WordPress has a prompt a day! This is it for today!
You’re embarking on a yearlong round-the-world adventure, and can take only one small object with you to remind you of home. What do you bring along for the trip?
What would you want?! Initially I’d say a picture of my family because after all, they are home. But after further consideration Id say my iPad! Then I could have multiple pictures, games, and tons of other cool things!
As I continued to think about this I’m faced with the daunting reality that our children would have said iPad first. You see, our children are addicted to screens! Televisions, iPads, phones… They all teach, babysit and let’s face it, give us time to get done all the things we parents need or shall I say want to do.
Did you know the Academy of American Pediatrics recommends no screens until after age 2! check out this article on guidelines for media use. Screens are also increasing our children’s inability to sit still. Listen. Stay focused.
Three suggestions for families as we navigate through using and allowing media in our homes:
Model Self Control Make sure you take time to put the phone, remote & iPad down to actually interact with your family members!
No screens before age 2 young brains are actively being wired most during this age span. As convenient as screens are to you, your child is creating a complex neuro map with synapses and connections that last the rest of their lives. The brain is being molded by the use of screens in a negative way as it relates to attention and focus abilities.
Limit Screen time to 2 hours a day after age 2 create a plan for tv and iPad usage. Let that sink in folks! Not 2 hours of iPad time, two hours of total screen time!! That means parents if you know you’ll need a little help from a screen later in the day, you’ll have to find alternative engagement for your toddler in the morning. A token, could be a bottle top or a poker chip, system where they are given time for tv and iPad but once they spend their morning tokens, no more until afternoon. You may also need to use a timer so they hear and have an auditory cue that iPad time is over. Be consistent and they’ll begin to learn their are lots of fun things to do other than screens!
Just last week our own Tonya Hayes had the wonderful opportunity to be interviewed by Sara Bingham of Wee Hands! Wee Hands is Canadian based organization who exists to encourage communication in young children through sign language. Sara has a team of faculty who host and train professionals and parents alike in sign language and it’s benefits to young children.
Wee Hands also seeks to educate families and professionals who are not in the Canadian borders but are navigating I chartered waters as they live and love on their little ones who have a disability. While Sara enjoys writing a weekly blog, she also hosts a weekly Blog Talk Radio Podcast! Through social media and other relationships, Wee Hands chooses parents and professionals to interview to discuss their unique jobs and passions on air.
Our own Speech Language Assistant, Tonya Hayes, was interviewed last week and if you take a few minutes to listen you can’t help but see why we are so fortunate to have a seasoned mom who is passionate about seeing children and families make progress. Click on the link below to listen:
We hope you smiled and laughed along with us as we listened. Tonya’s heart is for each of the families she is entrusted with and we at Sprout Pediatrics hope you’ll be encouraged and inspired as you work with your therapy team.
True Stuttering or Developmental Stuttering?
As Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist’s we are often met by frightful parents, grandparents and even Early Interventionist who fear a young one is stuttering! Just to be clear, stuttering or disfluency could be a repetition of a word or phrase such as “I-I-I wanna go. or “I wanna-I wanna-I wanna go.” to a prolongation “IIIIIIIIII wanna go.” or a block where a person opens their mouth to speak and and nothing comes out. Sometimes facial grimaces or body movements are associated with stammering. This is not new! Some rather famous people are also known stutterers! Take for example Marilyn Monroe, who sang with a raspy voice, this was a technique she developed to help her maintain fluent speech. John Stossel, a noted Fox News Journalist, has done several in depth stories on stuttering and manages his stuttering well enough to host a weekly show on air! Believe it or not Joe Biden overcame the embarrassment of stuttering as a child.
Okay but what about children who stutter? When as a parent you hear your young child struggle to get our a word or a thought, it’s painstakingly difficult and we just want it to stop! We often times, well meaningfully say, “STOP! Think about what you want to say then tell mommy.” When is all actuality it’s frustrating and puts them under further stress to perform. So how can we as parents know if our child is going through what’s known as developmental stuttering or if they are truly developing a stuttering problem? Here are 5 Facts about developmental stuttering you need to know and keep in the forefront of your mind if your child begins to be disfluent.
Fact 1: Most children between the ages of 2 1/2 and 4 1/2 go through a language explosion. During this time they are gaining understanding of words and using more words than ever before. Because of this language explosion, their ability to talk can not keep up with their brain! Then it happens. They stammer and repeat words or phrases over and over and they are not even aware of what they are doing. As parents we want to say it for them or their siblings try and rescue them by telling us what they are trying to say. This sibling interruption again only adds to their stress and frustration.
Fact 2: Most developmental stuttering only lasts between 3-6 months sometimes even less! If your child is experiencing repetitions or prolongations, make a note of when you began to notice them experiencing trouble. Then move 3 months forward in your calendar and write your self a note “Still Stuttering?” and then move to 6 months forward in your calendar and write yourself another note. If you hit these milestones and the stuttering is still present or your child began stuttering after they turned 4, seek professional help from your pediatrician or a licensed Speech Language Pathologist.
Fact 3: Developmental stuttering is almost always worse when the child is tired, excited, upset or being rushed to speak. When a child is stressed or pressured, their anxiety goes up and more disfluencies will occur. Try and have time set aside daily in which your child can talk to you uninterrupted by the phone or siblings. Use this time to read to them so they hear you model slow easy speech. Try to evaluate your families schedule and look at what could be eliminated for a season to give them time to mature through the developmental stuttering. You possibly could allow your spouse to attend an older siblings game and stay home and have a calm evening with the child experiencing developmental stuttering.
Fact 4: A child with developmental stuttering typically does not have another speech disorder or a family history of stuttering. If your child has another speech and language disorder, such as a phonological disorder or Apraxia, make sure you don’t delay sharing the disfluency your child is experiencing with his/her Speech Language Pathologist. If you child is not being seen or is being seen infrequently, call your pediatrician to ask for a referral to a speech language pathologist who specializes in stuttering. The Stuttering Foundation has a chart that is useful in determining the risk factors of children developing true stuttering. Click here to see the chart.
Fact 5: A child with developmental stuttering will independently grow out of this phase and not need speech therapy. If a child is truly experiencing an explosion of language development, they will grow out of it generally by 6 months. Some boys may stutter a little longer to 9 months but it is rare. Document on a family calendar when you noticed the onset and wait for a few months to see if you begin noticing them do it less or if it’s increasing. If it is increasing, talk to your pediatrician or a friend who may know a speech language pathologist that could give you some direction as to what your next steps should include. Different states have different laws about how they are served and when to hire a private therapist, so ask around.
Finally, you may want to print the handout below and post the cards around the house to help remind you of some easy things to do to help your child through this developmental phase.
If you are a parent or professional working with typically developing young children or children who are challenged, you have probably been introduced to the notion of using sign language with them. As a pediatric team of professionals, we find sign language to be the one of the most exciting skills children learn and grow from using. We use sign language with our late talkers, our children who have signs of Childhood Apraxia of Speech, Down Syndrome, Autism, and many other developmental and genetic disorders. Here are some do’s and don’t of using sign language with young children.
Do introduce sign language as a way to give them a way to communicate their wants and needs. Some of the first signs we teach are milk, cracker, more and cookie! We find both the Wee Hands Online Dictionary and the Lifeprint websites to be invaluable! If a client is frustrated or expressing an extreme desire for a given object, we can quickly plug in the word and see a picture or video of the sign. While the Wee Hands Dictionary is good for the most useful toddler and children’s signs, some of our children might love grapes and this sign hasn’t quite made it to the dictionary and the Lifeprint dictionary is more exhaustive.
Don’t teach words that aren’t useful or don’t mean anything to them. If you are interested in learning specific words from a local professional here in the Midlands of South Carolina, we recommend the Signing Time Instructor – Jill Eversmann. Click this link to learn more about the classes she offers!
Do hand over hand demonstrate how to sign a word. Take their hands and do it with them and then stand in front of them and sign it again so they can see you doing the sign. It might take you doing it with them 7-10 times before you see them attempt to do it but then again, if it’s a highly motivating food, we have seen boys sign “candy or cookie” after one demonstration!
Don’t think they won’t sign if you have been trying for several months and not getting any results. Toddler’s need to be sitting up independently and be able to bring hands to mid-line to do many signs, so if you begin before these motor skills are possible, you may frustrate yourself.
Do clap and praise them as they begin imitating and using the signs spontaneously! When toddlers begin using signs spontaneously, care givers and parents can begin expanding their vocabulary to words like: stop, mine, please, thank you and night night! These powerful words give them a voice in their day to day lives and parents often report seeing their toddlers less frustrated. If they do continue to pitch a fit or whine, encourage them to use their words. Model the sign for what they want and make them sign so they can begin to see the usefulness. If you had a typically developing 3 year old, you would not allow them to cry and whine but would expect them to talk to you. Expect no less from a child who can sign, just adjust the talking to signing.
Don’t put them on display and have them perform for grandparents and friends. Allow them to show what they know as they request and use it naturally.
Do verbally say the word you are signing and expecting your baby to sign. As your baby begins to sign more and more and develop a vocabulary of 15-20 words, you will begin to hear some verbal approximations for the words they use most often or hear most often. They may say “muh” for more or “bah” for ball. Some later word approximations might include “op” for stop, “peas” for please and “tan too” for thank you! One of the common questions we get is “Will they ever talk if we teach them signs?” Absolutely! Sign language is just a visual and kinesthetic way to help facilitate your baby’s language skills. Teaching your baby to sign won’t keep them from talking any more than teaching them to crawl will keep them from walking!
Don’t discourage signing or verbal approximations! Toddler’s and young children often do not have the motor skills to precisely sign or say words, but accept their effort and know that they will get better and more articulate.
Take a look at this video and watch this two year old girl with Down Syndrome show you all the signs she knows on command! It’s difficult to hear but she signs grapes, please, milk and stop!
A few other useful signs we encourage through therapy are: help, open, close, book, on, in, dog, bird and music!
From parks to grocery stores,these little faces are everywhere! With 1 in every 691 babies in the United States born with Down Syndrome, chances are you come in contact with a person with Down Syndrome. As more research is done, this 400,000 plus population is becoming more self sufficient and we are learning their possibilities are endless! So as a parent, how do you help your baby with Down Syndrome have a chance to excel and use all of their potential? We recently had the opportunity to shadow one of our very own at the Palmetto Health Down Syndrome Clinic – Columbia.
While you may be referred by your physician to the clinic, it is important to know every child with Down Syndrome should receive three very important evaluations as soon as possible. If your community does not have a clinic like the one described here, you can create your own team of therapists and gain the information critical for not only optimizing your baby’s development, but maintaining necessary reflexes and skills.
This clinic is set up in a round robin fashion. Each family has an opportunity with each specialist and every 20 minutes rotate to another until each family has had an opportunity to meet with each specialist for an evaluation and specific recommendations for further tests and therapy plans are created. On this particular day, our client was happy and oh so spunky! Here’s Steven, 2 years old, waiting his turn to meet with the Geneticist from Greenwood Genetics Clinic. Steven and his family met Dr. E.J. Prijoles and were able to ask any question they had about Down Syndrome. Gathering information from knowledgeable professionals about development and issues related to this particular population is empowering. Since this was their second time, basic information was not necessary, but they were able to ask about current research and find out of any findings were relevant to Steven.
Second, Steven went to be evaluated by the Occupational Therapist, of Rehabilitative Care Center. The OT’s generally watch the child play with small toys and evaluate their fine motor skills as well as how well they sit up and use their upper body. They may refer you to have an occupational evaluation or a sensory evaluation. Each of these areas are very important to your baby using their hands and trunk appropriately so they begin to play with toys and puzzles and later have the muscle strength to self-feed and eventually to write! Steven already has an Occupational Therapist but mom was interested to hear what they thought of his Sensory Integration and what they would recommend additionally in this area. Both of the OT’s confirmed he seemed to have sensory aversions to soft items, and because of his low tone probably would benefit from deep pressure for ultimate proprioceptive input. (The body’s ability to know where it is in space.) A sensory motor screening can be done, but they confirmed an ongoing relationship with an OT who is trained in this area is best as they are always doing diagnostic assessments through therapy sessions. OT’s are able to make better recommendations and work with the team assembled for your child.
Next Steven headed over to meet Ms. Bethany Clark, the Physical Therapist with Rehabilitative Care Center. Bethany is young but passionate about helping families with children who are challenged. She quickly got busy evaluating Steven’s skills to determine why he isn’t doing more crawling and walking yet. His Physical therapist has been seeing him two times a week and he has had steady progress, but before one years of age, enjoyed taking it all in and was not very actively engaged motor wise. After looking at Steven’s skills and how he ambulates, Bethany recommended some type of trunk support system. A Thera Tog or a Spio suit is designed to give support, stability and tactile stimulation for children who need a little boost in this area. These suits are available online or locally at Brace & Boot. It is our hope that with this type of steady input and stability, Physical Therapy will be more productive and Steven will begin to crawl and walk more and more over the next 6 months. It is important to note that many toddlers with Down Syndrome learn to walk without a product of this kind. Even still, other children who have had access to these suits have not seen any benefit through them. Therefore it is important that the team continue to work to explore every possible strategy to encourage physical skills.
Finally, the last therapist to evaluate Steven was Ms. Mandi Madden who is a Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist with Rehabilitative Care Center. Mandi specializes in feeding disorders and is a wealth of information for therapists like ourselves. It is important that you seek an evaluation as early as possible by a SLP who specializes in feeding and oral motor skills if you have a baby who has Down Syndrome. There are many reflexes and skills a qualified therapist can identify and help you maintain as they continue to grow and develop that first year. While babies are not the same, the low tone, tongue protrusion, GI issues are common with toddlers who have Down Syndrome. Steven has had several swallow studies that determined he aspirates on liquids and has reflux. With this knowledge and a first hand knowledge of what current therapy consists of, Mandi was able to give oral motor exercises as well as feeding tips for his SLP to try for continuing to tolerate textures and begin eating table foods.
Last stop was with Dr. Hawn, who is a Clinical Professor with the USC School of Medicine. He was able to look over all the results from the team of therapist’s and discuss the findings with Steven’s mother. As a result of the team’s evaluation, he also was able to give mom a prescription for a Spio suit and to have another scope done to look at Steven’s esophagus. Each of these recommendations was a result of the team’s evaluation. While most families participate in something like this clinic in the first year of their babies life, Steven’s mom chose to take advantage of the clinic again because he is growing and developing and she had areas of concern she felt might could be addressed with a separate set of eyes reviewing his case. This ongoing ability to advocate for Steven and leave no “stone un-turned,” is what every parent of a child with special needs must be encouraged to do.
Steven’s team welcomed the recommendations and is actively implementing new strategies for his benefit! It is our desire that you will find this information useful and seek to take advantage of the Down Syndrome Clinic here in Columbia, South Carolina or find one in your area.
Program note: This clinic, beginning in June 2014, is evaluating only children who do not already have services in place. The OT, PT and Speech Evaluations are now done at the Rehabilitative Care Center and the doctor’s evaluation is done on a separate day for billing purposes.
As a leading pediatric therapy company in the midlands of South Carolina, we take seriously the need to hire highly qualified individuals who will work well with our families. We believe every child can make progress and we greatly appreciate the trust our families have in our team approach for service delivery! Sprout Pediatrics continues to grow and here is our latest team member to join the family! Here’s Ashley’s biographical information.
I am a speech-language pathologist who loves working with children. I started off my career as a speech-language pathologist in a nursing home, and it did not take long before I transitioned back. Serving children and their families is my passion.
Currently, I work in a local private practice serving children age birth-15, and I am very excited to begin working with Sprout on Fridays. My main interests with speech therapy include: expressive/receptive language disorders, speech/articulation disorders, and pragmatic deficits. I have experience working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, articulation disorders, voice disorders, apraxia, feeding difficulties, and expressive/receptive language disorders. I love to help children reach their full potential and provide parents/caregivers with the information and tools needed to do so.
Originally from Florence, SC, I attended undergraduate school at Clemson University, where I studied Early Childhood Education. From there, I attended graduate school at the University of South Carolina where I received my Master’s degree in Speech Therapy. My husband, Derek, and I got married in August 2012 and currently live in Lexington, SC. I enjoy spending time with my family, walking my dog (Tucker), and going to Clemson football games.
I am so excited to have the privilege to work with the staff at Sprout Pediatrics and strive to be a great addition to their wonderful team of therapists!
Our lead Occupational Therapist was getting bored with her white rice bins so she decided to spice it up a bit and add color! Below are several recipes but the last one has step by step directions for making a kaboodle full for your therapy toy library!
Easy Colored Rice:
1 pound bag of long grain rice
1 food coloring tube of your choice
Place bag of uncooked rice in zip top bag.
Add 3 tablespoons to 1/2 a tube of food coloring to uncooked rice in zip top bag.
If you desire a deeper yellow or orange, add more coloring.
Seal bag and shake to evenly color your rice.
Spread colored rice on a cookie sheet over night to allow food coloring to dry.
Store in plastic boxes with lids for easy clean up and use.
Kaboodle fulls of Colored Rice!
To make large quantities of rice, you may want to follow this recipe as it disperses and sets the food coloring for pounds of rice! We have seen recipes with vinegar in the place of the alcohol but then the vinegar smell is present in the containers. Once the alcohol dries, the odor is gone.
5 lbs of rice
1 cup of rubbing alcohol (we made 10 lbs so we used 1 bottle of alcohol)
1/2 to 1 tube of food coloring (You can mix colors! We added yellow to the green to get our “Sprout” green!)
Large mix bowl or storage box with lid.
Plastic trash bag cut open or shower liner for rice to dry on over night.
Colored rice is a great therapy tool. Here are 10 ways we use rice on a weekly basis at Sprout Pediatrics!
1. Let children who have busy hands and like to touch everything – dig, pour, measure and play!
2. Children who seem uneasy or whiny often times calm down to enjoy rice. Hide small plastic food in the rice for discovery and describing!
3. Hide farm animals and zoo animals for them to find and as they find them have them sort into a basket for categorizing!
4. Bury various sizes of beads in the rice and as they find the beads have them string them for fine motor skills!
5. Create a themed rice boxes that correspond to various holidays. Use red rice, hearts, cards, etc. for Valentine’s Day!
6. Have the rice on top of an outside stoop. As they practice their stepping skills they have an opportunity to play in the rice for a minute!
7. Talk about action words like pouring, dumping, covering, sifting, hiding as they play. Say, “You are pouring, I am hiding.” Model simple sentences with action words.
8. Provide spoons, old medicine cups, measuring cups for practice in scooping and filling various sizes of containers.
9. Hide marbles or glass beads of different colors for some Math fun! Ask “How many blue marbles did you find?” “How many green ones?” “How many all together?”
10. Don’t forget the funnels! You will love playing with the funnels as much as your child. Laugh and Enjoy!
Last but not least, use recycled soda bottles and create I spy bottles. Funnel rice in and find small objects your child will enjoy finding and put them in the bottle. Super glue the top for safety!
Well it’s a new year and we have a new face to introduce to our Sprout Pediatrics family! We are thrilled to have Leigh Ann Spell join our team as a part time Speech-Language Pathologist and a supervisor! Who best to tell you more than Leigh Ann herself!
I am a speech-language pathologist and former professor who decided to venture outside my comfort zone in 2012 to start my own speech-language therapy private practice specializing in helping individuals with their professional speaking skills (including accent modification) as well as in providing traditional speech-language therapy services. I have enjoyed working in a variety of settings including a community speech and hearing clinic, a rehabilitation hospital and the public schools.
Originally from Ohio, I moved to South Carolina in 1987 to attend the University of South Carolina for graduate school. I met my husband, Jamie, while in graduate school and we have two children, Kyler (12) and Hannah (16), who are currently students at Chapin Middle School and Spring Hill High School. I returned to USC and completed my doctorate in Speech-Language Pathology in 1996. After teaching as a professor at Columbia College for 16 years, I decided to make my part time private practice full time so I could get back to providing communication services all of the time. I remain on the faculty at the University of South Carolina as an adjunct associate professor in Communication Sciences and Disorders so I still get to teach a little bit as well.
I am thrilled to be joining Sprout Pediatrics as a part time speech-language pathologist and supervisor! I look forward to meeting the wonderful children and families that Sprout Pediatrics serves.
Reading to babies and toddlers plays a significant role in future development of Speech and Language skills. Many adults know it is beneficial to read to children as preschoolers, but might not realize all the learning that happens as one reads to toddlers and even babies. Reading to babies creates connections in the brain’s circuitry that enables future learning. Below are just a few things every parent, grandparent, child-care provider and adult should know and encourage as they interact with young children.
Do you remember the old saying that “Good habits are caught rather than taught!” That holds true for reading to babies and toddlers. As one reads to babies and toddlers, there are lots of subtle pre-readiness skills little ones are picking up on and beginning to do without the adult “teaching” it to them. For example, as they are read to, they learn how to hold a book right side up or to read from left to right by watching one turn the book or point to the words at the bottom of the page. But did you know they also learn a lot about speech and language too!
As parents read with their baby, the baby should be given an opportunity to follow simple directions. While reading a board book, hold the pages down except for the next page. As one bends the book slightly, the page will pop up. Say, “Turn the page!” and help the baby use their hand to turn the page. Also read books with textures and encourage babies to “pat the bunny,” “feel the cow,” and “touch the dog.” After reading and instructing them enough, the toddlers will begin to follow other simple directions around the house as well.
One of the first things children hear, as they listen to others talk around them, is vowel and consonant sounds as well as inflection of voice. As babies and toddlers listen to you read, they hear inflection in your voice! They hear excitement as you say “Wow!” “oooh!” and they hear how your voice goes up when you ask a question.
Babies learn to associate sounds with pictures and names with pictures. For instance, while reading books about farm animals, babies see similar pictures and hear oink, oink or mooo moooo over and over. Over time, a synapse or brain connection is made between neurons and they begin to know the pig says oink and the cow says mooo. Later a parent can ask, “What does the pig say?” and the child will answer correctly. Then as further learning and understanding takes place, a parent can ask, “What animal says moo?” and the child will answer, “A cow.”
Reading with babies and toddlers gives adults an opportunity to bond. Reading leads to talking about what one sees in pictures, what happens in the story and later what we think about the ideas presented by the author. As we read we talk. Toddlers learn how to take turns talking: first listening and then responding. Quality communication always consists of these two participants: a listener and a speaker. Therefore, adults have an opportunity to model and begin a relationship with their child as they share moments. Future opportunities to influence the child about important concepts and character skills also abound.
Finally, choosing books that are centered around baby games and nursery rhymes helps the baby begin to play and interact and memorize strings of words. Singing is vitally important to memorization and learning rote skills such as counting and the alphabet. These two books are just a few that one may choose to check out from the library or purchase, but variety is key to keeping toddler’s interest. Log onto this website for further tips on reading with children.
Tips for choosing books:
Choose books that are plastic or thick board books for babies as they tend to mouth everything!
Choose books with one photo per page of actual objects. (Drawings are often not recognizable by young)
Choose books about family, animals and household objects for babies through 12 months.
Continue to read the books listed above, but add books about cars, trucks and everyday activities & places.
Choose books that move quickly! about a minute long for babies through 12 months and 2 minutes in length for toddlers.
Toddlers also enjoy books that do something! A flap book, texture book that you can feel or a puppet book like the one pictured here.