Reading out loud

Did you know that “The single most important activity for building knowledge for their eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children.” (from Becoming a Nation of Readers, a 1985 report by the Commission on Reading)? Many people are aware of the importance of reading out loud to young children, but don’t know how important it is to read out loud to all ages. Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children, the 1998 report by the Committee on the Prevention of Reading Difficulties in Young Children, recommended three important practices to support language and literacy development for children of all ages. Check out the article below to learn about these practices and find suggestions to support your child’s literacy growth! https://www.naeyc.org/files/yc/file/200303/ReadingAloud.pdf

Getting Ready for Your Child’s IEP Meeting

With the start of each new school year comes discussions about Individual Education Plan (IEP) meetings. Some families may feel nervous about these meetings, especially those that are new to the process. However, IEP meetings are very important to your child’s education as the team prepares for a successful school year full of growing and learning! If you’re unsure about what to expect, you’re not alone! This website (link below) provides a collection of helpful tips, tools, and checklists to prepare for your child’s IEP meeting. Check out these great resources including how to get organized, questions you should ask, what to bring to the meeting, legal FAQs, and so much more!

https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/special-services/ieps/iep-boot-camp-getting-ready-for-your-childs-iep-meeting

New Speech Homework App coming soon!

Wee Speech is proud to partner with SpeechBytes to develop a brand new speech homework app!
At-home practice is a critical element in an overall speech therapy plan, helping your child make progress more quickly and consistently. But it can be hard to get your child excited to practice at home and even more difficult to find time in your busy day to make it happen.  Here’s how it will work:

  • Log in to the app on your mobile device or tablet – the app is free to families.  
  • Enter your Wee Speech therapist’s private access code
  • As your child plays the game, each repetition is recorded and saved to a private and secure platform. This allows your therapist to review the practice session, correct and reward your child for their work, and plan accordingly for future sessions and practice. Check it out here! 

 

‘Social Camouflage’ May Lead To Underdiagnosis of Autism in Girls 

According to recent research done at The University of California, Los Angeles, school-aged girls with high-functioning autism may be better at interacting and blending in with peers than boys with high-functioning autism. Research suggests this may be due to ‘social camouflaging’ or the ability to blend in with peers despite the fact that they may not necessarily be connecting or creating friendships.  Differences between the genders play a large role in this study, with boys tending to be more isolated and having more repetitive behaviors and fixations which drive them away from socializing, while girls tended to more quiet and stayed closer to groups. The girls fixations are also perceived as more socially acceptable than those of their male counterparts. Preliminary results do suggest that there are differences in the brains of girls and boys with autism. Imaging shows that girls with autism have less disruption in the area of the brain that processes social information. These differences often lead to later diagnoses of the disorder in girls.

Oxytocin spray and Emotion Perception

A new study from the University of Oslo has suggested the use of an Oxytocin nasal spray could benefit persons with Autism Spectrum disorders.  The spray was used on adult men with ASD in a controlled study.  Results indicated that subjects who were given a low dose nasal spray rated faces as happier.  Oxytocin has been linked with improved social information processing.  This study was published in Translational Psychiatry.

It’s the end of July already??

Could we really be halfway through summer break?  Where are you on your summer fun to do list?  Now is a great time to sit down with your family and talk about what you have done so far this summer and what you still want to do.  Ask your kids what they liked/disliked and why.  Plan for the rest of your break and let each child choose an activity that they want to do before heading back to school.  There’s still time to pack in some more summer fun!

Never too early for help!

Do you wonder if your child is too young to begin speech and language services?  Children are referred for speech therapy for many different reasons.  Infants may see a speech pathologist if they are having difficulty feeding or swallowing (latching to the breast/nipple), if they struggle to easily transition from the breast to bottle/cup or solids, coughing or choking during feeding) or if their sound production is narrow or limited.  Toddlers may benefit from therapy if they begin to display frustration due to limited or impaired articulation or language development.  Signs of that your child may be frustrated include increased tantrums, refusal to repeat themselves or reduced attempts to communicate.
A parent is often the first to identify a problem or have a concern for their child’s speech, language and or feeding development.  You might begin by talking to your child’s pediatrician. Additionally, a phone consult with a speech pathologist might be helpful in determining the need to pursue an evaluation or to obtain strategies to facilitate speech and language.

End of the Year Chaos!

The school year is nearly over.  These next few weeks will be filled with activities.  For some students it is an exciting time with parties, clean out and special events.  For other students, it is a stressful end to their structured school days.  One great way to handle the upheaval is to implement a family calendar.  Print out a calendar sheet and use markers and stickers to fill in the upcoming events.  This is a great activity to do with your child and then review the calendar on a daily basis so that there is a sense of what is coming!

Why is my child’s speech so hard to understand?

 

Developing intelligible speech is not so easy. It means that your child has to correctly produce enough sounds to be understood. So what could be causing your child’s difficulty in producing intelligible speech?

There can be several causes. It may be because he hasn’t learned the correct placement or manner of production for certain sounds. It could be because he is only able to inconsistently produce the sounds he has mastered. It is also possible that your child’s speech is difficult to understand because of structural problems or oral weakness.

The role of a speech pathologist is to evaluate why your child’s speech is difficult to understand.  Finding the underlying cause/s for your child’s reduced speech intelligibility is essential to correctly treating the condition.  Understanding the cause should aid in the rate of progress toward improved articulation.

If your child is over the age of 3 and their speech remains difficult to understand by you or others, consider consulting with a speech pathologist.

Help! … My Child Drools

It is common for infants to drool.  Although less common in the very young child, mild drooling is still considered normal.  Drooling in infants and children to age 2 is generally due to an immature neurological system and or teething.  Over the age of 2, drooling is no longer considered typical and further assessment is warranted.

After age 2, drooling is less socially accepted.  If there is no direct medical cause, drooling may be secondary to the poor development of oral motor skill and or strength of the muscles of the head and trunk.  This lack of development can lead to difficulty managing saliva.  Chronic droolers may show minimal or reduced awareness of saliva loss.

When to seek help:

Does your child drool beyond his lower lip?

How frequently do you need to wipe his/her chin?
Change their shirt?
Is your child aware that he/she is drooling?

Is your child’s mouth most often in an open position?

Is your child able to completely close both lips during swallowing?

Does your child have difficulty managing foods or liquids?

Where to seek help:

If you have concerns about your child’s drooling, consider an oral motor evaluation of his/her oral motor skills, conducted by a speech and language pathologist.  Treatment of drooling may improve your child’s feeding, speech and hygiene.