Monthly Archives: July 2013


The Communication Corner: Summer Road Trip Games!

Summer road trips can be a great bonding time for families and friends. It is a great time to get to know one another on a deeper level. After the first 2-3 hours, the conversation can start to wear thin. Never fear! There are plenty of games to pass the time and foster learning. Here are a few: The Alphabet Game- Starting with letter A, players will call out words beginning with the designated letter. The goal is to reach letter Z. This is an excellent game for increasing print awareness, reading and geography. The License Plate Game- Players form phrases or sentences using the letters on license plates. If the license plate reads ARZ 224, the player forms a phrase or sentence with a word starting with A, a word starting with R, and a word starting with Z. Angela races zebras. This game helps increase sentence/phrase formulation. 20 Questions- One person decides the secret object. Players try to narrow down the mystery object by asking yes/no questions...20 total questions. Players can ask about the function of the object, size, color, etc. This game helps to increase one's deductive reasoning and auditory memory skills. License Plate ID- Players try to identify as many different states they can identify on license plates. This game increases geographical knowledge and visual memory. Have fun this summer, enjoy your road trips, and stay safe! -Pamela Rowe, MA, CCC-SLP

The Communication Corner: Audiobooks Can Stimulate Cognition

As a Speech-Language Pathologist, Caregivers and Parents often ask me, "What can I do to help increase my loved one's/child's cognition skills?" Audiobooks are books recording in audio form. They are a great way to stimulate cognition and increase listening comprehension. Audiobooks are offered in a variety of formats and can be downloaded on various media. Children and adults can benefit from listening to audiobooks. According to Barbara Baskin and Karen Harris, authors of "Heard Any Good Books Lately?", audiobooks can facilitate understanding of dialect and complex language, emphasize humor, drama, and provide the benefits of storytelling. Road trips can be educational as you listen to classic literature and discuss the characters. Restating the plot and portions of the story help to increase one's memory skill, organization skills, and listening comprehension. For an extra challenge, have your loved one predict what will happen next and provide reasons for their prediction. In fact, my children enjoy listening to audiobooks during our Family Vacation Road Trips. To this day, they still recall some of their favorite audiobooks! Most online audiobook companies offer a pay per download option. Some offer a monthly subscription, which may be ideal for continuous stimulation. Although physical books are important for visual organization and development, audiobooks are useful tools for increase cognition, listening comprehension and literacy skills. Heard Any Good Books Lately? The Case for Audiobooks in the Secondary Classroom

The Communication Corner: Articulation Disorders and Delays

Articulation Disorders by Rachel Archambault A Speech Sound Disorder or Delay is a condition in which an individual incorrectly produces speech sounds. It includes problems with phonological processes (sound patterns), as well as articulation (making sounds). Articulation disorders can be diagnosed when errors are made with the tongue, teeth, lips, and jaw. Sounds may be left off, added, changed, or substituted. Many times, this is seen in young children. For example, many children substitute the /w/ sound for /r/ when saying “wabbit” for “rabbit”. Children also leave out sounds as seen in “nana” for “banana”. If these errors continue past a certain age, a Speech-Language Pathologist may be able to determine that a child does have an Articulation Disorder. Parents: If you feel your child isn’t making sounds correctly, you may want to have your child evaluated by a Speech-Language Pathologist. You can also look at to do some investigating yourself. This chart will help you see where children should be at during each age with certain sounds. Otherwise, you can ask your child’s doctor to see if your child is a candidate for speech therapy. If so, they can refer you to a specialist. Don’t get stressed either! Speech sound disorders are very common, especially in younger children. By age 6, children should be able to produce all sounds correctly. The SLP will evaluate your child by listening to them and/or using a formal articulation test. For an Articulation Disorder, the SLP will also look at your child’s mouth to determine whether the muscles of the mouth are working as they should. If the tests and examination does not line up with the child’s ability for their age, the SLP may recommend treatment.

The Communication Corner: Tongue Thrust

Tongue Thrust Disorder by Leela Rao What is Tongue Thrusting? “Tongue thrusting,” also known as the immature or reverse swallow, is formally known as Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder (OMD). It is characterized by the inaccurate placement of the tongue in a child older than the age of five during speech or swallowing. There are various types of bites that are characteristic of tongue thrusters: Anterior Open Bite: child often has his or her mouth open with the tongue protruding beyond the lips. Anterior Thrust: child has extremely prominent upper incisors and lower incisors that are pulled in by the lower lip. Unilateral thrust: child has a bite that is open on both sides Bilateral thrust: child has a bite that is closed in the front but is open on both sides toward the back. Bilateral open bite: child has a bite which is completely open except for the molars, which are the only teeth that touch. Closed bite thrust: child has a bite in which both the upper and lower teeth are spread apart. In a mature swallow, the tongue is placed on the alveolar ridge (the gums behind the front teeth) and moves food backwards with a rolling motion. In an abnormal swallow indicative of tongue thrusting, however, the sides of the tongue push against the front teeth while the front of the tongue pushes upward. This movement causes the tip of the tongue to thrust forward, propelling the food backward into the throat. What are some signs of tongue thrusting? Tongue thrusting is normal in children under the age of six. However, with time this habit should disappear. If your child is over the age of five, odd swallowing habits may be indicative of

The Communication Corner: Executive Function Disorder

Executive Function Disorder                   by  Rachel Archambault In the last decade or so, the terms inattentive, hyperactive, or impulsive have been commonly associated with ADD/ADHD. Until recently, the word “inattentive" was used to describe “the inability to stay on task”, but is now part of a much larger concept, now called Executive Function Disorder (EFD). Executive Function Disorder is essentially when a person has difficulties going through the steps to complete a task. In simpler terms, in order for a task to be done, one must: analyze the task, plan how to address the task, organize the steps to carry out the task, develop timelines for completing the task, adjust or shift steps if needed, and complete the task in a timely matter. A child with EFD may have problems with organization, planning, analyzing, and scheduling in order to complete the tasks. They may also misplace papers, reports, or have trouble keeping their personal items organized. Some other diagnoses that have deficits in executive functions are Autism, Asperger’s, Attention Deficit Disorders, Conduct Disorder, Tourette’s, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and Childhood Schizophrenia. Parents may describe their kids as disorganized or scattered. If a parent gives a direction to their child with EFD, such as, “pick up your toys”, the child will not be able to complete the task. Instead, the parents must tell the child each step in order to get to the goal that will look like, “Pick up your toys, take out the basket, place all the toys inside the basket, and put the basket with the toys back on the shelf”. To diagnose EFD, a Speech Pathologist will have the child demonstrate their executive function skills.