Common Misconceptions: Dyslexia

Posted by: Carmen N.

MYTH: “Dyslexia is something children will outgrow.”

FACT: While some children who struggle with reading may be “late-bloomers”, children with dyslexia continue to face challenges as readers as they grow.

MYTH: “Dyslexia affects more boys than girls.”

FACT: Over time, researchers have confirmed that just as many girls as boys have dyslexia. Boys are more likely to be referred by their schools for diagnosis.

MYTH: “Dyslexia only affects people who speak English.”

FACT: Dyslexia occurs in speakers of all languages, even languages with consistent phoneme pronunciations and languages that do not use an alphabet script.

MYTH: “Dyslexia is a problem of visual perception.”

FACT: Dyslexia is often depicted with letters and words upside-down or backwards, but research tells us that dyslexics have difficulty at the phoneme level – with the translation of sounds to symbols.

MYTH: “A person with dyslexia cannot be a good reader.”

FACT: With intense systematic instructions, a person with dyslexia can become a strong reader. This is especially true if the child receives early intervention.

Please contact us immediately at (713)510-5699 if you believe your child is jumbling up words or phrases, putting letters and figures the wrong way round, has difficulty remembering the alphabet, needing to use fingers to make simple calculations and taking longer to complete any written work.


Picky Eater vs. Feeding Disorder

Posted by: Carmen N.
(Source: Simpy Stavish)

Are you concerned that your child is a picky eater? Are you over mealtime battles? Feeding disorders are extremely varied from child to child. One child may display a range of symptoms and behaviors that are completely different from another child. It is important to recognize that there is a huge difference between a picky eater and a child with a feeding disorder.

Symptoms of a Picky Eater

  • Requesting a limited variety of foods
  • Eating foods from a select food group and avoiding others (typically avoiding dairy, vegetables and fruit)
  • Favorite foods include carbohydrates such as bread, pasta and crackers (the white diet)
  • Requesting a particular food brand and refusing to eat any other brand
  • Throwing a tantrum when new foods are presented at meals

If your child displays one or more of the following symptoms he or she may have a more serious problem than just being “picky”.

Symptoms of a Child With a Feeding Disorder

  • Poor weight gain or abnormal weight-loss
  • Meal times last longer than 30 to 40 minutes
  • Gags while eating
  • Difficulty transitioning to higher texture foods and/or refusal to self feed
  • Coughing or choking frequently during meals

If you are concerned about your child’s eating please contact us at (713) 510-5699. Based on your concerns, a referral can be made to our Speech-Language Pathologists who specialize in feeding evaluations and therapy.

Read the rest of this blog post on Simply Stavish

baby girl and her mom

10 Common Causes of Pediatric Speech and Language Problems

Posted by: Carmen N.
(Source: www.smartspeechtherapy.com)

 Many young children develop speech skills within a wide range of time and with different capabilities. However, by a certain point, most children have begun to learn how to speak and communicate effectively. Of course, when parents notice that their child isn’t keeping up with other children, they worry. While most children develop appropriately given enough time, some children do experience issues with speech-language development.

Delays in speech development are caused by a variety of reasons, so it is important to understand what these potential causes are, as well as why a thorough, professional evaluation may be needed for some children. Too often parents, relatives, neighbors, and school officials believe they know for sure that something is off, but in fact their guesses may be dead wrong. Instead, accurate diagnosis of speech-language problems requires a thorough evaluation by trained professionals and includes testing of both speech language and hearing to determine the root cause of any potential problems.

The inability to develop speech and language properly over a reasonable time period directly impacts a child’s ability to adjust to and mingle with peers, family, and community. Some of the most obvious speech delays affect the child’s ability to form words correctly, resulting in pauses, hesitancy, and even stuttering. These effects can be socially devastating.

The causes of child speech and language problems involve many different issues. These include:

  1. General Speech-Language Delay – This is probably the most common and easily remedied problem. The reason this occurs is that the child is learning more slowly than his or her peers. It’s a temporary situation that can be addressed with a combination of therapy as well as at home carryover. After therapy is initiated, many children develop their speech-language skills appropriately and catch up to peers within a relatively short period of time.
  2. Expressive Language Problems – With this type of delay, a child thinks and understands clearly and develops normal relationships, but he or she has problems effectively utilizing expressive language versus basic talking. Speech is delayed because the child is struggling with how to communicate effectively. Again, speech therapy is the appropriate response.
  3. Receptive Language Problems – With this condition, the child comprehension is decreased and s/he speaks with an unclear and sparse use of words and has a problem connecting words with directions, such as pointing at an object or carryout instructions. Speech therapy will be needed, but often these cases need intensive clinical help and treatment may take much longer periods of time.
  4. Autism – Children with a variety of disorders along the autism spectrum display a number of developmental problems, including speech delay and the inability to communicate clearly. Repetitive activity is also common. The child has profound difficulty sustaining long-term communication, and even with therapy, regression often occurs after slight improvements. In these cases professional evaluation and treatment are needed for accurate diagnosis. The treatment, intensive language training and behavioral modification, continues into later years.
  5. Cerebral Palsy – This condition causes significant problems with physical vocal coordination. The child may have serious problems controlling spasms in the tongue area. He or she also often suffers from hearing limitations and disconnects between stimuli and cognitive function. Children affected by this condition often undergo intensive symbol recognition therapy as a communication alternative to vocal speech along with speech therapy. While speech may continue to evidence developmental delays, such children find ways to communicate effectively despite the condition.
  6. Childhood Apraxia of Speech – This issue interferes with a child’s ability to make the right sounds for desired words. As a result, his or her speech tends to be very impaired and may be difficult for listeners to understand. Children affected often add gesturing to compensate. Multiple treatment approaches are applied to this condition, with comprehensive  assessment being a prerequisite to effective treatment.
  7. Dysarthia – This condition, in either a mild or severe form, affects speech accordingly. A child’s speech may be disrupted and difficult to understand. Similar to apraxia, children tend to overcompensate with physical gestures to get their point across. Speech-language therapy results in some improvement, with multiple approaches needed to address this problem effectively.
  8. Hearing loss post-speech – In some cases, children learn to speak but then lose their hearing, which may cause speech regression. Eventually speech clarity and quality drop as the hearing loss continues. Further, affected children stop adding new words to their vocabulary. With the help of professionals (audiologist, speech language pathologist)  to learn sign language, read lips, and use hearing aids, most speech problems are overcome. Speech enunciation may continue to be hampered somewhat, however.
  9. Hearing loss pre-speech – In these situations, speech development is delayed because the child can’t hear words to then repeat them correctly. Speech is often slurred, with the wrong tone or emphasis. There is also a potential loss of demonstrative speech with connected gestures. Again, the help of related professionals (audiologist, speech language pathologist) is critical, along with alternate communication training and hearing aids.
  10. Intellectual limitations – Speech/language in this scenario is delayed because there is a cognitive limitation. Children in such cases are often treated professionally after a full evaluation, frequently being referred to child development centers for long-term support and training. All treatment is under the guidance and oversight of related professionals.

As noted in the above details, a child’s speech development issue may stem from a number of different causes, so it is important to obtain a proper, professional evaluation. These 10 causes of childhood speech and language problems provide a good starting point to understanding why speech limitations occur.

If your child has been diagnosed with or exhibits any of the above listed issues, please calls us at (713)510-5699 to schedule an in-home evaluation today!



Weight, Gender and Gross Motor Classification in Children with Cerebral Palsy

Posted by: Carmen N.
(Source: www.yourtherapysource.blogspot.com)

Pediatrics has published clinical growth charts for children with cerebral palsy. Research was conducted using 102,163 measurements of weight from 25,545 children with cerebral palsy in California. The researchers established growth charts for children with cerebral palsy based on Gross Motor Function Classification System level and gender. Overall the research indicated that children with low weights are at greater risk for nutritional issues, major medical conditions and death.

You can download the full article at Pediatrics.

You can download the growth charts at Life Expectancy.org.

Reference: Jordan Brooks, Steven Day, Robert Shavelle,and David Strauss Low Weight, Morbidity, and Mortality in Children With Cerebral Palsy: New Clinical Growth Charts. Pediatrics 2011; 128:2 e299-e307; published ahead of print July 18, 2011, doi:10.1542/peds.2010-2801



Celebrate Better Hearing & Speech Month!

Posted by: Carmen N.
(Image Source: www.lexington.va.gov)

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month! How are you going to celebrate? Throughout the month of April our wonderful speech therapists were asked to creatively incorporate a fun BHSM coloring page into their therapy activities with each of their patients. Once all of the artwork is submitted, it will decorate our office hallways and one lucky winner, chosen at random, will have the opportunity to win a special prize! We appreciate and value each and every one of our patients and their families! They all work so hard towards improving their speech and reaching their therapy goals. And let’s not forget about our exceptional team of specialists that help them better their quality of life through their speech. Better Hearing and Speech month represents, to us, just that; making sure that we all carry out every effort towards bringing awareness of, advocating for, & teaching or helping those who can’t quite find the words! We wish everyone a happy and successful Better Hearing and Speech month!

For more information & resources on opportunities to raise awareness about communication disorders and to promote treatment that can improve the quality of life for those who experience problems with speaking, understanding, or hearing visit the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association website.