Social Skills Training for the Treatment of ADHD

Research has indicated that the number one treatment for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a combination of stimulant medication and social skills training.  The purpose of this blog is to give a primer for parents on skills training and what this constitutes for a child with a diagnosis of ADHD.  There are four major components associated with skills training for a child with ADHD:

1. Parent training

Parent training focuses on inattentive and impulsive behaviors that are evident within the home environment.  With this intervention, parents are taught specific behavioral strategies to help modify the child’s environment to best manage the behaviors in the home environment.  Time is spent discussing changing the environment to limit distractions as well as create specific and practical schedules of reinforcement to improve the frequency and duration of positive behaviors while extinguishing negative behaviors.

2. Social skills training

Social skills training is often conducted in a group format and focuses on improving the child’s socialization skills in a safe setting.  Here the child is forced to socially engage with same age peers.  In addition, the group leader is able to provide immediate and practical feedback regarding the success or failures of the child’s success in the social setting. Read more

How Does Occupational Therapy Help with ADHD?

It has been well documented that children with ADHD often struggle with maintaining focus in various areas of their day to day lives and consequently achieving their full potential. As Dr. Greg Stasi explains in his June blog, ADHD and Learning: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder’s Impact on Learning, children with ADHD often exhibit impulsivity or hyperactivity, difficulty with following directions, and poor executive functioning skills. The impact of these difficulties can be extensive on a child’s success in school, relationships, and overall self esteem.

How does occupational therapy help a child with ADHD?

Occupational therapists often work with children to help them develop self-regulation and executive functioning skills. By teaching children strategies to address these challenging areas, we empower them to become more independent and self assured by targeting two important areas: Read more

The 411 on Tantrums

Temper tantrums usually occur between the ages of 1-3 and are typically common in both boys and girls.  Children might throw tantrums because they are seeking attention or cannot get what they want.  In addition, they also might throw a tantrum because they are hungry, tired, or in discomfort.  Tantrums are common during a child’s life when the child is acquiring language and trying to complete more things on his own.  A child typically understands more than he can communicate and not being able to express his needs/wants can result in a tantrum.  Once language increases and improves, the amount of tantrums seen can decrease.  Children’s temperaments are very different and can influence how often a child has a tantrum.  Some children exhibit many, where other children have few.  Just like adults, children have differing personalities that are evident even as early as toddlers, which explains why they handle situations in different ways.  For example, some children get frustrated easily where others are more relaxed and are able go with the flow.  Below are helpful tips to address and avoid tantrums.

Great Techniques to Address Tantrums:

  • Remain calm.  Getting frustrated and screaming back will only escalate the situation.  Remember to talk calmly with your child and explain why he cannot have or cannot do something.  You can also try to redirect the conversation and talk about something else. Read more

Phonological Process Disorder vs. Childhood Apraxia of Speech

A phonological process disorder and Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) are two speech disorders that affect your child’s intelligibility and in some cases, can present similarly. However, characteristics of these two are different.

Phonological Process Disorder:

A phonological process is a predicted and patterned speech sound error.  Speech sounds developmentally progress in your child’s speech. If a sound is too difficult to produce or developmentally inappropriate, children naturally simplify it to an easier sound, thus producing a phonological process. For more information on sound development, click here to read my blog entitled Speech Sound Developmental Milestones.

Click here to learn more about phonological process elimination.

Below are some red flags of a phonological process disorder:

  • Unintelligible speech (a child should be understood 75% of the time at age 3, 80% of the time at age 4, 90+% of the time at age 5)
  • Frustration from your child when his/her speech is not understood
  • Patterned and predicable errors: consistent substitution of P for F such as “peet” for “feet”  Read more

5 Tips to Help Your Child with Motor Planning

Does your child have difficulty learning or doing a new or unfamiliar task? Does he appear clumsy or avoid participating in sports or other physical activities? Does he have trouble coming up with new play ideas or knowing how to play with toys? If this sounds familiar, your child might have difficulty with motor planning.  Motor planning is the ability of the brain to conceive of, organize, and carry out a sequence of unfamiliar actions.  If your child needs help with motor planning, read on for 5 helpful tips.

5 Ways to Help Your Child with Motor Planning:

  1. Do activities that are composed of a series of steps (i.e. making a craft, making a sandwich, or creating an obstacle course).  As you do this, help your child identify, plan, and execute the steps to promote the ability to sequence and map actions. Break down the steps to make them more manageable and attainable, which can build self-esteem.
  2.  Determine what aspects of motor planning are a strength for your child (e.g. imitation, following verbal directions, timing, sequencing, coming up with ideas).  Play to these strengths when doing activities with your child to compensate for the areas of difficulty.
  3. Engage your child in activities that involve climbing over, under and around large objects.  For example, playing on playground equipment or coming up with obstacle courses will help your child gain basic knowledge of how to move his body through space.
  4. Encourage your child to come up with an idea for a new activity, or a new way to play with a toy or equipment, to promote motor planning. Read more

Why Did My Child’s Speech Therapist Recommend Occupational Therapy?

It’s not uncommon for a speech therapist to also recommend that a child receive other therapies in conjunction with speech therapy, such as neuropsychology, physical therapy, counseling, social group therapy, and occupational therapy.  Although your speech therapist is working on your child’s communication, they are also concerned with the “big picture” of your child’s overall development and how other aspects of development may impact speech and language.  Occupational therapy is a commonly made referral.

What is speech-language therapy?

Speech-language therapy is a specialized field that addresses a very specific aspect of development: communication.  This includes how we understand and use words to communicate.  However, the human brain is a highly complex system, with many different sub-systems working together to help us function efficiently.  For example, our speech and language system also depends on our attention system, our memory system, our visual system, and our auditory system (to name a few!).  Weaknesses in one system are likely to impact other systems, much like a domino effect.  Therefore, a “team approach” to therapy is often warranted to help children achieve their greatest potential. Read more

Vocal Hygiene

Brushing your teeth. Bathing every day. Washing your hands after using the restroom. These are all forms of hygiene that most adults practice regularly and are certain to instill in their own children as well. Although, one form of hygiene that people often dismiss is vocal hygiene. Taking steps to maintain a healthy voice is especially important for children. Children with abusive vocal behaviors can develop a breathy, hoarse, or “raspy” voice, which can be indicative of damage to the vocal folds, such as vocal nodules or polyps. Damaging the vocal folds can mean long-term voice issues that require therapy or even surgery.

Abusive vocal behaviors to watch out for in your children:

  • Throat clearing and/or coughing (may be secondary to allergies, illness, etc.)
  • Excessive crying or tantrums
  • Speaking loudly or yelling frequently Read more

4 Back-to-School Resolutions to Promote Speech and Language Skills

With a new school year starting, now is the perfect time to promote and encourage your child’s speech and language skills! Here are some helpful tips in order to set your child up for the greatest success this school year.

4 Back-to-School Speech and Language Resolutions:

  1. Easy Voice: Avoid using a harsh voice, yelling, and shouting.  This can help both parents and children maintain a healthy vocal quality. Modeling your own “easy voice” can encourage your child to keep his voice healthy too!
  2. Build Vocabulary: Targeting and explaining new “back-to-school” words can help to improve your child’s vocabulary. Increased exposure to novel words will reinforce these additions to your child’s vocabulary and will encourage usage.
  3. Read Aloud: Reading aloud to your child is extremely beneficial for language development. When reading stories, emphasizing and reinforcing new words will enhance vocabulary skills, and asking questions while reading encourages understanding. If age appropriate, ask your child to retell the story!
  4. Ask Questions: Talk with your child about the events of his day. Learn what activities occurred in the classroom, in the lunchroom, and at recess. Monitor for sentence structure and grammar, and emphasize accurate productions. For example, if your child says, “I goed to art,” respond with, “You went to art? How was it?” Read more

Articulation Disorders vs. Phonological Processing Disorders

Articulation Disorder. Phonological Process. What’s the difference between these two terms, and why is it important to understand how they are different?articulation disorder v phonological processing isorder

Articulation Disorder:

An Articulation Disorder involves difficulties producing sounds. Sounds may be substituted, omitted, added or deleted in an articulation disorder. For example, a child who says “dut” for “duck” is substituting the sound “t” for the sound “k.”

An articulation disorder can make it difficult for a child to be understood by others and can impact social interactions, school participation and academics (i.e. reading, writing, phonological awareness skills). Many children make speech errors, so it’s important to consider the age range during which children develop each sound when determining if sound substitutions are age-appropriate. The child may have an articulation disorder if these errors continue past the expected age of mastery. Click here to see our blog on typical speech sound development for more information. Read more

Phonological Process Extinction

A Phonological Disorder involves a pattern of speech sound errors. For example, if a child consistently substitutes the “t” sound for the “k” sound, this is the phonological process of “fronting.” Speech sound errors are very common in young children; however, if an error persists after the expected age of extinction, he or she may have a phonological disorder.

Expected ages at which 10 common phonological processes are extinguished in children:

Phonological Process: Example: Gone by Age (Approximately):
1. Fronting “tar” for car“do” for go 3;6
2. Final consonant deletion “do” for dog 3;3
3. Word-final de-voicing “pick” for pig 3;0
4. Cluster reduction “geen” for green“poon” for spoon 4;0
5. Weak syllable deletion “nana” for banana“tatoe” for potatoe 4;0
6. Stopping “sh” “dip” for “ship” 4;6
7. Stopping “j” “dumping” for jumping 4;6
8. Stopping voiceless “th” “ting” for thing 5;0
9. Stopping voiced “th” “dem” for them 5;0
10. Pre-vocalic voicing “big” for pig 3;0

 

For more information on phonological processing or to learn more about our Speech Language Pathology program, click here.

References: http://www.speech-language-therapy.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=31:table3&catid=11:admin&Itemid=117