Author: Emily McNeil MS CCC SLP

Interactive Reading for Early Reading and Language Skills

Reading is one of the most important things you can do with your preschool-aged child to increase pre-literacy skills and facilitate language development. In the ASHA Leader, Corie Viscomi, MS, CCC-SLP discusses the idea of interactive reading and how to use it as a tool to facilitate early reading skills. In interactive reading, parents and teachers can use a variety of techniques to engage the child in the text. The great thing is many of the strategies are intuitive and likely things parents are already incorporating during shared reading experiences with their children; however, it’s always helpful to have a reminder and to have the reasoning behind different reading approaches.   Here are some of the interactive reading strategies: Don’t be […]

Read More

Positive Teletherapy Outcomes

While sheltering in place due to COVID-19, many families (and SLPs) had no choice but to go forth into the world of speech and language teletherapy. Although it was an adjustment to switch from in-person therapy, there is a growing base of evidence to support the efficacy of teletherapy for speech and language outcomes.  One study by Wales, Danielle et al. in 2017 examined whether telehealth-delivered speech-language pathology interventions are as effective as traditional in-person delivery for school-age children with speech/language difficulties. Based on a systematic review of 7 articles, results revealed both telehealth and in-person participants made significant and similar improvements when treatment effects were measured through five of the six outcome measures. The outcome measures included: Goldman Fristoe Test of Articulation – […]

Read More

Completing Speech Homework Leads to Increased Gains

ASHA has shed light on key data surrounding the completion of home programming and its effect on speech and language gains. The results were conclusive: children who completed all of their assigned speech homework demonstrated the greatest improvements toward their goals.  See the figure below: The data referenced came from NOMS, the national data registry specifically for speech-language pathology services. Improvements in pre-k children were seen across the three most commonly treated areas: articulation, language comprehension, and language production.The evidence supports the fact that children should continue to work toward their goals via home programming with a parent or caregiver. The benefits to speech and language are clear! To find out more, visit: https://leader.pubs.asha.org/doi/10.1044/leader.NOMS.25032020.28

Read More

Social Skills Games at Home

This summer is turning out a little differently than expected. Many families are finding they have more time at home, and fewer opportunities to socialize with others. For children who are really missing that social engagement and interaction, here are some game ideas to enrich conversational skills, perspective taking, and interpreting nonverbal cues from home! Conversation tokens: Each player contributes to the conversation by asking a question or making a comment and stacks their token on top of the other. You could play with any sort of token that is stackable (e.g., checkers, dominos, cookies). If one of the players says something off-topic or can’t think of something to say, the tower is knocked down. Conversation ball-toss: Each player contributes a comment […]

Read More

The Link Between Protein and ADHD

L Children need to be able to attend, focus and control their impulses throughout the day in order to learn. Studies have shown that children with ADHD are at higher risk for deficits in expressive, receptive, and social language as a result of ADHD-related symptoms. For parents and professionals working with children with ADHD, it is important to understand how diet could affect those symptoms. A study of children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder has identified a deficiency in levels of protein within the brain. The study looked at 14 boys, ages 6-12, and found almost 50 percent lower levels of an amino acid called tryptophan, a protein which aids in the production of dopamine, noradrenaline, and serotonin. This protein is […]

Read More

Speech and Language Benefits of Creative Writing

Writing is an important part of later speech and language development. For educators, parents, and SLPS, creative writing is a wonderful tool to impact widespread speech and language development. Jim Cartwright, MS, CCC-SLP, makes an excellent argument for why creative writing activities help students with a variety of goals, both related to speech and language and beyond. This more open-ended approach to written expression can also promote a positive attitude about writing and help to bridge the gap between oral and written language. Creative writing can be used in the following ways to address speech and language goals: Speech: Have the child write their own books or poems with their target sounds featured in the initial, medial, and final position […]

Read More

Traditional vs. Electronic Toys 

T It’s the holiday season! That means many parents are taking notes on what toys might make their child light up. There are plenty of electronic toys that excite kids with sounds, music, buttons and flashing lights. From a speech and language perspective, these toys may not be the top choice for increasing verbal output and facilitating language and play development. A study from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) which compared traditional toys to electronic toys found that traditional toys result in better child-caregiver interactions and thus lead to increased communication-learning opportunities. Traditional toys provide opportunities for imagination. Children are able to create play schemes which they can change the next time they play. The buttons, sounds and switches […]

Read More

Use of Pain Relievers During Pregnancy Linked to Autism, ADHD

A recent study at Johns Hopkins University examined the effects of taking pain medication containing acetaminophen during pregnancy. Results indicate that exposure to acetaminophen in the womb may increase the child’s risk for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Researchers examined data from the Boston Birth Cohort and found that children whose umbilical cord blood samples contained the highest levels of acetaminophen were approximately 3 times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD or ASD later in childhood, compared to children with the lowest levels of acetaminophen in their umbilical cord blood. Although additional research is needed to support this finding, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration urges careful consideration before using any pain-relieving medication during […]

Read More

Later School Start, Better Student Engagement

A study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that a delay in school start times – 50 minutes for middle school and 70 minutes for high school – resulted in positive changes. The study found that when starting school later, a higher amount of both middle school and high school students reported getting sufficient sleep each night (8-9 hours). Additionally, less students reported feeling too sleepy to do their homework by a significant percentage. The fact is that adolescents and teenagers need more sleep than they often get. Biological changes during puberty prevent teens from falling asleep early enough to get the sufficient amount of sleep with an early school start. Therefore, a later school start time could […]

Read More

Joint Attention and ASD

Joint Attention and ASD Joint attention, or “shared attention,” refers to when two people focus on the same thing. Joint attention is a skill that begins to emerge around 9 months and is typically established by around 18 months. It serves as a referencing tool that helps individuals communicate, but it also helps develop crucial social skills such as bonding and perspective taking. While more research needs to be done on this correlation, initiation of joint attention could be an important factor in identifying the need for early assessment and treatment for children with ASD. The ASHA Leader highlighted new research which suggests that the rate at which infants seek to initiate joint attention at 10 months can be linked […]

Read More