Speech & Language

April 2022 News

`This month, I wanted to take the opportunity to share some information on fluency disorders, also known as stuttering. More than 70 million people worldwidestutter, which is about 1% of all of the people who live on Earth. About 5% of all kids go through a period of stuttering sometime in childhood. No one knows for sure what causes stuttering. We do know that speaking is a very complicated skill. It involves the brain and a lot of different muscles working together to plan what you want to say and get your mouth to produce those sounds and words in the right order. Scientists believe there a few things that can play a part in stuttering: genes/family history – about 60% of people who stutter also have a relative who stutters, and neurology – in some people who stutter, their brains process speech and language a little differently than people who don’t stutter. There is no “cure” or device that will get rid of stuttering. However, speech-language therapy can teach techniques and strategies to help make speaking easier for those who stutter.

Experts agree that most children who stutter benefit from taking time to speak at a rate that promotes fluency. These guidelines from the Stuttering Foundation represent a number of ways that adults around that child can help promote the child’s fluency.

  1. Reduce the pace. Speak with your child in an unhurried way, pausing frequently. Wait a few seconds after your child finishes before you begin to speak. Your own easy relaxed speech will be far more effective than any advice such as “slow down” or “try it again slowly.”
  2. Full listening. Try to increase those times that you give your child your undivided attention and are really listening. This does not mean dropping everything every time she speaks.
  3. Asking questions. Asking questions is a normal part of life – but try to resist asking one after the other. Sometimes it is more helpful to comment on what your child has said and wait.
  4. Turn taking. Help all members of the family take turns talking and listening. Children find it much easier to talk when there are fewer interruptions.
  5. Building confidence. Use descriptive praise to build confidence. An example would be “I like the way you picked up your toys. You’re so helpful,” instead of “that’s great.”

March 2022 News

This month in Speech and Language we will be discussing the Spring season and all the changes that come along with Spring. As mentioned in previous newsletters, changes in weather, seasons, and even upcoming holidays lend themselves to many opportunities for language development. Some of our favorite “new season” activities include discussing new themed vocabulary, using description words and adjectives to describe the things we see in the spring, practice using verbs to describe and label actions of activities we see in the spring, and practice speech sound production skills by coming up with spring-themed words containing target speech sounds. If your student brings home an activity or word list from Speech, be sure to discuss it with him/her to help generalize these skills to all communication environments.

    If you have any questions about your student’s speech and language skills, please do not hesitate to contact me!

February 2022 News

This has been an exciting month in the speech room. The students have gotten the chance to get to know Ms. Mallory Tvrdy, our K-State graduate student intern, and we have been enjoying lots of books and games this month during our sessions. Playing games is a wonderful way to target many speech and language skills, including conversational turn-taking, vocabulary, sentence structure, forming questions and responses in complete sentences, verbal reasoning, sequencing, and critical thinking skills. And we get to have fun while we do it!

    Be sure to take some time to play some games with your student to practice these skills at home. Some of our favorites include Guess Who, Headbandz, Zingo, Hoot Owl Hoot, and Go Fish. Feel free to contact me if you ever would like more information regarding how to help your student with his or her speech and language goals!

January 2022 News

This month in Speech and Language, we’re talking about the season of winter and the vocabulary that goes along with it. Our sessions will focus on practicing articulation and language skills in the context of winter-themed activities. The start of the new year is always a great opportunity to come back to school refreshed from a break and ready to continue working on our communication objectives. Be sure to continue watching for any home practice that might be sent home to solidify your student’s progress we’ve seen in speech, and as always, please contact me with any questions!    

Additionally, this month brings some changes in Speech and Language! Our graduate student intern and paraprofessional, Ryan Woods, completed his fall internship in December and will be spending the spring semester interning at the Early Childhood Center. Although the students are missing Mr. Woods, I am excited to introduce Mallory Tvrdy as our spring semester internship student. Ms. Tvrdy is a graduate student in Speech-Language Pathology at Kansas State University. She begins on January 10th, and I know she will love getting to know the amazing students at Ware this semester!

Speech & Language Pathologist

Laura Thompson