No more “wait and see” – Research Rumination

Early interventions are services and supports put in place to help a child, ages birth-3, with developmental delays. These delays could be anything from cognitive to motor to speech, and can involve professionals such as occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech therapists, early interventionists, and other providers from various services depending on what is needed. You’ve probably heard this term once or twice, especially if you have or are close to young children. The theory is that the earlier interventions are put into place for a child with identified needs, the better the results. How do we know this works, though? And why is it so important?

The Importance of Treating Hearing Loss in Older Adults (and how to navigate the process)

Age-related hearing loss is a touchy subject for many. Many times, it forces the individual to come to terms with becoming “older,” which isn’t fun. It also plays into insecurities regarding “being different” or “standing out” because of a hearing aid. Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s time to set these worries aside and start the process of addressing hearing loss.

“Why should I?” you may ask. “Also, aren’t you a speech-language pathologist? Why are you talking about this?” Well, a few things.

Strokes and Communication – Aphasia

Hold on to your hats! We’re doing a crash course in communication-related problems following a stroke!

Following a stroke, a person will experience any number of difficulties and deficits, some more severe than others. Strokes can cause physical, cognitive, behavioral, and communication and swallowing issues. For the sake of time (and for the sake of my readers’ time), I’m going to stick with talking about symptoms related to communication.

Aphasia is a common language disorder that arises following a stroke. Aphasia, in the most basic sense, is an impairment in any and all areas of language - speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Depending on where the injury is in the brain, the amount of damage incurred by the stroke, and a whole host of other factors, symptoms and severity can vary.

Duncan Lake Speech Therapy 5 Favorite Apps for School-Aged Kids

Technology is here to stay, people. While it’s important to maintain some boundaries with technology (see American Academy of Pediatrics technology guidelines for young children and school-aged kids and adolescents), I’d wager that it’s next to impossible to avoid it completely. So, today, let’s lean into it.

There are a handful of apps that I use regularly in therapy, and ones that I frequently recommend to families. Today, I thought I’d share some of them with all of you. Just to be clear - there is NO APP ON THIS PLANET THAT WILL PROMOTE LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT BY ITSELF. Just like with toys, the learning comes from the interaction with language models (AKA adults). Also, some apps are better than others. Good apps include ones that are age-appropriate, foster some sort of learning, and can include multiple people in the use of the app (no solitary play).

These apps pass the test (at least in my opinion)!

Make any toy into a language-development toy!

This time of year, SLPs are often asked about which toys are the best for language development. The magic secret (or the ultimate disappointment?) is that no such toy actually exists. In fact, the language development doesn’t even come from the toy. It comes from the interaction the child has with their playmates! As a result, any toy can become one that can be used to enrich speaking skills when certain strategies are used. While this list is not comprehensive by any means, here are a few ideas you can use during play to give your kiddos a language boost.

Including loved ones with dementia in holiday activities

Research tells us that, when given meaningful activities in which they can participate, individuals with dementia are more cognitively stimulated. Meaningful activities also help to alleviate anxiety and depression, and promote positive social interactions. All of these factors lead to an improved quality of life for the individual with dementia and, as a result, their caregivers.

Hip-hip-hippotherapy, hooray!

One form of animal-assisted therapy that is often cited is hippotherapy. Hippotherapy involves speech, occupational, physical, or behavioral therapy that is based on the movements of a horse (hippo is the Greek word for horse). Hippotherapy isn’t centered on the horse itself, but rather the movement of the horse’s gait. The idea behind the therapy is that by manipulating the horse’s movement, the recipient of the therapy activates their neurological, cognitive, sensory, and motor cortices.

Ear infections and language development: Research Rumination

Raise your hand if you had ear infections when you were little! How many of you had tubes in your ears when you were a kid (or, in the case of one of my recent co-workers, AN ADULT)? Ear infections, or otitis media (OM), are super common. 5 out of 6 kids get one by the time they’re 3. Sometimes, kiddos get them a lot. Like…a lot, a lot.

What is the impact of recurrent ear infections on language development? Well, we’ve got a Research Rumination coming in hot from Australia this week that’s going to tell us all about this. Winskel (2006) wanted to investigate specific language skills and how early, recurrent OM impacted these skills later in childhood in this study. Let’s go!

Concussions are actually a big deal.

Who remembers this scene from what may arguably be one of the best teen movies of the late 90s? Julia Stiles (Kat) slams her head on a light fixture at a party and sustains what Heath Ledger (Patrick) determines is a concussion. Humor ensues.

This is a pretty common portrayal of concussions. While some of it might be true (funny things people say, etc.), what is not discussed nearly enough is the fact that concussions are actually BRAIN INJURIES. REAL BRAIN INJURIES.

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