Browsing: Speech Pathology

Neurofeedback For Tourette’s – Offering Hope

When many people hear “Tourette's” it often ushers forth thoughts of some seeming out of control human being spewing an incessant stream of profanity. (The medical definition for this is coprolalia). In truth, the repetitive utterance of words vulgar words is symptom only found in a reliably small proportion (10%) of those with the disorder.

As is the case with autism, the exact cause of Tourette's syndrome has yet to be discovered. There is, however, a significant genetic factor involved; a mother or father with Tourette's syndrome has a 50/50 chance of passing the gene on to a child.

One useful way of thinking about what's going on with the mystery jerks or “tics” that someone with Tourette's may suffer dozens, even hundreds of times a day, is to think about a lamp with a faulty switch. You touch the switch, and the light flickers on and off. Even the slightest touch will cause the light bulb to engage in an apprentice dance of indecision, committing to nothing, but determined to do something- anything- until it finds itself doing something else. The point is, it's not the light bulb that's at fault, even though that's what is being noticed.

In much the same way, we find the person with Tourette's (or the person sitting next to them) wanting to control the arm, the leg, the facial expressions or the mouth. But just as changing the light bulb would do nothing to alleviate the challenges presented by a faulty light switch, tying down the hands or placing duct tape over the mouth of someone with Tourette's will prove to be just as ellogical, and most importantly, frustrating.

While we may not always be in a position to replace a less than perfect light switch, at least immediately, we can usually tighten the switch, or make sure that it is connecting properly. Sometimes it does not take much. This is sometimes the case with Tourette's and neurofeedback; sometimes clinicians may scratch their head in dismay at how simply the symptoms have been reduced. Trust, however, there will also be times when clinicians scratch their head, feeling somewhat confused, wondering why things are not happening faster.

Even though results are mixed, we are only at the beginning of the possibilities. Just think of being able to help someone who was suffering from severe Tourette's symptoms, which previous life was dedicated to managing their symptoms, to now have the opportunity to seek employment or get involved in a relationship. All because they have made such marked improvements with neurofeedback.

Then consider a doctor NOT telling a Tourette's sufferer about neurofeedback, simply because there's not enough research to support it as a mainstream form of treatment.

Understandably the costs can be a hurdle for some people but weighed against the fact that the side effects are little to none, the possibilities are endless. By utilizing the technology to improve people's lives without the need of a lifetime of drugs, neurofeedback is a logical choice for anyone wanting some relief from their Tourette's symptoms.

{ Comments are closed }

Is Adult Dyslexia Holding You Back?

Reading is important to life in the modern world and for some adults it just does not come naturally. For many of these people, adult dyslexia is the cause of their difficulties with writing or reading. Many dyslexics were not diagnosed as children, so they felt ashamed of their poor literacy skills. The good news is that once a diagnosis is made, treating dyslexia can help improve understanding as what is read as well as written skills.

Could you have dyslexia? Symptoms include frustration and difficulty with understanding anything written. Spelling is often a major challenge for dyslexics, as is putting something down on paper. Often dyslexics are articulate and intelligent, they just have trouble deciphering words on paper. For some, however, difficulties include include understanding things they hear as well as words they see.

There are simple tests to help determine whether or not you have dyslexia. Why learn if you have it? For one thing, you'll stop feeling so bad about yourself. This is a real disorder, probably due to something about the way the brain works. If you have a name for it, you can start finding ways to overcome it, instead of just feeling stupid because you have a tough time with reading or writing.

Many famous people have lived with dyslexia. From Albert Einstein to Tom Cruise, dyslexics are often found in many high places in our society. Often the very things that are different in the brain are things that allow dyslexics to think more creatively than other people. They may see new sides to an issue or spot a solution that more linear thinkers miss entirely. Capitalizing on these abilities and gaining the tools to conquer books can open many doors for you.

{ Comments are closed }

The Many Types of Dyslexia – Descriptions and What to Look For

Dyslexia used to be called “word blindness” and as such was isolated to describe just those individuals with difficulties in reading. As research has progressed however, doctors and psychologists now recognize and describe many types of dyslexia. If we were to go back and use the archaic terms of yesteryear, we might now be talking about number blindness, motor function blindness, writing blindness, and hearing blindness. No one talks in those terms today and if you mentioned those kinds of dyslexia to someone, they would not know what you are talking about, so lets look at each one using the terms that are more descriptive and correct for each type.

Dyscalculia may be one of the least known dyslexia types. If you break the word down, and know a little latin, you might have guessed that this type of dyslexia is the difficulty in grasping math concepts and performing simple calculations. This type may also be characterized by problems with telling time and spatial reasoning. Just as people diagnosed with dyslexia are not stupid, people with dysacaculia are not stupid either, they have a disorder that originates in the brain that just requires a different approach to learning.

Dyspraxia is the diagnosis for people who in the past may have been thought of as clumsy or uncoordinated. This type of dyslexia is a problem with motor skills and may include lack of coordination of speech, language and perception.

Dysgraphia is somewhat related to dyspraxia in that it is recognized as having issues with those motor skills that are needed for writing clearly. Obviously, this can have repercussions for all of a child's school work and indeed through life if left untreated. There are methods of re-learning that can help with dysgraphia.

Auditory or Phonological dyslexia is just what it sounds like. The person with auditory dyslexia has difficulty in translating sounds into words. They may have trouble repeating a sentence that is read to them or problems following detailed verbal instructions.

Anther lesser known type of dyslexia is visual dyslexia. This disorder is detected by having trouble translating information taken in by the eyes. The information that goes to the visual centers in the brain is scrambled or incomplete. This again could cause difficulties in reading comprehension or writing. There is some evidence that this may in part be to an incomplete eye development that may later disappear.

In addition to the above descriptions, you may also hear about trauma dyslexia, or primary or secondary dyslexia. Although these are legitimate terms used by doctors and psychologists, they are more descriptions of the causes of the disorder rather than specific types of dyslexia. You may also run into those who do not recognize some of the types listed above and that may also be legitimate. Study is ongoing and new things about dyslexia are being learned all the time. A good recommendation is to talk to as many people you can who are educated in types of dyslexia and read as much as you can from various authors.

{ Comments are closed }

Stuttering in Children – Is Your Child Stuttering Or Exhibiting Normal Developmental Disfluency?

Many children go through normal periods of disfluency around ages 2-4. This usually occurs during periods of rapid voluntary acquisition. Children typically repeat words and syllables, especially when excited or talking rapidly. In some children, this normal developmental disfluency develops into true stuttering, which can be a lifelong struggle. The trick for speech pathologists is to identify which children would benefit from therapy in order to “cure” or minimize the problem early. Almost all stutterers begin stuttering before the age of five and it is very important to begin therapy early to remediate the problem.

We are all disfluent at times. We may repeat words, say, “uh” when trying to gather our thoughts, or we may prolong a sound while beginning a word. These disfluencies can be more prevalent in preschoolers.

Some examples of normal disfluencies are:

1. Repeating whole words
2. Repeating syllables
3. prolonging the first sound of a word

If these speech behaviors are not excessive and do not last for more than a few months, there is probably not much cause for concern. If they are long-repeating or interferely with communication or are causing the child frustration, however, a speech evaluation would be advisable.

Some examples of abnormal disfluencies are:

1. Use of the schwa vowel in repetitions (bu-bu-bu bat instead of ba-ba-ba-bat)
2. Tension in the body or around the mouth.
3. Getting “stuck” on words, blocking
4. Frustration with or avoidance of speech

If you see any of these speech behaviors, it is much less likely that your child will outgrow his disfluencies without speech therapy.

What Can I Do?

Whatever your child is actually stuttering, may be beginning to stutter, or is experiencing normal disfluencies, there are some things that you can do to help.

1. Avoid showing and frustration or impatience with your child's speech.
2. Try to minimize stressful speaking situations for your child.
3. Do not react negatively to your child's speech or label it as “stuttering.”
4. Do not tell your child to “slow down.” Instead, model relaxed, lower speech yourself. Speak slowly, especially slowly slowly into the first word of a sentence.

If you have concerns, please consult a speech pathologist who can ease your mind, give you suggestions, or suggest speech therapy if needed.

A wonderful source of information about stuttering is the Stuttering Foundation of America . This non-profit organization produces free and inexpensive resources for speech-pathologists, parents, and children for the prevention and improved treatment of stuttering. I highly recommend this resource.

{ Comments are closed }

Language Stimulation Ideas For Toddlers – Improve Your Child’s Communication Skills

The language abilities of toddlers vary broadly. Some two-year-olds speak in complete sentences while others are still using single words. Much of the variation is simply due to temperament and individual development, but a child's environment and adult stimulation can help these skills along. Here is some ideas to use with normal-developing toddlers and with older children who have delayed language skills:

-Call out action words for the child to follow: sit, jump, kneel, walk, stop, and so on.

-Sing action songs with your child- “Where is Thumbkin?”, “Ring Around the Rosie,” “London Bridge,” “If You're Happy and You Know It,” and so on. A favorite of my children was “Wheels on the Bus.” I know I sang it hundreds of times with them! I am a big fan of incorporating music and language.

-Play hide and seek with objects. Let the child see you hide the object, then ask, “Where is ___?” and have him find it. Then hide the object without the child watching, but leave it partially exposed. Let him hide the object and ask you to find it. This will help him become familiar with new vocabulary.

-Make scrapbooks of different types of items-food, animals, action words, and so on, cutting pictures from magazines. Pages could also be made for adjectives-cold, smooth, pretty, etc. Older children can help with the cutting and / or gluing.

-Have the child follow two-part commands. “Turn around, then clap your hands.” “Run to the kitchen and pick up a spoon.” Then work up to three-part commands.

-Spreads picture cards showing different categories across the table. Ask your child to “find all the things we eat” or “find all the animals.”

-Require the child to use his best language when he wants something. “More.” “Cookie, please.” Egypt “I want to read a story.” Do not ever respond to points and grunts if the child is capable of more.

-Expand upon the child's effects. If he says, “cookie,” say “Want cookie, please.” Just hearing the expanded form of his phrase will encourage him to expand it himself the next time.

-Teach body parts and pronouns by naming, “my nose,” “your nose,” and so on. Ask, “Whose neck is this?” Model the correct answer if this is difficult for the child.

-Talk to your child! Explain what you are doing. Explain his world to him. Have him help you with simple chores while you talk. Ask him questions.

Interaction with you is the very best gift you can give your child. Making small efforts through your day to enhance the quality of your language interaction will reap noticeable results in the quality of your child's speech and language skills.

{ Comments are closed }

Kids With Dyslexia – Things You Can Do to Help Them Succeed

It has been estimated that as many as 20% of children may have some form of dyslexia. An even more disturbing statistical is that as many as 27% of those kids may dropout and never finish school if intervention and treatment does not happen. While this is not an article about dyslexia statistics, one more is worth reciting is that only 1/3 of children with dyslexia receive treatment in school. There are many things that you can do at home for your dyslexic child though. Read on to learn some of those things.

First and maybe most important, is to show support and love for the child. If they are struggling with reading it will affect the entire learning process and they may be categorized as slow or stupid if they have not been diagnosed properly. Other children may make fun of them or even shun them. At home, they need to understand that you do not think they are stupid and that you support them in their efforts to learn.

Another way to support your child is to ensure that they get the proper diagnosis and treatment for their disorder. You are your child's best advocate. Schools and literacy teachers in school have to deal with numerous children and limited resources. If your child is struggling in reading you may want to think about talking to the school about dyslexia testing or getting additional outside help from an educational psychologist or literacy expert. There is a possibility that your child may just need something simple, like vision correction, in order to improve their reading skills. It is also possible that they are dyslexic and need a different approach to reading to help them learn and keep up with their peers.

This brings up another area where you can help your kids with dyslexia. If you read and learn as much as you can about the disorder, you can work with them and help them learn in the style which suites them best. Literacy teachers are frustrated by children who they work with and who make progress during the school year, but then do not practice their reading over the summer and are set back at the beginning of the next year because of it. It is well known that children who struggle can show more improvement if they read outside of school in addition to getting special help while in school.

Encourage of your child is another area where parents are key. You can help a child maintain their self esteem by pointing out the areas where they excel in other subjects. You can also help them learn about famous people who they may see as role models who suffer from dyslexia. Just a short list of those people include Thomas Edison, Jay Leno, Whoopi Goldberg, Ervin “Magic” Johnson etc. This list goes on and on.

Being diagnosed with dyslexia should not be traumatic for a child or even a negative thing. Indeed, it can be the turning point that kids with dyslexia need to get the help they may not have gotten previously. You as a parent, teacher, or friend can help them overcome this disorder and live a very successful, fulfilled life.

{ Comments are closed }

Recover From Stuttering – Has Your Personality Been Hidden by Your Stutter?

I have a friend who spent a year as a mute because he became sick and tired of trying to communicate with a severe stutter. He said that it was just too much of a harrowing experience! So, for twelve months he forgot all about verbal conversation and decided to write everything down for people.

This same friend (let's call him 'John') has since embarked on a stuttering therapy program. Following the course, John has maintained wonderful controlled fluency in most situations. I asked John what the treatment for his stutter had done for him?

“You know, before my treatment, and for most of my adolescence and adult life, I dreaded conversation with anyone outside my immediate family. my stammer said about me! You see, I always felt that I came across to people outside as simple, dumb, and in a way, arrogant. I had to cope with my immovable object, my stutter, the better. So I suppose I came across as arrogant, you know, no eye contact, answering using very short phrases, looking to walk away all the time and a body language that said , 'Hey, I did not want to be there!' ”

John is not the sort of person his stutter depicted him to be. “Yeah I know, but I hated my stuttering so much, I did not want to have to cope with it and probably never wanted to inflate it on anyone else! I was stammering at them that I did not want to see their reactions. The look of embarrassment on their faces said it all, I just wanted out. ”

I asked him why he waited so long to undertake this wonderful therapy and support.

“I did not think there was anything out there that could help me with my stammering, I really thought I was better off spending the rest of my life not saying anything at all!”

He thinks differently now though, that's for sure! I hardly ever hear him stammer these days.

“My speech has changed a lot. I definitely speak with a natural rhythm that I've never had before. John appears more confident and looks people in the eye. “I actually enjoy talking now, not only with my family, but also with people I meet on a daily basis. my fluency, and the more I do that, the more my technique becomes more natural.

The best thing of all, though, is that people do not see a person negatively affected by a stutter any more. They see me, a happy individual using a wonderful technique to manage my fluency. I am able to show them the real me. My personality shines out and I enjoy life more. ”

With some perseverance and determination, you too can control your stutter. Join me on our quest for fluency.

{ Comments are closed }

Effective Stuttering Therapy – Formula For Success

No matter what you might happen to read on the web or what some other fly-by-nighter might tell you for the sake of a quick buck … there is no cure for stuttering!

Now, I am a recovering stutterer, an older one, and I understand the frustration and suffering that PWS go through. It depends on the individual, but the frustration over lack of fluency never seems to diminish. Maybe your stress levels subside a bit when you're relaxing in a comfy chair watching telly. However, a lot of the time we have to engage in conversation, and speech for a person who stutters can be a real drag.

Many of you would have heard of groups like 'Alcoholics Anonymous' and 'Gamblers Anonymous', wonderful associations for people suffering from these two debilitating addictions. Many who suffer from alcoholism, gambling addiction, or many other 'isms' or addictions for that matter, see their memberships to these associations as a means to an end. What I mean is, many people associated with these groups use the techniques they learn, and gain support from other like-minded individuals to help manage their problem.

Many many people around the world are managing health issues. The struggle we have with our stuttering can be embarrassing and very visible to others, but the real challenge for us is to modify the negative thinking aspects that go along with the visible symptoms. As with people who struggle with drinking and gambling, it's not the stutter itself, but the root cause that has to be addressed. Drinkers and gamblers know they will never be cured, and the struggle they have within their minds is worth every ounce of effort, when they can say to themselves, “I will always be an alcoholic, but I have not had a drink for two years. ”

Managing and coping with a stutter is a little like this. Once you have adopted your wonderful stuttering therapy technique, then you are on your way. With an understanding of the importance of positive thinking and the effect of negative causal thoughts that exist in many stutterers' minds, then this becomes your management foundation. Coupled with strong support from other like-minded individuals, management of your stuttering is possible. Thousands of people are out there right now, out there in the real world dealing with their speech dysfluencies. Many people who stutter are managing their fluency very well. You would not even know they had a stammering problem. How proud are they? … they have not cured their stuttering, but have risen above it to the point where they hardly even think about their fluency any more. They just get on with their lives, and do what they have to do to ensure their wonderful technique works.

You too can do it! Choose to use your technique constantly. Be aware of your fears but do not focus on them. Focus on your goals for the future. Move in a positive direction with support from other recovering stutterers. Be proud of yourself and all you can achieve.

{ Comments are closed }

Improve Your Speech Fluency, Improve Your Confidence

By developing a more confident attitude, we can turn around many of the personal negatives that are driven by stuttering.

Dealing with a stutter and living with all that goes with it, can be for many, quite self-destructive. Some people who stutter carry on as usual and simply do not let their disability get in the way of their lives. Unfortunately most stutterers / stammerers are not in this category. Most carry with them a psychological constraint at some level. The effect on the individual can be as simple as a mild irritation. Others find that they are constantly thinking in a negative way about themselves, their stutter, and perceptions of how others see them. This way of thinking not only perpetuates the stutter but also eats away at self-esteem, and confidence tends to diminish the longer the negativity continues.

If confidence is fragile, it can be rebuilt. Any structure worth building requires a solid foundation. If the structure (confidence) is weak and unstable, strengthen the foundation. If it's your lack of fluency that has caused shaky confidence, then redeveloping your speech process will empower you.

Undertaking an excellent science-based stuttering / stammering treatment is the first step in rebuilding confidence. It's a commitment that you can only make for yourself. Remember, a good fluency technique is key to your new solid foundation. Following treatment, be prepared for hard work, plenty of practice and a willingness to change as an individual. Change your thinking and rebuild your confidence by:

  • Being proud of yourself for having undertaken a rebuilding process.
  • Being positive about your new wonderful speaking technique, use it proudly.
  • Not unavoidable situations, put yourself out there.
  • Not being afraid to tell, tell people you stutter, look them in the eye and use technique.
  • Practicing technique as much as you can, practice with other recovering stutterers over Skype and face-to-face.
  • Enjoying every moment of your life, it's yours for the taking.

In summary ,ructure solid foundations of technique, upon which you can build strong controlled fluency. You will be proud of yourself for achieving this. Then, as with all important structures, maintenance is the key, then your fluency is yours for life!

Remember, all this has come from you. Set yourself a goal to improve speech fluency, and persevere. All your hard work will lead to a rebuilding of self-concept, confidence and most importantly, positive thought patterns. Join with me in our quest for fluency.

{ Comments are closed }

I Stutter and I Felt Guilty Saying “No”!

No! No! No!

That was a word I could not say; not because it used to create me physical speech struggle but because I FELT like I was NOT going to be APPROVED and LIKED by others. I had always felt like I OWE to other people because of the fact that I have a speech challenge called “stuttering”. I used to say “OK” to any request, favor, suggestion, etc. No matter what I really wanted or what my needs or choices were, I used to go for meeting others' demands. I simply put their needs before my rights! In simplest words, I was living to PLEASE OTHERS. When I said “No” I felt GUILTY.

I was a “hopeless stutterer” so I lived with the indisputable IMAGINARY truth that the other person was always SUPERIOR; which simply meant I had to please them so I could make up for my “weakness”! After all, to me, I was accepted DESPITE the “fact” that I was a “poor” stutterer!

For example, if I was in a group of friends I always went with their choice of activity or decision, if any classmate asked me to stay and help them for a homework I would have canceled ALL my personal plans and would have helped them. I accepted other people thoughts regardless because I avoid any kind of CONFLICTS. I HATED to say “No” or reject people.

People's needs were always ahead of my NEEDS and what I really WANTED. I should have been able to easily say, “Sure, I would love to help you for the homework but I have plans for tonight so lets arrange another time” or “I do not agree with you on that subject” and be able to DEFEND my opinions, thoughts, etc. Those would have been the responses of a mature person in such situations. But instead, I chose SELF DENIAL to meet OTHERS 'needs.

Any of the above sound familiar to you?

If so, that is what I want to talk about with you today.

Most people who stutter lack “this” without knowing that a change in this would make a HUGE difference not only in speech but also in relationships and life in general.

What am I talking about? I am talking about a personality characteristic which if you learn to master and integrate it to your life you will bring you a lot more than you imagine.

So what is this personality characteristic? …

Assertiveness!

Assertiveness is the opposite of “holding back”, which stuttering can be explained with.

As stutterers, we usually feel that we OWE to other people. We avoid CONFLICTS. We do not want to reject people and face the possibility of upsetting them. We feel GUILTY in saying “No”. In other words, we put their needs BEFORE our rights. However, you have the right to defend your boundaries in case manipulators aim to violate. You do NOT owe anything to others, you do not have to feel sorry about your speech and try to cover it by being overly nice to others just so that they do not judge you. You have a clear goal in mind, do WHATEVER it takes to reach that goal … ofcourse by respecting others and more importantly by respecting YOURSELF!

Let me give you a specific example on assertiveness.

It is my observation that most stutterers have issues with TIME PRESSURE. Out of control stutterers do NOT take their TIME before they speak. They do not speak when they are READY to speak. Instead, they rush themselves to speak right away. However, using pauses when you speak can do wonders for your speech. You are NOT EXPECTED to speak non-stop like a machine gun. Take your time and speak when you are ready to speak, not when you are EXPECTED to speak. This would help the effectiveness of your communication as well. It is your right to pause and speak when you are ready to speak.

Almost all stutterers I have met or worked with, at one point said that when they pause for one second, it feels like 3-5 seconds, in fact even for some it felt like forever. Be assertive and use your speaking tools unapologetically in every speaking situation. Do not forget your BIG PICTURE and your main GOAL. It is your RIGHT to choose how you want to communicate.

Let me finish this with a quote from Bill Cosby.

“I do not know the key to success, but the key to failure is to try to please everyone.”

Very thought provoking! Give it some thought and see if it will make sense to you …

{ Comments are closed }

Articulation Errors – Help Your Child Correct His Speech Sounds

Does your child have a speech sound error or two that he does not seem to be outgrowing? By age seven or eight, children should have mastered all of their speech sounds. Some sounds, such as t, d, k, g, p, b, and f, should be produced correctly well before that age.

If you suspect or know that your child has an articulation problem, seeing a speech-language-pathologist for an evaluation is a wise first step. He or she will be able to tell you exactly which sounds are in error-there may be some that you have not noticed! Even if you opt to work with your child at home, the speech pathologist should be able to give you some tips and get you started. However, this is not the preferred option for many parents. Perhaps you can not afford speech therapy or fit it into your schedule. Perhaps you do not want involvement with the public schools.

If you would like to work with your child's speech at home, here are some guidelines and ideas.

First, pick a sound or group of sounds to work on. You may want to pick an easier sound to start with, or one one that is important to the child, such as a sound in his name. Make the sound yourself and consider exactly how it is made. Where in your mouth does your tongue touch? Does the air leak through slowly, such as in an “s”? Or does the air pop out quickly, as in a “t”? If your child can not produce the sound at all, you will have to describe this to him as well as model the sound.

First, teach the child to say the sound by itself. Model it for him. Use your finger, spoon handle, or Popsicle stick to touch his mouth or tongue in the target spots. When your child can produce it, practice. Practice, practice, and practice some more until he can produce it in isolation every time.

Then practice words that begin with the target sound, moving on to words with the sound in the middle or at the end. Blends are more difficult and should be taught last.

When your child can produce the sound in words with 95% accuracy, begin practicing in sentences. By the time sentences are mastered, you will probably hear the sound being used most of the time in conversation. This may take a few weeks or even months. Do not expect your child to use the sound in conversation right away-it will take time before he can produce the sound correctly without thinking about it.

Make your speech practice time fun. Keep the sessions short, but practice every day. Play board games, making your child say his word 3 times before every turn. Hop across the room, repeating the sound with every bounce. With dedicated practice, you should soon see improvement in your child's articulation skills!

{ Comments are closed }

Speech Development – Does Your Child Have a Speech Delay?

Do you ever wonder if your child's speech skills are normal? We do not expect a three year old to have perfect speech, but we do expect near-perfect articulation from a ten year old. Here are a few questions to help you determine whether your child is developing articulation skills at a normal pace or whether you should be concerned. These are just general guidelines. If you have concerns, you may want to have your child evaluated by a speech pathologist, who might suggest therapy or confirm you that your child is developing normally.

Can your three-year-old be understood by people outside the family? Three-year-olds have usually not mastered all of the speech sounds yet, but strangers should be able to understand much of what they say. If a child has so many errors that he is difficult to understand, this probably indicates that his articulation skills are delayed and that he would benefit from speech therapy. It can be very frustrating for a child when others can not understand his speech.

Is your five-year old easy to understand? Five-year-olds may still have 3 or 4 “tough sounds,” but these sound errors should not be interfering significantly with their intelligibility.

What do others say about your child's speech? Often parents are so accredited to their children's speech patterns that they do not even notice that little Johnny says “th” instead of “s” or leaves “r” off the ends of his words. I have met ten or twelve-year olds who parents seem not to notice that their children have difficulty with some sounds even though everyone else does not notice! It is very unquestionably that a child over age nine will self-correct or outgrow any articulation errors on his own.

This is a list of the approximate ages at which children should have mastered different sounds. Of course all children develop differently and may not master sounds in this exact order. There are also other factors that a speech-language-pathologist would consider in determining whether a child's speech patterns are within normal limits or delayed. For example substituting “th” for “s” at age 6 is normal, but omitting “s” absolutely or substituting “t” for “s” would be a concern (and affects intelligibility much more).

Articulation Age Norms Chart

Age 3 —— p, b, n, h, w

Age 3 1/2 — t, d, k, g, ng

Age 4 —— f, v

Age 5 —— l

Age 6 —— ch, sh, j, th

Age 7 —— s, z, r, blends

Although articulation errors are part of the normal maturational process for children, some children do need additional help in learning to speak clearly. Parents should be alert to possible problems in order to ensure that their children receive any help in a timely manner.

{ Comments are closed }

3 Tips to Eliminate a Stuttering Problem – The Best Advice to Stop Stuttering Without a Speech Coach

If you feel like people look at you differently because you have a stuttering problem, this is probably true. The thing is, people who do not have any problems fail to understand what it feels like for someone who has to live with a problem like stuttering every single day. For someone who does not stutter, it is extremely difficult to understand how hard it is to top stuttering and how self-conscious stuttering actually makes a person feel. If you are dying to stop stuttering, take the tips in this article very seriously.

Quit Stuttering Tip 1: Do not Concentrate Too Hard Before You Speak

Stuttering is often triggered by nervousness or anxiety. When you tell yourself that you must think before you speak or make yourself feel like you have to concentrate extremely hard in order to speak with minimal stuttering, what you're doing is making yourself more nervous and more likely to stutter. The key to eliminating a stuttering problem is being able to speak without having to research your lines. Of course this will take some practice, but it definitely can be done!

Quit Stuttering Tip 2: Try A Stuttering Self-Help Guide – They Are Extremely Informative

There are guide out there that actually have been proven to eliminate a stutter completely. Through several exercises and private lessons involving speaking out loud incorporating confidence, it has been said a stutter can be removed from your speech completely. These guides not only show you how to stop stuttering, you also learn how to cope with stuttering as well as specific exercises to permanently remove a stutter. If you consider how expensive getting a speech coach is, this is definitely a much better, more private, and less embarrassing alternative.

Quit Stuttering Tip 3: Check The Return Policy, If You Can Return It – You Should Try It!

If you can find a reliable guide with some great information to stop stuttering, you should definitely stick with it. However, if you get a guide out there that you are not happy with, you should always be able to return it. The meaning of no risk is being able to try a guide out but be able to return it if it is not what you were expecting for. For this reason, if it claims to help you stop stuttering, why not give it a shot? Make sure you look for a return policy!

{ Comments are closed }

Dyslexia Facts at a Glance – Causes and Symptoms to Look For With the Disorder

There are many myths and misconceptions about dyslexia. A review of dyslexia facts may help you sort through all the information out there about dyslexia. These dyslexia facts are basic facts that might help with dyslexia awareness as well as help give the reader a handle on what to watch for.

Basic Dyslexia Facts:

  • Dyslexia is not a learning disorder in the traditional sense of the concept. Dyslexia is an issue with perception of how the brain processes verbal, auditory or visual information
  • Causes of dyslexia could be genetic, congenital or physical (brain) trauma
  • Dyslexia is not something that can be “outgrown” or just “goes away”
  • Dyslexic people are not “stupid” -most have average or above average IQs
  • Dyslexics, when given the proper skills and encouragement, often thrive and excel
  • It is estimated that as many as 1 in 5 people have dyslexia in one form or another in varying degree

Listed below are some of the more common symptoms of dyslexia. This is by no means a complete list, but instead is meant as a very general guideline. Children with dyslexia can exhibit just a few symptoms or numerous ones. Dyslexia is very much a case by case challenge.

  • Difficulty performing in one particular skill set in school -Example: excels in math, but not reading
  • Exhibits poor self-esteem
  • Seems to learn best through hands-on experience-manuals and instructions are not easily comprehended
  • Confused by letters, numbers, words, or verbal explanations
  • Extreme misbehavior-often the class clown, troublemaker, or withdrew
  • Trouble with writing-writing is illegible or inconsistent and / or grip on the pencil is odd. This is a sign of issues with fine motor skills.
  • Transposes letters and numbers-often youngger children will do this but will outgrow it with practice. Should this continue into higher grades, it could be a problem.
  • Poor memory for experiences they have not had themselves
  • Lack of concept of time
  • Can not process abstract number concepts
  • Difficulty putting thoughts into words-especially when distracted or under pressure
  • Overly-emotional

As stated before, these are just a few symptoms. Further self-study and research of available dyslexia facts is highly recommended. Local health offices and your child's school councilors should have additional information for you to read. If you feel your child is not working up to their potential in school, you can have a dyslexia screening test done for your child. This is a quick Q and A that can let you know if pursuit of further testing is needed. You are your child's protector and advocate, but more importantly, you spend more time than anyone with your child and are more suited for watching most signs than anyone else in his or her life.

{ Comments are closed }

Dyslexia – A New Perspective – Part 2

Bahasa Malaysia

Let's take a look at our Malay national language (Malay) which all students in Malaysia have to learn.

The only letter that represents more than one sound in Bahasa Malaysia is the letter 'e'. It can be pronounced 'er' or 'ay'.

You pronounce “besok” as if it is “bay-sok” (meaning tomorrow) and “beruk” with the “er” sound pronounced as in the first two letters of the English word 'berth'.

If you have not heard the word previously you would not know how to pronounce it.

One can learn how to read the newspaper in Malay within a month of learning. Of course one would not understand what one is reading. Take any long word in Malay eg. “rambutan” (a local fruit) the sound can be broken down to ram-bu-tan, kewarganegaraan (citizenship) which can be broken down into: ke-war-ga-ne-ga-ra-an.

I remember being shocked when my son Fadhil, in Year One, read the word “Tahun taksiran” on an income tax letter he found in my car. When I asked him who had taught him to read those words, he replied, “No one, Daddy. Anyone can read this.” That was an incident that occurred in 1987 and is still vivid in my mind.

Mandarin (Han Yu Pin Yin)

This is even easier than Malay. There are no exceptions as in the Malay letter “e”.

English

There is no way you can pronounce some of the words in English if you have not heard them before. A few words as an illustration would be: chalet, quay, island and know.

Many words in the English language are irregular. They are not spelt the way they sound and this is basically why dyslexics have a problem reading English as opposed to reading Malay or Han Yu Pin Yin.

There are:

– Words with multiple pronunciation for the same spelling: wind (as in the winter wind) and wind (as in wind down the windows).

– Words spelt similarly and pronounced similarly: cut, but (even, there is an exception to this rule – put)

– Words with different spellings but are pronounced the same way: pear, pair; road, rode; hare, hair.

– Words with silent letters: Salmon, plumber, debt.

In English there are simply too many exceptions. Would I want to teach these kids the exceptions? The answer is an emphatic NO! Having taught dyslexic children over the last five years, I know that it is not necessary to burden them with this awesome task of learning the exceptions. They will learn the exceptions as they go along. It is a natural process.

I did not study English by learning what is a consonant blend or consonant digraph and yet I can read very well.

Children should be taught the regular words and learn the others as they arise. From the sunset I let my students know that many letters have different sounds and that we'll learn them as we come to them. This is a very important point as far as the dyslexic child is concerned.

I believe that a dyslexic child is very logical in his thinking and his mind will “shut down” the moment you read, say, “A cat”. This is because the sound represented by “A” is “er” while the sound represented by “a” in “cat” is “air”.

I point out to them the different sounds the letter makes when we come to those letters as we read. I then compare it with the previous sound the letter had made in a different word. Once the dyslexic child learns that a letter has more than one sound (like in Malay and Han Yu Pin Yin) it will be easier for him to read in English.

{ Comments are closed }