What is Sensory Processing Disorder?

What is Sensory Processing Disorder?

stuttering-communicationSensory Processing Disorder (SPD), or the former but still acceptable term “Sensory Integration” (SI), is a term referring to the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses and turns them into appropriate motor and behavioral responses. Whether you are eating pancakes, riding a skateboard, or reading a book, your successful completion of any activity requires processing many different sensations.

A Sensory Processing Disorder exists when sensory signals cannot organize themselves into appropriate responses. Pioneering occupational therapist and neuroscientist, A. Jean Ayres, PhD, compares SPD to a neurological “traffic jam” which prevents parts of the brain from receiving the information it needs to interpret sensory information correctly. A person with SPD finds it difficult to process and act upon information received through the senses which, in turn, can create severe challenges in performing countless everyday tasks. Clumsiness, behavioral problems, anxiety, depression, and school failure are a few ways SPD can affect someone that does not receive effective treatment.

Sensory Processing Disorder can affect people in only one sense–just touch, sight, or movement–or in multiple senses. One person with SPD may over-respond to the touch sensation and find clothing, physical contact, light, sound, food, or other sensory input as unbearable. Another might under-respond in reaction to stimulation – even pain or extreme hot and cold. Other children might exhibit appetites that are in perpetual overdrive for certain sensations.

Children receiving impaired messages of sensory processing from their muscles and joints might experience poor posture

and motor skills and, as a result, may have low self-esteem, experience social/emotional issues, and struggle academically.

This disability is not an obvious one. People unaware of this disorder, including parents and educators, may label SPD children as clumsy, uncooperative, belligerent, disruptive, or “out of control”. Without an appropriate diagnosis and therapy, anxiety, depression, aggression, or other behavior problems can follow.

However, most children with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) are as intelligent as their peers and are sometimes intellectually gifted; the wiring of their brain is just different. Those with SPD must learn alternate ways (through therapy) to help them adapt to how they process information, and they must acquire leisure activities that suit their own sensory processing needs.

Children with SPD often receive a misdiagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and begin a regiment of medication that is not addressing their needs. Examine the symptoms of ADHD and SPD side by side, and you will see some striking parallels, as well as several disparities. The two conditions do not always go hand in hand, but they can and often do. Consult physicians and therapists who are knowledgeable about both.

Preliminary research suggests that SPD is something we inherit. If so, the causes of SPD are in our genetic material. Prenatal and birth complications have also been implicated, and environmental factors may be involved. As with any developmental and/or behavioral disorder, the causes of SPD are likely to be the result of factors that are both genetic and environmental. Only with more research will it be possible to identify the role of each.

http://www.handyhandouts.com • © 2013 Super Duper® Publications

Articulation: When Should I Worry If My Child is Behind?

bubblesBy Katharine F. Bedsole, M.S., CCC-SLP

Developing speech and language skills is a difficult task. It is natural for young children to make mistakes in the process of learning to speak. Most children eventually drop errors in their speech and develop normal speech patterns. Some children continue to make errors beyond the age when other children have mastered those sounds.

It may be time to show concern if you observe one or more of the following:

  1. Family members or friends have a hard time understanding your child.
  2. A child demonstrates frustration because you don’t understand his/her speech.
  3. Your child shows no signs of frustration when trying to communicate, but you do not understand his/her speech.

    This is the time to seek a professional’s opinion. Direct questions about your child’s speech development to a local speech-language pathologist (SLP). To find an SLP in your area, visit http://www.asha.org/findpro/. A certified SLP administers a standardized test comparing your child’s skills to other children his/her age. These test results, in addition to other information, determine whether your child requires speech therapy.

The chart below gives general guidelines of sound mastery. The guidelines allow for the different developmental speech milestones that children experience.

90% of Children Have Mastered These Sounds…By Age

 

p, d, m, w, h, n…….2 years old
t, b, k, g……………….3 years old
f, v, y…………………..4 to 5 years old
s, z, j, l, r, sh, ch, th, blends……5 to 7 years old

What is Sensory Processing Disorder?

What is Sensory Processing Disorder?

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), or the former but still acceptable term “Sensory Integration” (SI), is a term referring to the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses and turns them into appropriate motor and behavioral responses. Whether you are eating pancakes, riding a skateboard, or reading a book, your successful completion of any activity requires processing many different sensations.

A Sensory Processing Disorder exists when sensory signals cannot organize themselves into appropriate responses. Pioneering occupational therapist and neuroscientist, A. Jean Ayres, PhD, compares SPD to a neurological “traffic jam” which prevents parts of the brain from receiving the information it needs to interpret sensory information correctly. A person with SPD finds it difficult to process and act upon information received through the senses which, in turn, can create severe challenges in performing countless everyday tasks. Clumsiness, behavioral problems, anxiety, depression, and school failure are a few ways SPD can affect someone that does not receive effective treatment.

Sensory Processing Disorder can affect people in only one sense–just touch, sight, or movement–or in multiple senses. One person with SPD may over-respond to the touch sensation and find clothing, physical contact, light, sound, food, or other sensory input as unbearable. Another might under-respond in reaction to stimulation – even pain or extreme hot and cold. Other children might exhibit appetites that are in perpetual overdrive for certain sensations.

Children receiving impaired messages of sensory processing from their muscles and joints might experience poor posture
and motor skills and, as a result, may have low self-esteem, experience social/emotional issues, and struggle academically.
This disability is not an obvious one. People unaware of this disorder, including parents and educators, may label SPD children as clumsy, uncooperative, belligerent, disruptive, or “out of control”. Without an appropriate diagnosis and therapy, anxiety, depression, aggression, or other behavior problems can follow.

However, most children with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) are as intelligent as their peers and are sometimes intellectually gifted; the wiring of their brain is just different. Those with SPD must learn alternate ways (through therapy) to help them adapt to how they process information, and they must acquire leisure activities that suit their own sensory processing needs.

Children with SPD often receive a misdiagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and begin a regiment of medication that is not addressing their needs. Examine the symptoms of ADHD and SPD side by side, and you will see some striking parallels, as well as several disparities. The two conditions do not always go hand in hand, but they can and often do. Consult physicians and therapists who are knowledgeable about both.

Preliminary research suggests that SPD is something we inherit. If so, the causes of SPD are in our genetic material. Prenatal and birth complications have also been implicated, and environmental factors may be involved. As with any developmental and/or behavioral disorder, the causes of SPD are likely to be the result of factors that are both genetic and environmental. Only with more research will it be possible to identify the role of each.

http://www.handyhandouts.com • © 2013 Super Duper® Publications

How Do We Talk?

How Do We Talk?

by Kevin Stuckey, M.Ed., CCC-SLP

How Do We Produce Speech Sounds?

Talking is a form of communication most people use to express their thoughts and feelings. But, do you ever wonder HOW we make the words come out of our mouths? Speaking begins with a person’s thought and results in the formation of words and sentences to express that thought. The act of speaking occurs by air coming from the lungs, through the vocal folds, and out of the mouth. We shape sounds using our tongue (tip, blade, front, back), upper and lower lips, upper and lower teeth, and the roof of the mouth (alveolar ridge, palate, velum) in order to say specific sounds and words. Speech sounds differ by voice, place—where sounds are made in the mouth—and manner—the type of sound.
How Do We Create Different Types of Speech Sounds?
There are many parts of the body that help us produce speech. To speak, you use your stomach muscles, lungs, voice box, tongue, teeth, lips, and even your nose. Your brain coordinates it all. Speech actually starts in the stomach with the diaphragm. This is a large muscle that helps push air from the lungs into the voice box. The voice box or larynx has vocal cords that vibrate to produce your voice. Then, the lips, tongue, and teeth form the sounds to make speech. For example, the tip of the tongue touches just behind your top teeth to make a “d” sound. By moving the tongue, changing how much air comes out, and vibrating or not vibrating the vocal cords, you can make over 40 different speech sounds. Sometimes the sounds even come out through your nose. Try putting your finger on your nose and say “mmm.” You will feel your nose vibrate!
What If My Child Has Difficulty Saying Speech Sounds?
Many children experience difficulty when attempting to produce clear and understandable speech. When children struggle with the correct production of speech sounds, it makes it difficult for listeners to understand what they are saying. Speech sound production occurs on a developmental basis according to a child’s chronological age. Some children may acquire skills more quickly than others. Mawhinney and McTeague (2004) give the following chart:
90% of Children Have Mastered These Sounds…By Age
p, d, m, w, h, n 2 years old
t, b, k, g 3 years old
f, v, y 4-5 years old
s, z, j, l, r, sh, ch, th, blends 5-7 years old
What Can I Do to Help My Child?
If you notice non-developmental articulation errors in your child’s speech—or your child shows frustration because “No one understands what I’m saying!”—consult a local speech-language pathologist (SLP) for an articulation screening/evaluation of your child’s speech production. After reviewing the results of this assessment, the SLP may recommend speech therapy to address specific errors to improve the intelligibility of spontaneous speech.
If you are interested in setting up a speech evaluation, contact Speech Language Pathologist, Christine Wilson.

Building a Foundation for Reading and Writing: Birth through Preschool

Building a Foundation for Reading and Writing: Birth through Preschool

by Suzie Hill, M.Ed.
According to the Partnership for Reading (2003), there are five basic principles that help preschoolers learn to read and write. To become good readers, children need to be given a lot of chances to practice these principles: talking and listening, print and books, sounds in spoken language, the ABCs, and reading aloud.
1. Talking and Listening
Children already know a lot about talking and listening by the time they are a year old. They recognize the sounds and rhythm of words, and they know which words are important to them. Children learn a great deal by listening to family members talk. Children who have many interactions and conversations with adults are much more likely to be strong readers.A regular paragraph (or standalone text).
2. Print and Books
It is important for children to learn about print and books and understand the ways that we use print. For example, very young children may not be able to read yet, but they can learn the right way to hold a book, to turn pages one at a time, and to read words from left to right (Partnership for Reading, 2003). It is critical for children to learn that print is all around them and a part of everyday life. They will see print not only in books, but also in magazines and newspapers and on signs and labels—just to name a few.
3. Sounds in Spoken Language
Children notice characteristics of spoken language long before they enter school. They begin to hear that some words rhyme, that words make up sentences, that some words start with the same letter, and that words have parts called syllables. When children begin to understand these things, they are increasing their phonological awareness —the ability to hear and work with the sounds of spoken language. Children also begin to notice that words are made up of smaller, separate sounds. When they understand this, they are developing their phonemic awareness skills. Research shows that a child’s ability to learn to read depends on the strength of his/her phonological and phonemic awareness skills.
4. The ABCs
The ABCs are important for children to know. Most children entering school know how to sing the alphabet song. Their ability to recognize the shape and name of each letter and how to write it improves their ability to read.
5. Reading Aloud
Reading aloud is one of the most important things a parent can do when helping his/her children learn to read. Reading aloud gives children a chance to hear what reading should sound like. They can hear the different tones their parents use to show voice in reading. They can see and feel the excitement and enthusiasm in their parents’ voices as they read. Reading aloud to children helps them learn more about written language, vocabulary, and print.
Tips:
  • Read aloud to children several times a day.
  • When you are reading to your child, allow him/her to actively participate. Let him/her point to pictures and words and help turn the pages.
  • Have books in every room of the house.
  • Label things around the house such as cabinets, appliances, lamps, furniture, doors, etc.
  • Talk to children and encourage them to communicate, whether it be gurgles from a baby or questions from a 4-year-old.
  • Have lots of ABC activities such as magnets for the refrigerator, foam letters for the bathtub, and puzzles.
  • Allow children to look through magazines and newspapers.
  • Let your children see you reading.
Resources
National Adult Literacy Database. (2006). Retrieved March 31, 2008, from http://www.nald.ca/library/learning/child/toc.htm
The Partnership for Reading. (2003). Retrieved March 26, 2008, from http://www.nifl.gov/partnershipforreading/
Even Start Family Literacy Program. (2008). Retrieved March 26, 2008, from www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oese/index.html?src=mr
National Parent Information Network (NPIN). (2008). Retrieved March 26, 2008, from www.npin.org
If you have further questions, please contact Speech-Language Pathologist Christine Wilson.

Building Early Literacy Skills through Speaking and Listening

Building Early Literacy Skills through Speaking and Listening
Written by Becky L. Spivey, M.Ed.
How do oral language skills develop?
Communication begins with hearing and responding to sounds. Children begin communicating and developing language the day they are born. As children grow and develop, they begin listening for different purposes and responding with words instead of sounds and gestures. Receptive language (listening) precedes expressive language (speaking). Receptive and expressive language skills, or oral language skills, lay the foundation for future success in reading and writing. These skills develop as children have opportunities to listen to and talk with their parents, relatives, friends, caregivers, etc. Children must be able to listen to and understand words before they are able to produce words and use them effectively.
Learning to Read and Write
Early educators know the importance of oral language development. They ask children open-ended and yes/no questions, expose them to and teach them to explore vocabulary by playing with words (rhyming, substituting letters, singing songs, etc.), and encourage them to converse with each other. However, basic communication isn’t just talking and listening; it involves thinking, knowledge, and application of skills. It also requires practice and training. Focusing on oral language is especially important for children for whom English is a second language and for those not exposed to written language materials at home.
The Common Core State Standards Initiative – 2010http://www.corestandards.org/assets/CCSSI_ELA%20Standards.pdf addresses the importance of oral language skills. The Common Core State Standards document includes a vigorous set of Speaking and Listening standards for grades K – 3 (and extending through grade 12) that require educators to bring oral language skills to the forefront of elementary classrooms. These skills help students learn to read and master the printed word and generalize their word knowledge into other contexts.
Here are some simple activities that promote oral language development in preparation for learning to read and write. These activities will help preschoolers be ready to tackle the Common Core State Standards for Speaking and Listening that begin in kindergarten.
  • Engage your child in conversation throughout the day. Do not use baby talk. Speak at an appropriate rate and volume and in normal tones without unnecessary exaggeration.
  • Read with your child every day. Ask him or her, “What do you think will happen next in the story? Would you have done that? What do/did you like best about…? Do you think that could/would ever happen to you?” This is a time to read slowly with inflection, using different voices for different characters. Follow words with your finger as this shows children that reading words moves left to right across a page. They will also see how to hold a book while reading.
  • Read everything: labels, cereal boxes, road signs, menus, newspapers, comic books!
  • Play games that focus on the importance of listening: Simon SaysHokey PokeyTelephone, or while reading, ask questions like, “Do you remember the dog’s name? What did the family do after dinner? Who do you think is coming to visit?”
  • Teach the rules of conversation early (listening and speaking): do not interrupt someone that is speaking, take turns speaking, stay on topic, use an appropriate volume while speaking (inside/outside voices), etc.
  • Create opportunities for children to follow and give oral directions that follow a sequence using simple crafts, activities, chores, or while playing games.
  • Use language for a variety of purposes: singing, reading and talking about signs, reading books, following recipes, writing or reading an email to Grandma, etc.
  • Ask children questions about and discuss age-appropriate topics: What do like best about preschool/your babysitter/going to the park/shopping…?” Encourage children to ask questions of others. “Ask Mr. Brown where he got his new puppy!”
  • Prompt children to talk about and describe their feelings and ideas. How do you feel about asking the neighbors over for dinner? What do you think we should do today?
  • Ask open-ended questions. What would you do if….? What if you had …? Where would you go if…? Encourage children to extend their answers by expanding the question….But what if you couldn’t ….? What do you think would happen if you…? Who/what would you take with you?”
  • Teach new words and incorporate them into normal conversation. Instead of stir the eggs and sugar together, say, “Let’s blendthe eggs and sugar together.”…etc.
  • Make letter flash cards. Begin teaching letter names and sounds starting with the letters in the child’s name. Teach only a few letters at a time. After mastery of those letters, add a few more. Do not start with all 26 letters! Cover a table top or a wall around the bathtub with shaving cream. Let the child “write” words or draw letters in the shaving cream.
  • Talk about things that begin with the same sound as his/her name. After learning “B” is for Beth, help the child name other objects that begin with “B” or the /b/ sound: bat, ball, bathtub, bell, etc. Then move on to other letters and naming objects that begin with that letter sound. Have a “B” letter hunt. Have the child find the letter “B”/”b” in books, on signs, and on packages.
  • Teach your child to recognize environmental symbols and signs: restroom, emergency, danger, exit, hospital, cross walk, stop, railroad, etc. Quiz the child while riding in the car, “What do you think that sign says?”

If you are interested in setting up a speech evaluation or treatment appointment, contact Speech-Language Pathologist Christine Wilson.

Normal Development of Language Skills

Are My Child’s Language Skills Developing Normally?
by Becky L. Spivey, M.Ed.
A very complicated and amazing foundation of language skills begins developing at birth. Children develop certain skills at different times as they move through the early stages of learning language. On the average, children learn to read by age seven, but learning to read is dependent upon their acquisition of a good foundation of skills.
The following list of milestones is the result of current research in the field where studies continue to analyze how and when children learn and begin to present certain language skills. As you look over this list, keep in mind that children vary greatly in how and when they develop and learn these skills. These skills do not follow a concrete order.
From birth to age 3, most babies and toddlers become able to:
  • Make cooing, babbling sounds in the crib which gives way to enjoying rhyming and nonsense word games
  • Play along in games such as “peek-a-boo” and “pat-a-cake.”
  • Respond to gestures and facial expressions.
  • Associate words they hear frequently with what the words mean.
  • Imitate the tones, rhythms, and sounds that adults use when talking.
  • Handle objects such as board books and alphabet blocks in their play.
  • Recognize certain books by their covers.
  • Pretend to read books.
  • Understand how to handle a book.
  • Share books with an adult as a routine part of life.
  • Name some objects in a book.
  • Talk about characters in books.
  • Look at pictures in books and realize they are symbols of real things.
  • Listen attentively to stories.
  • Begin paying attention to specific print such as the first letters of their names.
  • Scribble with a purpose as if writing or drawing something.
  • Produce letter-like forms and scribbles that resemble writing.
  • Ask or demand that adults or others read or write with them.
From ages 3-4, most preschoolers become able to:
  • Enjoy listening to and talking about storybooks.
  • Understand that print carries a message.
  • Make attempts to read and write.
  • Identify familiar signs and labels.
  • Participate in rhyming games.
  • Identify some letters and make some letter-sound matches.
  • Attempt writing letters to represent meaningful words like their name or phrases such as “I love you.”
At age 5, most kindergartners become able to:
  • Sound as if they are reading when they pretend to read.
  • Enjoy someone reading to them.
  • Retell simple stories.
  • Use descriptive language to explain or to ask questions.
  • Recognize letters and make letter-sound matches.
  • Show familiarity with rhyming and beginning sounds.
  • Understand that reading print goes left-to-right and top-to-bottom.
  • Match spoken words with written ones.
  • Write letters of the alphabet and some words they use and hear often.
  • Write stories with some readable parts.
At age 6, most first-graders can:
  • Read and retell familiar stories.
  • Use a variety of ways to help themselves read and comprehend a story (rereading, predicting, asking questions, or using visual cues or pictures).
  • Decide on their own to use reading and writing for different purposes.
  • Read some things aloud with ease.
  • Identify new words by using letter-sound matches, parts of words, and their understanding of the rest of a story or printed item.
  • Identify an increasing number of words by sight.
  • Sound out and represent major sounds in a word when trying to spell.
  • Write about topics that mean a lot to them.
  • Use some punctuation marks and capitalization.
If you have questions or concerns about your child’s progress, talk with your child’s doctor, teacher, or a speech-language pathologist. For children with any kind of disability or learning problem, the sooner they can get the special help they need, the easier it will be for them to learn.
Contact Speech-Language Pathologist Christine Wilson to schedule an appointment today!