Author: Melanie Greenspan MS CCC SLP

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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Autism Spectrum Disorder-Friendly Vacation Homes

Are you going on a vacation with your child? Consider using a new service designed help families find vacation rentals suitable for children with autism at the following website: bit.ly/asd-vacay. This website offers social stories to become acquainted with the vacation home prior to your arrival. They also have staff trained in autism spectrum disorders to assist with customer service. These homes feature soft lighting, neutral colors, and fragrance-free products. Check it out at the website above before you book your next vacation!

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Headphone Use Linked to Hearing Loss in Children

A recent study found that children who listen to audio via headphones have a significantly higher risk of noise-induced hearing loss compared to children who do not. As children begin to use technology more frequently (e.g. games on phones, tablets, video games, etc.), they may want to use headphones in order to play independently. However, it was found that children who use headphones were twice as likely to have hearing loss compared to children who did not use headphones at all, noting the significance of noise exposure at a young age. The study indicated that limiting the amount of time using headphones and lowering the volume may only eliminate the risk marginally. Noise-related hearing loss presents itself as muffled sounds […]

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Oral Language and Narrative Development

  As early as 2 and 3 years old, typically developing children begin producing narratives about what they see and do in their everyday life. As development continues, these narratives begin to include stories about the past, present, and future. Narrative language abilities are a foundational skill to higher level language such as analyzing, retelling, summarizing, and explaining written text. A deficit in narrative language production can affect a child’s academic performance and social skill abilities. It is important that children utilize story grammar elements when developing narrative language skills, which act as a “cognitive map” to support the comprehension and production of narratives. Many kids who struggle to produce or comprehend narratives greatly benefit from visual supports (pictures, illustrations […]

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