Amy Jandrisevits, a former Wisconsin social worker in pediatric oncology realized that play dolls marketed for children were lacking in inclusivity and diversity. She decided to passionately pursue doll creation starting with GoFundMe to raise funds for providing dolls to children in need. Through access to her website “A Doll Like Me”, dolls are available for purchase for children of all colors, genders, and body types. She also stressed the importance of having dolls available to children who may have limb differences, cleft pallet, birthmarks, etc. to ensure all children with differences and disabilities are represented in the world around them. Her initiative is growing in popularity, with thousands of followers on Facebook and Instagram supporting her in this cause.
May is Better Hearing & Speech Month (BHSM). It is a great time to spotlight the importance of early detection and treatment of communication disorders. Speech-language pathologists assess and treat difficulties in: speech (pronunciation) language (understanding and using words and sentences) stuttering literacy (reading and writing) social skills listening and auditory processing voice feeding and swallowing How do you know if your child should see a speech-language pathologist? Some potential warning signs of speech and language problems include: you or other people are having difficulty understanding your child (by age 3, a familiar listener should understand at least 75% of what your child says; by age 5, children should be able to say most speech sounds.) people think your child […]
Language impairment is described as “one of the most common childhood disorders that you’ve never heard of.” According to a researcher from the University of Delaware, language impairment affects 7 out of 100 U.S children and is believed to affect more, as language disorders are frequently overlooked or misidentified as other disorders of behavior or attention. Researchers through the National Science Foundation have been investigating three types of intervention for language disorders-vocabulary, grammar, and phonological awareness, to see what intervention has the largest impact on academic performance. It is said that in a school-based setting, time constraints limit the extent to which therapists are able to address all three areas of intervention, forcing service providers to focus on one area […]
April is Autism Awareness Month! What better time to learn more about Autism Spectrum Disorder? Here is a selection of fiction and non-fiction books which touch on the perspectives of people with autism or their family members. Consider picking one of these up for your next book club read: Fiction books: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon: This New York Times Best seller tells the story of a man with autism who investigates the suspicious death of a neighborhood dog. House Rules by Jodi Picoult: This is a story about Jacob Hunt, a teen with Asperger’s syndrome. Although he’s hopeless when it comes to reading social cues or expressing his thoughts and ideas, he […]
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!
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!
The theater arts give children with special needs the opportunity to engage socially with peers while expressing their individuality. In inclusive theater programs, students participate in activities that can help them develop social skills such as eye contact, listening for cues when others are speaking, taking turns, staying on task and working as a team. Children learn and experience appropriate body language, improve their ability to follow directions, and develop their communication skills. Participating in a theater program can help build the self-esteem and confidence of children and teens with disabilities. Local area inclusive theater programs include Tellin’ Tales Theatre in Chicago, Special Gifts Theatre (multiple locations including Winnetka, Glenview, and Chicago), and Chicago Children’s Theatre Red Kite […]
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 […]
Ear infections are one of the most common illnesses in young children. Otitis media (OME) is the term for inflammation and fluid build-up within the middle ear. The accumulation of fluid causes the bones in the middle ear to not function properly and conduct sound effectively. Research indicates that OME poses disadvantages on hearing sensitivity and speech perception in children (Cai and McPherson, 2017). Speech sounds that are most affected by mild hearing loss are those high frequency sounds S, F, or SH. For more moderate hearing loss, a child may not be able to hear additional speech sounds or word-endings. It is important to identify and treat ear infections in young children to reduce these lapses in hearing sensitivity. […]
Technology is a part of our everyday lives. It is important to set boundaries and limits to children’s screen time so that their communication skills do not fall behind. In a poll of Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologist, the biggest concerns with children’s frequent screen time use include fewer opportunities for social interactions, delays in social development, delays in speech and/or language skills, and academic challenges. These concerns are present because children have fewer opportunities to hear language modeled by parents/peers and to practice their language, articulation, and social skills. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has established screen time guidelines to help parents balance technology and real-world experiences. They recommend no screen time (video chatting excluded) for the first […]