Meet Our Lead Pediatric Feeding & Speech-Language Pathologist: Melanie Coetsee

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Melanie Coetsee, SLP-CCC Lead Speech Language Pathologist

Melanie Coetsee, SLP-CCC
Lead Speech Language Pathologist

Melanie graduated from Erskine College with a BS in Biology in 1997 and received her Master of Speech Pathology from the University of South Carolina in 1999.  As our lead SLP Melanie has extensive experience in feeding therapy and has completed numerous oral motor and feeding conferences and is known in our area for her skills as a feeding specialist.  She is trained in The Beckman Oral Motor Assessment & Intervention, Talktools Sensory Motor Approach to Feeding, as well as the Talktools Oral Placement Therapy for Speech Clarity and Feeding.  Additionally, Melanie is gifted in working with clients with Down Syndrome, Childhood Apraxia of Speech and early language development.  She is also trained in Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets (PROMPT) as well as the Kaufman Speech to Language Protocol for children with Apraxia of speech.

Melanie served as a school based Speech Language Pathologist prior to joining her husband in the pediatric home based setting five years ago.  While working for ten years at C.C. Pinckney Elementary on the Fort Jackson Army base, she was named Teacher of the year 2006-2007.  Melanie is passionate about learning and started the Midlands SLP Think Tank for Speech Language Professionals to have an ongoing avenue to share ideas and new approaches to providing therapy.

Melanie says, “I love being a part of “firsts” for so many children as they learn to speak and communicate.  Seeing a child say her first word after months of hard work, or accept food from a spoon after months of oral defensiveness, pre-chaining, and food play is so rewarding!”  She also shares that she truly enjoys the sense of community we have with our staff and the families we serve.  Every therapist on the Sprout Pediatrics team brings unique experiences and gifts to the table and desires to know more.  Sharing expertise and therapy strategies within our speech therapy team helps us positively impact more kids and families.

Melanie is married to Rhyno Coetsee.  They have been married for 15 years and have three boys, Noah (10), Landon (9) and Bennett (4).  She enjoys cycling, swimming, running and watching her boys play ball!

Challenger Club Meeting: Kim Conant, Special Needs Coordinator

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We cannot begin to tell you how thrilled we are to have this great resource come share with all of you! She is an invaluable resource to us here at Sprout Pediatrics and I know you will learn so much if you choose to invest in attending our next Challenger meeting! So won’t you please join us at the next Challenger Club meeting located at the Northwest Family YMCA. The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, February 19 at 6:30 pm. You will have the opportunity to form connections with other special needs families, as well as acquire resources for the special needs community. Childcare will also be provided for this event.

Kim Conant (LPN), Palmetto Pediatrics’ special needs coordinator, will be discussing how to ensure your child is receiving the care that is needed, by coordinating care with your pediatrician. Kim Conant has experience working with over 1,000 special needs families at multiple offices in the area. In addition, she also has over 20 years of experience in pediatrics and the multifaceted nature of caring for families and children with special needs.

Her position allows for one person to be the primary facilitator for the care that your child receives. Kim coordinates the care of your child with the pediatrician, as well as multiple specialists within the medical community: such a therapists and physicians. She has a vast network of community resources at her disposal! Kim will also discuss the aspects of care one should expect from his or her pediatrician, in order to create the best outcome possible for your child. A family from the community will also share their experience of working with the office over the past 7 years.

Feel free to share this information with others and we look forward to seeing you there!
Challenger Club Flier

Sprout Pediatrics: On a mission!

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"Cultivating hope in children & families for a full life experience!"

“Cultivating hope in children & families for a full life experience!”

Sprout Pediatrics exists to cultivate hope in children and their families for a full life experience by surrounding them with  innovative therapy, education and connection within their community.

 

 It has been said that necessity is the mother of all invention and this is very true for an organization such as ours. For this reason we press the refresh button every once in a while to evaluate our purpose and path to successfully help children and their families with complex challenges.

For some time we have been trying to refine our mission statement as a reflection of our vision in an attempt to shape our organizational identity.

Starting with the end in mind, we strive towards a full life experience for our clients and their families to meet their full potential not just in therapy outcomes, but in living life to its fullest purpose and pleasure despite a possible disability.

In this endeavor it is easy to recognize that we are in a marathon and not a sprint. We often see families get tired, give up, become isolated and feel hopeless. If we are going to be successful, the tools we use must cultivate hope by using a more comprehensive approach through a variety of tools including innovative therapy, education and community connection.

As we continue to grow and develop our conventional therapy skills in the natural setting we are looking for new ways to innovate and educate our staff to achieve better outcomes. We believe by adding wellness opportunities through our relationship with organizations such as the YMCA we can transition children from a “staged” setting of activity into a more organic setting of activity that will create healthy habits for a lifetime. Additional benefits include socialization and community connection for child and family that will be supplemented through parent support groups that we are creating in partnership with the YMCA. Future plans will involve inclusion of children in regular activities through a “buddy” volunteer system wherever possible before delving into creating programs specially designed for people with developmental disabilities into early adulthood.

By investing time and effort in our social media outlets we hope to develop opportunities to educate and connect parents with each other and our staff in a way that does more than just disseminate information. We hope to be a vehicle for the exchange of ideas between families and amongst clinicians as we develop our clinical think tanks as well as screening services to the general public.

As we conclude our assessment, we feel affirmed in our plans that we must pursue a multi-tool approach for the best outcomes possible. Some of these tools are billable and some must be benevolent with the help of our community in order to make them cost effective. In the end, we believe that a full life is to be experienced by child, family and our organization alike and I can’t wait to see how it all plays out!

 

Will you join us?

Rhyno Coetsee PT, CEO

 

 

Do’s and Don’ts of Sign Language with Young Children

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Julieanne signing title

 

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!

Columbia Pediatric Therapy group Welcomes New Speech Language Pathologist – Ashley Hipp

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Ashley Hipp, MSP, CCC-SLP

Ashley Hipp, MSP, CCC-SLP

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!

Speech Development of Babies: Birth to 6 months

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Speech development of babies!

By the end of six months, your child may:

Beginning smiling at you and favorite toys
Startle when they hear loud or strange sounds
Begin to find their own voice by crying differently for different needs & by cooing vowel sounds
Listen when spoken to or quiet when sung to
Appear to distinguish parents voices from others’ voices
Continue talking to themselves by finding consonant sounds b and g
Also may begin to form syllables by joining the vowels to those consonants
Will look in the direction of a sound or familiar voice
Use facial expressions when hearing sounds of various toys
Use their voice in a happy way (panting & kicking) or whine when upset
May acknowledge inflection changes in your voice
Attend to and/or listen to music

Most children will exhibit most of these milestones by six months of age. If your baby is not able to do all of these, but are progressing through these stages slowly, they may have a speech delay. See your pediatrician for more specific questions on the development of your baby!