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Speech Therapy Event

When our daughter was 8 months old, we learned she had aromatic l-amino acid decarboxylase (AADC) deficiency. We knew more about the challenges she would face. One of many was speech. Like everything else, we wanted to take proactive steps to help her. However, there was no early intervention or speech program available. Speech therapists told us to wait until she was older. She was too young and to just give her time. This did not sit right with us, so we continued searching for options.

We found helpful programs such as Talk Tools that supported us as caregivers online. We also found licensed therapists in Oral Placement Therapy. Not only did our daughter make progress in communication, but she is also now learning additional languages. It is a long road, but consistent work over time pays off!

Speech Therapy Event Host

Ming Fung MST

A speech therapist and is a member of the Hong Kong Association of Speech Therapists. Ming is passionate about coaching parents to become agents of therapy to carry on therapeutic techniques at home.

Ming Fung was a therapist we found online searching for ways to improve our daughter’s communication. His mission and vision aligned with what we wanted as parents. We had great success with his training, and our daughter showed significant improvements. He was the host of our 4th event in the Caregiver Lifestyle Series.

Ming opened his discussion by talking about his personal journey and our daughter’s case. He commented how our questions and concerns were nearly identical to the many others he received. Everyone wants to know, how can parents help to improve their child’s speech even though they have a rare disease?

Connect With Agents of Speech

Speech Therapy

Identify risk factors

When we knew our daughter’s symptoms, we could better determine what she was at risk for. We made a long-term treatment plan that had small increments of progress. Consider the risk factors of your child. 

Risk factors include lifestyle, environmental exposure, and hereditary or congenital characteristics. These increase the chances of the child presenting speech-language disorders. Thankfully, they can be avoided, controlled, or treated. Monitoring of children with risk factors is essential for intervention – regardless of age – doing nothing is not an option.

Develop speech goals

The next step is to develop your speech goals. This is best accomplished by talking with a speech-language pathologist (SLP). The SLP will work backward to design a treatment plan and consider the ideas as parents. We all want our children to be successful talkers, but communication is a large umbrella of topics.

Create a therapy schedule

Developing a schedule for your child primes their brain for learning and helps to build buy-in. However, also consider your time constraints as parents. It will take time to build the perfect schedule. You and your child need to be in sync. The importance is consistency and incremental progress.

Motivation

The greatest motivation comes from within. Yelling, demanding, or using candies does not come close. This means we must use positive reinforcement, such as congratulating our children and showering them with praise whenever they succeed. If the goal is too far, though, they will become frustrated, and this is not helpful. Creating a  progression of small milestones that are at the edge of their ability or just beyond will create the perfect scenario that fosters motivation.

Communication

Simply put, communication is the process of exchanging information and ideas. Communication involves both understanding and expression. Forms of expression may include movements, gestures, objects, vocalizations, verbalizations, signs, pictures, symbols, printed words, and output from devices.

Our goal as parents is to remember, our children communicate effectively when they are able to express needs, wants, feelings, and preferences for us to understand.

There is receptive and expressive language. Receptive language is how your child understands the language. Expressive language is how your child uses words to express themselves. It is important to consider this when creating activities and goals.

The ideal form of communication is not yet accessible to your child. In the meantime, continue to allow your child to communicate in a way that they can express themselves. Do not expect perfection – support progress.

Speech Therapy Approaches

There are many types of approaches. There is not necessarily one that is better than the other. However, one approach may better suit your child’s needs or style. Learning different approaches is beneficial to helping provide a framework, but do not fall prey to any misleading ads that claim to have the guaranteed secret to get your kid to start talking.

Speech Therapy Approaches Include:

oral motor placement therapy
Rylae-Ann Uses An Oral Stimulation Tool

Play-Based Learning

Play-Based Learning is the method of promoting learning through activities that children deem as playful and fun. As educators, we utilize this approach every day and it is a part of our personal philosophy. It only made sense to incorporate the same method into our speech therapy activities.

Play is more motivating and the natural way children learn to make sense of the world around them. It supports the development of social and cognitive skills. Children gain more self-confidence and can then engage in new experiences. This is a sustainable model for learning.

How can you create a play-based learning environment? Consider these four aspects.

Learning in context can help children appreciate the activity since they understand the reaction to their participation and improvement. While increasing skills, they increase motivation. Children play with what they know and understand.

Routines allow children to accomplish learning objectives quickly. You have a limited amount of attention span. To capitalize on that, create a routine. It also prepares children for what is to come, so it is not unexpected. Their brain and body are ready.

Intrinsic motivation is internally focused and fueled by your child’s self-satisfaction from completing a task or mastering a skill. External rewards and consequences often drive extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is the most powerful but also the most difficult. Do not be afraid to use extrinsic motivation such as candy, but use is sparingly since its effects do not continue to motivate over time.

Clearly define what you want your child to do and how it is connected with their goal. Do not just waste your efforts and your child’s time on activities that are not connected.

Play-based speech therapy activities

Play-based speech therapy is when a speech pathologist (SLP) plans speech and/or language activities around a play toy or activity. The SLP will create opportunities for the child to practice the target skill while enjoying motivating toys and activities that are relevant to the child’s interests.
SLP Research

A speech and language assessment will give you a comprehensive overview of your child’s skills If there are any gaps in your child’s development, then you will be able to address them at an early stage with the help of our Speech and Language Therapists.

Speech Sound Disorders

Thank you to our partners and sponsors for making this series possible!

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