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.

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.

Smart Phone Accessibility

Are you using your iPhone or Android to its fullest potential? You might not be taking advantage of the free opportunities to personalize your smart phone or iPad.  Not only can these devices connect to hearing aids, but you can change the text size and visual quality, increase contrast, use only grayscale, or use “voice over”, so that an incoming text is read to the recipient. These accessibility applications can be helpful for both children and adults who have learning disabilities, are deaf or hard of hearing, have reduced visual attention, or are visually impaired.  For more information, check out the following websites or talk to your therapist about ways to customize your device.

Androids:
https://www.androidpit.com/android-accessibility-settings

iPhone/iPad:
http://www.apple.com/accessibility/ios/#learning

Tune In, Take Turns, Talk More: Lessons for all Parents

Did you know that children in low income communities hear 30 million words less than their high income peers by their 4th birthday? Children who hear more words have larger vocabularies, are better readers, and are more prepared for school. This gap is only attributed to parent’s knowledge. Dr. Suskind, Professor of Surgery at the University of Chicago and Director of the Pediatric Cochlear Implant program, sought to develop a method to help parents harness the power of language to build their child’s brain to impact their future. The 30 Million Words Project was developed in response to this achievement gap. It focuses on a curriculum that includes direct parent training in the home, use of social media, helping parents create a language rich environment, and setting goals; the initial results are very positive.

The great news is that her best practices apply to any child’s development. Her method focuses on a the “Tune In, Take Turns, Talk More” tool kit.

To learn more about enriching your child’s vocabulary check out this site: http://thirtymillionwords.org/tmw-initiative/

Personalized Vocal Quality on Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) Devices

Vocal quality is part of the way we project who we are to the world; it offers information about age, gender, and emotional state. Each voice is as unique as a fingerprints. Yet, millions of people who communicate through alternative augmentative communication devices only have a few computerized voice options. However, speech scientist Dr. Rupal Patel has developed technology which revolutionizes the vocal quality of those who use AAC. She and her team at the Communication Analysis and Design Lab know that people with severe speech impairment still have distinct pitch, tone and volume when they laugh, cry, or vocalize intent. They are able to use this information, match specific characteristics to a voice donor, blend the two together and develop a personalized voice. This technology offers a new way for people using AAC devices to assert their personality as they communicate with friends, peers, coworkers, teachers, and loved ones.  For more information about the technology or to become a voice donor, please listen to the TED Talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/rupal_patel_synthetic_voices_as_unique_as_fingerprints?language=en or visit the website: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/vocalid-custom-crafted-voices#/