Student Support Services

  • Summer Speech Therapy: Benefits of Practicing Over Break

    Posted by Kate Miller on 6/3/2024 8:00:00 AM

    It is almost that time of year again. The sun is out, the days are getting longer, and we will soon be adjusting to the summer schedule. Families often wonder if they should take a break from speech therapy over the summer so I thought it might be helpful to list a few of the many benefits of continuing speech practice over summer break.

    J: Jumping into summer speech homework and resources can help your child maintain the skills they have learned all year in speech therapy!

    U: Ultimately, carrying over their learned speech and language skills to the home setting will promote generalization and mastery.

    N: Numerous summer speech homework ideas are available in the form of online resources, use of speech folder materials, apps, and games! It could be as simple as “name five things on the beach that have your speech sound.”

    E: Encourage your child to engage in simple and realistic speech and language home practice. It does not have to be complicated, and it can be fun for the whole family to get involved in your child’s summer speech practice.

    Summer speech therapy resources:

    Summer articulation calendars

    Speech and language at home craft/play ideas

    Printable speech and language resources

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  • Supporting Fluency at Home: Strategies for Parents

    Posted by Jake Kavitski, MA, CCC-SLP on 4/22/2024 9:00:00 AM

    Fluency, the smooth and effortless flow of speech, plays a crucial role in effective communication.  For children, developing fluent speech is an essential milestone in their language development journey.  While some children may experience fluency challenges such as stuttering, there are various strategies parents can implement at home to help their child develop fluent speech. In this blog post, we will explore some fluency-enhancing strategies that parents can incorporate into their daily routines.

     

    1. Provide a Relaxed Environment:

    Create a comfortable and relaxed environment for communication at home. Encourage open conversations and active listening without interruptions. Reduce stressors or distractions that may contribute to speech disruptions.

     

    1. Model Slow and Smooth Speech:

    Model slow and smooth speech patterns for your child to imitate. Speak at a relaxed pace, using clear and concise language. Emphasize the importance of taking one's time when speaking and avoiding rushing through sentences.

     

    1. Encourage Turn Taking:

    Engage in conversations that involve turn-taking.  Encourage your child to listen actively and respond thoughtfully. This back-and-forth exchange can help improve confidence in communication.

     

    1. Provide Positive Feedback:

    Offer positive reinforcement and praise when your child demonstrates fluent speech. Focus on their efforts rather than any disfluencies they may experience. Celebrate progress and improvements in their speech fluency.

     

    1. Encourage Relaxation Techniques:

    Teach your child relaxation techniques to manage stress and anxiety (both of which can exacerbate fluency challenges).  Deep breathing exercises, visualization, and mindfulness activities can help promote relaxation and reduce tension during speaking situations.

     

    1. Promote Self-Awareness:

    Encourage your child to be aware of their speech patterns and feelings associated with fluency. Help them recognize when they feel tense or anxious and provide strategies to cope with these feelings constructively.

     

    Remember, every child is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. If you have concerns about your child's fluency or notice persistent disruptions and tension in their speech, don't hesitate to reach out to a speech-language pathologist for guidance. A speech-language evaluation can help identify any underlying issues and provide tailored interventions to support your child's communication and fluency development.

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  • Storybook Recommendations by Sound

    Posted by Erika Keller on 3/19/2024

    Last month, we delved into the many ways reading books with your child can significantly contribute to their development. To maximize the effectiveness of reading sessions with a child experiencing a speech sound disorder, it's advantageous to select storybooks rich in their target speech sound(s). These books offer ample opportunities for the child to accurately hear and/or produce their target sound(s). Below, you'll find recommendations tailored to various speech sounds commonly addressed in speech therapy.

     

    If you're unable to access the suggested books listed below, consider exploring your own book collection. Look for books featuring characters with names containing the target sound (for example, "Luke's Own Ladder") or those containing repetitive phrases incorporating the target sound (for example, "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See?").

     

    K Sound

    “Have You Seen My Cat” by Eric Carle

    “Caps For Sale” by Esphyr Slobodkina

    “May I Please Have A Cookie” by Jennifer Morris

    “Cupcake Surprise!” by Lynn Kertell

    “The Croc Takes the Cake” by Melinda LaRose

    “Cake That Mack Ate” by Rose Robart

     

    G Sound

    “Big Egg” by Molly Coxe

    “Go, Dog. Go!” by P.D. Eastman

    “Good News, Bad News” by Jeff Mack

    “Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown

    “My Gum Is Gone” by Richard Yurcheshen

    “Dig” by Andrea Zimmerman

     

    L Sound

    “Lyle, Lyle Crocodile” by Bernard Waber

    “Library Lion” by Michelle Knudson

    “But I Am An Alligator” by Lauren Child

    “Luke’s Own Ladder” by Su Swallow

    “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch

    “Guess How Much I Love You” by Sam McBratney

    “Llama Llama, Red Pajama” by Anna Dewdney

     

    SH Sound

    “Sheep on a Ship” by Nancy Shaw

    “Sheep in a Shop” by Nancy Shaw

    “Sheep in a Jeep” by Nancy Shaw

    “Shake my Sillies” out by David Allender

    “The Rainbow Fish” by Marcus Phister

    “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” by Dr Seuss

     

    S Sound

    “Silly Sally” by Audrey Wood

    “Sid and Sam” by Nola Buck

    “I See, You Saw” by Nurit Karlin

    “Oh, Cats” by Nola Buck

    “Seaweed Soup” by Stewart J. Murphy

    “Miss Nelson Is Missing” by Harry Allard

     

    S-Blend Sounds

    “Sneezy the Snowman” by Maureen Wright

    “Sticky People” by Tony Johnston

    “The Monster At The End of This Book” by Jon Stone

    “Stop Snoring, Bernard” by Zachariah OHora

    “Storm is Coming!” by Heather Tekavec

    “I Like Stars” by Margaret Wise Brown

     

    R Sound

    “How to Catch a Star” by Oliver Jeffers

    “The Pirate Who Couldn’t Say Arrr” by Angie Neal

    “I Like Stars” by Margaret Wise Brown

    “Rabbit and Robot: The Sleepover” by Cece Bell

    “Rain” by Manya Stojic

    “Do Pirates Take Baths?” by Kathy Tucker

     

    TH Sound

    “Oh, The Thinks You Can Think!” by Dr. Seuss

    “The Tooth Book” by Dr. Seuss

    “How Many Teeth?” by Paul Showers

    “Thank You World” by Alice McGinty

    “Three Little Pigs” by Golden Books

    “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”

     

    While engaging in reading sessions with your child, consider the following strategies:

    • Highlight words with the target sound: Give extra emphasis to words containing their target sound by elongating the sound and saying it slightly louder.
    • Interactive exploration: Playfully identify words featuring their sound or encourage your child to do so if they're able. Be their "speech detective" and count how many such words appear throughout the reading. Can they spot them all?
    • Pre-reading preparation: If your child is a reader, ask them to glance through the book beforehand to identify words with their sound. This preview can heighten their awareness of the frequency of their target sound in the text, prompting them to actively seek it out during reading.
    • Engagement for non-readers: Assign a word or phrase containing their sound for them to fill in when prompted during the reading.
    • Discussion prompts: Pose questions about the book, reminding your child to respond using their new sound (for example, “Can you guess who Brown Bear will see next? Maybe you can tell me with your good 'R' sound").
    • Positive reinforcement: Acknowledge and praise your child when they accurately produce their target sound during the reading session.

     

    Most importantly, have fun with your child and make this shared book reading experience fun and lighthearted. Happy Reading!

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  • Read Across America Week

    Posted by Shannon Nieberle, M.A., CCC-SLP/L on 3/4/2024

    The Read Across America initiative has been led by the National Education Association (NEA) since 1998. The objective of Read Across America Week is to create and celebrate a nation of diverse readers.  Throughout Read Across America week, events and celebrations are often planned in libraries, schools, and communities.

    There are many benefits to reading daily with your child including: supporting cognitive development, developing a bond with your child, fostering imagination and creativity, and cultivating a lifelong love of reading.  Additionally, reading and exploring books with your child is an excellent way to promote your child’s speech and language skills in the home.  

    Consider the following ways you can use books to support your child’s speech and language development:

    Articulation Skills:

    Identify pictures and words containing your child’s target sounds in books. Encourage them to practice!

    Vocabulary Skills:

    Encourage your child point to vocabulary in illustrations and/or have them name items in illustrations.  In addition to discussing the meaning of novel vocabulary in the text, encourage your child to use context clues from the story and their background knowledge to determine the meaning of new/unknown words.

    Describing Skills:

    Have your child describe items in illustrations using attributes such as: CATEGORY (what group does it belong to?), LOCATION (where do you find the items) and FUNCTION (what does the item do/what do we use the item for)?

    Comprehension Skills:

    When reading a story with your child, stop periodically and ask your child “WH” questions about the story (What, Where, Who and When)

    Ask your child higher level questions such as Why? and How? to target making inferences and predictions about what will happen next in the story.

    Sequencing Skills:

    Encourage your child retell the events in the story.  If needed, you can turn back to the beginning of the story to show them pictures to provide visual prompts to assist them with this task.

    Grammar and Syntax Skills:

    Use the illustrations in the story to have your child describe what is happening in the story using complete and grammatically correct sentences.  If needed, provide adult models 

    Pragmatic Language Skills:

    Identify and talk about the character’s feelings.  Use illustrations to talk about the character’s facial expressions and identify emotions.  What could the character be thinking in this picture? 

    Reading together with your child is not only a wonderful bonding experience but also a powerful tool for supporting their speech and language development. By incorporating books into your daily routine, you can help your child improve articulation, expand vocabulary, enhance descriptive skills, strengthen comprehension, and refine grammar and syntax. Additionally, exploring the emotions and perspectives of characters in stories fosters pragmatic language skills, encouraging empathy and social understanding. As we celebrate Read Across America Week and the joy of reading, let's remember the profound impact it can have on our children's communication skills and overall development. Embrace the opportunity to engage with your child through books, nurturing their love for reading and laying the foundation for a lifetime of learning and linguistic growth.

     

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