Speech-Language Pathologists (or SLPs, as they’re often called) are experts in supporting communication. They work with children who present with a wide range of delays and disorders. You may be surprised to learn just how many areas an SLP can help your child with!
1) Articulation Skills/Speech Intelligibility: SLPs teach children how to produce speech sounds and sound patterns, thus improving their ability to be understood by others.
2) Expressive Language Skills: SLPs help children learn new words and teach them how to put words together to form phrases and sentences.
3) Receptive Language/Listening Skills: SLPs help children understand language to improve their ability to follow directions, answer questions, and participate in conversations with others.
4) Speech Fluency/Stuttering: SLPs teach children strategies to control stuttering behaviors to improve the flow of their speech.
5) Voice and Resonance: SLPs work with children to decrease vocally abusive behaviors and improve the quality of their voices.
6) Social/Pragmatic Language: SLPs teach children social language skills so that they can more appropriately participate in conversations with others.
7) Cognitive-Communication Skills: SLPs help children build skills in areas such as attention, memory, abstract reasoning, awareness, and executive functions.
8) Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC): AAC refers to all forms of communication other than oral speech that are used to express thoughts, needs, wants, and ideas. AAC can be used as a bridge to speech.
9) Swallowing/Feeding Issues: SLPs have knowledge of the structures and functions of the oral cavities and beyond!
10) Educating and Empowering YOU on how to best help your child: SLPs can help you incorporate more communication opportunities into your everyday routines.
For the full article, click the link below!
Is music a useful tool in speech therapy when working with children with ASD? Yes, when using other valuable treatment methods in addition. Music can be used to help establish joint attention, learn words, take turns, imitate, follow-directions, and ask and answer questions. It is a stimulant therefore it helps enhance memory which leads to an increase in attention and alertness. This is extremely valuable when teaching new concepts to children! Read more about it in the links below.
Daily routines (e.g. bathing, meals, shopping, car rides, getting dressed, etc.) provide great opportunities for language development in natural settings. Within these routines, children learn how their worlds are organized, begin to associate words/phrases with specific activities, make sense of social interactions, and practice participating in conversations. Through repetition of routines, children gain confidence and gradually take on more active roles. If a parent waits for the child to start a routine, such as squeezing the toothpaste on the toothbrush, the child can begin to understand his/her role as an initiator. A child’s motivation to understand is heightened in a situation in which he/she is an active participant. In addition, as specific vocabulary is repeatedly attached to an experience or activity, the clearer the meaning will become.
Fern Sussman, Program Director at the Hanen Centre, suggests the following guidelines to build opportunities for participation and learning into daily routines:
- Break routines into a series of small consistent steps so that there’s a shared understanding of how the routine works.
- Be flexible as young children learn best when you follow their lead.
- Label what the child is interested in at the very moment it seems to be his/her focus.
- Be creative! Routines can be made out of anything you do regularly!
A cognitive scientist, Mark Seidenberg, at the University of Wisconsin, Madison found that only a third of the nation’s schoolchildren read at grade level. He cites that the way children are taught to read is disconnected from how language and speech actually develop in a child’s brain. The current research shows that reading success depends on linking print to speech. Skilled reading is associated with children’s spoken language, grammar and the vocabulary they already know. Seidenberg claims that the basic science (of reading) does not go into the preparation for teachers and argues that literacy is not an “either/or” of phonics and whole language. He claims that children need both.
For parents who are wondering how they can work on their child’s speech and language goals at home, Shari Robertson, PhD, CCC-SLP from the ASHA Leader has identified five reasons that books are all you need! The reasons cited are:
1) Books provide a natural context for learning vocabulary: Research has found that children’s books contain approximately twice as many infrequently used or rare words than in conversation and also provide a model of more advanced grammatical structures.
2) Books are efficient: A single book can target multiple communication skills.
3) Books are convenient: Children’s books are portable and typically low-cost.
4) Books are fun: Choosing a story that a child is interested in and motivated to read can facilitate learning language and carryover of those skills.
5) They do not have LED screens: A growing body of evidence suggests negative effects of screen time in young children, particularly speech and language delays, disruptions in sleep patterns and mood swings.
For the full article and a list of books to read for each speech and language skill, click the link below!
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.
The American Speech Language Hearing Association and Read Aloud 15 Minutes have collaborated on a series of handouts for parents that discuss speech and language development. The handouts are grouped by age and offer a bounty of useful information on communication and literacy skills. Check them out here.
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
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!
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.