TSHA 2014 Annual Convention

TSHA 2014 Houston Booth
The 58th Annual Texas Speech Language Hearing Association Convention is right around the corner!

This year the convention will be hosted in Houston, TX at the George R. Brown Convention Center on February 28 – March 2, 2014.

We’re excited and eager to see all of you at Personal Touch Therapy’s Booth #513. Stop by for games, goodies, prizes, and an opportunity to get to know us better!

How the brain recognizes speech sounds is revealed

{Source: Medical News Today}

Researchers at the University of California San Francisco show in a new study – published in the journal Science – that the shaping of sound by our mouths leaves “an acoustic trail” that the brain follows.

Scientists have known for some time that it is the superior temporal gyrus (STG; also known as “Wernike’s area”) where speech sounds are interpreted. But not much has been known about how the brain actually processes speech.

To investigate this, the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) researchers placed neural recording devices directly onto the surface of the brains of six patients who were undergoing epilepsy surgery. This allowed the researchers to capture very rapid changes in the brain.

The brain is ‘tuned’ to speech
This was one of the most advanced studies of the brain’s interpretation of speech. Previous studies had only been able to analyze neural responses to just a handful of natural or synthesized speech sounds, but because of the speed of the technology used by the UCSF team, they were able to use every kind of speech sound in the English language, multiple times.

The researchers collected data from the STGs of the the patients as they listened to 500 unique English sentences spoken by 400 different people.

What the researchers expected was to see the patients’ brains respond to “phonemes.” Phonemes are the individual sound segments that make up language – the researchers give the example of the b sound in “boy.”

Instead, the researchers found that the brain was “tuned” to an even simpler function of language – something linguists call “features.” Features are distinctive “acoustic signatures” that the human body makes when we move our lips, tongue or vocal cords.

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5 Signs that Your Infant May Benefit from Feeding Therapy

infant feeding therapy

As a speech language pathologist who specializes in feeding, I am grateful when a parent brings a baby to see me as soon as possible. Feeding therapists like to assess children the moment parents detect that their little one is having trouble in order prevent future problems from arising.

Just as important to me is ensuring that feeding your baby is a wonderful experience – it’s about nurturing, love and bonding as you help him/her grow. It’s not always obvious when babes under the age of one aren’t eating well, especially if it is the parent’s first baby. Here are 5 signs that your infant may benefit from feeding therapy:

1. Feeding your baby is not an enjoyable experience
It’s difficult and stressful. A feeding therapist is a feeding detective and can help you figure out why.

2. Baby is not gaining weight
A feeding therapist will collaborate with your pediatrician and other professionals, such as a gastroenterologist, to examine all the possible factors. Sometimes, when a baby is not consuming enough calories, it is due to oral motor or sensory issues that prevent baby from having an effective suck on the breast or bottle. The feeding therapist may also collaborate with a certified lactation consultant or have those credentials too.

3. Baby is having trouble transitioning to purees or solid foods
Learning to suck purees off a spoon or fingers is part of the developmental learning process that eventually leads to more advanced skills, like chewing. There are a multitude of reasons that babies stall here and catching it early is essential. If your baby is not adjusting to age appropriate solid foods by 8 months of age, please consider feeding therapy.

4. Baby gags and/or vomits on a daily basis
The occasional gag is nature’s way of protecting baby’s airway until he/she can control the pieces of food in the mouth. However, daily gags can lead to daily vomiting and discomfort, which leads to baby learning that eating is not fun. A feeding therapist can determine why your baby is having trouble and offer strategies to help overcome a sensitive gag reflex.

5. Baby has not begun to drink from an open cup and straw cup by 1 year
By this age, babies should be developing a mature swallow pattern. Babies drink (and swallow) from the breast or bottle differently than the way older children drink from a cup. Read more about the process here, in an article about sippy cups. I suggest using sippy cups for only a short time (or not at all) as one step to helping baby progress to the next stage in feeding.


Written by: Melanie Potock, MA, CCC-SLP