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At Personal Touch Therapy, LLC we are helping create awareness on World Down Syndrome Day by donning our loudest and brightest socks! Join us!

Stuttering: The Causes & How To Help

Some ancients believed that stuttering was caused by evil spirits, which had to be exorcised. During the Middle Ages, the tongue was considered the culprit. The “remedy”? Hot irons and spices! In later centuries surgeons cut nerves and muscles of the tongue and even performed tonsillectomies to cure stuttering. But those harsh methods all failed to meet their objective.

Modern research suggests that stuttering may have several contributing factors rather than just one single cause. One factor may be a person’s response to stress. Another may be genetics, for about 60 percent of people who stutter have relatives with the same problem. Moreover, research using neuroimaging suggests that the brain of a stutterer processes language differently. Some “may begin speaking before the brain dictates how the words should be articulated,” says Dr. Nathan Lavid in his book Understanding Stuttering.

Hence, the major cause of stuttering may not necessarily be psychological, as was once thought. “In other words, stuttering isn’t affected by belief, and stutterers can’t be ‘psyched’ into fluency,” says the book No Miracle Cures. People who stutter may, however, develop psychological problems as a result of their condition. For instance, they may fear certain situations, such as speaking in public or on the telephone.

Help for Those Who Stutter
Interestingly, people who stutter can usually sing, whisper, talk to themselves or their pets, speak in chorus, or impersonate others with little or no stuttering. Moreover, 80 percent of children who stutter recover spontaneously. But what about the other 20 percent?

Today there are speech-therapy programs that can improve fluency. Some techniques involve relaxing the jaw, lips, and tongue and breathing from the diaphragm. Patients may also be taught to do “gentle onsets,” which involve taking smaller breaths from the diaphragm and releasing a little air as a lead-in to speaking. Additionally, they may be encouraged to prolong vowels and certain consonants. The rate of speech is gradually increased as fluency improves.

Acquiring such skills may take just a few hours. But using those approaches successfully in high-stress situations may involve thousands of hours of practice.

How early should training begin? Is it wise just to wait and see if a child outgrows stuttering on his own? Figures suggest that less than 20 percent of children who stutter for five years recover spontaneously. “By age six,” says the book No Miracle Cures, “a child is unlikely to recover without speech therapy.” Hence, “children who stutter should see a speech-language pathologist as soon as possible,” the book adds. Of the 20 percent of children who continue to stutter into adulthood, an estimated 60 to 80 percent respond to speech therapy.

What is Down Syndrome in 2014?

DS babyThe problem of Down syndrome is the Limitations that people assign to it

The genetic basis of Down syndrome is and will always be the same. Down syndrome is the full or partial triplication of chromosome 21, which results in common physical and development characteristics of people living with this condition. Some medical tendencies are also part of the syndrome.

Throughout history, Down syndrome has always been the most common genetic condition. Approximately of 1 every 691 babies is born with Down syndrome every year in United States.

Down syndrome was grouped by its physical, developmental and medical characteristics in 1866 by Dr. John Lang Down; this is why the syndrome was named after him. In 1959, Dr. Jerome Lejeune scientifically identified the cause of the syndrome by discovering its genetic conformation while demonstrating the existence of the extra chromosome.

Hundreds of years ago, as expressed in historical records, people with Down syndrome were considered “disabled” and were diagnosed with “mental retardation.” They were confined to institutions, with no opportunities for development or quality of life of any kind.

Fast forward to 2014, a time when people with Down syndrome and their families continue to demonstrate that while living with Down syndrome is not a “typical” circumstance, it is also nothing out of this world. Like anyone else, our children with Down syndrome can achieve the fullest of their abilities if they are raised with love and acceptance, just like any other child.

Down syndrome is not the problem; the problem is the limitations that people assign to it.

So here is the most important information about Down syndrome that everyone should be aware of in 2014.

– There are not “retarded” people, but people with intellectual disabilities doing their best, every day, to take full advantage of their unique abilities.

– There are not “Downs.” People with Down syndrome are people first. There’s no need to label them or diminish their humanity by calling them names such as “Downs.”

– They are not angels, nor do they have super powers of any kind. They are typical people, and idealizing them is not a positive way to express love to them. Real love accepts human beings as typical people with strengths and weakness.

– “Down” is not an adverb that transforms the subject. There are no “Down’s communities” or “Down’s parents” or “Down’s kids”; instead there are communities of parents of kids with Down syndrome.

– People with Down syndrome are more alike than different. They grow and develop as anyone else. They are born as babies, grow as toddlers, tweens, and teens, to become adults. In the process they cross typical stages of development, and our responsibility as parents is to educate ourselves to support them at every stage.

– There is not “mild” or “severe” Down syndrome. People either have or do not have Down syndrome. Instead, there are three different genetic conformations of Down syndrome: trisomy 21 (nondisjunction) accounts for 95% of cases, translocation accounts for about 4% and mosaicism accounts for about 1%.

– People with Down syndrome don’t come with a manual that dictates their possibilities and their limits. Every person with Down syndrome is unique and has individual talents that will make him or her stand out in a unique way.

As the mother of two children with Down syndrome, I dream of the day that people with Down syndrome will not be judged by their appearance, and instead be given the chance to demonstrate who they are as individuals.

Written by: Eliana Tardio

Light It Up Blue with Autism Speaks & Personal Touch Therapy

LightItUpBlue-logoWe’d like to invite and encourage each and every one of you to help us shine a “light” on Autism. The most powerful tool to learning more about Autism is understanding. Donating your time, funds, or resources to Autism Speaks helps not only research, but also creates awareness. When we are all educated and informed it adequately equips us to be more understanding and share with others that same understanding. More understanding, more progress! Make a donation today!

Our goal is $200 by April 2nd, but the sky’s the limit, therefore we sincerely appreciate your kind generosity when considering donating to this amazing organization!

For every donation you make your name will be entered into a drawing to win a special gift basket, courtesy of Personal Touch Therapy, LLC!

Don’t forget to wear blue on April 2nd to join the cause and help create even more Autism Awareness!

-See more HERE!

Personal Touch Therapy and VistaPrint

At Personal Touch Therapy, we take so much pride in what we do. Vistaprint helps us show it by supplying us with everything we need to market the company. This week, they begin to air a new round of TV commercials featuring various small business owners, including us, who also love their jobs. Be sure to check them out!

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.

Continue Reading Here

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

Autistic man’s gift for IKEA assembly turns into business

au man ikea post

The next time you are cursing the assembly instructions for an IKEA desk or bookshelf, you will wish you were living in Edmonton.

Residents in the Alberta capital can hire Brad Fremmerlid, a 24-year-old man with severe autism who can build anything.

Although he doesn’t read or speak, Fremmerlid has an amazing ability to understand the most complex diagrams, blueprints and pictorial instructions.

And for a small fee — currently about $20 — he will build any piece of furniture in your home.

“Everyone tells us we should be charging more, but we’re not really looking for money,” said his father, Mark Fremmerlid, an air ambulance pilot, who launched the business for his son this month. “We just want him to have something meaningful to do.

“It’s just started, but it seems to be so good for him to go to someone’s place and have a problem to solve,” he said in a telephone interview this week.




Happy Holidays!

We, at Personal Touch Therapy, would like to begin by wishing everyone a warm and happy holiday season, and hope this past year has brought you everything you hoped it would and more!  

As we close in on the end of 2013 and look back at not only this past year, but the past 5 years, we’re deeply grateful to every single person that has, in one way or another, been a part of our accomplishments thus far. Our team is a family made up of exceptional individuals that have made reaching this humbling achievement of 5 years a reality. Each of them play a key role in supporting our mission to provide leading healthcare to all of our unique patients. For that, we appreciate them all. Thank you, team PTT!

To all of our community partners and providers, we send out a heart felt “Thank you!” for always valuing our relationships and demonstrating your conviction in our abilities to make a positive change in your patient’s lives. We view each of you as allies in the backing and advocacy of our mutual patients and their well-being. We look forward to next year with enthusiasm!

There aren’t enough words for us to express our gratitude, but hope that this post finds all of you well, and successfully conveys our thoughts and feelings towards each of you. 

We hope for best wishes of well-being, prosperity, and peace of mind for you and your loved ones in 2014! Happy Holidays!

Warmest Regards,

Personal Touch Therapy, LLC