All kids develop speech and language skills at their own pace. The fact that your child’s speech and communication skills don’t fall within the exact window as a textbook definition doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be alarmed. Still, speech therapists know that when a toddler is a late talker, it may be impossible without in-depth testing to determine whether a child is simply late bloomer or if there is a larger problem.
Research tells us there are numerous factors that can help us determine if a child’s late talking is part of a developmental delay. Some of those red flags include things like:
- Limited use of gestures
- Lack of pretend play skills
- Difficulty with joint attention (sharing the focus of another individuals, indicated with eye-gazing, pointing or other verbal/non-verbal cues)
- Delays in cognition
- Receptive language problem or delay
- Repetitive movements
- Unusual vocalizations
Perhaps the most overlooked among these is a receptive language problem or delay. And yet, in the opinion of our Akron speech therapists at Therapy & Wellness Connection, it’s one of the primary reasons many toddlers with otherwise unexplained language delays aren’t talking.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, most pediatric therapy centers in Northeast Ohio and throughout the country are closing their doors to limit the spread of infection. Therapy and Wellness Connection in Brecksville has decided to do the same – but we haven’t stopped offering therapy. Instead, we have responded by launching a teletherapy department to assist all patients in all practice areas, including academic tutoring and speech, occupational, behavior and physical therapy.
“These services are extremely important to these children,” said Therapy and Wellness Connection Founder Jaclyn McClymont. “We have a responsibility to ensure the children stay safe and help reduce the rapid spread of infection, but also continue to offer therapy.”
Children of all abilities all over the globe aren’t getting enough exercise. The problem is even greater for children with special needs, who by some research estimates get just 17 minutes of physical activity in school – a day. As Akron pediatric occupational therapy professionals, this is problematic not only from a position of physical health but also of cognitive development and academic success.
Brain Benefits of Physical Activity
It’s our goal during sessions to get kids moving as much as we can, but parents who want to see their children thrive cannot overlook this component. One study published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sports & Exercise found that moderate-to-vigorous physical activity is directly associated with better reading fluency and arithmetic skills.
As reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Physical activity can have an impact on cognitive skills and attitudes and academic behavior, all of which are important components of improved academic performance. These include enhanced concentration and attention as well as improved classroom behavior.”
Dear Therapy and Wellness Connection Families:
The situation with the novel coronavirus diseases 2019 (COVID-19) is evolving daily around the world and in the U.S. Our team at Therapy and Wellness Connection has rapidly responded to protect individuals and reduce the public health risk. We are committed to protecting the safety of our therapists, teachers, families and of course children.
I would like to take a moment to communicate our plans for several different outcomes that may arise during this pandemic. At this time, we are being proactive rather than reactive. Please note that the situation is dynamic and plans could change. However, we want to be as transparent as possible.
First and foremost: WE PLAN TO REMAIN OPEN UNLESS/ UNTIL SUCH TIME AS HEALTH DEPARTMENT OFFICIALS DIRECT US TO CLOSE.
We are continuing to take preventative measures to disinfect and clean throughout the day and at closing. All children are washing their hands when they leave and enter classrooms, and all children with temperatures are being sent home until they are fever-free for 24 hours.
During this time, we will continue with our center therapies.
We ask that you wash your hands when entering and leaving the center with your child. Please keep your child home if they have any symptoms of illness.
If you decide to keep your child home for the duration of this pandemic, please let us know. We will be determining in-home sessions on a case-by-case basis. Contact your therapist to learn more.
In accordance with CDC guidance for travelers returning from China, South Korea, Iran, certain countries in Europe or returning from any other country subsequently designated by the CDC as Level 3 while traveling, please be aware that you are required to self-quarantine at your permanent address or otherwise away from Therapy and Wellness Connection for at least 14 days before returning to our facilities. This applies to traveling parents and their children – even if children have not traveled. Please contact us if you or your child have traveled at all so we can make an informed decision.
We appreciate your continued support and understanding, and we will continue to remain in communication as much as possible.
Please feel free to call our offices and speak to Jackie or Hannah if you have any questions or concerns.
Jaclyn McClymont and Hannah Flynn
Therapy and Wellness Connection
Often when speech and language therapy is recommended for a child, one of the first questions parents have is, “For how long will my child need speech therapy?”
As much as our Cleveland speech-language pathologists (SLPs) would love to give parents an answer, the reality is there are numerous factors to consider before offering even an educated guess.
What we can say is that Therapy and Wellness Connection aims to maximize the time we have with your child by having speech therapy sessions at home or in school with our clients. This helps facilitate faster carry-over so that the lessons we’re teaching stick. That can cut down on the length of time your child needs to remain in therapy.
With spring fast-approaching, summer camp registrations are opening and many parents are deciding whether – and where – to send their children during the three-month break. Most share the typical concerns such as cost, commute, class size and quality of care. But for parents of children with special needs, these concerns can be magnified.
- Will my child be able to fully participate?
- Will my child get adequate attention?
- Will they make friends?
- Will the staff and other kids understand my child’s special needs?
You want to know that the recreation and education programs are going to be inclusive as well as safe and that your child will have the same opportunities as every other kid to grow, enjoy unique experiences and gain independence.
Many parents, speech therapists and child development experts have long suspected a correlation between language delays and temper tantrums in young children. Now, a recent study by researchers at Northwestern University supports this. They found that late talkers are twice as likely to have frequent, severe temper tantrums compared to typically-developing peers. Study authors concluded that early intervention is important for toddlers with language delays, as they are at higher risk for developing mental health and language disorders.
This study of more than 2,000 children is the first to find a link between delayed vocabulary in toddlers and severe temper tantrums – including among children as young as 12-months-old. That’s a lot younger than many clinicians had thought problematic behaviors can be identified.
“Severe” tantrums were characterized as consistently doing things like hitting, kicking or holding their breath during a tantrum.
If your child isn’t sleeping well, it impacts not only their daytime functioning, but that of the family at-large. Children with special needs are at increased risk for sleep disorders and sleep disturbances, which can have a major impact on their mood, behavior, learning, physiology and just generally how well they feel. This can have a profound impact on how well a child functions each day. Occupational therapy can help.
Many people don’t consider that sleep is one of the primary occupations of children until they turn 5. Even after that, it’s critical to healthy growth and development.
According to the Sleep Help Institute, kids under 2 should be receiving anywhere from 14-16 hours of total sleep (including naps) every day. Kids 2-3 should be getting 10-11 hours at night (plus 1-2 hours of nap time). Kids 3-5 should be getting 10-13 hours of sleep with an extra hour of nap time, and kids 5-12 should be getting 10 to 11 hours of sleep each night.
Kids With Special Needs Especially Prone to Sleep Trouble
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that insufficient sleep is a serious public health problem, as it contributes to motor vehicle crashes, work-related accidents and chronic disease. “Sleep inefficiency” is understood to be a lack of restorative sleep, which includes an adequate amount of restorative sleep (meaning all five stages of it).
Childhood sleep problems are more common than you might think. They affect about 25 percent of all preschool children and 43 percent of school-age kids. Children with developmental delays and disorders are even more likely to be referred for sleep studies. One study found that 49 to 89 percent of children on the autism spectrum had trouble sleeping. Same goes for 25 to 50 percent of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and 34 to 86 percent of children with intellectual disabilities.
When you have a child with speech and communication deficits, it’s important to be a selective consumer of speech therapy services. As a parent, you are your child’s top advocate, and you’re an invaluable part of the “team” that will help your child learn to effectively communicate. It’s important to find a Cleveland speech therapist who is not only qualified, but who clicks with you and connects with your child.
Speech-language pathologists, commonly referred to as “speech therapists” or “SLPs” for short, are experts in communication issues. Some speech therapists work with adults after they have lost the ability to effectively communicate, usually due to traumatic injuries or a medical condition, such as a stroke. At Therapy & Wellness Connection, we work primarily with children (though some adults too) with a variety of delays and disorders, ranging from mild articulation issues to more complex conditions like autism, down syndrome, hearing impairment, motor speech disorders and other developmental delays.
When looking for a Cleveland speech therapist, make sure you choose someone who takes the time to listen to your concerns and thoughtfully answer all your questions.
Dining at a restaurant – even as a once-in-a-while treat – is a life skill that our Cleveland occupational therapists are dedicated to helping our clients master.
Eating out at a restaurant when you have a child with special needs can make you feel a bit like a zoo animal. Most people know that children have a tendency to draw attention to themselves at dining establishments. Kids are still learning the appropriate ways to interact and behave in various social settings. That doesn’t mean most people are kind or understanding about it. For a child with disabilities, it can be an even steeper climb (particularly when one has a condition like autism that may not be visually obvious to those outside looking in). One bad experience can leave some families understandably inclined to skip meal outings altogether.
But the earlier and often you address situations like this, the easier they’re going to be for your child as he or she gets older.