Speech Pathology Awareness Week 2019

August 25th-31st is Speech Pathology Week. The purpose of the week is to promote the profession of speech language pathology as well as bring awareness to the work being done by SLPs in Australia in the area of communication and swallowing disorders. This year’s theme is “Communicating with Confidence”. Although this event is hosted by Speech Pathology Australia, SLPs across the globe can use this week as an opportunity to increase awareness in their workplace and communities about the span of our scope of practice.

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Tonsils--what every SLP should know

Tonsils are often overlooked, often undiagnosed, often troublesome part of the human body.  A visual look at a patient’s tonsils should be included in all oral mechanism evaluations done by speech therapists because enlarged tonsils can cause a variety of speech-related issues such as unintelligible speech, uncontrollable drooling, restless sleeping, or untimely eating. Tonsils are located above the “throat” where the trachea leads to your lungs and your esophagus to your stomach.  The tonsils hang out way in the back of the mouth, one positioned on each side of the uvula, which hangs in the “middle” and back part of your mouth. Tonsils are supposed to be minimally visible when a mouth is opened widely and the tongue is down (think--say “ahhhh”), but they do swell with infection and contact to germs because it’s their job to stop the germs from getting further into the body.  

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Summer Activities for Speech and Language Development

Many of our speech and language students are as ready to shift into summer gear as we are. They’ve worked hard during the school year: Abided by a structured routine, woken up early, rushed out the door, and actively engaged in mental activities for seven hours out of the day. It’s time for them to relax and reap the benefits of the hot summer sun, later alarm clocks, and spontaneous play. Unfortunately, the end of the school year also means the end of specialized services for many of our students that have speech and language delays. Continuity and follow-through are important, especially with the facilitation of these skills. Below are some ideas and activities to send with your students on the last day of school:

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Executive Functioning and Speech-Language Therapy

Executive functioning is set of cognitive-based skills that help an individual plan, direct, and execute actions in their daily lives. Executive functioning skills require the ability to utilize working memory, cognitive flexibility, inhibitory control, planning, and interference control. While the exact parameters of executive functioning are still undergoing research and characterization, the core areas listed above can be agreed upon by many researchers (Diamond, 2012). In regard to our daily activities, executive functioning skills assist with the ability to manage time, sustain attention to a task, switch focus, organize, recall details, plan responses/actions in social situations, and multitask throughout the day.

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Selective Mutism: Rapport Building in the Classroom

As a Speech-Language Pathologist, you might be the first person to raise a red flag when the teacher mentions a student that has not uttered a single word the first month of school. A psychologist or psychiatrist will be the specialist to complete a battery of assessments to confirm the diagnoses, but then what should we do? How can you advocate for this child as they navigate the school environment with this debilitating diagnosis?

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Stuttering Awareness

What does Ed Sheeran, the famous British singer and songwriter; Marilyn Monroe, famous American icon; and Emily Blunt, multiple award winner actress have in common? Yes, you guessed right, they are celebrities. However, they have something else in common. These three celebrities are people who stutter. Yes, Ed Sheeran, even with his powerful voice and strong lyrics, stutters. But, what it means to stutter?

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Language Therapy for Students Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Since the field of speech-language pathology is so broad, we come across students with many types of abilities, including the deaf or hard-of-hearing (DHH) population. I happen to work in a school that has a program for our DHH kids; our team includes teachers of the deaf, ASL interpreters, and me, the SLP! Ours is a Total Communication program, so we use all modes of communication to teach our kids academic skills. Here are some helpful tips and a list of my favorite materials I use with my DHH students.

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New to school? - Tips for your first day as a SLP

We all have some memories of our first day at school as a student, but do we remember our first day and the first assignment as a SLP at a new school?

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The complexity approach for articulation

Complexity Approach

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One of the best APPs for Social/Pragmatic Language

When you talk to someone, are you aware of their facial expression? Do you pay attention to their body language and/or try to empathize with the person to understand his or her perspective? Unfortunately, school age students and adults with autism spectrum disorder have difficulty understanding the subtle expressions and slang that we normally take for granted. For example, perspective taking calls on many of the executive functions of the brain. It requires control of our own thoughts and feeling in order to consider the perspective of others, cognitive flexibility to see a situation in different ways and the ability to consider someone else’s thinking in conjunction with our own. That’s a lot to do at once and can be challenging to make a fun activity to get students interested in learning how to take a person’s perspective. Social/pragmatic language skills may be challenging to teach and yet more children are experiencing difficulty learning and carrying over these skills into day to day life.

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