June is the Awareness Month of…

Brain Aging

APHASIA! June is the month we bring awareness to Aphasia. Do you know what Aphasia is? Do you or a loved one have Aphasia? Checkout this post from ASHA for more information and raise your awareness:

What is Aphasia?

a·pha·sia
əˈfāZH(ē)ə,əˈfāzēə/
Is the loss of ability to understand or express speech, caused by brain damage. This is a language disorder. Your brain has two halves, and language skills are in the left half of the brain (in most people). Damage on that side of your brain may lead to language problems. Damage on the right side of your brain may cause other problems, like poor attention or memory. Aphasia may make it hard for you to understand, speak, read, or write. It does not make you less smart or cause problems with the way you think. Brain damage can also cause other problems along with aphasia. Weakness in the mouth, called dysarthria or trouble getting the muscles of the mouth to move the right way to say words, called apraxia. You can also have swallowing problems, called dysphagia.

 

Signs of Aphasia:

Aphasia can lead to a number of different problems. You may have trouble talking, understanding, reading, and writing.

Talking

You may find that you:

  • Can’t think of the words you want to say.
  • Say the wrong word. Sometimes, you may say something related, like “fish” instead of “chicken.” Or you might say a word that does not make much sense, like “radio” for “ball.”
  • Switch sounds in words. For example, you might say “wish dasher” for “dishwasher.”
  • Use made-up words.
  • Have a hard time saying sentences. Single words may be easier.
  • Put made-up words and real words together into sentences that do not make sense.

Understanding

You may:

  • Not understand what others say. This may happen more when they speak fast, such as on the news. You might have more trouble with longer sentences, too.
  • Find it hard to understand what others say when it is noisy or you are in a group.
  • Have trouble understanding jokes.

Reading and Writing

You may have trouble with the following things:

  • Reading forms, books, and computer screens.
  • Spelling and putting words together to write sentences.
  • Using numbers or doing math. For example, it may be hard to tell time, count money, or add and subtract.

Causes of Aphasia:

Aphasia is most often caused by stroke. However, any type of brain damage can cause aphasia. This includes brain tumors, traumatic brain injury, and brain disorders that get worse over time.

Testing for Aphasia:

You should see a doctor if you have trouble speaking or understanding what people say. A doctor will determine if there is a medical cause for your problem. A speech-language pathologist, or SLP, will test your speech and language skills. The SLP will ask you about the problems you have and what you want to work on. The SLP will test how well you:

  • Understand words, questions, directions, and stories.
  • Say words and sentences. The SLP will ask you to name objects, describe pictures, and answer questions.
  • Read and write. The SLP will have you write letters, words, and sentences. You will also read short stories and answer questions about them.
  • Find other ways to share your ideas when you have trouble talking. This may include pointing or using other gestures and drawing pictures.

Treatments for Aphasia:

There are many ways to work on your language. The type of treatment you get depends on what you want and need. You may work with an SLP on your own or in a small group. You may want your family to be a part of your treatment. They can help you use the skills you learn with the SLP at home. You may also join a support group or Stroke Club for social activities.

Do you speak more than one language? You may talk better in one language and have more trouble in the other. Or, you may have trouble in both. You should work with an SLP who speaks both languages if you can.

In severe cases, you may need to find other ways to answer questions or tell people what you want. These may include simple hand gestures, writing, pointing to letters or pictures, or using a computer. This is augmentative and alternative communication, or AAC.

The SLP can help you get ready to go back to work or school if that is your goal. You may need to change how you do your work. Or you may need special equipment to help you communicate. Your SLP can work with your boss or teachers to make these changes.

See ASHA information for professionals on the Practice Portal’s Aphasia page.

Tips for Communicating:

These tips may make it easier for you to understand and talk with others. Share these tips with your family and friends.

To help me talk with you:

  1. Get my attention before you start speaking.
  2. Keep eye contact with me. Watch my body language and the gestures I use.
  3. Talk to me in a quiet place. Turn off the TV or radio.
  4. Keep your voice at a normal level. You do not need to talk louder unless I ask you to.
  5. Keep the words you use simple but adult. Don’t “talk down” to me.
  6. Use shorter sentences. Repeat key words that you want me to understand.
  7. Slow down your speech.
  8. Give me time to speak. It may take me longer. Try not to finish my sentences for me.
  9. Try using drawings, gestures, writing, and facial expressions. I may understand those better than words sometimes.
  10. Ask me to draw, write, or point when I am having trouble talking.
  11. Ask me “yes” and “no” questions. Those are easier than questions that I have to answer in words or sentences.
  12. Let me make mistakes sometimes. I may not be able to say everything perfectly all the time.
  13. Let me try to do things for myself. I may need to try a few times. Help me when I ask for it.

If you or a loved one has Aphasia and need speech therapy, look no further! Contact Speech Language Pathologist Christine Wilson today.

Memorial Day Weekend Speech Therapy Activities

AmericanFlag

Monday, May 28th, is Memorial Day. Memorial Day is the day when we remember the sacrifices of soldiers who have given their lives to defend our freedoms and our country. While we honor soldiers and what they do for us, we can also improve speech and language skills. Checkout these awesome activities from Speech and Language Kids!

Memorial Day Activities 1: What Do Soldiers Do?

Vocabulary and Writing

Unless your child has a close family member who is in the service, he/she might not know a lot about soldiers and what they do. For this activity, find a coloring sheet of a soldier (try searching “soldier coloring sheet” on Google Image Search) and have your child color it in.  While he’s/she’s coloring, ask him/her if he/she knows what a soldier is, what a soldier does. Find out first what he/she knows. If he/she comes up with some good things that soldiers do, you can write that on his/her coloring sheet. If not, try sharing some things and writing them down. For older children, skip the coloring page and go straight to writing a paragraph about soldiers. Make sure the paragraph starts with an opening statement (something general about soldiers), includes 3-5 details about soldiers, and ends with a closing statement that wraps it all up. Here are some things that you can share with your child about what soldiers do:

  • Save people from disasters like floods and hurricanes
  • Fight bad guys when they try to hurt us (or “fights enemies to defend our country” for older children)
  • Protect people in other countries who are being bullied
  • Bring people food and help in countries that don’t have enough supplies

Memorial Day Activities 2: Make a Care Package

Vocabulary

Tell your child that you are going to make a care package for someone in the military who is far away from home because they’re protecting our country. Talk about the things that a soldier might need. For ideas, visit the “what to send” page on All Soldiers Inc.  Include any notes or pictures that your child thinks a soldier may enjoy. Once you get the package together, go onto a website like All Soldiers Inc. and find a place to send it to. This website will even let you pick the person you want to send it to and will give you information like where they’re from and what kind of conditions they’re living in.

Memorial Day Activities 3: Research a War

For older children, talk about wars and choose one to research online. Just give your child a short overview of why the war happened and how it was resolved. This may interest some children very much and others not at all, keep your child’s interests in mind.

 

We hope you all have a great Memorial Day weekend and thank you to all the soldiers who have and currently protect our country!!

BHSM 2018 Week Four

May is the month of better hearing & speech. Each week there was a different topic from ASHA. We’ve had a spurt of older clientele in the last month or so, and this week is great for awareness! On week four, ASHA focuses on older Americans & falls.

Preventing Falls:

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Know Your Risk: Older Americans & Falls

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Did You Know?

Checkout ASHA for “did you know” information and facts in regards to falls.

Encouraging Speech Sounds Through Reading!

stack of books

A great way to encourage a child to pronounce sounds correctly is to expose him/her to early developing speech sounds before he/she can even talk by reading books loaded with these sounds.

Speech therapists commonly use a strategy with children with articulation and phonological disorders called “auditory bombardment.” This technique repeatedly exposes the child to the correct production of mispronounced sounds. This increases the child’s ability to hear incorrect sounds in his/her own speech.

Early developing sounds include p, b, t, d, k, g, and m. Often children will naturally omit these sounds from the ends of words or in the middle of multi-syllabic words. This is a common pattern in articulatory development. Just provide a good speech model by over-emphasizing the target sound. Below is an example of a book that includes many early developing sounds. The number of times a sound occurs is listed under the book.

Cat in the Hat, by Dr. Seuss:
p – 19
m – 20
g – 7
d – 25
b – 15
k – 32
t – 50

Reading sound-filled books to your child when he/she is a baby increases sound production and the opportunity to hear early developing sounds pronounced correctly. Before bedtime tonight, snuggle up next to your child and read a book!

Apraxia Awareness Month

Did you know that the month of May is Apraxia Awareness Month? Did you also know that May 14th is Apraxia Awareness day? Well now you do! If your child has apraxia, or a child you know, try to spread awareness to others this month. Not everyone knows or understands what Apraxia is and how it effects children who have it.

What is Childhood Apraxia of Speech? Check out this chart from advanced travel therapy to learn more:

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What can you do this month to spread awareness? Apraxia Kids has some great ideas:

Media

  • Write a “letter to the editor” to your local paper about Apraxia Awareness Month.

Community

  • Request, up to 25, Apraxia Kids brochures. These brochures explain what Childhood Apraxia of Speech is and shows how their programs support children with apraxia.
  • Distribute apraxia information to your community! Download the Apraxia Awareness Month post cards from their website.
  • Plan an awareness event or organized a community fundraiser! Be the voice in your community.
  • When you celebrate Apraxia Awareness Month at your school, work, church, or community event, please encourage everyone to wear blue in support of children with apraxia of speech. Especially on May 14th, Apraxia Awareness Day! Make sure to take photos to share on social media!
  • Print out their coloring pages from their website.
  • Visit their Pinterest boards.

Store

  • Their online store is the ONLY place to shop online where the proceeds of your purchase benefit children with apraxia of speech. Raise awareness by showing off your Apraxia Kids swag. Make sure they can see and amplify your awareness efforts by using the hashtags #apraxiaawareness and #apraxiakids.

Bloggers

  • Every child deserves a voice, and your stories help give a voice to families affected by Childhood Apraxia of Speech. For this year’s Apraxia Awareness Month, they want to share your stories with the world. If you are an apraxia blogger, advocate, or just someone with a story to tell, they need you! Check out their website for more details.

Classroom Activities

  • Parents or teachers can read the book “I Want To Be Your Friend” or keep an eye out for their upcoming brochure about classmates and friends of children with apraxia.

Social Media

  • Follow along with their #ApraxiaAwareness Social Media Challenge for the entire month of May! They know that awareness begins with spreading the word far and wide about what Childhood Apraxia of Speech is and how it affects your family. This month-long challenge gives you the opportunity to post about apraxia awareness every day, with some fun prompts!
    • Each day you post will be counted as a separate entry into a contest. You may post on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, giving you up to three entries per day, one entry per platform. The drawing is random, so the more days you post, the more entries you have!
    • You must use #ApraxiaAwareness in your post for it to qualify as an entry.
    • At the end of the month, 3 lucky winners will be randomly chosen to receive a bundle of 3 free on-demand webinars!
    • Winners will be contacted on June 1 via direct message on one of the platforms that they used to post submissions. They will have 48 hours to respond and claim their prize before another winner is chosen.
  • Join their awareness community for ideas and to share your awareness efforts!
  • Share your story on social media using hashtags #apraxiakids and #apraxiaawareness to help spread the word!
  • Change your cover image to our official Apraxia Awareness Month banner!

 

Apraxia Awareness Month Social Media Challenge (2)

 

If your child or a loved one has Childhood Apraxia of Speech and are seeking speech therapy, contact Christine Wilson’s office today!

May Is Better Speech and Hearing Month

What did you say?
Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM) was founded in 1927, by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).
The aim of BHSM is to raise awareness about hearing and speech problems, encouraging people to analyze their own hearing and speech, and to take action if they think there might be a problem. Treatment can then be given to improve the quality of life in people with communication problems.
AHSA offer many resources for this annual BHSM campaign held throughout May. These resources are tailored for both patients, health professionals and members of the public. A section of their website is dedicated to Better Hearing and Speech Month which features personal stories about this month.
Better Hearing and Speech Month also encourages parents to identify possible speech and language problems in their children which can affect a child’s learning and self esteem. BHSM educates people about the signs of hearing loss.
Signs of Hearing Loss Include:
  • Frequently asking people to repeat themselves.
  • Turning an ear in the direction of sound in order to hear it better.
  • Understanding conversation better when you look directly at the person. Seeing their facial expression and lips movements can help a someone understand another better is there is a hearing problem.
  • Being unable to hear all parts of a group conversation.
  • Experiencing pain or ringing in the ears (tinnitus).
  • Listening to the TV or radio at volume levels higher than other people normally listen to.
If any of these signs are displayed, a person can take action by visiting an audiologist for a hearing test. An audiologist is a health professional who specializes in diagnosing and treating people with hearing problems. In most cases hearing loss is treatable. Audiologists can teach their clients to concentrate on listening to certain sounds. Hearing loss can often be overcome using either hearing aids or other assistive learning devices.