Category: blog

New Year Goals

Happy New Year! The New Year is an excellent time of the year to set goals and resolutions for the coming year. What goals do you have for your child’s speech and language for 2021 Here are some ideas for New Years resolutions related to speech and language to help kick of 2021. Practice speech sounds for five minutes at least five days a week. Life can get busy for everyone, but research shows daily practice even for just five minutes can make a huge difference in a child’s progress. Ask your child’s therapist for speech targets.Go to the library and read each day. Going to the library is a fun activity which leads to bringing home new, exciting, and […]

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Separation Anxiety

In a typical year, there would be many opportunities during the school and holiday season for children to separate from their parents to engage with other adults away from home (e.g. teachers, grandparents, aunts, uncles.) Research confirms that separation anxiety is common for children staring from early infancy up through 4 years of age. Beyond the age of 4, children may need increased support for successfully separating from their parents. There are several strategies parents can implement if separation anxiety is an area of challenge for their child. These strategies include: *Regularly and routinely practicing separation: giving children multiple opportunities to separate from a parent (e.g. going on play dates, going to the park, small groups, spending the night with […]

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Imitation and Language Development

Toddlers are constantly exploring and learning about the world. A child typically watches others and tries to copy what they are doing, whether it is pretending to do chores like Dad or following the actions of other children on the playground. This game of “copycat” is called imitation and it is an important skill that develops before words emerge. When children imitate our sounds and words, those words eventually develop into language. If your child does not have many words yet, imitation skills may be the culprit! Below are some tips for increasing imitation skills at home. Sing songs: Songs are repetitive, fun, and a great way to encourage imitation. Songs with associated motor movements are great to build your […]

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Social Groups and Pragmatic Skills During the Pandemic

The pandemic has affected all of us in different ways. Virtual learning has presented a host of challenges pragmatically for all students, especially for individuals with social-pragmatic language difficulties. Social groups over Zoom are currently being conducted at Wee Speech focusing on peer relationships, recognizing body language/facial expressions, and interpreting non-verbal cues. These groups have been successful with bringing peers together during a difficult time! We know our students miss interacting and socializing with others. Virtual social groups have been crucial for our clients since they have reduced opportunity for social interaction due to the pandemic. As we head into the winter months, consider planning some virtual play dates for your child. Talk to your child’s treating therapist about ways […]

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Have you wondered why your child struggles with reading?

Reading is a complex process and is often a challenging undertaking for children. Dr. Hollis Scarborough’s Reading Rope is an excellent infographic that depicts the necessary sub-skills needed for accurate, skilled, and fluent reading. The Reading Rope is comprised of two main strands. The upper strand encompasses language comprehension or what is often referred to as reading comprehension. Within this main strand are smaller individual pieces of rope representing background knowledge (this refers to knowledge of content, facts, concepts, etc.), vocabulary (word meaning, multiple meaning words, shades of meaning, etc.), language structures (sentence structure and grammar), verbal reasoning (inference generation, figurative language, etc.), and literacy knowledge (genres, print concepts, story grammar, etc.). The lower strand of the Reading Rope involves […]

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Practicing Good Vocal Hygiene to Promote a Healthy Voice

Have you ever woken up and tried to talk, but no sound came out or your voice sounded “funny”? Initially, this can be a scary experience, however, there are several preventative measures you can take to reduce the chances of this happening to you. Just like any other part of the body, it is important to protect your voice. Your voice is produced by air coming up from the lungs through the vocal folds causing them to vibrate together to produce sound. When you do not properly take care of your voice, vocal abuse can occur. Vocal abuse can happen for a variety of reasons, such as prolonged yelling or screaming, dehydration, and/or a variety of environmental factors. As a […]

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Speech Intelligibility: How Well Do You Understand Your Child?

What is Speech Intelligibility?  Intelligibility refers to the clarity of speech, or how much of someone’s speech a listener can understand. Parents often worry when their child is not understood by others.  It is common for young children to make mistakes as they learn to say words. There is also a lot of variability in speech development between children.  However, as your child learns to talk, their ability to be understood by others should steadily increase.  So, how can you tell if your child’s speech intelligibility is on track or falling behind? Dr. Peter Flipsen, Jr.  has developed a simple formula to use as a guide to evaluate a child’s speech clarity in conversational speech with unfamiliar listeners (Flipsen, 2006).  […]

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Virtual Holidays

In order to see extended family over the holidays, many families are opting for video chat platforms in order to stay in touch. While technology can help connect with those that are far, it can add challenges that have not been experienced before. Diane Paul, PhD, CCC-SLP and Regina Escano Zappi, AuD, CCC-A discuss in their article “Keeping Conversation Going During Virtual Holiday Gatherings”, several tips to improve communication across these platforms and keep traditions alive. The 5 main tips they provide are as follows: -Set expectations: Give specific start and end time and set a plan of what is going to happen on the video chat. This allows everyone know what is going on and what expected of them during […]

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Facial Expressions and COVID

Research shows that newborn infants begin attending to faces in the hours following delivery. Facial expressions are said to be one of the most important social elements for human interaction and are said to be an effective tool for promoting infant learning. Research also shows that newborn infants will gaze toward faces for longer periods of time than they will toward objects and that infants as early as 8-12 months, begin using information communicated through facial expressions (especially from their mother and father) to understand situations, read emotion, detect danger, and form bonds. It is reported that early in development, infants detect differences in facial features from person to person. Infants learn the characteristics of people they see such as […]

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Social Groups via Teletherapy

In the article “How Can We Make Social Groups Work Online”, author Mary Ann O’Connell discusses social language group treatment via telehealth sessions. During these sessions, she found it beneficial to adjust the pace and set-up of sessions. Currently, many children may be experiencing heightened and more intense emotions in relation to COVID-19. Establishing a routine for group sessions can be helpful for regulating clients. At Wee Speech, several of our therapists and their clients have participated in social groups online. We have found great success in these groups. Group rules such as refraining from using the keyboard unless instructed to use, waiting until a peer has finished speaking, and minimizing external distractions (clear workspace, quiet environment) have increased the […]

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