The Wilson Reading Program and how it be can be utilized in speech therapy.

Wilson Reading System is a research-based, systematic, multi-sensory reading program designed to improve the five areas of reading including phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.  It is a 12-step program, with the first 6-steps teaching consistent foundational patterns, and the later 6-steps teaching more complex concepts. Letter-sound knowledge is taught systematically and paired with a multisensory approach as it is the building blocks for reading and writing. The multi-sensory approach is shown to activate more neurons during language learning and improve the chances that it becomes stored in long-term memory. The program is for students in grades 2-12 who have word-level deficits and poor sound/symbol systems for both reading and spelling.  This program is appropriate for students with language-based learning disabilities, labored readers, students who know words by sight but have difficulty reading non-sense syllables, and students who speak and understand English but cannot read or write it. Wilson is frequently taught in schools in a group setting, pull-out services or through private reading tutors who are Wilson certified.

In speech therapy, Wilson concepts can be useful to many of our students who have poor phonological awareness and have difficulty learning to read. Using a multi-sensory approach to learning gives our students more than one pathway to retain and learn the information as they may struggle with the auditory channel alone.

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

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!

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.

Winter Vacation

Winter vacations can be a great time to spend time together as a family.  They are also full of opportunities to grow vocabulary and language!  We all have phones that take pictures now.  When you are out and about during winter vacation, be sure to snap some shots of the places you go and things that you do.  These can be used to retell events using sequencing and event specific vocabulary.  Don’t forget to take pictures of relatives that you visit – these are great for WH question practice!  Who did we see? Where do they live? When were we there? Print your pictures and glue them into books so that you can use them over and over, retelling events and solidifying vocabulary retention.