Veterans Day Speech Activities!

AmericanFlagWow, November already? Where has the year gone? It seems like just the other day we were getting ready to celebrate Memorial Day, now we’re celebrating Veterans Day!

Veterans Day was originally established on November 11th 1919. It was the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and November 11th became a national holiday beginning in 1938.

Check out these awesome (free) speech therapy activities found on Pinterest:

The Seven A’s of Dementia

Brain AgingSeven A’s of dementia

Written by the Alzheimer Society

About Dementia:

Dementia is a word that describes a variety of brain disorders. Symptoms of these disorders include memory loss, confusion, difficulty speaking and understanding, and changes in mood and behaviour. These symptoms may affect how a person can manage at work, in social relationships and in day-to-day activities. Sometimes symptoms of dementia can be caused by conditions that may be treatable, such as depression, thyroid disease, infections or drug interactions. If the symptoms are not treatable and progress over time, they may be due to damage to the nerve cells in the brain.

The Seven A’s:

One way of understanding how dementia affects the brain is to look at the seven A’s of dementia. Each A represents damage to a particular part of the brain. Please keep in mind that someone with dementia may not experience all of the A’s.

  • Anosognosia means that you can no longer recognize that something has changed and that there is something wrong. You might not understand why you have cognitive problems or that you are experiencing any problems at all. Because the part of your brain that helps you reason is damaged, you do not see the changes in your abilities that others may see.
  • Agnosia means you can no longer recognize things through your senses: sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell. You might not be able to sort out what you see or hear. You might have trouble recognizing familiar people. Your safety may be at risk if this part of the brain is affected because you might confuse objects and what they are used for.
  • Aphasia means you lose the ability to use language. This includes the ability to speak, understand, read and write. Although a person may retain the ability to speak for some time, the ability to understand what other people are saying may be affected early in the disease. If you cannot understand what is being said to you, this can lead to misunderstandings between you and those around you. You might find yourself withdrawing from social interactions because you are worried that you will not understand others or that they may not understand you.
  • Apraxia means you have lost the ability to tell your body how to carry out purposeful movement. As well, if you have apraxia, you may also have trouble understanding terms such as back, front, up, down. When this happens, it becomes difficult to do things such as tying shoelaces, doing up buttons and zippers, and any activity involving co-ordination. The ability to move your body according to a certain pattern, such as co-ordinating hand and leg movement, also affects your ability to do specific activities such as driving.
  • Altered perception happens when you misinterpret the information your senses are giving you. For some people, this is a bigger problem in the late afternoon or early evening when light changes. Another important change is the loss of depth perception—the ability to see in three dimensions. It becomes harder to judge how high, deep, long, wide, near or far things are. For example, if the floor and furniture are the same colour, it may be difficult to judge when one is close enough to a chair to try to sit.
  • Amnesia means loss of memory. This is an important loss because most things we do depend on our ability to remember. For example, a person with short-term memory problems loses the ability to remember what was just said. This explains why you might find yourself asking questions over and over again. Earlier in the disease a person’s short-term memory will be affected. As the disease progresses, long-term memories will become harder to retrieve.
  • Apathy is not being able to take initiative. The part of the brain that helps you start to do something, either to carry out an activity or to communicate, is damaged. You might find that you have difficulty beginning activities. You may need someone else to give you cues (hints) to keep you involved in a conversation or a task.

Halloween Speech Activities!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN

Spooky Speech Therapy Activities

Halloween is here, a super fun time of the year! Halloween brings super tasty snacks, cute costumes, and fun activities. Check out these Halloween themed activities you can work on at home with your child:

1. Halloween Worksheet Buddies – Speech is Sweet

These are SO simple to make and can truly be used with any worksheet that you plan on using in October.

First, let’s flip out with Frank!

Frankenstein is paired with an Articulation Flip Books! This would also work perfectly with WH Question Flip Books or October’s Literature Flip Books!

 

How cute is this little witch?! She is paired with Witch’s Articulation Brew! The middle features a booklet of all the /l/ blends pages!

This vampire is paired with Halloween Apraxia! A booklet of CVC words is in the middle!

Lastly, this sweet mummy is paired with Halloween Articulation Gumballs! He’s holding a booklet of /k/ and /g/ words!

 

2. Witch and Frankenstein Finger Pacing Sticks – Speech is Sweet

Pacing sticks are great for all sorts of things such as fluency/stuttering, apraxia, phonological disorders, and more! Some ideas you can work on would include:

1) Fluency kids can work on flexible rate. They can touch each sticker on the pacing stick to help them create a slower and more relaxed pace.
2) Fluency kids can work on pausing and grouping words together.
3) Using pacing sticks with kids who exhibit initial, medial, or final consonant deletion. Each sticker will represent a sound in the word and they have to touch each sticker as they produce each phoneme. These are great, because they help the child build awareness that words consist of multiple phonemes.
4) Super fast talkers. This will help slow them down a little bit and increase their intelligibility.
5) Kids who are working on multisyllabic words will also benefit from using a pacing stick. Each sticker can represent a syllable in a word.

You will need:

1) Green Foam Craft Sticks! Originally going to use popsicle sticks and paint them green, but then saw brightly colored foam sticks at Michael’s! What a time-saver!

There is something similar on Amazon if you don’t have time to pop into a Michael’s. They’re Darice Foam Craft Sticks and you get 125 in a pack!

2) Halloween Stickers! Lots of sticker booklets at Michael’s! You’ll definitely need stickers that will fit on your sticks! You probably could even find some at the Target Dollar Spot!

3) Black pens! These are used to create the squiggly lines on the witch fingers! You know witches have lots of wrinkles on their fingers. Kids will love making the squiggle lines everywhere!

4) Black construction paper. You just cut out little black triangles and glue them at the top of the stick. These are the fingernails!

 

The October Edition features some fun Frankenstein pacing sticks!

 

For these activities and more, visit Scarlett at Speech is Sweet! She’s crazed about Halloween and speech therapy!

 

Checklist for Parents Even if You’re a Skilled Parent

Tampa Bay Times Newspaper in Education

Parent Checklist

Checklist

Are you a using good parenting skills? Answer these questions to see how you’re doing. Do you follow these guidelines anyways, sometimes, or never?

Attendance:

  • I expect my child to go to school every day, be on time and stay the entire day.

Communication:

  • I call the school’s attendance line to report my child’s absence.
  • I attend scheduled conferences.
  • I ask for a conference with the teacher if I have a concern.
  • I inform the teacher of anything that may have an effect on my child’s performance or behavior.
  • I read and act on information sent home about my child’s achievement.
  • I talk with my child and know what he or she is doing and with whom.
  • I talk with my child and help him or her set goals.

Health:

  • I schedule visits to the doctor and dentist.
  • I set a bedtime that let’s my child get nine hours of sleep.
  • I provide healthy meals and snacks.
  • I talk with my child about the dangers of abusing alcohol and drugs.

Interest:

  • I set aside time each day for my child to share with me what he or she has done in school.
  • I review my child’s report card and help him or her set goals for doing better.
  • I read with my child everyday.

Expectations:

  • I set high expectations for my child’s behavior and achievement at school.
  • I expect my child to ask for help when he or she needs it.
  • I expect my child to finish all class and homework assignments.
  • I expect my child to respect others.
  • I expect my child to get a high school diploma.

Volunteerism:

  • I set a good example for my child by helping at my child’s school and in the community.

Encouragement:

  • I praise my child for his or her good behavior and effort.
  • I display my child’s schoolwork on a wall, refrigerator, or bulletin board.

Speech Therapy and Music Therapy

MusicTherapyThe Dos, The Don’ts, and the Why Nots By: Rachel See Smith

Definition of collaboration: “The process of working jointly with others in an intellectual endeavor to bring about change, and it implies shared responsibility” (Hobson, 2006)

As the number of cases of children being identified with communication disorders increases, so does the need for cost effective treatment.  Therefore, many therapists are looking to collaboration and co-treatment as a way to meet this need.  This is evidenced by a recent survey of 695 music therapists, as 44.6% said they collaborate with SLPs (Register, 2002).

What is music therapy?

According to the American Music Therapy Association:

“Music therapy is an evidence-based, allied health profession that uses music interventions to accomplish individualized goals.  Through musical responses, the board-certified therapist assesses emotional well-being, physical health, social functioning, communication abilities, and cognitive skills.  Specifically regarding communication, music therapists are trained to adapt elements of music (e.g. tempo, rhythm, melody, harmony, and texture) to promote effective expressive and receptive communication skills.

Why utilize inter-, trans-, or multi-disciplinary collaboration between music therapy and speech therapy?

  • It benefits the client’s overall well-being
  • It is cost effective
  • Language and music are structurally similar in many ways

5 similarities between music and language*:

  1. Music and Language are universal and specific to humans
  2. Both have pitch, timbre, rhythm, and durational features
  3. Spontaneous speech and spontaneous singing typically develop within infants at approximately the same time.
  4. Music and language have auditory, vocal, and visual uses (both use written systems) and are built on structure and rules.
  5. Distinct forms of music and language exist and vary across cultures

*This is a non-exhaustive list

When You Collaborate with the Other Therapist:

Do:

  • Communicate with one another on how to best address the needs of the client and what music interventions can be used to enhance and support communication areas the SLP is addressing with the client.  Instrument play, singing, and movement to music can be created to address goals such as language acquisition, social-communication skills, language concepts, oral motor skills, breath control, and using targeted phonemes/blends.  Research had found that music techniques promoted increased breath and muscle control (Peters 2000, Cohen, 1994), stimulated vocalization (Staum, 1989), developed receptive and expressive language skills (Miller, 1982), and improved articulation skills (Zoller, 1991).
  • Co-Treat!
  • Collaborate on goal development (find a time that will work for both of you – even if it’s just for 10-15 minutes a week!).  If meeting in person does not seem to work, try other technologies, such as email correspondence, using Skype, or an instant messaging program.  This may work better for both of your schedules.
  • Understand your limits (do not overstep your professional training bounds)
  • Have a clear understanding of the other profession’s scope of practice.  MTs should look at the ASHA scope of practice and SLPs need to be aware of the CBMT scope of practice.  By doing this, the professionals can avoid conflict, confusion, and misunderstandings.
  • Understand each profession’s strengths and areas of training
  • Be flexible!
  • Share information with one another: therapy news articles, ideas, pamphlets, research papers, etc.
  • Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!

Don’t (A.K.A, Possible Barriers to MT and SLP Collaboration):

  • Forget that everyone is busy.  Utilize your collaboration time well – be prepared, organized, and make efficient use of the other therapist’s rare free moment.
  • Get too easily frustrated.  You, or the other therapist, may lack knowledge about the other profession.  If this is the case, do your homework and read up on the other field!
  • Assume that everyone thinks like you.  There may be different professional perspectives and perceptions between the MT and SLP that may weaken collaborative efforts
  • Be offended if some professionals are uncomfortable with the idea of collaboration.  Some are of the opinion that collaboration leads to a blurring of roles in shared treatment
  • Allow yourself to get sucked into professional competition or territorialism

Why Not?:

Let’s make this happen!  MTs and SLPs can benefit from shared knowledge, shared responsibilities, and team support (Abramson & Rosenthal, 1995, Andrews, 1990, Register, 2002, Vachon, 1987).

Be proactive – collaboration can improve the quality of life of your patient!

Dyslexia Month

02e77433The month of October is National Dyslexia Awareness month. Do you or a loved one have Dyslexia? Do you know what Dyslexia exactly is? Check out this article from ASHA to learn more:

What is a language-based learning disability?

Language-based learning disabilities are problems with age-appropriate reading, spelling, and/or writing. This disorder is not about how smart a person is. Most people diagnosed with learning disabilities have average to superior intelligence.

What are some signs or symptoms of a language-based learning disability?

Dyslexia has been used to refer to the specific learning problem of reading. The term language-based learning disability, or just learning disabilities, is better because of the relationship between spoken and written language. Many children with reading problems have spoken language problems.

The child with dyslexia has trouble almost exclusively with the written (or printed) word. The child who has dyslexia as part of a larger language learning disability has trouble with both the spoken and the written word. These problems may include difficulty with the following:

  • Expressing ideas clearly, as if the words needed are on the tip of the tongue but won’t come out. What the child says can be vague and difficult to understand (e.g., using unspecific vocabulary, such as “thing” or “stuff” to replace words that cannot be remembered). Filler words like “um” may be used to take up time while the child tries to remember a word.
  • Learning new vocabulary that the child hears (e.g., taught in lectures/lessons) and/or sees (e.g., in books)
  • Understanding questions and following directions that are heard and/or read
  • Recalling numbers in sequence (e.g., telephone numbers and addresses)
  • Understanding and retaining the details of a story’s plot or a classroom lecture
  • Reading and comprehending material
  • Learning words to songs and rhymes
  • Telling left from right, making it hard to read and write since both skills require this directionality
  • Letters and numbers
  • Learning the alphabet
  • Identifying the sounds that correspond to letters, making learning to read difficult
  • Mixing up the order of letters in words while writing
  • Mixing up the order of numbers that are a part of math calculations
  • Spelling
  • Memorizing the times tables
  • Telling time

How is a language-based learning disability diagnosed?

A speech-language pathologist (SLP) is part of a team consisting of the parents/caregivers and educational professionals (i.e., teacher(s), special educators, psychologist). The SLP will evaluate spoken (speaking and listening) and written (reading and writing) language for children who have been identified by their teachers and parents as having difficulty.

For preschool students, the SLP may do any or all of the following:

  • Gather information about literacy experiences in the home. For example, are there books and other types of reading material around the home? How frequently does the child see family members writing letters, notes, lists, etc.? How often do family members read stories to the child?
  • Observe the child during classroom activities.
  • Evaluate the child’s ability to understand verbal and written directions and to pay attention to written information on the blackboard, daily plans, etc.
  • Look for awareness of print.
  • See if the child recognizes familiar signs and logos.
  • Watch to see if a child holds a book correctly and turns the pages.
  • Determine if the child recognizes and/or writes name.
  • Evaluate whether the child demonstrates pretend writing (writing that resembles letters and numbers).
  • See if the child recognizes and/or writes letters.
  • Have the child tap or clap out the different syllables in words.
  • Evaluate if the child can tell whether two words rhyme or give a list of words that rhyme with a specified word.

For the older child, the SLP may also do any or all of the following:

  • Observe whether the child can read and understand information on handouts and in textbooks.
  • Assess the student’s ability to hear and “play with” sounds in words (phonological awareness skills).
  • Have the child put together syllables and sounds to make a word.
  • See if the child can break up a word into its syllables and/or sounds (e.g., “cat” has one syllable but three sounds c-a-t).
  • Assess the older child’s phonological memory by having him or her repeat strings of words, numbers, letters, and sounds of increasing length.

For all children, the SLP will also provide a complete language evaluation and also look at articulation and executive function.

Executive functioning is the ability to plan, organize, and attend to details (e.g., does he or she plan/organize his or her writing? Is he or she able to keep track of assignments and school materials?).

What treatments are available for people with a language-based learning disability?

The goals of speech and language treatment for the child with a reading problem target the specific aspects of reading and writing that the student is missing. For example, if the student is able to read words but is unable to understand the details of what has been read, comprehension is addressed. If a younger student has difficulty distinguishing the different sounds that make up words, treatment will focus on activities that support growth in this skill area (rhyming, tapping out syllables, etc.).

Individualized programs always relate to the school work. Therefore, materials for treatment are taken from or are directly related to content from classes (e.g., textbooks for reading activities, assigned papers for writing activities, practice of oral reports for English class). The student is taught to apply newly learned language strategies to classroom activities and assignments. To assist the child best, the SLP may work side-by-side with the child in his or her classroom(s).

Intervention with spoken language (speaking and listening) can also be designed to support the development of written language. For example, after listening to a story, the student may be asked to state and write answers to questions. He or she may be asked to give a verbal and then a written summary of the story.

Articulation (pronunciation) needs are also treated in a way that supports written language. For example, if the child is practicing saying words to improve pronunciation of a certain sound, he or she may be asked to read these words from a printed list.

The SLP consults and collaborates with teachers to develop the use of strategies and techniques in the classroom. For example, the SLP may help the teacher modify how new material is presented in lessons to accommodate the child’s comprehension needs. The SLP may also demonstrate what planning strategies the student uses to organize and focus written assignments.

What other organizations have information about a language-based learning disabilities?

This list is not exhaustive, and inclusion does not imply endorsement of the organization or the content of the Web site by ASHA.

What causes a language-based learning disabilities?

Learning disabilities are caused by a difference in brain structure that is present at birth, is often hereditary, and is often related to specific language problems.

Legislation and Advocacy article on language-based learning disabilities

How effective are treatments for language-based learning disabilities?

The SLP consults with both educators and parents to teach and model language activities that promote success. He or she may:

  • Explain the importance of joint book reading and provide demonstration lessons. For example, the SLP may illustrate how to improve students vocabulary skills by having children name items in story pictures and describe the action(s) in these pictures.
  • Model how to sharpen comprehension skills by asking questions related to a story plot and having the child predict what may happen next in the story.
  • Have the child retell a story in his or her own words or act out the story.
  • Teach how to increase the child’s awareness of print in his or her environment (e.g., recognition of frequently encountered signs and logos) and the conventions of print (e.g., how to hold a book or how reading and writing are done from left to right).
  • Demonstrate strategies to teach letters and their corresponding sounds.
  • Show ways that teachers and parents can model literacy activities (e.g., by reading newspapers and magazines, by writing notes and letters, or by making writing materials available for everybody’s use).

Learning problems should be addressed as early as possible. Many children with learning disabilities that are treated later, when language demands are greater, experience lowered self-esteem due to their previous academic frustrations and failures. Learning problems that go untreated can lead to a significant decrease in confidence, school phobia (i.e., not wanting to go to school, not wanting to do homework), and depression.

What does a speech-language pathologist do when working with individuals with a language-based learning disability?

ASHA has developed the following documents that outline the role of the SLP in working with children with learning disabilities and reading and writing problems: