Now that warm weather has finally arrived, many children and families are eagerly awaiting the end of the school year and the beginning of the summer break. Summer is the perfect time of the year to play outside with friends and to enjoy family time. It’s also an excellent opportunity to add additional therapy sessions to maintain progress made during the school year or to meet goals.
When your child is in need of counseling, speech therapy, occupational therapy, ABA or physical therapy, an individualized treatment plan is created by your therapist. Therapists build a strong rapport and a trusting relationship with children through consistent time spent together. A break in therapy disrupts their treatment plan and can delay progress. There are multiple ways to maximize your child’s time in therapy during the summer months by participating in our multidisciplinary approach. If necessary, your child can receive various therapeutic services all under one roof.
For children who have diagnoses of Autism, ADHD, or other developmental, cognitive, or mental health concerns, multiple therapeutic services are recommended to allow your child to reach their full potential. Apart from the convenience of having all of your child’s services under one roof, therapists collaborate with each other to ensure consistency for your child. Coordination of care will allow your child to grow and gain skills as rapidly as possible.
The summer months bring lots of opportunities for children to play at parks, learn to use/ride various gross motor toys such as bikes or scooters, or play at the beach. Therapy is play based so it’s fun!
Many of our clinics have a sand table where children can learn how to build sand castles, or jungle gym equipment that they can learn to navigate safely. We teach bike riding! Mastery of these skills during your child’s sessions provides confidence that they can participate in these activities safely and effectively outside of the clinic setting. One of the most important goals in therapy is to have fun while skill building.
Here are some tips on maintaining consistency and getting the most out of treatment for your child.
Since children are out of school, they have a lot more availability during the day to participate in therapy, and while camp and extracurricular activities are important, and great options for staying active, they cannot replace individualized therapy plans.
Summer can be filled with unstructured time. For kiddos who struggle with ADHD, Autism, or Anxiety, this can be exacerbate some of their symptoms. Maintaining scheduled therapy hours provides children with consistency and routine to continue to work on their treatment goals.
Rescheduling missed sessions is easier during the Summer months. (you might even be able to see a different therapist, depending on your child’s needs)
Plan ahead and schedule additional sessions if you have an upcoming vacation or break, your therapist may have extra flexibility as well.
Remember, school may be out, but kiddos who maintain their therapy schedules thrive when Autumn arrives!
**Please keep in mind cancellations should be done at least 24 to 48 hours in advance, so other families also have the chance to reschedule.
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Language development for children diagnosed with Down Syndrome can be challenging and confusing. Factors such as cognitive and motor delays, hearing loss and visual problems can interfere with language acquisition. It’s important that a child’s caregivers provide a variety of opportunities to increase language development.
Using many normal everyday activities can enhance the child’s language and expose them to new concepts. The language you teach to your child will assist them in learning and generalizing new information.
The following are early intervention strategies that can be used to help children with Down Syndrome develop and increase their understanding of language:
Take advantage of language opportunities during daily routines:
Activities such as taking a bath, cooking, grocery shopping, changing a diaper, or driving in the car are a wonderful time for learning. Caregivers can consistently identify actions, label items, expand on their children’s utterances to facilitate vocabulary acquisition and overall language development. It takes a lot of repetition for children to learn and start to use words appropriately. Include a variety of words that include all the senses. “Does the water feel hot?” or “Can you smell the cookies?” When speaking, identify textures, colors, express feelings etc.
Read, read, read:
It can never be said enough how important reading is to children. When reading a book, it’s important to not only read the words on the page, but to talk about what is on the page, what the characters are doing or how they might be feeling. Make reading a book an interactive experience.
Incorporate play time with other kids:
Children can learn a lot just by interacting with other children as they are interested in and motivated by their peers. They imitate each other’s actions and will learn from them. Play time with other children will also help them develop social skills. Concepts such as sharing, taking turns, pretend play, creating, etc. can all be increased.
Play with them:
Children don’t know how to play with toys and games on their own, we need to show them. Get on the floor and play with blocks, balls, bubbles, sing a song, etc. During this time talk about what you and the child are doing (Ex: stack up the blocks, let’s blow more bubbles, it’s my turn) and expand on their utterances. Play time is critical for children to develop their ability to focus and attend to a task. When you are engaged together in a task, you are developing a special bond with your child and they are learning!
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A school speech-language screening allows a speech-language pathologist to observe the child’s language understanding and use, production of speech sounds, vocal and nasal quality, and social language skills. The screening typically follows a checklist that a speech-language pathologist administers in approximately 15-20 minutes.
Most screening tools yield a “pass” or “did not pass”. If a child did not pass the screening, then a comprehensive full speech-language evaluation is recommended. Following this process, an intervention plan is created and proposed if needed.
A hearing screening is equally important and recommended upon entering kindergarten. The screening is typically a hand raising game an audiologist administers in approximately 10 minutes. If a child did not pass the screening, a comprehensive full hearing test is typically recommended. Normal hearing in children is important for normal language development. If a child has hearing problems, it can cause problems with their ability to learn, speak or understand language.
Speech and language skills are used in every part of learning and communicating with other children in school. In kindergarten, children learn the routine and structure of a typical school day and need to be able to follow directions, understand ideas learned in class, communicate well with their peers and teachers, practice early literacy skills and use appropriate social skills within the classroom and during play.
Screenings can be a great tool to determine if a child warrants a full speech-language or hearing evaluation. A screening alone is not diagnostically reliable and should only be used as a tool to decide if an evaluation is necessary.
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Parents often worry when their child reaches 18 months or 2 years of age and does not talk much or at all. Some children exhibit late language emergence, also known as late talking or a language delay. Approximately 10-20% of 2-year-old children exhibit late language emergence. A late-talking toddler is typically defined as a 24 month old who is using fewer than 50 words and no two-word combinations. While research shows that late talkers catch up to peers by elementary school, approximately one in five late talkers will continue to have a language impairment at age 7. For some children, the late emergence of language may indicate a persistent language disorder, also called a specific language impairment. For other children, late language emergence may indicate a related disorder such as a cognitive impairment, a sensory impairment, or an autism spectrum disorder. Many parents wonder if their late-talking toddler will catch up naturally or whether speech-language therapy is recommended.
The following signs may indicate that a child will not naturally “catch up” in language and therefore may require therapeutic intervention:
Language production: The child has a small vocabulary and a less diverse vocabulary than peers. A child who uses fewer verbs and uses primarily general verbs, such as make, go, get, and do is at risk for a persistent language disorder.
Language comprehension: The child has deficits in understanding language. The child may be unable to follow simple directions or show difficulty identifying objects labeled by adults.
Speech sound production: The child exhibits few vocalizations. The child has limited and inaccurate consonant sounds and makes errors when producing vowel sounds. The child has a limited number of syllable structures (e.g., the child uses words with two sounds, such as go, up, and bye instead of words with three to four sounds, such as down, come, puppy,black, or spin).
Imitation: The child does not spontaneously imitate words. The child may rely on direct modeling and/or prompting to imitate (e.g., an adult must prompt with, “Say ‘dog,’ Mary” instead of a child spontaneously imitating “dog” when a parent says “There’s a dog”).
Play: The child’s play consists mostly of manipulating or grouping toys. The child uses little combination or symbolic play, such as using two different items in one play scheme or pretending that one item represents another.
Gestures: The child uses very few communicative gestures, especially symbolic gestures. The child may use pointing, reaching, and giving gestures more than symbolic gestures such as waving or flapping the arms to represent a bird.
Social skills: The child has a reduced rate of communication, rarely initiates conversations, interacts with adults more than peers, and is reluctant to participate in conversations with peers.
The following risk factors exist for long-term language disorders:
Otitis media (middle ear infection) that is untreated and prolonged
Family history of persistent language/learning disabilities
Parent characteristics including less maternal education, lower socioeconomic status, use of a more directive instead of responsive interactive style, high parental concern, and less frequent parent responses to child’s language productions
For children displaying any of the above signs or risk factors, a comprehensive speech-language evaluation is recommended.
Paul, R. (2007). Language Disorders from Infancy through Adolescence: Assessment & Intervention. Elsevier Health Sciences.
Motor speech disorders are neurologically-based speech disorders that affect the planning, programming, control or execution of speech. In order to produce speech, every person must coordinate a range of muscles and muscle groups, including those controlling the vocal cords, the lips, the tongue, the jaw and the respiratory system. Movements must be planned and sequenced by the brain and then carried out accurately to create speech! A child with a motor speech disorder may be learning to understand and use language, but is constrained in the ability to plan, sequence and/or control movements of muscle groups that are used to generate speech due to neurological and/or neuromuscular impairment. Motor speech disorders include apraxia of speech and dysarthia.
What is apraxia of speech?
Apraxia of speech (AOS) is a neurogenic speech disorder in which an individual has difficultly moving his/her lips or tongue in order to say sounds correctly, despite no presence of muscle weakness. This may be due to a disruption in the message form the brain to the mouth when speech is produced.
Two main types of apraxia of speech include acquired and developmental. Acquired apraxia of speech (AoS) is caused by damage to the parts of the brain involved in speech production and involves loss or impairment in existing speech skills. AoS may include co-occurring muscle weakness that negatively affects speech production, as well as language difficulties that result from brain damage. Causes of AoS include stroke, head injury, tumor or illnesses affecting the brain.
Developmental apraxia of speech, or childhood apraxia of speech (CAS), is present from birth and occurs in the absence of muscle weakness or paralysis. There is no known cause for CAS, however, some researchers suggest it is related to overall language development, some say it is neurologically based and others reference a genetic component.
What is dysarthria?
Dysarthria is a neurologically based motor speech disorder, caused by damage to the central or peripheral nervous system that results in impaired muscular control of the speech mechanism. These disturbances of control and execution are due to abnormalities in the muscles used for speech that can include weakness, spasticity, incoordination, involuntary movements or excessive, reduced or variable muscle tone. Dysarthria specifically affects face muscles, vocal quality and breath control. Causes of dysarthria include stroke, brain injury, brain tumors, conditions that cause facial paralysis, as well as tongue or throat muscle weakness. There are five categories of dysarthria that include flaccid, spastic, hypokinetic, hyperkinetic and ataxic.
Children with motor speech disorder demonstrate neuroplasticity for speech learning. Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to form and reorganize synaptic connections, especially in response to learning, experience or following injury. Therefore, early intervention for treatment of motor speech disorders in children is critical. Consistent treatment frequency and opportunities for repetition are important to fully develop the child’s neural connections in order to change speech sound input (from the brain) into actions of the speech mechanism in order to create meaningful speech!
If you believe that your child shows signs of a motor speech disorder, do not hesitate to consult with a speech-language pathologist.
https://nspt4kids.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Blog-Motor-Speech-Disorders-FeaturedImage.png186183Megan Siekkinenhttp://nspt4kids.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngMegan Siekkinen2017-07-17 05:30:552017-07-14 15:05:01What Parents Need to Know About Motor Speech Disorders
Should I Have my Child Evaluated for a Feeding Disorder?
Does your child…
Experience extreme anxiety or exhibit behaviors during mealtime?
Find mealtime to be an exhausting process that requires too much time and energy to complete?
Have difficulty tolerating a variety of food groups?
Require you to prepare a separate meal from the family dinner or snack time at school?
If so, a feeding evaluation by a qualified speech-language pathologist or occupational therapist may be warranted.
What Does an Evaluation Look Like?
The parent interview often provides the most valuable information and it is important to fill out all case-history information completely. The therapist may inquire specifically about your child’s medical history of any respiratory, gastrointestinal, renal, and craniofacial issues. Report any food allergies or restrictions (soy, gluten, dairy, egg, nuts) to ensure your child’s safety. If time allows, a 3-4 day feeding diary that includes a detailed report of all the food/drink ingested would allow the clinician to analyze any patterns of behavior and preferences related to feeding. The therapist should know the child’s regular feeding times, a list of all foods and drinks preferred/tolerated, any foods the child used to enjoy but no longer accepts, the length of a typical mealtime, and any positive or negative behavioral or physiological reactions to foods.
The clinician will examine the oral cavity (jaw, tongue, hard/soft palate, dentition, etc.) for appropriate symmetry, strength, and range of motion for feeding. Based on your child’s level of comfort, food and/or drink brought by the parent may be presented. The clinician will observe the child’s postural stability, acceptance of food/drink, munching or rotary chewing patterns, chewing side preferences, and the timeliness/success of the swallow response, and overall rate of feeding. The clinician will take note of signs/symptoms of airway penetration such as coughing, wet vocal quality, watery eyes, or excessive throat clearing. All of this information will assist the therapist in making appropriate referrals and/or developing a feeding treatment plan tailored to fit your child’s needs.
What’s the Difference Between a Picky Eater and a Problem Eater?
A picky eater is a child who accepts 30 or more foods, requires repeated exposures prior to eating the food consistently throughout varying food environments, and has specific routines with food presentation (e.g., needs crust cut off, no foods can be touching, will only eat one specific brand of chicken nuggets). Children who are picky eaters are still able to maintain adequate nutrition and hydration without nutrient-based supplements. Parents complain that new food experiences such as going to restaurants and birthday parties are often difficult due to their child’s feeding preferences.
A problem eateris a child who accepts roughly 5-10 foods and has no more than 20 foods in their food repertoire. The child presents with extreme phobic reactions to new foods such as crying, screaming, throwing foods, and most often times, absolute refusal if their foods are not preferred. Physiological symptoms become evident with facial grimacing, gagging, or vomiting when presented with or during mastication of foods. Parents often feel obligated to allow their child any food so they will eat something. A problem eater likely has underlying medical or functional impairment such as autism spectrum disorder, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), reduced strength and coordination of the oral musculature, and/or sensory processing disorder. Extreme self-restriction can occur if problem eating is left untreated and most often leads to pediatric undernutrition (PUN). Most parents express that the “wait it out” approach does not work with a problem eater and they will continue to self-restrict for days until preferred foods are presented. Children who are problem eaters often require nutrient-based supplements to maintain their health.
A speech-language pathologist can treat both a picky and problem eater to expand the food repertoire and increase tolerance of various tastes, foods, and textures.
What Does Feeding Therapy Look Like?
There are many different approaches to feeding therapy. Your speech or occupational therapist will choose a technique and plan of care that suits your child’s needs most appropriately. Since feeding is a daily activity that requires parent assistance and preparation, you will likely be included in the sessions for education and training purposes.
A feeding therapy session will focus on creating a positive mealtime experience for the child. Intervention targets will likely include increasing awareness, stability, or strengthening the oral cavity, improving the motor plan sequence for feeding, and/or imposing behavioral modifications during feeding, and educating the parent. Behavioral modifications may include a daily mealtime schedule, with no “grazing” in the kitchen allowed, restricting the amount of preferred foods presented to the child, or implementing positive reinforcement for when a child is trialing a new food (access to a favorite toy for 1 minute.) Parents also benefit from behavioral modifications, such as allowing the child to choose foods from two choices, reestablishing trust after hiding something nutritious in the food, and maintaining the promise of “just 5 more bites.”
A technique called “food chaining” uses the child’s core diet (what they will reliably eat across all settings) to “chain” or transition to another similar flavor and texture of foods.
Here is an example of the steps taken while food chaining:
Core diet – what the child will eat reliably across all settings.
Flavor mapping – analysis of your child’s flavor preferences
Flavor masking – use of a condiment or sauce to mask a new taste
Transitional foods – favorites used to transition a child to a new food. These foods cleanse the palate in-between bites of new foods
Surprise foods – new foods that are significantly different – something you make together, for example: chocolate to peanut butter, apples to pears, and chips to veggie sticks.
Food chaining often incorporates all senses to transition to a new food using a feeding hierarchy. A feeding hierarchy is a tool to teach the child how to taste/trial food in slow increments in attempt to reduce the amount of anxiety associated with trialing new foods. The feeding hierarchy may include providing the child with a goal to interact with the food, or an item of similar consistency a number of times.
Some examples of what may be included in a feeding hierarchy are:
Tolerating the food and its scent in the room
Allowing the food on the table or on the child’s plate
Touching the food with a utensil or hands
Touching the food to the lips (kissing) teeth, and tongue
Licking or sucking the food
Sinking the teeth into the food
Taking a small “nibble”
Taking an average bite of food
If your child is experiencing these symptoms consult with your physician regarding your concerns. Should you have any questions regarding a feeding evaluation/therapy, consult with a qualified speech-language pathologist or occupational therapist as soon as possible.
Fraker, C., Fishbein, M., Cox, S., Walbert, L. (June 2004). Food Chaining: A systematic approach for the treatment of children with eating aversion. Retrieved from Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition: Volume 39, pg. 51.
Fraker C., Fishbein M., Walbert L., Cox S. Food Chaining: The proven 6-step plan to stop picky eating, solve feeding problems and expand your child’s diet. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press; 2007.
Roth, M., Williams, K., Paul, C. (August 2010) “Empirically Supported Treatments in Pediatric Psychology: Severe Feeding Problems”. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, vol. 24, no. 3, 193-214.
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Auditory processing refers to what we do with the messages we hear. An auditory processing disorder occurs due to an auditory deficit that is not the result of other cognitive, language, or related disorders. However, children with an auditory processing disorder may also experience other difficulties in the central nervous system, including learning disabilities, speech-language disorders, and other developmental disorders. Auditory processing disorder may also co-exist with other diagnoses, such as ADHD or Autism.
10 Signs of Auditory Processing Disorder
Difficulty understanding speech in noisy environments
Inability to consistently and accurately follow verbal directions
Difficulty discriminating between similar-sounding speech sounds (i.e., /d/ versus /t/)
Frequently asking for repetition or clarification of verbally presented information
Poor performance with spelling or understanding verbally presented information
Child typically performs better on tasks that don’t require or rely on listening
Child may not speak clearly and may drop ends of words or syllables that aren’t emphasized
Difficulty telling stories and jokes; the child may avoid conversations with peers because it’s hard for them to process what’s being said and think of an appropriate response
Easily distracted or unusually bothered by loud or sudden noises
Child’s behavior and performance improve in quieter settings
How is Auditory Processing Disorder Diagnosed?
An initial diagnosis of auditory processing disorder is made following a comprehensive audiological evaluation, which is completed by a licensed and ASHA accredited audiologist. Following the diagnosis, the speech-language pathologists at NSPT work closely with the audiologist and collaborate on an ongoing basis. Children with an auditory processing disorder benefit from working closely with both speech-language pathologists, as well as occupational therapists. Professionals at NSPT can collaborate with teachers and other professionals to provide recommendations to help set up a successful learning environment for your child. Therapy will include activities to increase auditory closure skills, vocabulary building, discrimination skills, grammatical rules, and auditory perceptual training.
Bellis, Teri James. Understanding Auditory Processing Disorders in Children. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.Retrieved from http://www.asha.org.
What is a Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)? PECS is a form of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) which uses a picture/symbol system to teach initiation of
functional communication. PECS was developed by Lori Frost and Andy Bondy in 1985 to be used with preschool children on the autism spectrum who demonstrated little to no socially-related communication. Examples include: children who avoided interactions with others, did not approach others to communicate, and/or only communicated when prompted to do so.
Myth #1: The Picture Exchange Communication System is strictly used for nonverbal children or children on the autism spectrum.
A common misconception about the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is that it is strictly used with nonverbal children. While PECS and other forms of AAC have proven very useful and successful with nonverbal children, the system services many other populations with the purpose of eliciting and initiating functional communication.
To fully understand the meaning of functional communication, a distinction must be made between actions directed to the environment vs. actions directed toward a person. A child may climb on a step stool to reach a toy car on a shelf. From this action, we could infer that the child wants to play with the car. However, this is not communicative. If this same child looks from the car to his mother, or leads his mother over to the car, this is considered communication. Neither interaction involved speaking, however the distinction is that communication occurs when an action is directed towards someone else to achieve a certain outcome.
Therefore, Picture Exchange Communication System is appropriate, not just with children or adults that are not verbally communicating, but with those who are verbal, yet lack person-directed communication.
Other populations where PECS might be appropriate (to name a few):
-late-talking children (research is showing benefits for the introduction of AAC as early as 12 months)
-adults with aphasia
-Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS)
-children with reduced speech intelligibility
-verbal children with reduced social language and initiating
Myth #2: Using PECS will deter my child from communicating verbally
For some children, verbal communication can be a challenge; speech and language are not developing as quickly as would be anticipated and, accordingly, result in accompanying frustration and associated behaviors. Introduction of an augmentative and alternative communication system like PECS can help bridge the gap for children who are not yet verbally communicating but need an accessible means of communication as speech and language develop. Without an effective means of communication, these children are at risk for social, emotional, and behavior problems, including feelings of frustration and isolation.
Often, parents are concerned that using an augmentative or alternative form of communication will replace or deter verbal communication. In fact, research has shown just the opposite:
“Research over the past 25 years has shown not only that use of augmentative communication systems (aided or unaided) does not inhibit speech development but that use of these systems enhances the likelihood of the development or improvement of speech.” (Bondy & Frost, 2004)
The PECS program mirrors the acquisition of typical language development; children are taught one-word labels for frequently requested items before transitioning to formulation of two-word utterances. Verbally requesting and labeling can be targeted in conjunction with the program. The PECS program also details modality transitioning (i.e., transitioning from PECS to verbal communication), if and when it is appropriate.
If your child is using PECS now, this does not mean that you are “giving up on speech”. It is a system that is being utilized to give your child a means of communicating and interacting with others while speech is developing.
Myth #3: PECS cannot be used with children who have visual impairments, fine motor, or gross motor difficulties.
PECS can be used with a wide range of age-groups and disabilities. Accommodations can be made for children and adults with visual impairments, fine motor, or gross motor difficulties, to name a few.
Pictures can be made in various sizes to accommodate visual impairments. Additionally, you or your child’s speech language pathologist can select and modify pictures to suit your child’s needs; photographs can be used instead of clipart or Boardmaker pictures, and images can be modified to create more contrast.
Pictures can also be put on objects (e.g., bottle tops) to make them easier to grasp and pick up from a table or book for children with fine motor difficulties.
Step 2 of PECS involves ‘distance and persistence’, meaning a child is taught to move across a room, multiple rooms, etc. to select a picture from his book and persist when giving it to his communication partner. Students that are non-ambulatory can use a voice switch or a button to request his communication partner in order to perform the exchange.
If you have questions about PECS and if it would be appropriate for your child, please consult with a licensed speech language pathologist.
https://nspt4kids.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Blog-Picture-Exchange-Communication-System-FeaturedImage.png186183Lauren Kastanhttp://nspt4kids.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngLauren Kastan2017-04-19 05:30:372017-04-14 15:30:25Common Misconceptions About Picture Exchange Communication System
A digital doll house that lets your child use everything inside. You can fry an egg, feed the family pizza, pour drinks, feed the pets, and more! This app does not specifically target speech
and language skills; however, there are many ways it can be used to work on speech/language at home. While playing with the doll house, you can work with your child on pronouns, identifying actions (e.g., cooking, sitting), present progressive –ing (e.g., drinking), plurals (e.g., two apples), vocabulary (around the house), formulating complete sentences, etc. I also like to use this app as a motivating activity for children working on speech sounds. For example, I will say, “Tell me what the doll is doing with your good ‘r’ sounds.” There is also My PlayHome Hospital, My PlayHome School, and My PlayHome Stores.
Articulation Station by Little Bee Speech
This app is fantastic for children working on speech production skills. The whole app is pricey, but beneficial for a child working on more than one speech sound. It is also possible to download individual speech sounds to target a specific sound at home. This app is motivating and excellent for home practice!
Following Directions by Speecharoo Apps
Excellent app for working on following directions. Choose from simple 1-step directions, 2-step directions, or more advanced 3-step directions. These funny directions will have your child laughing and wanting to practice more.
Peek-A-Boo Barn by Night & Day Studios, Inc.
My favorite app for toddlers working on expressive language skills. First, the barn shakes and an animal makes a noise. Have your child say “open” or “open door” before pressing on the door. You can also have your child guess which animal it is or imitate the animal noises. When the animal appears, have your child imitate the name of the animal.
Open-Ended Articulation by Erik X. Raj
This app contains over 500 open-ended questions to use with a child having difficulty producing the following speech sounds: s, z, r, l, s/r/l blends, “sh”, “ch”, and “th”. It is great for working on speech sounds in conversation. Have your child read aloud the question and take turns answering. The open-ended questions are about silly scenarios that will facilitate interesting conversations.
https://nspt4kids.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Blog-Speech-Apps-FeaturedImage.png186183Andrea Levyhttp://nspt4kids.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngAndrea Levy2017-04-06 05:30:202017-04-04 11:17:215 Best Apps to Work on Speech and Language at Home
If you are a parent or a professional who has had experience with a child diagnosed with autism, you know that they are all as different as the colors under the sun. Speech therapy services are typically recommended and necessary for kids diagnosed with autism, as they may have difficulty communicating effectively. These services will be tailored to the individual to ensure the child is making progress and achieving developmental milestones. No two speech therapy sessions are the same, as will be the case for your child. However, there are overarching goals that you can expect your child to be working towards.
Here are factors you should expect to be consistent for a child diagnosed with autism that is receiving speech therapy services:
Speech therapy will be individualized.
The speech language pathologist will complete an evaluation of the child’s current speech and language skills. Based on the results of the evaluation and any observations made, goals will be formulated to target areas to improve.
Speech therapy will target functional communication.
This may mean different things depending on the level of the child. Whether the child is verbal or nonverbal, therapy will address making sure the child is effectively communicating their needs and wants. If the child is nonverbal or has significant difficulty utilizing verbal language, Augmentative and Alternative Communication (e.g., pictures, sign language, iPad, etc.) may be implemented. Therapy may also target talking about events, telling stories, answering questions, asking questions, commenting, expressing opinions, and participating in conversations.
Speech therapy will target social language.
Social language is also known as pragmatic language and includes using language for a variety of purposes (i.e., greetings, informing, demanding, etc.), changing language according to the needs of the listener or situation, and following rules for conversation and storytelling. In order to warrant a diagnosis of autism, the child has already been determined to have a deficit in social communication and interaction. Treatment goals may include maintaining eye contact, initiating and terminating conversations, maintaining topics of conversation, identifying emotions, and utilizing appropriate body language.
The above goals are targeted in a variety of ways, again dependent on your child. Sometimes direct education is provided prior to practicing skills in activities, role-play scenarios, or structured real-life situations. Other times, skills are targeted during play and motivating activities for the child. No matter the skill level of your child with autism, speech therapy is an integral piece to their progress and successful functioning.
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