Speech-language therapy and Down Syndrome

Happy Down Syndrome Awareness Month!

To honor this month, let’s talk about the language profile of individuals with Down syndrome. While I’m going to speak about language characteristics of people with Down Syndrome, it is important to note that no two people are every alike when it comes to speech and language development. Someone once told me, “If you’ve met one person with Down syndrome, you’ve met one person with Down syndrome,” which is completely powerful and true.

SLPs can support people with Down syndrome in many ways and in many areas. Let’s go!

AAC and Language Production: Research Rumination

When it comes to AAC, many, MANY myths exist (as we found out this week on the Facebook page). By far, the one I hear the most often is that AAC will become a crutch and the person using the AAC system will become reliant on the system and not talk.

This week, I read an article titled “Communication interventions for minimally verbal children with Autism: Sequential multiple assignment randomized trial” by Kasari, Kaiser, Goods, Nietfeld, Mathy, Landa, Murphy, & Almirall (2014). This team decided to investigate what, if any, affect AAC had on a non-verbal kiddo’s language production.

Let’s break it down!

The role of SLPs in ALS care

Given the quick progression of the disease, SLP support needs to happen and it needs to happen immediately. Most people aren’t aware of the role that SLPs play in the care for individuals with ALS, but like with those with other degenerative diseases (like dementia), SLPs can be a huge part of the care team. How so? Let’s talk about it in (very) brief.

In defense of play therapy for late talkers (and for everyone, really)

When it comes to our younger kiddos (and often older ones, too), sitting at a table and skill-drilling them isn’t perhaps the best or most realistic idea. For our late talkers, speech-language therapy is almost always play-based. From the outside, play-based therapy literally looks like the speech-language pathologist just playing with the child. This often times shocks parents- how can you be making any therapeutic gains with a late talker if you’re not “doing” therapy!? 

Rest easy, friends. Play lends itself extremely well to therapy for our littlest clients, and is the much-preferred model of therapy for this age for a number of reasons. 

SLP favorite books round-up

There are a lot of things on Earth that make me happy, but books are in the top 10! As a speech-language pathologist, I’m always looking for ways to incorporate books into practice as well as pointing parents to good books that they can read with their kiddos. I have my own personal favorites, but I thought I’d get the opinion of some other speech experts to see what they have to say. So, friends, I present to you our first SLP Favorite Books Round-Up!

Childhood stuttering and the “waiting” game

Children can go through periods of disfluency, or stuttering, when they’re developing new vocabulary or language skills. This is called developmental stuttering. Thus, many medical professionals, some SLPs included, opt for a “wait and see” approach. It is often recommended that parents monitor their child’s speech for 6 months after they notice suspected stuttering and then seek an evaluation and interventions. I guess I can understand this. I’m a panic-er by nature. Sometimes I need to take a step back and evaluate situations before I act because if I acted on everything I panicked about, I basically would be at my doctor’s office everyday!

But, hm.

So, how do you know if it’s time to seek services for a “true” stutter? For me, there are a few signs of stuttering of which parents should be aware.

So, how do you know if it’s time to seek services? For me, there are a few signs of stuttering of which parents should be aware.

Laryngitis and nodules and polyps! Oh my!: A cautionary tale for my teacher friends

I feel like I talk a lot about vocal hygiene and why it’s important. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to understand why things are important unless one sees the potential outcomes of not doing them. So, my friends, it’s tough love time! It’s time to unveil some of the scary consequences of not having healthy vocal habits, especially as it pertains to teachers.

Chew on this – Dysphagia 101

If you were shocked when I wrote that SLPs help people with their swallowing, you aren’t alone! When I started graduate school, I had no idea that this fell within the realm of speech pathology. So, you’re in good company!

Dysphagia is a very official and fancy term for “swallowing disorder.” The disorder can occur as a result of something going on in the mouth (oral cavity) or in the throat (pharyngeal cavity). It can also occur as a result of something going on in the stomach, but we leave that to the GI doctors (I know nothing about stomachs). Either way, food and liquids are not making their way properly to the stomach. Sometimes it escapes out of the mouth and other times, it escapes into the lungs.

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