Archive for November, 2012

App Update

Whew!  This new onslaught of Apps for our profession is both sensational and overwhelming at the same time!  I thought you might find it useful to have a regular update, a few at a time, on some of the Apps that we like at CLASS, Inc.

1. “Things That Go Together”- this is an app that works on associations and starts out with two pictured associations on a page and moves to six or more to a page.

2. “ABA What Doesn’t Belong“- this app works on spotting the difference between four pictured objects per page. The objects may differ from colors to categories each item is associated with.

3. “Sentence Maker”– this app is great for teaching the beginning concepts of sentence structure. Each sentence has a picture representation. The sentence from two to six words and you place the correct word in the blanks to make a complete sentence.

4. “Grammaropolis”– this is a great app to work on grammar. It’s decided into categories of nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, conjunctions, and interjections. Each category has quizzes books and videos for that part of grammar. It’s very comprehensive!

5. Spellmania”– this app works like a spelling game show and makes spelling really fun and challenging. As you progress in levels, you are given a certain amount of time in which you are suppose to spell the word correctly.

Posted by on November 26th, 2012 No Comments

 

Is My Child a “Late Talker”? How Do I Know?

“He’s a boy…boys talk later than girls.”  “She is the baby of the family and her older brothers are just talking for her.”   “My brother didn’t talk until he was five.”   “Einstein didn’t talk until he was five.”  “Wait until he is three and then we will see how he is doing.”   These are just a few of the many responses that parent receive from well intentioned friends, family and doctors when parents confess that they are worried that their child is not talking as much and/or as clearly as he or she should be for his/her age.  In most cases, a  parent’s “gut feeling” is correct.  Why wait and see what might happen when you can get an evaluation today from a professional who is trained to identify children who have communication delays?  While it is true that each child develops at his or her own pace, there are certain milestones that should be attained by specific ages.  Children who are behind in meeting those benchmarks can often quickly catch up with some speech therapy.  Speech therapy is fun, and can’t hurt, so why do parents often wait and worry?  Usually because we parents don’t want our children to be “behind” and silently hope that they will just catch up.  While some do, many won’t.

It is difficult to predict which children will catch up on their own.  What follows is a list of  identified “red flags” or “risk factors”  that, when  present, indicate that a child is unlikely to attain speech and language milestones without professional speech therapy support:

  • Family has a history of speech or language delays
  • Frequent ear infections
  • Limited babbling as an infant
  • Produces few consonant sounds
  • Does not imitate sounds or words
  • Does not point
  • Has limited eye contact
  • Uses only a few gestures to communicate
  • Speaks with mostly nouns or just a few words
  • Appears to have a hard time following directions
  • Does very little pretend play
  • Has a hard time being understood by people other than family

The best course of action is, if you have a nagging worry, consult a speech language pathologist.  Many offer free consultations.  Wouldn’t it be great to have your mind put to rest?  If there is a delay, the sooner that your child receives help, the faster he will catch up.  Bottom line:  asking for help from a certified speech language pathologist is the way to go!

Posted by on November 20th, 2012 Comments Off on Is My Child a “Late Talker”? How Do I Know?

 

Successful School Meeting!

My client’s father sits across the table from six school professionals. The principal, psychologist, teacher, para, special education director and OT have all gathered together for this morning progress meeting. I am there as my client’s private SLP. Despite the lack of balance in representation, my client’s father reaches deep into his heart,  graciously praising the school team for their care, interest and ongoing hard work with his son. He knows, he says, that his non-verbal and often self-injurious pre-teen is not easy to work with and that the rewards are in the smallest of gains. I gaze around the table at the individual faces of this large school team and see them lift with gratitude at the father’s words;  even if they don’t always know what to do, they always have his son’t best interests at heart.

My client’s father then outlines what he wants school’s next steps to be in educating his son. As I once again glance  at the faces of those six professionals, I notice a hardening of their features and slight glare in their eyes. I am unsure if my client’s father notices this or not.  Many things are discussed over the next hour. Most of them are trivial.  My client’s father politely, yet relentlessly, returns to his requests.  Words are tossed back and forth between the large team of six to the small team of one. The most solid ideas to foster educational progress are those spoken by  my client’s father. It is crystal clear that he has thought long and hard about the current needs of his son and how to overcome them. The school staff really has no option; they are wonderful, loving, highly-educated folks with the best of intentions. But, they aren’t Dad. There is no way that they can possibly have the depth of understanding about this young man that Dad does, and he doesn’t expect them to.  What  he does expect them to do is use his wisdom to teach his son. They understand this.  They also realize that his ideas really are what is best for his son at this moment in time.  They tweak a few ideas to better fit my client’s school day.  A  plan is developed.  I take one final look around the room and see smiles, glowing eyes and postures indicative of mutual respect.  This was a successful  meeting.

Posted by on November 5th, 2012 Comments Off on Successful School Meeting!

 

Children With ASD Do Recognize Socially Inappropriate Behavior But…

New research from Carnegie Mellon University was published in the journal, PLOS ONE this month indicating that children with autism do, in fact, recognize differences in social behaviors. The researchers used brain imaging while children who were typically developing and those with autism identified pictures of children participating in “bad” behaviors.  The results revealed that children with autism were able to identify the pictures, however, unlike their typically developing peers, they did not involve any of the language centers of their brain to make the determinations.  It can be inferred that children with autism do not use the language centers of the brain to “encode” social behaviors like their typically developing peers do.  This might explain, in part, why children with autism have challenges talking about social behaviors.

Citation: Carter EJ, Williams DL, Minshew NJ, Lehman JF (2012) Is He Being Bad? Social and Language Brain Networks during Social Judgment in Children with Autism. PLoS ONE 7(10): e47241. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0047241

Posted by on November 2nd, 2012 Comments Off on Children With ASD Do Recognize Socially Inappropriate Behavior But…

 

Will Ear Infections Affect My Child’s Speech and Language

 

They certainly can.  Ear infections, (otitis media), can create a temporary hearing loss, resulting in the child missing language or confusing what he/she has heard.  The reason that young children have more ear infections than older children is that young children have small ear tubes.  In fact, up to 80% of children under age three have had at least one ear infection, and often more. Most of the time, the fluid in the ears is not infected (Otitis Media with effusion) and clears itself out within 30 days.  When the fluid in the ear is not infected, there are usually no symptoms except that the child has allergies or a head cold.  When the fluid becomes infected, (Acute Otitis Media),  your child may experience a fever, tug at their ears, be irritable, complain about ear pain or have trouble sleeping. Antibiotics are often prescribed to clear the infection.

The preschool years are an important time for speech and language development. If your child is hearing “muffled speech” because of ear infections, it will be difficult for him or her to learn to speak.  A speech and language delay requiring treatment may result.  To avoid this, close attention to ear infections is recommended;  check with your child’s doctor if you suspect that your child has an ear infection.  If you have any concerns about your child’s speech and language development, seek the advice of a speech-language pathologist.

Posted by on November 2nd, 2012 Comments Off on Will Ear Infections Affect My Child’s Speech and Language