Category

Back to School

A letter to my teacher…

By | Back to School, Stuttering | No Comments

A letter to my teacher… from a student who stutters.

Elijah was once very shy about his stuttering. He has been in therapy at Granite Bay Speech and has become more confident, outgoing and able to voice his thoughts and feelings. Elijah understands that he is not defined by his stutter, and wrote this letter to his techers. He allowed us to share this letter with you and hopes it may inspire you or someone you know. Feel free to share!

Dear Teachers,

My name is Elijah I’m in seventh grade and I’m 12 years old. I’ll be 13 in September. I have played a lot of sports, including, soccer, lacrosse basketball and water polo. I decided to focus on the lacross. I might add water polo when I am in high school.

Another interesting fact about me is that I stutter. I have stuttered since I was eight years old. When it started I would get stuck on my words and try and push the sound out and that only made it worse. I went to speech classes and I am able to talk without getting stuck often. If you hear me stutter you don’t have to help me. I need you to wait until I’m finished talking and don’t try to finish my words. When anyone asks me about my stuttering I tell them, “it’s not a big deal, I know what I want to say so please be polite and don’t interrupt me.”

 If someone gets teased about their stuttering, I would tell them to just keep talking and use your speech techniques from your speech therapist. I try to stop pushing on my sounds and then use a little stretch on my vowel to ease into speech. Some days are tough speech days and I stutter more, especially if I’m tired or excited. I try to pause more often so I speak smoother and don’t lose my breath. I’ve learned to be patient and compassionate because I’ve struggled with stuttering. I think that’s why I am patient with older people. I’m proud of who I am!

Forbrain is now available at Granite Bay Speech!

By | Back to School, Promotions, Speech and Language, Stuttering | No Comments

forbrain-2

Forbrain is Now available at Granite Bay Speech!

Improve three critical speech and language areas with one device! Forbrain is a device which helps to improve your attention, speech, and memory. Forbrain helps children and adults develop their talents and potential by using their voice.

Why use Forbrain?

Attention

Forbrain’s dynamic filter trains the brain to be more attentive, improving not only attention, but auditory processing and sensory integration.

Speech

Forbrain helps individuals improve speech fluency, pronunciation, sound discrimination and rhythm, resulting in clearer and more effective communication.

Memory

Forbrain helps to improve short term memory, which impacts reading, writing and even chatting.

How does it work?

Bone conduction

Bone conduction transmits the sound of your own voice 10 times faster and with greater clarity than air conduction.

Dynamic filter

The dynamic filter enhances specific frequencies of speech and constantly surprises the brain to increase memory, attention and sensory processing.

Auditory Feedback Loop

Forbrain corrects the way you hear your own voice leading to better speech production and increased confidence.

 

What are people saying about Forbrain?

“By hearing their own voice, they gained confidence in speaking words out loud”

“After some weeks of use of Forbrain, there is definitely a difference in the clarity of his speech”

“I have seen tremendous improvement in her reading comprehension and reading rhythm”

“Forbrain has been a very successful tool and consider it such a blessing to our family!”

 

Want to give Forbrain a try?

At Granite Bay Speech, we are committed to utilizing the latest research based techniques and technology to help advance speech and language skills at any age. We have researched Forbrain and believe this is a wonderful tool to improve attention, speech and memory skills.

Forbrain is now available to purchase and use independently at home OR use in your sessions at Granite Bay Speech! Contact us to learn more about the opportunity to improve your attention, speech and memory skills.

Email us at info@granitebayspeech.com

Call us at 916-797-3307

Back To School- Tips For School Success

By | Back to School, Speech and Language | No Comments

Back to school - success final

 

Going back to school after a long summer break can be stressful for everyone! Granite Bay Speech is here to help you say “GOODBYE” to those lazy summer days, and “HELLO” to juggling homework, music lessons, sports, and social lives. Create a smooth transition to school with our tips and resources. This is part 2 of our BACK TO SCHOOL blog series. If you missed part 1, read it on our Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/GraniteBaySpeech) or on our website (http://www.granitebayspeech.com)!

Establish a consistent location at home for backpacks and homework.

Make sure backpacks are filled with essentials and leave it in an obvious place the night before school. Develop a routine for after school activities and homework. Create written checklists to avoid miscommunication. Post daily or weekly schedules using a different color for each child. Use write on wipe off boards for items that change frequently. Hang small white boards to door handles or use Velcro to post at eye level to create a “can’t miss it” reminder.

Agree on a homework schedule.

Establish a set time frame for children to do their homework. Use a timer to set expectations.  Allow your child to sit in a chair, beanbag, or on their bed, as long as they are able to work successfully! Children are individuals and need individual accommodations. Our oldest daughter worked best sitting in her bean bag while listening to music. Our second daughter sat at a desk and preferred her room to be completely quiet and free of distractions; she often used earplugs to help her concentrate. Children need to learn how they learn best and by providing choices we encouraged them to respect their individual needs. Children also need physical breaks to release energy and get the blood flowing! Set a timer and encourage your child to stretch, run or do a crazy dance every 10-20 minutes to maintain maximum attention. Use more frequent breaks if your child is tired. Adjust the time based on age and personality.

Eat protein rather than carbs/sugar.

Avoid the sugar rush and help your child pay attention all morning by providing protein for breakfast. Add proteins to your child’s lunches and snacks; protein provides consistent energy versus carbohydrate and sugar snacks. Here are a few of our favorite snack ideas: Trail mix, slices of turkey and cheese rolled up, beef jerky or carrots with hummus.

Support learning and reduce stress with visual aids and free help from Granite Bay Speech

Use reference cards or reminders to follow the step by step process for completing a task, (“first do __then do__”).  Use Diagrams, Tables and Checklists to break complex tasks into less stressful activities.

Do you need a few tips or want to chat about developmental concerns? Do you need help obtaining therapy services from your school or medical health plan? Call us. We offer free phone consultations for your educational and medical concerns. Individual and group therapy is available at convenient hours.

Visit our wonderful website www.granitebayspeech.com to access tons of free handouts and visual supports! We have spent hundreds of hours designing our website with you in mind! Why spend time going from site to site when we have it all organized for you?

Have a wonderful school year and know we are always just a phone call away to chat with you!

Making The Transition Back To School

By | Back to School, Speech and Language | No Comments

 

Back to school 2 Blog graphic final

 

The stores are all ready for back to school… are you? As the start of school draws near, and back to school commercials frequent your television, it’s time to develop your new back to school game plan. Lazy summer days are gone, and juggling homework, music lessons, sports, and social lives are back. At Granite Bay Speech, we want to help you make the transition back to school and provide you with some tips on how to ensure the start of a great school year.

Add contact information for the school office and teachers to your smart phone and computer.

Before the first day of school check your school’s website or call the office for any important information. Obtain back-to-school checklists, important phone numbers, and e-mails such as the principal’s office number, the nurse’s office, and their teacher.

Establish school bedtime and morning routines one week before school starts.

Start a consistent routine of going to bed and waking up at the same time every day a week before schools starts. Sleep is essential for learning and you don’t want your children snoozing at their desk!

Calm the nerves.

If your child is nervous about starting a new school year, remind them that the other students are nervous too. Remind them about their favorite school subjects or activities; friends, lunch and recess always seem to be at the top of most students’ lists! If your child is starting a new school, try to attend all orientations available. If you are new to the area, walk around the school campus to help your child become familiar with the location of the bathrooms, the office and their classroom. If your child is nervous, volunteer to help his or her teacher decorate the room before the first day of school. Your teacher will appreciate it! In addition, Back to School nights are a great way for you to learn more about how you can support your child at home.

Another great way to calm the nerves and help your child prepare to go back to school is to read some books. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • It’s Time for School, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt
  • Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary
  • The Night Before Kindergarten and The Night Before 1st Grade by Natasha Wing
  • First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg
  • Berenstain Bears Go to School by Jan Berenstain

 

Be on the lookout for our next blog which shares more tips and tricks for establishing helpful habits for back to school success!

Improve Your Child’s Spelling!

By | Back to School, Speech and Language | No Comments

spell better app

Tired of seeing your child get frustrated when trying to spell? 

The “Spell Better” app is designed to help reluctant and struggling spellers get started on their journey of story telling and writing. Over time the app will not only help improve your child’s confidence, but also will  improve communication skills, grammar and spelling. The app offers a dyslexic and phonetic spell checker. It includes an option for word prediction as well as auto completion. There is even an integrated English dictionary, word highlighting and text-to speech capabilities. If that isn’t enough, Spell Better also allows the user to insert picture and rich text formatting.

A close friend of Granite Bay Speech says, “My brother has high functioning autism, and recently bought an i-Pad. His written expression has always been very limited. The i-Pad has given him for the first time in his life a desire to want to write! He (I must give him full credit as he discovered it first!) found an app called Spell Better. It has a lite version, and the full version is only $19.99. It’s similar to the full keyboard with word predictor that Proloquo2go has, with a few things that I actually like better. All of the letters and fonts are larger-sized, and fewer word choices pop up, so that word-selection is easier to make.   After the word is typed or selected, the individual can also hear the word being spoken. You can transfer the text to a document or email. My brother loves it!!

 

As well as common spelling errors, Spell Better will also help with…

  • Phonetic spelling erorrs (preshiusprecious, peturspictures)
  • Real-word spelling errors (peace → piece).
  • Word boundary errors (verynicevery nice)
  • Letter reversal and transposal
  • Skipped and repeated letters (probleyprobably)
  • Homophone substitutions
  • Missing or substituted vowels (“Ths is rly amzng” → “This is really amazing”)
  • Incorrectly conjugated irregular verbs (throwedthrew).

Spell Better will take this sentence:

I throwed the dall to my cuzin and wnt imside to ahve a peace ofcake.

And correct it to:

I threw the ball to my cousin and went inside to have a piece of cake.

Spell Better is FREE TO TRY! You can explore all core features including the word prediction, spell correction, and even text-to-speech in the free version. However, you need to upgrade in order to export your documents from Spell Better and to create new notes and save or delete older ones.

Benefits of upgrading to Spell Better Premium: $19.99

  • Ability to create new notes (a “+” button will appear at the top right).
  • Ability to export your notes by Email, PDF, printing, copying, Messages, opening in other apps (e.g. Pages), and more.
  • Priority Support.

The Spell Better app is one of many we recommend at Granite Bay Speech. For a complete listing of the apps we endorse, grouped by functional category, please see our website at : http://granitebayspeech.com/therapy-apps/

If you have any speech, language, learning, communication or dyslexia related question, please feel free to contact us.

We are here to help!

Kindergarten Readiness

By | Back to School, Speech and Language | No Comments

Kindergarten… Are they ready? Transitioning into kindergarten is a big step, for the child and the parent. Whether your little one is coming from a public preschool, a private one or a home-based preschool program, the decision has to be made. As you make the transition to kindergarten, there are some basic skills that you’ll need to work on together before the big day arrives. Another thing you’ll need to consider as a parent is, “Will my child be able to keep up with the Kindergarten Common Core Standards?”

Kinder Common Core standards encompass the development of receptive and expressive language. It looks at basic oral communication skills, such as, forming a complete sentence to share information and ideas clearly. Students describe people, places, things, and events. The CCSS focus on peer-to-peer conversations with multiple exchanges through asking and answering. They need to know social rules, such as listening to others and taking turns speaking. Students in kindergarten are expected to identify and sort common words into basic categories (e.g., colors, shapes, foods). Students also use both general and specific language to describe events and common objects, which they do in both speaking and writing. They are required to understand one- and two-step oral directions and carry out the directions.

Here are a few tips on how you can prepare your soon-to-be kindergartener:
Reading
By the time your child is ready to begin kindergarten, he should be able to recite the alphabet with few problems and be able to recognize letters independently. These skills make up the foundation of reading and writing, and are emphasized heavily in most curricula. Tips: Read to your child at least 30 minutes a day. Make learning fun by marching around the house singing the alphabet or find items around the house that begin with each letter.

Shapes and Colors
Having a basic understanding of shapes and colors is one of the primary building blocks of cognitive development. Tips: Label common household items by its shape, color, or both. You can also have your little one help you sort laundry by color.

Social Skills and Behavior
If your child has never attended daycare, was not enrolled in a center-based group preschool, and doesn’t have siblings, he may not interact with other kids enough to gain the social skills he’ll need to navigate kindergarten. Helping your child to understand about behavior, manners and the importance of being nice is an essential task. Tips: Playing board games help your kiddo understand turn taking, sharing, and/or following directions.

You can refer to our 5-Year Checklist as a guide on what your child should be doing. Contact us for a consultation or evaluation. With Kindergarten sign-ups fast approaching, you want to be sure your child is ready!

Back To School

By | Back to School, Speech and Language | No Comments

back to school

 

As the start of school draws near and back to school commercials frequent your television, it’s time to develop your new back to school game plan. Lazy summer days are gone, and juggling homework, music lessons, sports, and social lives are back. At Granite Bay Speech, we want to help you have a smooth back to school transition and provide you with some tips on how to ensure the start of a great school year.

Add contact information for the school office and teachers to your smart phone and computer.
Before the first day of school check your school’s website or call the office for any important information. Obtain back-to-school checklists, important phone numbers, and e-mails such as the principal’s office number, the nurse’s office, and their teacher.

Establish school bedtime and morning routines one week before school starts.
Start a consistent routine of going to bed and waking up at the same time every day a week before schools starts. Sleep is essential for learning and you don’t want your child snoozing at his desk!

Eat protein rather than carbs/sugar.
Be sure to provide protein for breakfast to avoid the sugar rush. This will help your child pay attention all morning. Add proteins to your child’s lunches and snacks; protein provides consistent energy versus carbohydrate and sugar snacks.

Calm the nerves.
If your child is nervous about starting a new school year, remind them that the other students are nervous too. Remind them about their favorite school subjects or activities; friends, lunch and recess always seem to be at the top of most students’ list! If your child is starting a new school, try to attend all orientations available. If you are new to the area, walk around the school campus to help your child become familiar with the location of the bathrooms, the office and their classroom. If your child is nervous, volunteer to help his or her teacher decorate the room before the first day of school. Your teacher will appreciate it! In addition, Back to School nights are a great way for you to learn more about how you can support your child at home.

Another great way to calm the nerves and help your child prepare to go back to school is to read some books. Here are a few of our favorites:
It’s Time for School, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt
Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary
The Night Before Kindergarten and The Night Before 1st Grade by Natasha Wing
First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg
Berenstain Bears Go to School, by Jan Berenstain

Establish a place at home to gather backpacks and homework.
Make sure their backpack is filled with the essentials and leave it in an obvious place the night before school. Develop a routine for after school activities and homework.

Agree on a homework schedule.
Try to establish a set time frame for them to do their homework every day. Allow your child to sit in a chair, beanbag or on their bed as long as they are comfortable. Children are individuals and need individual accommodations. One of my children loved to read with the TV or music on and as long as she completed her homework, it was fine with us. Another child needed the room completely quiet and free of distractions so we accommodated her and made sure she had a clutter free desk and ear plugs. Set a timer and encourage your child to get up and stretch or run in place every 10-20 minutes to maintain maximum attention.

Have resources available to support learning.
Use reference cards or reminders to follow the step by step process for completing a task, (“first do __then do__”). Supplement with speech and language services if you feel you or your child needs tips or customized solutions for less stressful learning. We are only a phone call away when you have questions. Be sure to consult our wonderful website. We have spent thousands of hours organizing and reviewing the best resources to support families. Why spend time going from site to site when we have it all organized for you?

Have a great school year!

Overwhelmed With Apps!

By | Back to School, Social Skills, Speech and Language | No Comments

So many apps, so little time! We know that iPads and iPhones are all the craze right now with children and adults. Which apps are worth the money? Which apps are appropriate for my child? If you need help, look no further than our website! We have spent hours searching and evaluating apps and have saved the best ones for you! You can easily find recommended apps on a single apps page located under resources on our website. The apps are organized into categories. Do you need to work on vocabulary development, grammar or social language skills? Do you want to learn how to pronounce English words or how to improve your fluency or speaking skills?

If so, we have the app for you!

http://granitebayspeech.com/therapy-apps/

The best way to use an app with your child is to work together, side by side. Pause every couple of items and make sure your child is comprehending the material. Enhance understanding by using objects your child can touch like blocks, balls or Legos. Instruct your child to tap on separate blocks as they sound out words on the app. Teach your child to understand concepts like big/small, above/below by moving an object above a block or comparing block sizes. Children learn best by seeing and touching real objects and then transferring this to a touch screen or picture. It’s best not to rely on apps to teach your child new concepts that are best learned through multi sensory experiences. Imagine trying to teach a child what sour or sweet means when they haven’t experienced the concept first! Most apps motivate children to practice activities once they have a basic understanding of a concept; just don’t expect apps to teach your child new concepts independently!

One last tip-save money! Try out the free lite version of an app or try the app in our office before you buy. Ask us for advice; we are always happy to help!

Below is a small sample of apps you’ll find on our extensive app resource page:

Articulation

Artic ‘S’ Photos Fun Deck $3.99

Super Duper Inc.

This app has 56 full-color photo flash cards (plus audio of each card’s text) from the Artic Photos ‘S’ Fun Deck and Artic Quickies Reproducible Photo Fun Sheets. It allows you to use the app in portrait or landscape orientation. Track correct and incorrect responses for an unlimited number of players, and receive feedback for incorrect and/or correct responses. Select the cards you want students to see, and have your students practice their ‘S’ sound in the initial, medial, and final position of words.

Artic ‘R’ Photos Fun Deck $3.99

Super Duper Inc.

This app has 56 full-color photo flash cards (plus audio of each card’s text) from the Artic Photos ‘R’ Fun Deck and Artic Quickies Reproducible Photo Fun Sheets. It allows you to use the app in portrait or landscape orientation. Track correct and incorrect responses for an unlimited number of players, and receive feedback for incorrect and/or correct responses. Select the cards you want students to see, and have your students practice their ‘R’ sound in the initial, medial, and final position of words.

Language


Language Adventures Quiz Game Show  $1.99

Grades 1-3
Lakeshore

This exciting game is designed like a TV game show and works on writing skills, punctuations, parts of speech, and more!

 

Grammar


Irregular Verbs Fun Deck  FREE

Super Duper Inc.

This app provides fill-in-the-blank sentences for the user to choose either the present tense or irregular past tense version of the verb. An illustration is provided and answers are scored and saved.

 

Listening and Following Directions


Hearbuilder Following Directions   FREE

Super Duper Inc.

This app gives users an opportunity to practice their listening and direction following skills at the toy factory. The levels get increasingly more difficult: basic directions, sequential directions, quantitative and spatial directions, temporal directions, and conditional directions.

 

Phonics


Sound Sorting Beginning Sounds  $.99

Lakeshore

This app allows the user to match words with the same beginning sound. A ball with a picture on it drops down and the user must match it to the correct category of words.

 

Social Skills


The Social Express   FREE

The Language Express

Users work with animated characters Emma and Zach as they navigate the social world. Users are presented with real-life situations in which they can identify their emotions and choose a coping strategy or respond to the situation. This app also works on predicting outcomes and taking other people’s point of view.

 

Stuttering/ Cluttering


Pacesetter   $8.99

Aptus Speech and Language Therapy

This app allows users to select a reading passage and an adjustable rate of speech. It then highlights which word/syllable is to be said. This helps those who have imprecise articulation, speech rate, cluttering, or stuttering.

 

 

 

 

SpeechBuddies with Granite Bay Speech!

By | Back to School, Promotions, Speech and Language | No Comments

Nancy Barcal is one of the first Licensed Speech-Language Pathologists to be featured on Speech Buddies Connect. Nancy has been using the speech buddy tools since 2010 to speed progress in therapy and save families money.

Speech Buddies are a set of revolutionary tools to help children overcome speech difficulties. By teaching correct tongue positioning for the five most difficult sounds – R, S, L, CH, and SH – children learn and feel how to correct a problem sound. Speech Buddies were designed by a team of expert speech-language pathologists and engineers from MIT & Columbia Universities.

Check out the Speech Buddy site below to read more about their helpful tools:

https://www.speechbuddy.com/speech-therapy/