reinforce CRYING, POINTING, GRUNTING.
If they get what they want by crying and you do not require them to talk/sign to get it, they will not learn to talk/sign to get it. They will continue to cry and it will increase in magnitude each time.

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Bottom line – BEHAVIOR IS COMMUNICATION. It will get harder before it gets better. You will be changing the rules and your child will be frustrated. This is a good sign. It means your child is understanding that the rules have changed and there are different requirements to get what they want.

If your child cannot talk – they are misbehaving (crying, screaming, kicking, spitting, hitting, etc. having a tantrum) to get what they want. Speech therapy is working to remedy that.

It requires TEAM WORK. It is not a part time task. It is an all the time – every day – round the clock – every time you need something expectation.

If your child is not in therapy and you need to work on promoting communication and reducing tantrums, give us a call.

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How to choose the right SLP

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When your child isn’t meeting the developmental milestones and you think you need to reach out for support – here are some suggestions to determine if the therapist you talk to is right for your child.

Finding a therapist

Call your insurance or do a google search to find a local therapist. (Call your insurance to get an idea on what your coverage is… Recognize that its not simply  “do I have coverage yes/no?” You need to ask about articulation/language/fluency/developmental delay and/or any potential diagnosis they may have.

Decide on where you want therapy to be conducted

  • Decide if you want to go to a clinic or have in home therapy. There are benefits to both – just think about your child and his/her needs. Do they have other therapy that would benefit from being done altogether in a clinic or do you just need speech and ‘in home’ is convenient?
  • Recognize that in home therapy may cost most but could be beneficial to your child to work in your own home and be convenient for your family.

When you call – talk to the therapist about:

  1. What your child is doing.
  2. What you are concerned about.
  3. What prompted the referral.
  4. Ask the therapist if they have experience working with children similar to yours.
  5. Ask if they have certifications/training in certain areas that could benefit your child.
  6. Ask what sets them apart from other people in the area (they may talk about training or in home therapy or a tool/software they use)
  7. Time and location are key to therapy – the more flexible you are, the more options you will have.

NOTE: The therapist is a trained professional that is prepared to help your child. Be open to their suggestions and pay attention to what they do so that you can implement the tools at home. You cannot expect the therapist to do all the work. Observe, watch, engage, participate, learn, ask questions etc in order to best help your child during the off times.

Advantage Speech website is available with resources for you.

Advantage Speech Therapy offers:

  • In home therapy
  • Periscope therapy sessions for parents unavailable for sessions due to work.
  • Emailed copies of notes and video follow ups (as needed to help with home carryover)
  • Social media resources (#AdvantageSpeech) – *fB, twitter, Instagram, Periscope etc. for suggestions and resources/links and helpful tools.

Advantage Speech Therapy also offers:

Any or all of these programs may benefit your child – call for a consultation to determine if ASTS is right for your child!

 

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Speech Ladder

Learning sounds comes at different ages for different children, but the following developmental milestone chart shows which sounds are achieved by children 90% of the time. That is not to say that children cannot produce certain sounds earlier than the chart suggests. Think of the progression of sounds as a ladder. Kids learn sounds in isolation first, building up to syllables, then words, phrases, sentences, reading and then carryover. First they learn to produce sounds in isolation.

 

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If you are working on more than one sound, they may each be at different levels in the process. (for example, /r/ may be at the isolated of syllable level while /k/ and /g/ may be at the word or phrase level). That’s ok. Different sounds progress at different stages. They also develop at different stages (insert link to speech developmental milestone on website).

Ideas for helping your child learn to say their sounds.

  1. Aim high – try to get them to say the word(s) with their sound in it. If its too hard, break it down to a syllable.If that’s too hard then work on the sound in isolation. Continue to breakdown and then build back up until success is achieved.
  2. Use a mirror to watch how you are using your articulators (lips, tongue, teeth etc) to produce the sound.
  3. Make eye contact and model the sound(s) so they can SEE how to produce them.
  4. Talk them through how to make the sound (example: /t/ uses the tip of your tongue up behind your top teeth, /k/ is made in the back of your mouth/throat, /m/ uses your lips, /f/ requires you to tuck your bottom lip in and put your teeth on your lip – like you’re biting it!) This will help them know what to do beyond just listening and watching to the sound being produced. 
  5. If they need basic practice work on CV and VC syllables with long vowels (example: say, see, sigh, so, sue OR ace, eece, ice, oce, uce). Sometimes a slight space between the Consonant and the Vowel help them transition from one sound to the other.
  6. Really that just because your child can say one word with their sound in it does not mean they can make all words. Different sound combinations and the position of the sound makes all the difference. 
  7. Read books and stop on words that have your child’s sounds in them.
  8. Aim to get 3 solid productions of the sound/syllable/word etc for the motor movement to be reinforced.
  9. ARTICULATION STATION is a great app to work on sounds.
    [*There is a free version with the /p/ sound and all other sounds require in app purchase. If you have multiple sounds the full PRO version may be a better option. You can record and play games while learning your sound with this app.]
  10. If vowels and /r/’s are difficult, VOWEL VIZ is a great app to help reinforce the sound production using the microphone of your phone or iPad.

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THE GOAL OF THERAPY is to get to a point of consistent productions in spontaneous conversation in order to move into a maintenance mode in therapy. At this point therapy sessions will be spread out to make sure that the child is able to maintain success over time without consistent weekly therapy sessions.

For children with more difficult speech patterns, Advantage Speech Therapy is a provider of the COMPLETE SPEECH PROGRAM which helps reduce the time in therapy for sounds including (but not limited to) /r/ and /s/. It is a visual software program that requires a palate to be made so that the sensors can allow the child and therapist to visually see where they are producing their tongue to assist them in making the necessary productions. They have also recently come out with Target Palates which are specific to each sound but mobile (i.e. they do not require you to hook up to a computer). 

ASTS has also recently earned PROMPT training February 2016.

 

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