Author: Melanie Greenspan MS CCC SLP

Expanding Job Opportunities for People with Disabilities

Autism Speaks, Best Buddies, Special Olympics, and the Entertainment Industry Foundation have joined forces to create the Delivering Jobs campaign aimed at creating job opportunities for individuals with disabilities. This program will emphasize job preparation, support for employers, and advocacy for inclusion and equality. Additionally, this program utilizes an individual’s strengths, such as timeliness, creativity, loyalty, and motivation to increase their opportunities. Please visit deliveringjobs.org for more information on this incredible organization hoping to find a million people with autism and intellectual differences jobs by 2025!

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News-O-Matic

This app provides an interactive newspaper for children with new articles posted each day. This app provides a variety of categories of news related articles to work on non-fiction reading comprehension, auditory comprehension, story re-telling, or decoding. The app allows you to click on words to view a definition and have the word read out loud to you. The articles also have games to complete! A yearly subscription is required, but a month long free trial is also available. News-O -Matic on the App store.

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Masking Behaviors of Autism may affect Mental Health and Delay Autism Diagnosis

Researchers have studied the effects of masking behaviors in adults with autism spectrum disorder.  ‘Masking behaviors’ include compensatory strategies that individuals with autism utilize to ‘conform’ to societal expectations. These compensatory strategies include: holding back their true thoughts, suppressing atypical behaviors, rehearsing conversation, or memorizing rules of interaction. A recent study published in The Lancet Psychiatry found a link between ‘masking behaviors’ and poor mental health. Additionally, individuals who utilize masking behaviors often have a delayed diagnosis (diagnosis of autism late in adulthood). Please visit bit.ly/Lancet-ASD for more information about this study and its implication on individuals with an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis.

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Tips for Promoting Healthy Eating/Chewing Habits to Decrease Risk for Choking

Do you have concerns about your child’s eating behaviors? Are you worried about your child’s ability to chew food effectively? Lack of chewing or insufficient chewing can contribute to swallowing challenges. Ask your child’s SLP to evaluate their tongue lateralization, chewing pattern, and rate of chewing to determine if your child is at risk for choking. Consider the following tips to promote safe eating: Cut food into small, length wise pieces (avoid circle shaped food) Limit distractions while eating to increase your child’s attention to their chewing Model appropriate bite size/rate Avoid movement while eating (jumping, dancing, running, laughing) Be mindful of the following toys that can cause choking if inappropriately ingested: balloons, coins, buttons, marbles/pebbles, small toy parts, pills, […]

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Preterm Children at Risk for Language Delays

Was your child born preterm? Do you have concerns about their language development? A recent study conducted from Florida Atlantic University compared expressive language skills between preschool children born preterm and full term. The results of the study showed that children born preterm demonstrated decreased language performance compared to full term children. These language areas included: language samples during play, grammatical skills, semantic skills and nonlinguistic factors such as attention and nonverbal intelligence.  If you have concerns about your child’s language development, talk with your child’s speech-language pathologist to inquire about a language sample analysis. https://leader.pubs.asha.org/doi/pdf/10.1044/leader.RIB1.24102019.20

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Benefits of Midday Naps for Elementary School Children

Does your child appear fatigued regularly? Recent evidence from the University of Pennsylvania reveals the benefits of midday naps for elementary aged children. The study examined the effects of 30-60-minute naps 3 times per week for 4th, 5th, and 6th graders. Results indicated a number of benefits to midday naps, including greater happiness, self-control, higher verbal IQ, greater academic achievement, and fewer behavioral problems. Try reducing screen time and encouraging naps to increase overall academic performance! To learn more about this study visit: bit.ly/nap-school

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Back To School

It’s back to school season! Start talking with your child about what to expect with the summer ending and the school year approaching. Social Stories are a great way to discuss the first day of school with your child. Use “I” statements (e.g. “I will meet my new teacher”, “I will have a new cubby”, “I will find my new desk”, etc.) with visuals to help with the transition. Reviewing this individualized social story with your child in advance can help your child feel prepared for their first day back to school! Ask your child’s treating therapist for support if you are interested in creating a social story.

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Use of “Think Time” to increase Speech and Language Outcomes

Children with communication impairments may significantly benefit from the use of “wait time” to allow for time to process. Try waiting 3-5 seconds after asking your child a question, giving a direction, or wanting them to elaborate on an idea. Recent research shows that wait time decreased “I don’t know” responses from children with longer responses recorded following this wait time. Think time may also be extremely effective for children with word finding difficulties to allow time to formulate their idea and retrieve their words. Using a visual picture to represent think time can be a good reminder to both you and your child to slow down! https://blog.asha.org/2019/05/22/3-steps-for-using-wait-time-to-improve-treatment- outcomes/

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Word Study Tips While Reading

Reading with your child is an excellent time to point out spelling patterns by talking about your observations! For example, try pointing out patterns such as ‘ss’ at the end of the word as in “press” and have your child look for other words containing that spelling pattern. Also, take the time to look at base/root words while reading. For example, “I hear the word ‘cycle’ in the word ‘bicycle’”. Additionally, children may frequently ask how to spell an unfamiliar word. Encourage your child to sound out the word and address it in smaller chunks (e.g. syllables, prefixes, root words, rhyming words, etc.). Check out the article below for more helpful tips and examples! https://www.spell-links.com/download/10ThingsSpellingEnglish.pdf

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Free Hearing Screening App

Has your child had a hearing screening or hearing test recently? The World Health Organization (WHO) has created a free app called “hearWHO” to help detect hearing loss! Consider using this app between hearing tests to monitor your child’s hearing between visits. This app also provides tips about listening habits with headphones and provides hearing level comparisons for its users. This app is also a wonderful tool for family’s who have limited access to hearing health.  Hearing loss can significantly affect a child’s speech and language development. It is extremely important to monitor your child’s hearing abilities. Take advantage of this free opportunity to celebrate Better Hearing & Speech Month!

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