Category: blog

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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Warning Signs of Childhood Stuttering

As a parent, when you first notice your child stuttering it can be very worrisome. The first signs of stuttering can appear when a child is between 18-24 months old. This is the age when there is typically a language explosion and children are putting words together and formulating longer sentences. Let’s look at what is considered typical versus atypical stuttering in children: Typical: · Children will repeat words one to two times. For example: “I, I want a cookie.” · Children will repeat phrases “I go, I go.” · Children may hesitate when speaking and use fillers such as “um, “like”, or “uh.” Atypical · Syllables, words, or sounds are repeated more than twice. For example, “I, I, I, […]

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NATIONAL SAFE TOYS AND GIFTS MONTH

December is the biggest gift-giving month in the world! It is also Safe Toys and Gifts Month. Here are some tips to help you to keep safety in mind as you’re shopping for the little people in your life: Make sure the age and skill level marked on the toy matches the age and skill level of the child you’re buying for; even a child who seems advanced for their age should not use toys meant for older children; the recommended age levels are determined by safety factors, not intelligence or maturity Check labels! Toys should have a label for ATSM (American Society for Testing and Materials) to show they have passed safety standards. Use the following guidelines for choosing […]

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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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The Dyslexia-Stress-Anxiety Connection

It is not uncommon for children who have difficulties in school to experience stress and anxiety.  While stress and anxiety might cause some of the same physical reactions in the brain and body, they are not the same thing.  Generally, stress is a response to external factors that we’re having difficulty coping with, such as a big test or an argument with a friend.  Symptoms of stress will  typically disappear once the situation is over. Anxiety is a reaction to stress. Anxiety focuses on worries or fears about things that might happen, as well as anxiety about the anxiety itself. It is a feeling that is often out of proportion to the real or imagined “threat”. Children with dyslexia can […]

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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 […]

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Playing Music Leads to Higher Test Scores

Dust off that piano or the trumpet you’ve had in the closet- playing music can benefit your child in more ways than one! Students who learned to play a musical instrument in elementary school and continued playing in high school scored about one academic year ahead of their non-music peers in their English, math, and science skills, regardless of their socioeconomic background, ethnicity, prior learning or gender, according to a recent study from researchers from the University of British Columbia (UBC). The study, which was published in the Journal of Educational Psychology, analyzed the performance of more than 112,000 students (grades 7–12). They examined the test scores (mathematics and science achievement in grade 10 and English achievement in grades 10 […]

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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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Have a Happy (Sensory Friendly) Halloween!

Halloween can be stressful for kids with sensory issues, but following a few tips can help make the holiday fun for everyone. Give a preview Talk to your child about what happens on Halloween. You might read a book where a character celebrates Halloween, find a video on YouTube of children trick-or-treating, or create a picture story that explains in detail what they might see and do. If your child knows what to expect,  they’re less likely to have a negative reaction. Find sensory-friendly costumes Getting any child into a Halloween costume can be tricky, and for those with sensory sensitivities, it could be even trickier. Use comfortable clothes as a base for their costume or even create a costume […]

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Everybody Needs a Turn

The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders reports that nearly 1 in 12 U.S children aged 3-17 have disorders relating to speech, language, voice or swallowing each year. Of these children, many have siblings, leaving parents with the challenge of equally dividing their time, energy, and attention between all of their children in their given family. Denise Underkoffler, a speech-language pathologist, recently wrote a book entitled “Everybody Needs a Turn” addressing the role of siblings within these family structures and explaining the challenges siblings may feel within these roles. Underkoffler explains that similar to parents, siblings of children with disabilities often experience an array of emotions pertaining to the given disability. Siblings may experience helplessness, jealousy, and frustration […]

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