Thursday, January 5, 2012

Down Syndrome

In reading the news and other articles, I came across this blog post. It is written by a man who has a son with Down Syndrome. I know this is a group of individuals who frequently will be seen by SLP's. And this article talks about a positive trend for these individuals.
Here is the blog post, but I will also copy/paste a few highlights.
    "If you were browsing through this week’s Target ad you may have passed right over the adorable little boy in the bright orange shirt smiling at you on page 9!  And if so, I’m glad!

     This wasn’t a “Special Clothing For Special People” catalog.  There wasn’t a call out somewhere on the page proudly proclaiming that “Target’s proud to feature a model with Down syndrome in this week’s ad!”  And they didn’t even ask him to model a shirt with the phrase, “We aren't all angels” printed on the front.
     In other words, they didn’t make a big deal out of it.  I like that."
He goes on to include 5 things Target said by not saying anything. It's a good read, recommended to everyone! I hope you take the time to read the whole article.

On the National Down Syndrome Society website, they have a section on Speech & Language Therapy. It is here. This includes the language characteristics of children and adolescents with Down syndrome, speech characteristics of the same, and what a speech-language pathologist can do.  This last section includes, "A speech-language pathologist (SLP) can provide evaluation and treatment for the speech and language difficulties experienced by children and adolescents with Down syndrome. They can help develop a comprehensive treatment plan to address all of the areas in which the child may be experiencing difficulty, including receptive and expressive language, semantics (vocabulary), syntax (grammar), pragmatics (uses of language, social and conversational skills) classroom language skills, speech, oral motor planning and oral motor strengthening. SLPs can work with families and teachers to design and implement an effective, school, home and community program to help children develop effective communication skills." The article continues with which skills are necessary for school and what parents can do to help. It is a great resource for parents and SLP's alike. Bookmark this site for future use!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy Holidays and more.

I hope everyone has had Happy Holidays, including a great start to a new year!

I have just submitted one application and am hard at work on the rest. I'm really hoping to get in to graduate school for speech pathology for the fall.  I have made a list of my top choices and am excited about the prospect of moving. A large part of me would like to stay. I'm comfortable. But there is always adventure in moving!

In about five days, I'll be starting my very last class for my bachelors. It is called Basic Audiology. The course description is: Study of pure tone audiometry, including clinical masking, speech audiometry, and clinical immittance measures. Laboratory exercises are required. This is going to be fun!

In browsing online, I came across this article: I've posted some of it here:

Could your child have a problem? And if so, what should you do?
It's wise to intervene quickly. An evaluation by a certified speech-language pathologist can help determine if your child is having difficulties. Speech-language therapy is the treatment for most kids with speech and/or language disorders.

Speech Disorders and Language Disorders

A speech disorder refers to a problem with the actual production of sounds, whereas a language disorder refers to a difficulty understanding or putting words together to communicate ideas.
Speech disorders include:
  • Articulation disorders: difficulties producing sounds in syllables or saying words incorrectly to the point that listeners can't understand what's being said.
  • Fluency disorders: problems such as stuttering, in which the flow of speech is interrupted by abnormal stoppages, repetitions (st-st-stuttering), or prolonging sounds and syllables (ssssstuttering).
  • Resonance or voice disorders: problems with the pitch, volume, or quality of the voice that distract listeners from what's being said. These types of disorders may also cause pain or discomfort for a child when speaking.
  • Dysphagia/oral feeding disorders: these include difficulties with drooling, eating, and swallowing.
Language disorders can be either receptive or expressive:
  • Receptive disorders: difficulties understanding or processing language.
  • Expressive disorders: difficulty putting words together, limited vocabulary, or inability to use language in a socially appropriate way.

I hope this helps someone who has questions.

I also saw this video about:
This woman who gains her voice back after 30 years. See what a gift our profession can be. (This video is not of an SLP, but I imagine she has had therapy after her surgery).

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Play Therapy

In grading some papers today, I came across one where the student was baffled at the fact that an SLP would allow a child 'play breaks' between test sets.  I believe that play can be very constructive.  For this specific example, speech assessments can be long and taxing. Most children (especially pre-school age) NEED a break. They are not accustomed to sitting for long periods of time.  A one or two minute play break is plenty and helps them perform better/more accurately and they are happier.

Play therapy is one of the best ways to engage children in "work." They will be learning and growing and progressing while having fun.  Drill is the most effective therapy, but if a child gets drilled to the point that they do not want to attend therapy, they will do worse.  A good mix of drill and play is best!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Versatile Blogger Award

Thanks to Joshua for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award.
The rules in accepting this award: Thank the person who nominated you. Tell 7 things about yourself so that your readers may learn more about you and nominate 7 other newly discovered bloggers and let them know you nominated them.

1. I am in school full time. Senior year! yay!
2. I am a wife. And mother of four beautiful, wonderful children, two boys, two girls.
3. Growing up I moved three times, in the same town. Married, I have moved 15 times, in three different states.
4. I am the third child out of nine.
5. I am terrified of water and still can't swim. (Even movies with the ocean get my heart racing)
6. I was the Salutatorian (Ranked 2nd) at my high school graduation.
7. My mother passed away from Pancreatic Cancer in 2005. November is National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness month.

7 Versatile Bloggers

1. Domestic Ventures! - this is my sister's blog.  She is SO creative and makes the cutest stuff. This is what I do on my downtime...craft!

2. If Only I had Super Powers - An SLP's blog that I have read and gained great tips from.

3. Play on Words - Great tips for play speech therapy. It doesn't have to all be drill.

4. Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits - A teacher with fun tips that can be used in any classroom.

5. Speech Lady Liz - A great place for speech games and homework.

6. Free Language Stuff - Every SLP needs help with ideas, and who doesn't love free!

7. Mommy Speech Therapy - A great resource when you have questions and get help. Also, the best therapy for kids is in the home!

There are SO many resources out there. I LOVE the internet and the ease with which we can share ideas and tips and games and frustrations.  There are many more out there!  

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


There are "rules" to communication. Here are some as addressed in one of my classes.

Tacitly agree to share one another's interests.  We commit our mental resources to attending to our communication partner's message, and respond to the message in a way that furthers the discussion.

Ensure that no single person does all of the talking. We do not dominate the conversation with our own talking, and we don not expect our communication partners to bear the onus of continuing the conversation alone. We share speaking turns.

Participate in choosing what to talk about, and participate in developing the topic. Typically, there is not a "chief" who leads the conversation , and who alone decides what is talked about and how that subject is developed. Rather, all participants play a role, at some point or other, in deciding what is talked about and in shaping the direction in which the discussion progresses.

Take turns in an orderly fashion. Everyone should have a chance to contribute to the conversation, and to end a contribution before someone else begins their speaking turn. This means that interruptions do not occur too often.

Try to be relevant to the topic of conversation. If a conversation is centered on automobiles and someone abruptly begins to talk about a recipe for cornbread, that individual has violated an implicit rule of conversation by not being relevant to the discussion.

Provide enough information to convey a message without being verbose. In a conversation, we expect our communication partners to deliver their message in a fairly succinct way, and in a manner that maintains our interest in listening.

Have you ever tried to carry on a conversation with someone who does not "follow" the rules? Tell me about your experience.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Noble Calling of being an SLP

I was approached about doing a guest post.  After reading his submission, I am excited to have you read 10 reasons SLP is a noble calling.  But just as a disclaimer, I do not promote any particular college or institution.  There are pros and cons to all schools. Some have more pros, others more cons. You need to do your own research on a good college for your degree.

10 Reasons SLP is a Noble Calling
--Philip J Reed, on behalf of Westwood College

Few careers are more rewarding or personally fulfilling than those that deal directly with helping
others. And of those, SLP (speech-language pathology, also known as logopaedics) may be
even more rewarding than most.

Why? Well, read on, because we’ve compiled a list of 10 reasons SLP is a noble calling, and we
know that you’ll not only agree, but that you’ll be able to add at least another 10 of your own.

1) Helping Children
A very large number of SLP patients are children. Those young patients need assistance with
understanding, processing and reacting to the world around them, and the sooner they get that
assistance – and receive an accurate diagnosis – the better.

2) Helping Others
It’s not just children that need SLP TLC though! Speech-language pathologists help people of
all ages, of all backgrounds, and with all sorts of different needs. The variety of patients you will
encounter is limitless, and for every one of them, you can improve their quality of life in a very real
and tangible way.

3) Giving the Gift of Communication
What’s one of the best gifts you can think of? It’s difficult to conceive of a gift more valuable to
any human being than the gift of communication. Most of us were given that gift more or less by
default when we were born, but not everybody is that lucky. Speech-language pathologists work
with those who have difficulty communicating effectively with others, and that’s a gift of greater
value than one might realize. The best part is that it often comes packaged with the additional
gifts of higher self-esteem, increased happiness, and greater confidence.

4) Staying Engaged
Few careers will keep you as engaged in what you’re doing as SLP. Your patients are all
individuals with different desires, aspirations, and things to communicate to the world, and every
single one of them – and every session that you have with them – will be a unique experience of
its own. It requires the ability to think on your feet as well as the gift of creativity when it comes to
crafting lessons and exercises – often on the fly – to help your patients overcome their difficulties.

5) Putting Your Education to Use
Certainly you’ve heard friends and family speak about the work they do, and how it often does
not match up with the classes they took or even the degrees that they hold. Sometimes that
schooling can seem like something of a waste. With SLP, however, you can be sure that all of
your training will be put to good use…and then some! Your classes, your certification and your
medical assisting training can all come together to form the important groundwork for the job that
you do. It won’t be enough on its own to prepare you for everything – nothing can prepare you for
everything after all – but you’ll be glad you have it all the same!

6) Touching Lives
The younger your patient the more obvious this might be, but no matter how young or old they
may be, you are touching their lives in very important ways. You are shaping the way they
communicate their feelings, emotions and needs to those that they love, and your hard work will
be validated by every word that they were previously unable to speak, and every thought that
they previously had difficulty expressing. That’s a big responsibility, but it’s also a reward like no

7) Changing the World
And, of course, as you touch these lives you also, in a very literal sense, change the world. Your
patients live complete and full lives of their own, and they touch other lives themselves. Every
day they leave their mark upon the world, and it’s a mark shaped by the hard work that you did
with them. The effects of your work will be vaster, wider and longer-lived than you might expect,
and that’s something to be very proud of.

8) Becoming a Better Parent
By working so closely with those who struggle to communicate, for such a wide variety of
reasons, you will gain insight into how communication works in general, and how people express
what they want, need, and feel. This can – and almost certainly will – make you a better parent
(or even spouse) in this regard. By being more acutely aware of what your children are trying to
say, as opposed to what they are actually saying or not saying, you will be better able to provide
for them, and that’s a skill you can’t put a price tag on.

9) You Do it Because You Love It
Speech-language pathologists are a distinctive breed. You won’t meet many of them, or possibly
even any of them, who do it for the money. SLP is a labor of love, and those who decide upon
it as a career path do it knowing full well that they will not be famous for it…but they may well be
loved. Which brings us to…

10) You Will Always Be Remembered
Those that you touch will never forget you. Their lives will change for the better, specifically
because of the work that you did with them, the gift of communication that you helped them to
develop, and the confidence that you gave them just by helping them overcome the difficulties
that they have. Speech-language pathologists don’t have patients; they have legacies. It’s a
noble calling, and one beyond reward.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hearing aid - personal story (not mine)

For one of my assignments I was asked to interview people who wear hearing aids.  I was able to interview a 54 year old lady.  Here is her story:

Ruth grew up like any other hearing child. When she was nine years old, she was bumped by a car.  She was crossing the road and a car came to a screeching halt just past her.  It bumped her to her knees.  As far as she knew, her only injury was scraped up knees.  She began having a gradual hearing loss, to the point, six months later, she was deaf. She was placed in the hard of hearing class in elementary school. In the 60's it was taboo to teach a child who was hard of hearing sign language, especially one who already had oral language.  So she was taught lip reading and oral speech therapy to keep her speech skills.  She rode the bus with kids who were deaf. But because she was not taught sign, she would just enviously watch.  She wanted to know what they were saying.  When she was a teenager, she went to a summer camp where she learned more sign and gained friends who were deaf who helped teach her sign language.

Ruth's favorite job was working for a Deaf Agency.  Her job was to teach late deafened adults the tools out there for them.  To show them the different hearing aids and assistive technologies available.  To teach them assertiveness, to speak up and not withdraw. To help them know that they were still a person and important.

With her hearing aids, Ruth has 50% or more hearing.  She said that without her hearing aids she becomes drowsy and withdrawn. She is completely disinterested in the world around her.  She becomes a different person.  Everyone she loves is hearing, she is so grateful for modern technology to be able to communicate and hear and understand all those she loves.

Ruth married a man who is hearing.  All of her children are hearing.  One of her daughters married a man who is hard of hearing.  This same daughter is an ASL interpreter for a child who is now in junior high. (She worked with the same child since elementary school.) What I find fascinating is the fact that this couple signed with their kids from birth and they began signing around 9 mos. of age! I think all babies should learn sign, so they can communicate so much earlier than oral speech.

Ruth wears a behind the ear hearing aid (they are the strongest available to her). She has been wearing hearing aids for 45 years.  10 years ago she switched to digital hearing aids instead of analog.  Her only complaint is that music sounds different.  Not a good different.  Speech is so much clearer and as much as she loves music, she'll take the decrease in music enjoyment to be able to hear clearer speech.  When using assistive technology, if there is a choice between ASL and CC (closed captioning) Ruth prefers CC.  She says, "after all, English is my first language."  (ASL is it's own language, with it's own sentence structures. It is not English in sign)