SPOTlight on OT!

April is occupational therapy (OT) month and we want you to get to know our occupational therapists and learn more about what they do!  Meet Cecilia Williford, OTR/L.

Cecilia

Why did you decide to become an OT?

I always knew that I wanted to work directly with others, specifically children. I routinely babysat growing up, volunteered for my church’s annual summer VBS program, worked in the nursery, etc. I have always loved children. And to narrow it down even more, when I was a kid I knew I wanted to work in an area that I could impact others directly – a helping profession focused on education, rehabilitation, and showing compassion and kindness through my interaction and work with them. Flash forward to narrowing down my area of focus for my undergraduate degree in which I chose Kinesiology. During my senior seminar course, I learned of occupational therapy. I researched the profession and soon realized their impact on the pediatric population that OTs work with as well as HOW they work with them – through play! Everything I wanted to do for the rest of my life fell into the life of an OT. I got into occupational therapy school soon after and fell in love with the flexibility, opportunities, and impact of the profession. I graduated from OT school and accepted a position at my dream setting – The Therapy SPOT! I love working for an organization whose mission is to be the rainbow in someone else’s cloud. I try to live by that everyday, and I’m so grateful to be a part of this wonderful place!

Favorite therapy toy/activity?

I would have to say my favorite is not necessarily a toy or activity, but more so a place: The Therapy SPOT (sensory) gym! I enjoy working on upper body strength, core strength, coordination, and sensory processing skills in this special and SUPER COOL place. I like to incorporate fine motor or visual motor activities through obstacle courses, onto a swing, in a ball pit, or while standing on the trampoline – the options of this space to incorporate treatment methods/ideas are endless. This is an awesome space where our kiddos can literally play with a “just right” challenge to make therapy fun while building or strengthening their skills.

IMG_7176

What is the best part of your job?

I enjoy seeing each child’s personality come out in therapy because it is these moments that keep me grounded and remind me the importance of the little things in life. It fills my heart with absolute joy to watch a child’s face light-up as they overcome a challenge, master a skill, demonstrate an “AH-HA!” moment, or just when they’re having fun. It is also so awesome to see the parents or caregivers’ faces light up with excitement to share something new that happened at home or when they’re child runs up to them in the waiting room to tell them, “I DID IT!” or “LOOK! I MADE THIS!” I love the fact that I can end my day knowing that I made some sort of impact or difference in another person’s life. That is what really keeps me going to work through challenges and excited to meet and work with new families everyday.

What is something others may not know about about occupational therapy? 

I feel that there is a misconception that OTs, specially pediatric OTs, are only focused on fine motor skills and handwriting skills. We definitely focus on those areas, but we also do so much more! We focus on increasing independence and participation in daily life routines. We actively work with children to teach them how to brush their teeth, dress themselves, feed themselves with utensils, tie their shoes, and more. As children get older we even work with following the steps to complete dishwashing, meal preparation, laundry and folding clothes, and other important life skills. Here at The Therapy SPOT, we place a huge importance on our patients understanding their bodies and learning ways to independently regulate their sensory systems so that they can effectively interact with others, safely explore their environment, increase their overall body awareness, maintain attention, and follow directions.

What is something you don’t know about me?

  1. I have 3 beagles: Paulson, Beau, and Duke.
  2. My dad is an Episcopal Priest and with that came a lot of moves during my childhood. I have lived in Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama, and Georgia.
  3. I enjoy working in my yard. One thing I look forward to every season is changing up my potted plants or my front porch wreaths and other decor.
  4. I graduated from Georgia Southern and enjoy spending weekends at football, basketball, and baseball games cheering on the Eagles! 🙂
  5. I enjoy reading and baking in my free time. My husband and I also enjoy having our friends over to grill or spend time outside. The following are my “go-to’s” for snacks and salads:

Pretzel Mix

Ingredients:

  • 8-10 oz of pretzel sticks
  • 8-10 oz of waffle pretzels
  • 8-10 oz pretzel “knots”
  • 8-10 oz pretzel twists
  • (1) envelope of Ranch Dressing Mix
  • (2) tablespoons of lemon pepper
  • (1) teaspoon of garlic powder
  • (1) bottle of Orville Redenbacher butter flavored popcorn oil
  • (1) large/deep/disposable aluminum pan

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees
  2. Mix pretzels in pan. Mix dry seasonings & sprinkle over pretzels.
  3. Drizzle oil all over and mix well.
  4. Bake for 30-minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. **There will be a lot of oil and seasonings on the bottom of the pan. Be sure to scoop all of that up and stir into pretzels.
  5. Let cool in pan.

 

Strawberry Spinach Salad (Pampered Chef “Casual Cooking”)

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz baby spinach (with or without stems, your choice)
  • ¼ cup of sliced almonds (browned in oven at 350 degrees)
  • 8 oz. fresh strawberries – sliced
  • 1 cucumber – cored and sliced
  • 1 small red onion – chopped

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1 lemon – 1 teaspoon of zest & 2 tablespoons of juice
  • 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon poppyseeds

Directions:

  1. Mix all dressing ingredients and pour over salad.
  2. This makes 10 servings, but I would use more spinach for 10 people because everyone will want seconds 🙂 I use an entire regular sized bag or container.

The Therapy S.P.O.T. – Speech, Physical, and Occupational Therapy

Our multidisciplinary therapy center was established in 2007, and is committed to providing quality therapy services in a fun, family and child centered environment. We provide pediatric speech, feeding, physical, and occupational therapy as well as adult speech and swallowing therapy.  Our therapists have unique and specialized skills and training, and we strive to pair our patients with the therapists who will best meet their specific needs.  You can learn more about our services at http://www.therapyspotstatesboro.com.  Questions or concerns?  Call us at (912) 681-7768 for a free consultation.

www.jasonhurstphotography.com ©Jason Hurst Photography 2014-2015

 

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SPOTlight on OT!

April is occupational therapy (OT) month and we want you to get to know our occupational therapists and learn more about what they do!  Meet Olivia Chester, OTR/L.

olivia

 

1. Why did you decide to become an OT?

After several volunteer experiences in both high school and college, I learned that occupational therapy addressed the vital importance of people’s psychological and emotional well-being, as well as their physical needs. I was a psychology major in college, and I wanted to continue to use this knowledge. I wanted to be in a health care profession where I could spend quality time with my patients, and help them to improve their quality of life. Occupational therapy was a perfect fit. I have found that occupational therapy is one of the most holistic health care professions, and I am proud to have chosen this as my career path. It is a profession that requires sensitivity, understanding, and compassion; all of the characteristics that I value tremendously. 

A quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson expresses this perfectly: “To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived; this is to have succeeded.” 

2.  Favorite therapy toy/activity?

I have many toys/activities that I love to use in therapy to make it fun and engaging, but currently I am obsessed with my crayon styluses and an app called Dexteria Junior! This is such a fun way to work on pre writing strokes and handwriting with my kids and gives them a break from the everyday use of paper and pencil. 

3. Favorite part of your job?

I love our Therapy SPOT team! We all work together so well in order to help our kids be successful. We encourage each other daily to lead by example and be the best therapists we can be so that we can provide client focused and centered treatments. I also love that each session is always different meaning that your child is receiving individualized therapy that has been created to meet their needs specifically. Therapy at The Therapy SPOT is always fun! 

 

4.  Something you don’t know about me:

I am a Statesboro native born and raised here. I went away to Charlotte, NC for undergrad and then down to St. Augustine, FL for graduate school. After living in two amazing cities I decided to move back home because I decided Statesboro really is a nice place to live and work.  I currently live in an old farm house built in 1898 which I am in the process of renovating which has been so much fun! 

The Therapy S.P.O.T. – Speech, Physical, and Occupational Therapy

Our multidisciplinary therapy center was established in 2007, and is committed to providing quality therapy services in a fun, family and child centered environment. We provide pediatric speech, feeding, physical, and occupational therapy as well as adult speech and swallowing therapy.  Our therapists have unique and specialized skills and training, and we strive to pair our patients with the therapists who will best meet their specific needs.  You can learn more about our services at http://www.therapyspotstatesboro.com.  Questions or concerns?  Call us at (912) 681-7768 for a free consultation.

www.jasonhurstphotography.com ©Jason Hurst Photography 2014-2015

Harrison’s Success Story

April is Autism Awareness month, so we asked one of our Therapy SPOT families to share their thoughts and experience with autism with you.

 

Autism spectrum disorder and autism are terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development.  The disorders are characterized in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors, according to Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, www.autismspeaks.org. April is National Autism Awareness Month and we would like to share Harrison’s success story so far.

 

They say if you’ve seen one child who has autism, well, you’ve seen one child who has autism.  While each child is unique, families with children who have autism share common challenges, goals, and dreams and they overcome obstacles in their own unique way.  We are one of those families. Autism doesn’t look like anything but the way it looks. It doesn’t always look like Rain Man. It doesn’t always include hand flapping, rocking, or issues with language.  Sometimes it does but, sometimes it doesn’t.

 

On January 26 2012, Harrison, our pride and joy was born.  He was so excited to see us and the world that he was born four weeks early.  Harrison was such a good baby that rarely cried or fussed even when he was wet or hungry.  We would often have to wake him to feed him. I remember asking my mother who ran a daycare for many years if she ever had a baby that was this good.

 

I had everything planned out for Harrison but life does not always go as planned.  Through reading various baby and parenting books and referring to Dr. Google we discovered that Harrison was about a month behind on hitting the “milestones” such as holding up his head, rolling over, and sitting up.  We as parents had convinced ourselves he was behind because he was born a month early, but later were told that does not factor in to reaching milestones.

 

Harrison loved his jumperoo!  He would jump and spin the spinners like no other child you have ever seen.  At the time we were amazed at how fast he would spin the spinners and for the length of time with such control.  His dad being a coach was really impressed with his hand eye coordination. We never thought of it as being a sign.  Harrison was also one that would take a toy that had beautiful colors on the front and turn it over and study the back of the toy to figure out where the music was coming from.

 

Harrison was saying ma ma and da da at ten months and of course we were excited.  It was around this time that Harrison out of the blue would have these really quick nods with his head.  We were obviously scared thinking he was having mini seizures. Being first time parents and wanting the best for Harrison we saw a neurologist and had an EEG.  The results from the EEG said that Harrison had lots of brain activity and the nods were tics not seizures. During the months that followed with tics we as protective parents were scared to encourage Harrison to walk fearing the tics could cause him to have a bad fall.  Through prayer and God’s grace the ticks only lasted a few months and disappeared as quickly as they had appeared. Then we focused on walking which was mastered at 17 months and Harrison has not slowed down since!

As parents we felt something was just not right so we started asking questions to Harrison’s pediatrician at his 18 month check up and realized that he was displaying signs of autism and developmental delays such as late holding his head up, rolling over, sitting up, walking, no eye contact, spinning toys, etc.  He was no longer saying ma ma and da da. We were asked to fill out the M-CHAT which is a series of questions that help determine if you are at risk of autism. The M-CHAT does not provide a diagnosis but can aid in early detection and indicate if a child should seek further evaluation. As a mother, I can remember crying for days because this was not part of my plan for Harrison.  After about a week, I realized it’s not about my plan but God’s plan so I started making appointments with every doctor I thought could help us help Harrison. We scheduled another appointment with the neurologist but she still was not ready to diagnose Harrison with autism but did want to do a genetic test. She swabbed Harrison’s mouth and ours. When the results came back we learned our unique little boy has a very unique gene duplication called 22q11.21.  The gene duplication is so rare that it does not have a name and at the time of the results through research there was only one study of 100 cases in the UK. We then decided to see a gene specialist that had been practicing for 30 years plus to try and learn more about 22q11.21. He should have had paid us (haha) because we knew more about 22q11.21 than he knew from our research at home.

 

The focus of any parent is your child and how to help them be successful.  That challenge is taken to a whole new level with an autistic child. Harrison started receiving speech services around 18 months old.  The speech therapist after a couple of months of working with Harrison said to us that Harrison needed more than she could do and suggested ABA.  What is ABA….? We researched ABA which is Applied Behavior Analysis and discovered that it has helped many children with autism become more successful so we went to work trying to find ABA therapy for Harrison in our area.  When Harrison first started ABA therapy it was not covered by insurance so everything came out of pocket until the passing of Ava’s Law which requires insurance companies to pay up to $36,000 in therapy per year. Many thanks to Ana and Ava Bullard for all of their hard work for these unique and special kids.  Through the ABA journey we have seen some really good therapists, some that were very strict and some that did more therapy through play which helped Harrison become well rounded and not programmed like a robot. Harrison in his young life has seen various speech therapists, occupational therapists, ABA specialists and has often worked 30 plus hour weeks at the table in the makeshift therapy/laundry room just to try and catch up to typical children his age since age two.  

 

Harrison knew his alphabet at two years old and numbers 1-100 by three years old.  He loves to look at books and have you read them to him. If a word is missed he will not let you flip the page until the page is read correctly.  Harrison is believed to have Hyperlexia and has been reading since he was two and half years old. Hyperlexia is characterized by a child’s precocious ability to read (far above what would be expected at their age), significant difficulty in understanding and using verbal language (or a profound nonverbal learning disability), and significant problems during social interactions.

 

Our journey with our 6 six year old nonverbal little boy through ABA therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists has at times been a long, stressful, and emotional ride. So many times when we have lost a therapist for whatever reason we have wondered what are we going to do?  We turn to God because we know He has a special plan for our unique little boy.  This journey has led us to the Therapy SPOT in Statesboro. We drive over an hour every Tuesday and Thursday so Harrison can receive the best therapy from Mrs. Lea and Ms. Olivia. The Therapy SPOT has helped Harrison in so many ways from feeding issues because of texture issues to a communication device so we can communicate with our little boy. We always receive notes from sessions so we can pass those notes along to his therapists at school because repetition and everyone being on the same page is critical for children with autism. The Therapy SPOT helped us get the Accent 800 from the Prentke Romich Company which is a device dedicated solely for communication.  Thank goodness for insurance that covered the purchase of the device. Until we got the communication device we were using Harrison’s ipad with the LAMP app which is a communication app that uses a therapeutic approach using motor learning principles and voice output communication aid to give nonverbal individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities a method to develop independent and spontaneous communication. With the LAMP app on the iPad Harrison learned one word responses or request for items. Unfortunately, Harrison didn’t see the iPad as a communication device but he saw it as fun and a source to google and Youtube so no real communication took place with the iPad.  The communication device uses the same LAMP software and setup as the app on the iPad so it was familiar to him. The first day we had the communication device we showed Harrison how to request “I want chocolate milk” when he had been just pointing or bringing the milk to us. The next morning at 5:00 am we hear the communication device say “I want chocolate milk” of course that boy got him a cup of chocolate milk. Since that morning Harrison has requested I want Chuck E Cheese (loves to go to Chuck E Cheese), I want iPad please, I want eat pizza, I want iPhone please, I want iPod please and open door play outside. So as you can tell communication is blossoming with the device and we look forward for what is to come in the future.  He has even shown teachers at school where things are located on the device lol. He is one smart little boy!

 

Harrison is currently in Kindergarten at Treutlen Elementary School and having a great year.  He is one of the top students in his class and having a successful year even with all the obstacles he has had to overcome to this point. This success is because of the great team that helps Harrison at school and away from school that work closely together to help him be successful.  Every parent wants to see their child bring home a 100, but when your autistic child that you have seen over come so many barriers and obstacles brings home 100’s on a weekly basis it makes your heart swell cause you are so proud of him and the work he has done to get to that point.

 

Autism so many times has a negative stigma attached to it because so often people don’t fully understand it, but having a son with autism has shown us what truly matters in life.  Harrison’s struggles and successes have shown us to enjoy the small victories in life and to enjoy the journey and not be so obsessed with the destination because if you are you will miss out on so many of the laughs, tears, accomplishments that takes place during the journey.  Harrison has come along way since he was first diagnosed at 18 months old and has had so many successes. As parents of an autistic child, we know we still have many obstacles to overcome in our family’s journey with autism but with prayer and God’s direction there is nothing we can’t overcome.  We are extremely proud of our happy, lovable, compassionate, and truly unique little boy!

Misty and Brad C.

If you have questions about your child’s development, we encourage you to have a conversation with your child’s pediatrician as soon as possible.  Harrison’s story could have been much different if his parents had waited a few years to get him the help that he needed.  Early intervention is so important!  

The Therapy S.P.O.T. – Speech, Physical, and Occupational Therapy

Our multidisciplinary therapy center was established in 2007, and is committed to providing quality therapy services in a fun, family and child centered environment. We provide pediatric speech, feeding, physical, and occupational therapy as well as adult speech and swallowing therapy.  Our therapists have unique and specialized skills and training, and we strive to pair our patients with the therapists who will best meet their specific needs.  You can learn more about our services at http://www.therapyspotstatesboro.com.  Questions or concerns?  Call us at (912) 681-7768 for a free consultation.

www.jasonhurstphotography.com ©Jason Hurst Photography 2014-2015

 

Yay! Ouch! Uh oh! Exclamatory Words. What are they and why are they important?

Exclamatory words are words that many people do not consider true words such as yippee, yay, and oh no. These words are fun, easy to imitate, and have a wide variety of vowels and early developing consonant sounds that will help children develop a larger phoneme repertoire. They are made up of simple syllable sequences that are easier to say than other more complex words. Many children will be able to say these words before they can produce functional words such as more, no, and all done.

If your child is having difficulty imitating and expressing new words, consider playing with your child in a way that encourages imitation of exclamatory words. You may find that functional words will follow!

Exclamatory words you can try at home:

  • Wow
  • Yay, yippee
  • Woo hoo
  • Oops, whoops, oopsie
  • Uh oh, oh no
  • Weeee
  • Aw, man
  • Ouch, owie
  • Mmmm, yum
  • Yuck, ick, ew
  • Whoa
  • Boo
  • No way

Tips for play to encourage exclamatory words:

1.  Use a slow rate of speech and short 1-3 word phrases.

  1. Use toys and activites your child loves. Be creative and find ways to model these sounds with their preferred toys and activities. For example, knock items off the table-oops! Uh oh! Pretend babies or superheroes have a boo boo-ouch! Ooops!
  1. Pause and wait. Don’t require that your child imitate you by saying things such as “Say yay.” Instead, slowly model the words through play, pause and wait and give your child the opportunity to say the word, and if they don’t then model the word again.
  1. Smile and have fun!  Enjoy this time with your child.  Interactions with people are the best way for your child to learn.

The Therapy S.P.O.T. – Speech, Physical, and Occupational Therapy

Our multidisciplinary therapy center was established in 2007, and is committed to providing quality therapy services in a fun, family and child centered environment. We provide pediatric speech, feeding, physical, and occupational therapy as well as adult speech and swallowing therapy.  Our therapists have unique and specialized skills and training, and we strive to pair our patients with the therapists who will best meet their specific needs.  You can learn more about our services at http://www.therapyspotstatesboro.com.  Questions or concerns?  Call us at (912) 681-7768 for a free consultation.

www.jasonhurstphotography.com ©Jason Hurst Photography 2014-2015

Pediatric Occupational Therapy 101. What is OT and how can it help my child?

So your child’s pediatrician, teacher, speech, or physical therapist has recommended an Occupational Therapy (OT) evaluation and you are left wondering what OT is and the benefits it could offer your child. Don’t worry, most parents feel the same way as you do and have many questions that sometimes go unanswered. I am here to answer some of those questions in this short blog.

What Is Pediatric Occupational Therapy?

An occupational therapist’s role is to evaluate a child’s strengths, as well as their difficulties, in critical developmental areas. The OT will then design individualized interventions that promote the healthy development of skills needed for success with daily tasks. By incorporating meaningful activities and play, OT facilitates the development of age appropriate skills, which promotes independence thus improving quality of life.

How Do I Know If My Child Will Benefit From Occupational Therapy?

According to the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), children with the following medical problems might benefit from OT. They are as follow, but not limited to:

  • Birth injuries or birth defects
  • Sensory processing disorders
  • Traumatic injuries (brain or spinal cord)
  • Learning problems
  • Autism/pervasive developmental disorders
  • Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
  • Mental health or behavioral problems
  • Broken bones or other orthopedic injuries
  • Developmental delays including fine motor delays
  • Post-surgical conditions
  • Burns
  • Spina bifida
  • Traumatic amputations
  • Cancer
  • Multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and other chronic illnesses

 

What Should I Expect During Treatment Sessions?

 After the initial evaluation is performed, the OT will work together with the parents/caregiver to establish client centered goals.  This just means that we address your biggest concerns.  The OT will then create individualized interventions to address difficulties noted in the OT evaluation. Below are common areas addressed by an OT during treatment sessions. They can include, but are not limited to:

  • Work on fine motor skills so your child can grasp and release toys for development of good handwriting skills.
  • Address hand–eye coordination to improve your child’s play and school skills (hitting a target, batting a ball, copying from a blackboard, etc.).
  • Assist children with severe developmental delays so that they can learn basic tasks (such as bathing, getting dressed, brushing their teeth, and feeding themselves). OT is all about improving quality of life!
  • Help children with behavioral disorders maintain positive behaviors in all environments (e.g., instead of hitting others or acting out, using positive ways to deal with anger, such as writing about feelings or participating in a physical activities).
  • Teach strategies to improve coordination skills needed to feed themselves, use a computer, or increase the speed and legibility of their handwriting
  • Work with kids who have sensory and attention issues to improve focus and social skills for success in school, home, and community.

I realize that this is a lot to take in and there are many more questions that you will have. I recommend the website below with more in depth information on Pediatric Occupational Therapy and what to expect. Please click the link below:

 

Click This Link For More Info.

 

References:

 

American Occupational Therapy Association Retrieved November 14, 2016, from http://www.aota.org/

 

Kids Health Occupational Therapy Retrieved November 14, 2016, from http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/occupational-therapy.html

About the author:

Olivia Chester, OTR/L

olivia

Olivia is a Statesboro native who is excited to be a part of the Therapy SPOT team. Olivia graduated from Queens University of Charlotte with a Bachelors degree in Psychology in 2013. She then went on to earn her Masters in Occupational therapy from The University of St. Augustine in 2016. She is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). Olivia developed a passion for working with children during one of her academic rotations in Savannah and decided after graduation to pursue pediatric OT. She specializes in working with children who have sensory processing disorder (SPD) by providing appropriate and individualized therapeutic intervention. Olivia hopes to not only provide exceptional therapy services to your child, but to also educate caregivers on activities they can work on at home by providing ideas, resources, and handouts. Olivia continues to grow her skill set by staying up to date with research, participating in continuing education, and staying involved with caregiver’s concerns and questions. Olivia’s hobbies include spending time with her family and golden retriever, Boone, riding her bike and kayaking on Tybee Island, and spending time exploring the history and natural resources of the Low Country. She looks forward to working with your child!

The Therapy S.P.O.T. – Speech, Physical, and Occupational Therapy

Our multidisciplinary therapy center was established in 2007, and is committed to providing quality therapy services in a fun, family and child centered environment. We provide pediatric speech, feeding, physical, and occupational therapy as well as adult speech and swallowing therapy.  Our therapists have unique and specialized skills and training, and we strive to pair our patients with the therapists who will best meet their specific needs.  You can learn more about our services at http://www.therapyspotstatesboro.com.  Questions or concerns?  Call us at (912) 681-7768 for a free consultation.

www.jasonhurstphotography.com ©Jason Hurst Photography 2014-2015

 

 

What Is Childhood Apraxia of Speech?

So, what IS Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS)?  
The American Speech-language-hearing association defines it as, “…a neurological childhood speech sound disorder in which the precision and consistency of movements underlying speech are impaired in the absence of neuromuscular deficits (e.g. abnormal reflexes, abnormal tone)” (ASHA, 2007).  A way I like to tell parents about CAS: there is nothing wrong with their brain and there is (typically) nothing wrong with their speech articulators/muscles, but there is communication breakdown between the brain and these speech helpers.  The breakdown makes it difficult for the child to coordinate and sequence speech.

Early Signs of CAS
Limited babbling as an infant
-No intelligible first word by 18 months
-Inconsistent sound errors
-May be able to imitate sounds on one trial, but unable to reduplicate
-Children appear to understand more than they can say
-Vowels may appear distorted
-More vowels present than consonants
-Children may develop a go-to word that is used for many things
-Oral groping when attempting to imitate or produce connected speech sounds

I think my child has CAS
If you think your child demonstrates characteristics of CAS, the best place to start is with a speech-language evaluation.  A speech pathologist can rule out other possible causes for these signs/symptoms, such as a severe phonological processing disorder or an expressive language impairment.  

Treatment

If your child has CAS, the American Speech Language Hearing Association recommends frequent, individual speech therapy sessions for children with childhood apraxia of speech.   A multi-sensory approach to treatment with frequent home practice and early focus on functional communication is most effective.  There are a variety of treatment tools and programs available, but no one “program” or treatment approach is right for each child.  At The Therapy SPOT, we are experienced and trained in using a variety of materials and approaches to treat childhood apraxia of speech making certain we individualize treatment to what works best for each child.

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References
Smith, L. (2015, August 5). When We Asked Ronda Rousey If She Had Apraxia of Speech. Retrieved November 23, 2015, from http://themighty.com/2015/08/when-we-asked-ronda-rousey-if-she-had1-apraxia-of-speech/#ixzz3sLlmn5pi


American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2007). Childhood apraxia of speech [Position Statement]. Available from http://www.asha.org/policy.

About the author:  Danielle Carey, M.S., CCC-SLP, became a licensed speech-language pathologist in 2012, treating patients mainly in hospitals and subacute rehab centers with clinical time spent in the public school and at a private practice treating patients ages 2-80+.  She graduated magna cum laude from East Carolina University with a bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and disorders with a minor in child development and family relations.  Danielle received her master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Old Dominion University.  She is a member of American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.  Danielle received VitalStim certification (neuromuscular electrical stimulation) in 2014 to use for adults with dysphagia (swallowing impairment).  Danielle  enjoys working at The Therapy SPOT with both young children and adults.  She is passionate about speech-language pathology and enjoys completing continuing education courses and sharing knowledge with colleagues.  Danielle and her husband Jared have one spunky daughter, and they love to travel.  In her free time, Danielle enjoys reading, riding horses, cooking, and spending time at the beach.

The Therapy S.P.O.T. – Speech, Physical, and Occupational Therapy

Our multidisciplinary therapy center was established in 2007, and is committed to providing quality therapy services in a fun, family and child centered environment. We provide pediatric speech, feeding, physical, and occupational therapy as well as adult speech and swallowing therapy.  Our therapists have unique and specialized skills and training, and we strive to pair our patients with the therapists who will best meet their specific needs.  You can learn more about our services at http://www.therapyspotstatesboro.com.  Questions or concerns?  Call us at (912) 681-7768 for a free consultation.

www.jasonhurstphotography.com ©Jason Hurst Photography 2014-2015

 

No Big Deal! Talking To Your Child About Therapy

When you decide your child needs to see a speech, occupational, or physical therapist or it has been recommended by your doctor, your child may experience some anxiety or want to know more about what he or she will do at this appointment and why do they need to go?

  • Explain to your child that when they are sick or do not feel good they go to the doctor for help and to feel better.  Along the same lines, a parent might explain that a sports coach helps provide tips and practice to get better at the sport the child plays.  A therapist is much like a coach that will help the child improve in area(s) where they experience some difficulty. You can explain that sometimes kids have difficulty with their talking, walking, eating, or handwriting.  When children have these types of troubles they can see person called a “therapist.”
  • Tell your child that the therapist they will see is like a new special teacher friend that will help them with the areas of difficulty they might be experiencing (talking, walking, eating, writing, etc.)
  • What is a therapist?  The therapists are people who have gone to school with specialized training for speech, physical, or occupational therapy.  Therapists are helpers!
  • It maybe comforting to explain some things the therapist may ask them to do when they are visiting for the first time.  The new therapist may ask the child to do some things like run, jump, name pictures in a book, draw, talk, eat/drink, follow directions, or point to pictures. The therapist may also spend some time talking with parents about what kinds of difficulties the child is experiencing.
  • Children might wonder what they will do when they visit a therapist when they are scheduled for regular therapy appointments.  A parent can explain to their child that the therapists do their work by playing games and planning fun activities to work on things that may be a little difficult for the kids to do by themselves.  Therapists often plan therapy activities based on the child’s interests.   
  • The clinic or office where the therapist works is a safe place with lots of fun things to do.  There are toys and games that will be used during therapy.  It may look like a doctor’s office, but it will be fun!  There are no needles or shots.
  • For older kids, be sure your child knows that they can choose to tell their friends that they go to therapy or they can decide not to share this information.  Who they tell, and if they tell, is their decision.  
  • If a child needs help, explain to them that working with a therapist is the right thing to do to make their problems better.  You might say “No one is perfect.  We all have strengths and things we need extra help with.  You will get to have fun while getting even better at talking, writing, walking, etc.” Getting help is no big deal and can be lots of fun!
References: an article from Therapeutic Partners 

The Therapy S.P.O.T. – Speech, Physical, and Occupational Therapy

www.jasonhurstphotography.com ©Jason Hurst Photography 2014-2015
http://www.jasonhurstphotography.com ©Jason Hurst Photography 2014-2015

Our multidisciplinary therapy center was established in 2007, and is committed to providing quality therapy services in a fun, family and child centered environment. We provide pediatric speech, feeding, physical, and occupational therapy as well as adult speech and swallowing therapy.  Our therapists have unique and specialized skills and training, and we strive to pair our patients with the therapists who will best meet their specific needs.  You can learn more about our services at http://www.therapyspotstatesboro.com.  Questions or concerns?  Call us at (912) 681-7768 for a free consultation.