Welcome to the Children's Speech Therapy Corner

Welcome to a Corner filled with Information related to the Speech and Language disorders seen in Children. Information on assessment, intervention strategies, and the latest updates in research. You will also be able to interact with other professionals and parents.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Choosing Books for your Toddlers

By now your toddlers may or may not be past the book nibbling,tearing stage. If they are you can move on gloss paper books. Here are some tips to remember while looking out for new books for your toddler:
  1. Simple subjects that are related to your toddlers world
  2. Make sure there are only a 2 to 3 lines in every page and the illustration as the background.
  3. Include in your search , books containing Rhymes, repeated words, Noisy words(wow! hey! crash! boom! croack!bow wow!) .
  4. Simple and bold graphics.
  5. Have several basic concepts embedded in the book such as colors, numbers, shapes etc...
  6. You don't always have to buy new books. Look out for School fairs where they sell second hand books, keep your eyes and ears open to friends selling their now grown children's books. Use your imagination on where you may get books!
  7. Publishers sometimes indicate on the cover of the book the age level or grade level for which they think that book is most suitable. Don't hesitate to choose a book that may be suggested for someone older than your child.
As someone once quoated,"A book is an unlimited investment in the human mind and spirit. Its selection deserves thoughtful attention".

Friday, April 24, 2009

Early TV Viewing No benefit in cognitive development.

Here is an article from ADVANCE. Even as a SLP I am often tempted to put my son infront of Bob the builder or Little Einstein,or Postman Pat so I can just go on with my work or do some household chores. Sadly,I have overcome my temptation fewer times. We tend to convince ourselves its educational. What I believe and end up practicing are worlds apart. And I know this holds true for many of you. Nevertheless, I hope to reduce my son's TV viewing time to 30 minutes a day. Start early or otherwise they whine and put up a fit when they want to watch something. This can begin from as early as 1.5 years.

Early TV Viewing
No benefit in cognitive development.

TV viewing before age 2 does not improve language and visual motor skills, according to a longitudinal study of infants, ages 0-3, at Children's Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School. The findings reaffirm guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that recommend no television under the age of 2 and suggest that maternal, child and household characteristics are more influential in cognitive development [Pediatrics, 123 (3): e370-75].

"Contrary to marketing claims and some parents' perception that television viewing is beneficial to children's brain development, no evidence of such benefit was found," said lead author Marie Evans Schmidt, PhD, of the Center on Media and Child Health at Children's Hospital.

The study analyzed data of 872 children from Project Viva, a prospective cohort study of mothers and children. Researchers visited mothers and their infants immediately after birth, at 6 months, and at 3 years of age. The mothers completed questionnaires regarding their child's TV viewing habits at ages 1 and 2.

The study is the first to investigate the long-term associations between infant TV viewing from birth to age 2 and both language and visual-motor skills at age 3. Researchers used the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test III (PPVT III) and the Wide-Range Assessment of Visual Motor Abilities (WRAVMA) test. The former measures receptive vocabulary and is correlated with IQ, while the latter assesses for visual motor, visual spatial and fine motor skills.

The researchers controlled for sociodemographic and environmental factors known to contribute to an infants' cognitive development, including household income and the mother's age, education, marital status, parity and postpartum depression, as well as the child's gender, race, birth weight, body mass index and sleep habits. They used linear regression models to equalize the influences of these factors and calculated the independent effects of TV viewing on cognitive development. Once these influences were factored out, associations in the raw data between increased infant TV viewing and poorer cognitive outcomes disappeared.

"TV viewing in itself did not have measurable effects on cognition," noted Dr. Schmidt. "TV viewing is perhaps best viewed as a marker for a host of other environmental and familial influences, which may be detrimental to cognitive development."

While increased TV exposure was found to have no benefit to cognitive development in infants, it was not found to be a detriment either. The overall effects of increased TV viewing time were neutral. However, TV and video content was not measured, only the amount of time children were exposed to it.

While follow-up studies need to be done, the researchers warned parents and pediatricians that the body of research evidence suggests TV viewing for children under age 2 does more harm than good.

"TV exposure in infants has been associated with increased risk of obesity, attention problems and decreased sleep quality," stated pediatrician Michael Rich, MD, MPH, director of the Center on Media and Child Health and contributing author of the study and the current AAP Guidelines. "Parents need to understand that infants and toddlers do not learn or benefit in any way from viewing TV at an early age."

Diploma in Special Education (Autistic Spectrum Disorder)

Here is some information about 'Admission Notification for
Diploma in Special Education - Autism Spectrum Disorder 2009-10'
Diploma in Special Education (Autistic Spectrum Disorder)

Training Course 2009-2010

Admissions are open for Action for Autism (AFA)'s RCI(Rehabilitation Council of India) recognized course in Autism starting July 2009. A premier organization training therapists and teachers to work with individuals with autism and communication handicaps, AFA offers training in one of the most challenging and exciting areas of Special Education. AFA has pioneered teaching strategies based on extensive practical experience and internationally used sound behavioral principles, adapted to Indian condition. As in past years successful candidates receive placements in leading organizations in India.


Energetic and enthusiastic candidates who are creative, logical, intelligent, open to learning and willing to work hard are invited to apply. Graduates in Psychology, Education, Child Development, and Social Work preferred, though others including10+ 2 pass with 50% may also apply. Seats limited. Last date for submission of application is 29 May 2009.

For prospectus, application forms, or further queries contact:

Shikha Bhardwaj, Training Coordinator
National Centre for Autism

Pocket 7 & 8 Jasola Vihar
New Delhi 110025

Tel: 91 11 65347422, 40540991/92

Email: shikha.afa@gmail. com
Website: http://www.autism- india.org

Please mark envelopes 'DSE (ASD) 2009-10'

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Twin Language .....Talking the Same Talk

I was researching my new virtual collegue Mindy Hudon. I haven't met her (virtually) or had spoken to her yet. I was amazed at her achievements and am proud to say...''Hey, I work with her!''. These are yet one of the many advantages of working with Telepractice. Bless TinyEYE's Greg Sutton and Marnee Brick (with whom I work with) for making Telepractice happen. I am enjoying the new games the tech guys have introduced and enjoying figuring its possibilities with my speech therapy kids.

Coming back to Mindy Hudon, I found this article she wrote and not stress more than she has about the importance of language enrichment and importance of reading to toddlers (not to forget and stress more.. during pregnancy and to new borns as well). Enjoy reading her article and benefiting from her insights and experience!

Twin Language: Talking the Same Talk
By Mindy Hudon, M.S., CCC-SLP
When I visit a shopping or grocery store with my twin boys, well-intentioned people often ask, "Do they have their own language?"

"Yes," I say. "English!"
Idioglossia or "twin language" has been the focus of many research studies and has interested the public for years. It was once believed that twins could develop their own language unrecognizable by others. Today, research indicates that twin language is actually one twin modeling the immature or disordered speech pattern of their co-twin, which results in the incorrect use of speech sounds and grammar by both twins. If you've ever heard two children talking with delayed speech and language, you too may think they're talking in a foreign language.

Why do twins have trouble developing sounds and words? Well, research has suggested that twins are at greater risk for speech and language delays because of higher incidence of prematurity, low birth weight or limited individual communication with their parents.

If your twins are demonstrating delayed speech and language skills, then you know what I'm talking about. It's hard enough trying to communicate with twins, but when one or both are experiencing speech delays, your job gets even harder. "We knew at 18 months old that one of our twins' speech wasn't developing like his brother," says Maria Revell of Dallas, Texas, mother of twin boys. "His brother was talking in words and a few sentences. He was still putting words together and labeling things."

What's a Parent to Do?
As parents of twins, it is our role to help reduce their risk by providing a language-rich environment. Parents have a critical role in their twins' speech and language development. "We do everything we can. We let our son lead, find out what he is interested in and try to initiate language that way," says Revell. "These are the most important years, and we are trying to take advantage of that."

There are many things that you can do on a daily basis to encourage your twins' language development. First, you are in the best situation to help your twins. Because there are two children involved, you have a ready-made language group, and your twins always have a great communication partner! Also, they have an invested speech coach you! "Almost everything we do is play," says Revell. "Anything that we use (to encourage language) with one, we use with the other."

As a parent, you're the most important guide to language enrichment. What you say and how you say it will directly impact your twins' development of speech sounds and sentence length. Here are some suggestions:
  • You can never talk enough when you are with your twins. Talk about what you're doing and why you're doing it. Also, talk about everything your twins are doing. If you're pouring a glass of milk say, "Mommy is pouring some milk for you. You are thirsty. Here is your milk." When your twins are drinking the milk say, "Mmm, that milk tastes good. The milk is cold. Oh, you are drinking the cold milk." When you're talking to two children like this all day, you may find yourself sounding like a broken record. Rest assured, your efforts will pay off in the long run. Talking to each of your twins is one of the best ways to encourage language.

  • Avoid using "baby talk." If your twins say a word that is pronounced incorrectly, repeat it back to them the correct way, emphasizing the sounds in the words. Don't expect them to repeat it correcty back to you at that moment. However, praise any attempts they make to say the word. Your job is to provide them with the correct pronunciation of words. If you repeat baby talk, that's what your twins will use. Remember, even though baby talk may sound cute now, it won't when they're 3 or 4 years old.

  • Encourage your twins to talk! If your twins shake an empty cup at you and grunt, hold back the urge to take the cup and fill it. Instead, ask questions to encourage words, "What do you want? Tell Mommy, use your words." In the early stages of language development, it is important to praise any verbal attempts. If your twins say "oo," reinforce their attempt and say "juice." Expand on the word and say "I want juice." If your twins are using words and short sentences, then it is important they use words rather than gestures or grunts to communicate their needs. "Tell Mommy, 'I want juice.'" In the busy life of a parent of multiples, grabbing the cup and filling it is much easier than encouraging language. However, by taking the extra time to encourage language, you're helping your twins learn to be effective communicators and to learn that words are often more important than actions.

  • Take time to sit down on the floor with your twins and play with their toys. Children love to play, and it's a great way to build vocabulary, expand language and teach social communication skills like turn-taking, facial expressions, emotions and greetings. Make the toys come alive! For example, a stuffed teddy bear can walk, sleep, eat, ask for help, feel sad or happy and say "hi" and "bye." It is amazing what a teddy can do! Your twins will love the interaction time with you, and you can encourage so much wonderful language by just using puzzles, stuffed animals or even a ball.
Read, Read, Read

It's never too early to start reading to your twins. Research has indicated that even infants can benefit from being read to. As your twins grow, make reading a daily part of their routine. Finding the time to sit down and read a book after a long day can be difficult. Sometimes it feels easier to tuck them in bed than to take the time to read. I encourage you to spend a few minutes reading a book because the benefits will last your twins a lifetime. Reading to your twins will improve their language, vocabulary, attention and future reading success.

Here are some helpful tips when reading to your twins:
  • When you read to your twins, try to limit distractions with other books or toys.
  • Reading time should be "together time" with Mommy or Daddy and books.
  • Read with animation in your voice to gain their attention.
  • Talk about other pictures in the books that may be unrelated to the actual story.
  • Once your twins are familiar with the books, encourage their participation.
  • Allow them to finish a line in the story or point and name pictures in the book.
  • Ask them to find pictures in the book, and ask questions about the book as you read.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Reading tips for Preschoolers

The importance of reading as early as possible has many benefits and only benefits. I read to my son often pointing to the print and the pictures and making it animated. He aboslutely loves it. Also, when my husband and I read a book separately he also pulls out a book and pretends to read it. He also pulls out some of my books and looks at the script and pretends to be reading aloud.(most of which is baby language). The importance of reading cannot be stressed more and that passion in me to not only let everyone know but do something about it runs high. Start a reading group with parents you know having small children. Read to a group of kids in schools or churches. Get passionate about reading. Read the following tips for preschoolers. More will follow for higher grades.

Read early and read often. The early years are critical to developing a lifelong love of reading. You can't start reading to a child too soon!

  • Read together every day.
    Read to your child every day. Make this a warm and loving time when the two of you can cuddle close together. Bedtime is an especially great time for reading together.

  • Give everything a name.
    You can build comprehension skills early, even with the littlest child. Play games that involve naming or pointing to objects. Say things like, "Where's your nose?" and then, "Where's Mommy's nose?" Or touch your child's nose and say, "What's this?"

  • Say how much you enjoy reading together.
    Tell your child how much you enjoy reading with him or her. Look forward to this time you spend together. Talk about "story time" as the favorite part of your day.

  • Read with fun in your voice.
    Read to your child with humor and expression. Use different voices for different characters. Ham it up!

  • Know when to stop.
    If your child loses interest or has trouble paying attention, just put the book away for a while. Don't continue reading if your child is not enjoying it.

  • Be interactive.
    Engage your child so he or she will actively listen to a story. Discuss what's happening, point out things on the page, and answer your child's questions. Ask questions of your own and listen to your child's responses.

  • Read it again and again and again.
    Your child will probably want to hear a favorite story over and over. Go ahead and read the same book for the 100th time! Research suggests that repeated readings help children develop language skills.

  • Talk about writing, too.
    Draw your child's attention to the way writing works. When looking at a book together, point out how we read from left to right and how words are separated by spaces.

  • Point out print everywhere.
    Talk about the written words you see in the world around you and respond with interest to your child's questions about words. Ask him or her to find a new word every time you go on an outing.

  • Get your child evaluated if you suspect a problem.
    Please be sure to see your child's pediatrician or teacher as soon as possible if you have concerns about his or her language development, hearing, or sight.