Having a child with special needs can be an emotionally, physically, mentally, and financially draining on a family. When diagnosed with a significant impairment like a genetic syndrome (e.g., Down Syndrome, Trisomy 13, XXX Syndrome, Marfan Syndrome), a congenital anomaly (e.g., Autism Spectrum Disorder, Cleft Lip/Palate, Dravet Syndrome, Spina Bifida, Encephalopathy), or an acquired syndrome (e.g., Traumatic Brain Injury, Cerebral Palsy, Aphasia) parents are inundated with doctor appointments and recommendations for therapies, medications, follow-ups, etc. In a perfect world, insurance would pay for everything recommended by a medical professional and we wouldn’t worry about the rising costs of said care. But, unfortunately that isn’t our reality.
Do you ever wonder what happens inside your mouth when you speak or swallow? While we all take for granted that we have the ability to speak (and swallow) A LOT of work happens behind the curtain. Our mouth (aka oral cavity) is where the sounds we hear are fine tuned using numerous muscles and other anatomy of the oral and nasal cavities. For kiddos sometimes these muscles and articulators simply do not want to cooperate which is usually why adults are unable to understand them or why they have difficulty efficiently chewing and swallowing their food. Speech-language pathologists evaluate the functioning of the mechanisms needed to produce intelligible (clear) speech sounds and ensure safe chewing/swallowing. They also are highly trained to provide treatment when these mechanisms are not efficient. Check out this video to see what our mouth looks like while we speak, sing, playing instruments, and swallow!
Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) is a motor speech disorder. CAS is a relatively uncommon disorder (1-2 children per 1,000= 0.1-0.2%) and one of the lesser known disorders treated by Speech-Language Pathologists. There are some identified causes of CAS (e.g., stroke, trauma, chromosomal abnormalities) but we are not truly sure of all of the causes.
In a nutshell:
The child knows what he/she wants to say and the brain sends the message to the mouth (lips, jaw, and tongue) for appropriate placement to produce sounds, but the mouth doesn't cooperate.
Keep Reading for information on Symptoms, Testing, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Resources
Teaching our kiddos to use a zipper can be a difficult task. The truth is, it’s a very complex skill that encompasses many developmental areas! To zip a zipper up/down you must be able to motor plan, have bilateral coordination, display finger isolation, separate the two sides of the hand, have eye-hand coordination, have a strong pinch, and master the pincer and tripod grasps.
Looking for zipper tools? Try a zipper board, a clothing fastener vest, or a fun cargo vest with zippers for creative play and zipper practice.
Questions? Ask one of our awesome occupational therapists or contact us to schedule an evaluation!
Have you heard that we are EXEMPT from the mandated Superior/COFK program?!
Siblings of children with special needs have their own challenges. People who grow up with a sibling with special needs are often equipped with amazing qualities like patience, kindness, empathy for others, and loyalty, all amazing traits for anyone to have. Here are some terrific books to check out if you love a sibling of a child with special needs.
*Click on the desired book cover for more information*
TRUTH. Our words matter; chose them wisely.
April is Occupational Therapy month! We want to take this opportunity to express our gratitude for our amazing occupational therapists and commend them for all they do! We also think this is a wonderful time to explain… What is Occupational Therapy?
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is combined array (a.k.a. spectrum) of disorders which were formally diagnosed separately as Autism, Asperger's Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder, not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS).
People with ASD may have difficulty in the areas of social skills, communication, self-care, sensory integration, fine/gross motor skills, and behavior. These difficulties can range from mild to severe A person on the spectrum might be non-verbal and unresponsive to their name or speak eloquently and possess an extensive vocabulary and early literacy. Knowing the signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is the first step to early identification.
Some of the most noticeable symptoms of ASD, according to the CDC are:
Well, friends...it's about that time of year...to start planning for the summer months! We all know what that means...SUMMER CAMPS! It's often a challenge to find reliable and vetted summer programs for our special little ones...fortunately for us, our friends at AISD did the leg work for us! Click the photo below to download your copy. As always, if you have ANY questions feel free to email, call, or visit with me.
All of us at TCOB are heartbroken to hear of the ongoing events in Austin (and Schertz) with the explosive devices. We have a safety protocol that was established prior to these events and we will continue to honor those safeguards. There is no direct threat to our facility; however, we ask our families and our community to remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings. Please report any suspicious activity or packages/items to authorities immediately by calling 911. As these events continue to occur it is important that we educate our children and also find ways to talk to them about what is happening while not traumatizing them and making them fearful to step outside of their home. Our friends at The National Child Traumatic Stress Network published the following (unedited) document on how to talk to children about bombings. We though it was a good time to share with our families and those beyond our walls. Sending love to all those victimized.
Guess how many jelly beans are in the jar and WIN this awesome Easter basket! The person that gets closest to the actual number will WIN!
We will announce the winner on our Facebook page 03/27/2018.
This basket is packed full of classic books, sidewalk chalk, bunny popper ball, Easter straw, bubbles, egg dye kit, and much more (NO CANDY)! To enter: Like us on FB, Share the post, and post your guess on the original post!
What are you waiting for???...Get guessing!
March is Trisomy awareness month, so it’s a perfect time to explain “what is trisomy?” Most people have 23 pairs of chromosomes, for a total of 46 chromosomes total. Trisomy is a genetic disorder in which an individual has an extra chromosome (partial or whole). Early identification is important in order to best evaluate, treat, and monitor for any possible developmental deficits or possible medical complications. Educating others of trisomy is important to not only provide a better understanding of the syndromes but to reinforce the notion that early intervention is vital for academic and social success.
Most common Trisomy disorders:
Narrative language skills are vital to a person’s ability to not only have successful social relationships but also impact academic work (e.g., written language). Narrative skills are the ability to use language to tell a story. These skills begin to develop at the young age of 2 years! As a child’s narrative language skills develop they will begin to follow rules of storytelling (e.g., sequencing events, including characters, having an event/dialogue/solution, and an ending). Narratives may be fiction or non-fiction.
What should your child be doing? Check out this chart of narrative development.
The term “stutter” is terribly outdated and oftentimes negatively viewed, rather I like the term “disfluent speech.” It is important to remember that we all have moments of disfluent speech, that doesn’t necessarily mean we all need speech-language therapy to address it. The line that we draw to determine if therapy is recommended is the impact the disfluent moment have on one’s life, the severity/ frequency/duration of disfluent moments, and the accompanying tension with the disfluent moments.
Some of the most common types of disfluent speech include:
For many children with Dysgraphia, just holding a pencil and organizing letters on a line is extremely challenging. Many struggle with spelling and putting thoughts on paper. It is important that we remember Dysgraphia is not “laziness” or “sloppiness,” using these terms in from of your child with Dysgraphia can negatively impact their self-esteem and increase their anxiety resulting in refusal to write. Many children diagnosed or suspected of having Dyslexia also exhibit symptoms of Dysgraphia. Symptoms of Dysgraphia include:
Pragmatic language; also known as social skills, is the ability to understand and adequately maneuver daily interactions with other people. This includes what we say (and don’t say), how we say it, and body language that accompanies our words.
Here are some examples of pragmatic language skills:
Sometimes people with pragmatic language impairments gravitate towards very young children or only adults. Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder typically have difficulty with pragmatic language skills; however, it is important to remember a person may have pragmatic language difficulties and not be on the Autism Spectrum.
If you want to learn more about pragmatic language skills or suspect your child has difficulty with pragmatic language talk to your pediatrician or contact us to see if we can help!
Sometimes I get the questions “why isn’t she talking yet” or “will he ever talk?” In these moments it’s important to explain the communication pyramid. The skills at the bottom of the pyramid (purple and blue) must be acquired before the skills at the top can be. This is why we have to address play skills and receptive language before we can expect them to use sentences or master a conversation.
Amy Grant is a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist, Certified Autism Specialist and Clinic Director of Therapy Center of Buda.
Family Corner Blog
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