Category: blog

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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Later School Start, Better Student Engagement

A study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that a delay in school start times – 50 minutes for middle school and 70 minutes for high school – resulted in positive changes. The study found that when starting school later, a higher amount of both middle school and high school students reported getting sufficient sleep each night (8-9 hours). Additionally, less students reported feeling too sleepy to do their homework by a significant percentage. The fact is that adolescents and teenagers need more sleep than they often get. Biological changes during puberty prevent teens from falling asleep early enough to get the sufficient amount of sleep with an early school start. Therefore, a later school start time could […]

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Technology Supports for Communication and Independence

Technology platforms such as Google Home and Amazon Echo are giving speech pathologists a means of facilitating independence, natural reinforcement, and motivation for individuals with communication challenges. These platforms provide support, organization, and information. Given a single phrase (E.g. “Alexa start my day”), the platform can transmit everything from the day’s schedule, to weather reports and news headlines to keep people informed and organized in their daily lives.For individuals with special needs, accessing this amount of information in a traditional sense would require a significant amount of time and effort. People with communication challenges may live more socially restricted lives, causing a sense of disconnect in the world around them. With smart-assistant technology, users can interact and keep informed. Smart-assistant […]

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The Benefits of Sensory Rooms

For children with sensory processing disorders (conditions which affect how the brain receives and responds to sensory information), the everyday sights and sounds of school can be overwhelming. Loud noises, bright lights, motion and other experiences can cause a child to have negative reactions and trigger behaviors that negatively impact their ability to pay attention and participate in the classroom. Many schools are starting to recognize the particular challenges that these children face by creating “sensory rooms”. Rooms typically have sections, or stations, with active areas, calming areas, and various types of sensory activities.  Some students have designated times which they spend in the sensory rooms while others come to the rooms as needed. The many benefits of sensory rooms […]

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Joint Attention and ASD

Joint Attention and ASD Joint attention, or “shared attention,” refers to when two people focus on the same thing. Joint attention is a skill that begins to emerge around 9 months and is typically established by around 18 months. It serves as a referencing tool that helps individuals communicate, but it also helps develop crucial social skills such as bonding and perspective taking. While more research needs to be done on this correlation, initiation of joint attention could be an important factor in identifying the need for early assessment and treatment for children with ASD. The ASHA Leader highlighted new research which suggests that the rate at which infants seek to initiate joint attention at 10 months can be linked […]

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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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Mindfulness

What is mindfulness?  Mindfulness is a state of being comprised of moment-to-moment awareness of our experiences without judgement. Another way to describe being mindful is to be present in the moment you are living in, without being overwhelmed by your thoughts.  How can we increase our mindfulness? The journey toward being mindful often involves feeling sensations in your body and also quieting your thoughts without judgement. Many activities can increase mindfulness, such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, or a simple (mindful) walk around a park. There will be more on strategies to increase mindfulness in future blog posts!  Why should we want to increase mindfulness? Research on mindfulness has indicated many benefits and although the majority of research studies have […]

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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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