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Ask The Expert

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Ask The Expert

Nancy Barcal was asked to be on the panel for the International Stuttering Awareness Conference. She was part of the panel of experts in the field of stuttering. People were allowed to ask any question pertaining to stuttering.

One group of Graduate students studying to be Speech-Language Pathologists asked Nancy a question. We felt this question was incredibly relevant to what many people may be wondering and feeling. We wanted to share Nancy’s answer with you.

 

Question:

We are graduate speech-language pathology students who are currently enrolled in a course that covers stuttering. As we are learning more about stuttering and interacting more with people who stutter, a few questions have come up. First, in your experience, what is the best way to interact with individuals who stutter while remaining sensitive, but still addressing the stutter? How do these individuals typically react or want you to react? How have your interactions changed as you have become more experienced within the field? Thanks so much for your time. We appreciate any tips or suggestions you can share. 

Best,

Rosi, Sarah, Maggie

 

Nancy’s Answer:

As graduate students, you have probably had very little interaction, if any, with individuals who stutter. I am happy to tell you that people who stutter (PWS) are just like the rest of us. They will display variations in preferences and responses. Your interaction will be slightly different if you are meeting a person who stutters in a social situation versus being assigned to see them as a therapist in the clinic.

I’ll address the therapy situation first. As a new therapist, I remember being very worried about whether or not I would react in the correct way.

In terms of your physical and verbal reactions, treat the PWS as if they didn‘t stutter. Keep natural eye contact. If the person has a hard block or long prolongation or significant facial movement, you may be tempted to show your surprise. This will be less likely if you have desensitized yourself to seeing and hearing stuttering. Watch lots of videotapes of PWS so you’ll be used to it and you won’t be shocked by anything you see or hear. Your face and your heart should be calm and reflect a normal expression. If PWS are talking, just keep quiet and wait. Don’t interrupt. Wait until they are finished talking. Then you talk. It’s simple common courtesy not to talk until your conversational partner is finished sharing their idea, so don’t treat a person who stutters any differently. Just wait. I can’t emphasize that enough. You will be tempted to talk too soon. Stop. Don’t do it. Wait. Think of how rude it would be if someone talked before you were finished or they finished your sentence for you! You’d be insulted. What if they finished it with the wrong word? Then you’d have to start your thought again and you’d be frustrated they didn’t give you time to finish your idea. If you need help waiting then practice silently counting to three before you talk. Tap your fingers silently in your palm to stop yourself from talking too soon. Practice waiting and pacing your speech with another therapist before you conduct your first session.

I will share some of the key components of a successful first session as a new therapist. Be sincere and honest. Share that you’d love to learn more about stuttering. You’ve read a lot about the topic and now you’d like to hear about stuttering from an expert-the person who stutters. You might ask them some of the following questions: If you’ve been in therapy before what did you like or dislike? What worked and what didn’t? Are there techniques they really want to avoid or ones they’d like to practice more? What techniques do they remember and what were the techniques labeled? (Some people call the same technique by various labels; easy onset, soft starts…). After they list the names of techniques then ask them to demonstrate the techniques and teach you. You imitate their models and then they provide feedback about how well you are doing or provide you with additional instruction. Share that you are just learning the skills and they will need to help you. This places them in a position of not only explaining techniques to you so you see what they know but it also provides insight into their ability to demonstrate what they know in theory. You will also experience what it’s like to apply the techniques and you’ll understand a little bit about how difficult it is to concentrate on changing motor skills. If the person likes some techniques then ask them when and where they use them. do they only use with a few people or with large groups? What are their goals for therapy? Why did they decide to get help now? Plan your session so no matter what their response you have at least one goal and one specific home activity to use before their next session. Involve them in writing a realistic goal.

Now my answer to talking to PWS in a social situation. Respond to what the person says not how they say it. We all want to be accepted, loved and valued.

In social situations, we all have our own definition of what a successful interaction entails. Ask 100 people what annoys them about social events and you’ll get a variety of answers. One person says they get annoyed if people at a party are quiet. They love talking, asking lots of questions and learning details about everyone’s life at the party. Another person prefers to find a quiet corner and talk to one or two people all night and hold in-depth discussions. Just like all of us, individuals who stutter have a range of comfort levels in social situations.

If you’re interested in learning more about stuttering, ask people who stutter. Ask them what it feels like to stutter, how they wish people would react and what they wish everyone knew about stuttering. If you are truly passionate about stuttering, then spend time researching, interviewing and enjoying your time with PWS. I am a bit biased because I have found individuals who stutter to be some of the most incredibly kind, sensitive, compassionate, intelligent and insightful human beings I have ever met. It has been a wonderful honor to share the journey with people who stutter for nearly 40 years. I encourage more SLP’s to specialize in stuttering because it’s a wonderful journey.

Fall FUNtivities!

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Fall FUNtivities! 

Thanksgiving is just around the corner (goodness where did the time go?). We know being away from school is exciting for our kids, but it can also be difficult to keep them entertained during the week-long break. Here are a few fall-themed activities you can do with your family.

 

Leaf Artwork 

For kids who need a screen time break, encourage them to take a walk outside with you and admire the newly changing foliage. Collect a handful of leaves of varying sizes, shapes, and colors. Place the leaves under a blank sheet of paper and color over them with fall-colored crayons to make a leaf rubbing. For an added bonus, you can have your child describe the different colors they see and the texture of each leaf. It’s unbeLEAFable how simple and easy this activity is! 

 

Play With Your Food 

Have you ever told your child, “Don’t play with your food!”? For this activity, it’s highly encouraged! To go along with a Thanksgiving theme, have your child piece together different food items to create their very own turkey masterpiece. Provide a selection of snacks for them to play with and sample. Options can be anything from baby carrots, to bell pepper slices, to pretzels…the possibilities are endless. Feel free to get creative with it and most importantly, have fun! 

Apeeling Apples 

Apples are the fall fruit and there is a wide variety of them choose from at your local store or farmer’s market. Have your child sample different apple slices and describe their taste and texture. Are they sour, sweet, juicy, crunchy, etc. Drizzle in caramel sauce for an extra sweet treat!

 

Book it to the Library

If your child misses reading time, take them on a trip to the local library! The library offers free resources such as a selection of books, media, and even sensory storytime programs. Be sure to check the library hours listed to see if hours vary around Thanksgiving time. 

 

We hope you try out some of these activities! Check out our website at www.granitebayspeech.com for more blog posts.

 

Stuttering Expert Available

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Stuttering Expert Available

If you are interested in learning more about stuttering, you can learn from one of the best! Nancy Barcal has worked with stuttering and cluttering for nearly 40 years. Due to her high level of expertise, Nancy has been invited to answer questions about stuttering during the worldwide International Stuttering Awareness Day (ISAD) organization’s conference.

The conference runs from October 1 until October 22, International Stuttering Awareness Day.

 

To participate, you must be logged in to ask a question. After you log in, select ‘New’; ‘Post’ from the top menu and enter the title and details. Be sure to set the category to ‘2019 Talk to a Professional’ on the right side of the page or your question will not display on this page.

Please join us as we participate in the 22nd Annual Online Conference for International Stuttering Awareness Day!

 

http://isad.isastutter.org/ 

Homework… Struggle or Success?

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Let’s talk about homework. Sometimes, the biggest struggle of the day is getting your child to focus on homework after a long day at school… understandably so! Who really wants to go home after a long day of school work, just to do more school work at home? We want to provide you with a few tips that might help aid you in navigating this process! 

 

Snack Time  

Everyone loves a yummy snack! Not only is it a great way to incorporate a break, but food keeps our brain functioning. Providing a healthy snack for your child can also help show them that making a healthy choice gives your brain the power to keep learning and working!

 

A Productive Work Space

It is important to provide a clean and creative workspace for your child while they are doing homework. Working around clutter can create a distraction for anyone, especially young children. Sometimes, the hardest part about homework time is keeping your child focused and on task. If they are in an area that is quiet and clean, they are more likely to be productive. 

 

Work Next to Them

When your child is doing their homework, try sitting near them or next to them while you are also doing something productive. Kids have serious F.O.M.O (fear of missing out) and they definitely don’t want to miss out on anything fun. So, while they are doing their work, maybe you can simultaneously do chores or work on “adult stuff” in the background! It will encourage your child to work hard if they see you working hard too. 

 

We hope this information was helpful! Please visit our website at www.granitebayspeech.com for more blogs!

Frontloading… Have you tried it?

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Now that the school year has started, you may be feeling overwhelmed… These are common feelings, however, we have tips to help manage the stress.

Have you heard of, or tried frontloading (pre-teaching)?  Frontloading is presenting basic information to your child about what they will be taught throughout the school year.

Frontloading has shown to help students maximize their time in the classroom by giving them just enough information so they understand the vocabulary and helps them to have a grasp on the information being presented. This can help reduce stress throughout the year.

We often frontload in our own lives without even realizing it. Many times we will watch a movie trailer or read the back cover of a book to gain more information before jumping into it. It helps us to recognize characters, plot, setting and gives a little foundation for what we are about to experience. Frontloading for our children is very similar.

As parents and teachers, we do not want to teach the entire lesson before students enter the classroom, instead give them a foundation. We encourage you to make frontloading a fun and engaging experience that students enjoy, rather than a long list of vocabulary words.

We have attached a website from the California Department of Education that has links to grade-level standards and curriculum.

https://www.cde.ca.gov/be/st/ss/index.asp

We hope this information has been helpful! Please let us know if you have any questions! Always feel free to visit our website or call us.

www.granitebayspeech.com

916-797-3307

Tips and Tricks for Back to School Success!

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Have you noticed all of the “Back to School” gear in stores already? Going back to school after a long summer break can be stressful for everyone! New teachers, new routines, new struggles… don’t worry! 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. We want to help you create a smooth transition to school with our tips and resources.

 

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.

 

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. Some children work best sitting in their beanbag while listening to music. Some children need to sit at a desk with silence. Children need to learn how they learn best and by providing choices we encourage 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 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!

Meet Kelly and Paige!

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We are so excited to announce our wonderful team has expanded! We have two new therapists,

Kelly Anderson and Paige Jones!

 

Kelly Anderson

Kelly graduated from California State University of Sacramento with her Bachelors Degree in Speech Language Pathology and Audiology. She has over 18 years of experience working with children and adults. When not providing therapy, she enjoys spending time outdoors with her family and dogs. She is a proud aunt to her niece and nephew. Kelly likes gardening, hiking and camping. In her spare time, she loves baking and trying out new recipes. We are thrilled to have Kelly as part of our team!

 

Paige Jones

Paige graduated from California State University of Sacramento with her Bachelors Degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Growing up, she received speech services, so she knows firsthand the difficulties of not being able to communicate effectively. When not providing therapy, she enjoys spending time with her family and dogs. She has three nieces and two nephews, whom she loves! Paige loves basketball and anything Disney. We are excited to have Paige on our team!

 

Kelly and Paige look forward to meeting you and your family!

Surviving a Technology-Driven World

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Screenshot (3)

We are using electronic forms of communication more than ever, but do mediums such as texting, emailing and posting on social media truly count as “communicating?” Technology has changed our lives in many ways. While it has helped us accomplish great things, it has also changed how we communicate with others. Experts in the field are concerned about the current communication trend as the overuse of popular technology may lead to diminished speech, language and hearing abilities.

 

Statistics

 

  • 68% of 2 year olds use tablets at home
  • Every 30 mins of daily screen use increased the risk of expressive speech delay in children ages 6 months to 2 years by almost 50%
  • 44% of kids under 6 would rather play a game on a technology device than read a book or be read to
  • 48 minutes is the average amount of time spent on a mobile device per day by children under 8
  • 78% of teens check their devices at least hourly
  • 4 out of 5 smartphone users check their phones within 15 minutes of waking up

While the statistics are alarming, there are ways we can help combat the issue.

 

Tips For Managing Tech-Time

  • Find at least one or two opportunities during the day to create tech-free times
  • Plan activities to keep children entertained rather than relying on technology
  • While educational apps do teach new skills, remember that children learn best through talking, conversing and reading
  • Social interaction is important so try to make tech use a group activity, such as while playing with family members or an online game with others
  • If young kids need their own tech devices for certain reasons, consider using one with features that provide extra security and limit content
  • Set screen time limits and keep track of the usage yourself or use devices that turn off automatically
  • Be consistent in implementing the rules you set for tech usage
  • Be sure to model the safe tech habits you want your kids to take after
  • Learn signs of communication disorders and ask for help from a Speech Language Pathologist if you notice something that may spark any concerns or questions.

Do you have any questions or concerns? Please contact us at 916-797-3307 or visit our website at www.granitebayspeech.com 

Sources:
Healthy Communication & Popular Technology Initiative
National Association for Hearing and Speech Action
ASHA: The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for 198,000 members and affiliates who are audiologists; speech-language pathologists; speech, language, and hearing scientists; audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel; and students.