Author: Melanie Greenspan MS CCC SLP

Quarantine Routines

Trying to implement a steady routine during quarantine can be extremely difficult, especially with transitions to working from home and e-learning. Consider making your child a visual schedule to help facilitate some structure in their everyday routines. Including your child in this process can give them some autonomy over their schedule as well! Try to outline their scheduled activities (e-learning, therapies, etc.) and fill in dedicated break times that they can choose from (consider varying screen time with physical activity and imaginative play!). You can also consider having your child increase their responsibilities around the house and including those responsibilities on the schedule. Helping your child to consistently follow their schedule can help them feel successful during this difficult time! […]

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Link Between Speech Delays and Tantrums

Does your child exhibit frequent “temper tantrums”? A recent study conducted by Northwestern University found that toddlers with reduced expressive language skills may be prone to more severe, frequent temper tantrums. “Late talkers” (children with less than 50 words by age 2) were found to have 1.96 times greater risk for severe tantrums compared to typical peers. If your child exhibits behavioral challenges, consider participating in a speech-language evaluation to assess their overall ability to express themselves during instances of heightened emotion. Please visit bit.ly/j-dev-psych for more information.

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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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