Thursday, October 27, 2016

Late Talkers

We see many "late talkers" in our speech clinic. The parents often ask about the cause behind late talking and have many questions, so I'm going to write a short blog post on late talking. Late talkers literally means they're starting to talk late. Sometimes it's due to a underlying medical problem and sometimes we don't know the cause. In my experience when we have a late talker with no disabilities, there is usually a trend of late talking in the family. This child may have a sibling, parent, aunt, or uncle who was also a late talker.

I recently listened to a presentation by Dr. Stephen Camarata who specializes in this subject and I'm going to summarize his views on late talking on here. On average words come in around 12 months; although many kids say their first words earlier. We are usually concerned about kids and see them for speech therapy when their first words come in around 16-18 months. By the age of 2, kids typically know at least 100 words and start combining words to form sentences.

Do all late talkers need treatment? Research shows that if you select 100 late talkers at the age of 24 months (if everything else is okay) the majority (50-70%) catch up by 3. Late talking by itself is not a consistent predictor of developmental disability or even long term language ability. Some kids have the language but they’re waiting to activate it; meanwhile some of these kids are focusing on their visual spatial development

Is late talking a symptom of something else? As Speech-Language Pathologists (SLP), this is our job to figure out. Parents should be looking to speak with an SLP if the kid is talking late to make sure there is not a problem that is going to persist. You can ask your pediatrician to refer you to an SLP. The reason behind the late talking could be a communication disorder, an intellectual disability, or autism spectrum disorders.

Communication disorder 
           -Phonological/Speech/Articulation Disorder
-Language Disorder (Expressive and Receptive)
-Social Communication/Pragmatic Disorder

-Intellectual Disability
           -Global slow learning
-Delayed onset of language and slow rates of language acquisition (Many children with Down Syndrome have slow learning along all domains)

-Autism Spectrum Disorder
            -Delayed language
            -Reduced motivation for social communication
            -Repetitive behavior and restricted interests

For more information on speech and language disorders, please visit the ASHA website.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Importance of Joining Your State's Speech and Hearing Association

I just attended my state's annual speech, language, and hearing association's conference last week and my brain is still overflowing with new information and therapy ideas. Sitting through the sessions I attended, I couldn't help but think about the importance of joining your state's speech, language, and hearing association. Just being able to attend your state's annual conference is a reason alone. I was able to attend a variety of presentations given by amazing speakers covering topics that would help me develop and grow as an SLP.  I attended presentations on a variety of topics ranging from childhood apraxia of speech, to AAC, to differentiating auditory and language processing, and collaborative literacy strategies just to name a few. Our field is ever changing so it is important to stay on top of what the most current evidence based practices are. What I loved the most about attending this conference was that I was able to return to work on Monday and implement some of the new strategies I learned right away. Plus if you're a member for your state's association, you don't have to pay for ASHA CEUs and State Clock hours (at least in Washington)!

Now you may be thinking, I am already a member of ASHA so it's not important to join my state's association but that is definitely not the case. Becoming a member of your state's association not only helps to pay for the annual conference which brings in a vast array of presenters but it also helps to pay to have a representative lobbying for current issues regarding SLPs in that state. These issues often have to do with medicaid billing, health insurance, and issues affecting SLPs in schools. 

Joining your state's association also serves as a way to connect with other SLPs in your state. Not only was I was able to reconnect with my previous professors but I was also able to chat with multiple SLPs from districts around the state. I find it informative being able to talk to other SLPs in my state regarding service delivery models, caseloads, and other issues. It is also nice to hear from other SLPs how they like their school districts just in case I ever had to make a move. 

Are you a current member of your state's speech, language, and hearing association? If not, I would highly considering joining. Just attend your state's annual conference to see the many benefits of joining!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Joys of Pediatric Speech Therapy

My passion is working with really young kids and teaching them language. I have had the pleasure of working with birth-5 year olds for the past 9 years and I have witnessed so many great moments in my speech room, office, and preschool class. 

I took a year off being an SLP and stayed home with my baby this past year and I recently started working again in June. I have had so much fun working with kids again. I enjoy working with all of them but my favorite are the 2-5 year olds who are learning how to use language still. They are just so cute. This summer I had the privilege of working with some adorable young kids and I witnessed a 2 year old say some of his first words in my speech room. My heart melted and I was the happiest SLP right there. I looked at the mom and she was teary eyed. Being a mom of two young children myself I constantly put myself in the parents' shoes and share their joy. It is such a blessing being able to help these kids and their families.

No matter how challenging work gets for us SLPs we have those days where our speech kids surprise us and meet their goals or say their first words and at times like this we remember why we chose this field. We give give give and feel so tired sometimes but when those moments happen we truly see the difference we are making in the world around us.

Shout out to all my SLPs out there bringing happy tears to mommies and daddies and helping kids excel to the best of their abilities!!


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

5 ways to praise your students that have nothing to do with achievement

Are you an SLP that gets in a rut of saying "good job" or one that is constantly listening for the right answer so that you can put a + rather than a - down on your data sheet? I know that I am definitely guilty of this. I was inspired by a post I read regarding ways parents can praise their children that don't have to do with achievement. This article definitely struck home with me. 

As SLPs, we are data driven creatures that often forget to look at the achievements our students are making that are beyond the +/- or percentages. It warms my heart to see my students encouraging each other or performing acts of the kindness from the bottom of their hearts. These moments need to be celebrated just as much as meeting their IEP goals in my eyes. Our students deserve to have their spirits lifted and praised for the things they do. Don't we want to praise our students for helping their speech partner, holding a door open for someone passing by, comforting a speech partner who lost at a game, or attempting to try a problem that is difficult for them? Life isn't all about what can be achieved on a piece of paper or a data sheet. These accomplishments are often more meaningful than being able to say they were able to complete x skill ___% of the time. 

I found that when I began to praise my students for their acts of kindness, courage, compassion, and integrity their began to trust me more. Their faces would light up when they realized that I was watching and caring about their actions. 

Here are 5 things you can compliment your students on that may not have anything to do with their IEP goals:

1. Not just trying but never giving up. When they keep trying again and again.
2. When they have the courage to ask for help in a tough situation.
3. When they offer comfort to anyone-- whether that be a speech friend who lost at a game, a friend who got hurt, etc. 
4. When they show compassion and put others first
5. When they accept rejection with grace and dignity

We have to remember that sometimes we are the only people these students have in their corner. Sometimes all they need is one adult to show that they believe in them. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Taking Time for Yourself

You may or may not have noticed my absence from the blogging/social media world for the past couple of months. At first I didn't mean to take a hiatus from the blogging and social media world but then I decided that I needed to conscientiously step back from this world in order to take time for myself. 

As you may or may not have known, a year ago I walked down the aisle and got to marry my best friend. I decided to take this past year to deepen and strengthen our relationship as husband and wife as we started our first year of marriage. Now many people may think that you don't need to take time off to be able to do this but I wanted to be able to give my whole self when spending time together. I didn't want to live behind the screen of a computer or behind the lens of a camera making sure I got the perfect picture for social media. I wanted to be able to fully commit to my husband and build a stronger relationship together when we were together. This past year was a crazy busy year at work and the last thing I wanted to be doing was spending the extra time I did have hiding behind a computer screen.

Don't get me wrong, I love this SLP community and loving sharing/gaining ideas from all these amazing people but the one thing I think we often forget is that we need to take time for ourselves and there is no reason to be ashamed about that. It is so easy to get so wrapped up in social media that we forget to live the life in front of us. Now this just doesn't apply if you have gone through or are going through a significant life event. It is important to take time for yourself regardless!

My advice to new SLPs or those that have just graduated is to always remember to take time for yourself. Don't lose yourself in your work because you'll begin to resent the reason why you started this journey in the first place. The last thing you want to lose is your passion for why you got started in this field in the first place.  

In a field where we spend so much time helping others, we often forget to take time for ourselves to help rejuvenate our minds. It is difficult to help others when you are not your best self. I encourage you to don't let work consume you, as hard as this is. I know the feeling! There are often times when I want to take work home but I know that work will always be there. 

Keep pursuing a long time hobby or start a new one! Doing something you love often, other than work, feeds the mind and the soul allowing yourself to be in the best mental state for work. It is important to take time to nurture your mind and soul whether that be through meditation/yoga, picking up a good book, your favorite sport, or for me crafting. I LOVE crafting and have made an effort to allow myself to feed the creative side of my brain through numerous craft projects this past year. 

What is your favorite way to take time for yourself or relax?

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Time Timer

Today I'm going to talk about one of my favorite items in my speech room. I love my "Time Timer" and my speech kiddos love it too. We use it to keep track of therapy time. The reason why the Time Timer is special is because it provides a great visual for kids and therapists, and it works for kids who can't tell time yet. 

How does it work? Simple use your fingers and move the red part to your desired time. I ask my own kid at home to do quiet time for 40-50 minutes a day. He goes in his room, we set the timer, and he comes out when the red is all gone! SO SIMPLE, even a 3 year old can use it on his own :)

I got mine from Amazon and it makes a beep sound when it gets to 0 so he can see and hear the timer. You can have it on silent or ring. We use this at home every day and I highly recommend it to parents with young kids as well as SLPs working with preschool and school age kids. 

This is not a sponsored post. I just wanted to write a product review because I love using the Time Timer.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Groundhog's Day Freebie

Is winter here to stay or is spring on it's way? I know that many of you on the east coast are probably hoping for some spring weather after the snow storm you got. Though winter has been pretty mild here in the Pacific Northwest, I am hoping to see some spring weather early this year.

With Groundhog's day coming up, use these freebie to talk about vocabulary related to this day and then have your students vote if they think we're in for another 6 weeks of bad winter weather or if nice spring weather will be here soon.

click the image below to download this freebie or click here

Monday, November 16, 2015

My Healthy Meal- Articulation Activity

My son made this awesome project in preschool today and I thought this could be made into a speech therapy activity. You can target so many goals with something so simple. All you need is a paper plate and a bunch of weekly grocery ads. Each kid today at school made a plate with their favorite healthy foods and they called it their healthy meal. We can change this and target different articulation goals. For example you can ask the kids to cut out pictures of all foods that have the letter /s/ or /r/ in them and you can call it my "S Plate" or "R plate." This is an easy and fun way to help children with their articulation goals in speech or at home. You can even send it home for homework. You get the idea! Just use your imagination and put anything on that plate. You can even target food categories. 

And here is a picture of their cute Farmer's Market at school! I just love it.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Birthday Countdown: Day 7-It's My Birthday!!

We've made it to the last day of The Birthday Countdown Giveaway and my birthday is finally here. What better way to celebrate than with a storewide sale (28% off) in TpT store and a great end of the giveaway prize. 

Here's what you can win:
-Plum Paper Teacher Planner
-Erin Condren Teacher Cover
-Hello Coffee reusable coffee tumble
-Holiday Sticker pack-- I love using these for barrier games in my Speech Room and they're my favorite holiday stickers of all time
-Energel Pens-My staple pen of choice which may people try to "accidentally" take because they love writing with it so much

To win today's ultimate prize, you must have entered in each of the prior days' giveaways. I have been keeping track of who has entered and followed the instructions appropriately. You must have also reposted my original post on instagram regarding the giveaway from 10/31. 

For today's question, what was your most memorable birthday and why?

Thank you so much for sharing in this birthday celebration with me. I can't wait to see what this year has to bring. Last year flew by in a whirlwind with having planned a wedding but this year I look forward to enjoying the joys of marriage, friendship, work, and life. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Birthday Countdown: Day 6

Welcome to Day 6 of #thebirthdaycountdowngiveaway! Sorry this post is coming to you a little late. For today's prize, I wanted to share a resource with you that I've talked about countless times. Teachers Pay Teachers is an amazing outlet in which other SLPs, SLPAs, or SLPs to be can share their creative talents. I know when I was first starting out that many of these materials were the only ones I could afford. Even though I'm able to afford some of the more expensive materials out there now, TpT is still my go to because I find that these products are exactly what I was looking to use with my students specifically. Products by fellow SLPs help to fill the gaps that some of the other materials out there have. Plus why not support a fellow SLP.

For today's entry, leave a comment below with what product you would like to see on sale for tomorrow's SLP Monthly Must have sale. If you haven't heard about this sale, definitely check this sale out on TpT tomorrow. SLPs will be putting on product in their store for 50% off just for that day only. I'm deciding to throw an additional sale to celebrate my birthday. So be sure to check out my store tomorrow for 28% EVERYTHING! :)