Brecksville speech therapy

How Speech Therapy Can Help Kids With Cerebral Palsy

Speech disorders are fairly common with children diagnosed with cerebral palsy. One study published by Swedish researchers indicated more than half of all kids cerebral palsy have some type of speech problem. Speech therapy can be integral in helping them to effectively communicate and function.

Lots of kids with cerebral palsy have trouble with control over the muscles in their head, neck, throat and face. This can lead to difficulty not only with speech, but also chewing, swallowing and drooling. They can be difficult to understand, which in turn can impact their ability to connect and learn.

Our Brecksville speech therapy team helps children with cerebral palsy improve the control of muscles needed for speech, language, swallowing and interacting.

Akron speech therapy

Deaf Children Still Need Speech Therapy – Even With Cochlear Implants

Hearing loss can profoundly impact a child’s development of speech, language and social skills. The sooner a child who is hard-of-hearing or deaf begins receiving services, the more likely they are to reach their maximum potential. Speech therapy is one of the key services deaf children need – even if they receive cochlear implants.

September is International Deaf Awareness Month, and it’s important to address some misconceptions that might result in unnecessary long-term challenges for children who are deaf.

Speech-language pathologists at Therapy and Wellness Connection know that when these issues aren’t addressed early on, children may arrive at school behind on their language and reasoning skills. A cochlear implant can dramatically help children with hearing loss – but that isn’t where treatment should stop.

Akron speech therapy

Speech Therapy Tips for Teaching that Tricky “R” Sound

Arrrgghh – those “R’s” can be so tricky! When it’s pronounced correctly, it goes virtually unnoticed. However, when it’s misarticulated, it’s usually pretty obvious. Some think it’s “cute” when little kids do it, but if it persists, it can detract from the overall message the child is trying to communicate. The good news is our Akron speech therapy team can help.

R-sound trouble is actually fairly common.

Many adults sort of take for granted how complicated the R sound is to make, at least at first. R’s (denoted by speech-language pathologists as /r/ ) usually develops fairly late in a child’s speech development because it’s tough to produce the sound the right way and on command. Many kids misarticulate or distort their /r/ sounds throughout childhood (“wun” for “run” or “watuh” for “water”). The biggest reason for this is that various systems are required to produce it. One must correctly use and coordinate their lips, tongue, teeth and airway. A number of conditions can make this tough.

Our Akron speech therapy team will work to get all those parts moving together for perfect /r/ sounds.

Brecksville speech therapy

Signs Your Child Needs a Speech Therapy Evaluation

For parents, one of the greatest thrills is hearing your child say, “mama” or “dada” for the first time. It can be even more exciting to start communicating with your child, especially when they begin speaking with that adorable “baby talk.” But… What if they aren’t talking? Or what if they aren’t saying the words right? What if they don’t appear to understand what you’re saying? How do you know you should begin exploring speech therapy?

The first thing our Brecksville speech therapy team explains to concerned parents is that every child develops at a different pace. There are certain verbal development milestones that pediatricians outline by age, but it’s not cause for panic if your child doesn’t hit it on the mark. That said, “wait-and-see” is generally inadvisable. If there is a delay or disability, the longer you wait to take action, the more difficult it’s going to be for your child to catch up to their peers.

Few children make zero errors when they’re learning to talk. But if you suspect your child may have a speech delay or speech-language disorder, having a speech therapy evaluation is the first step toward determining if treatment would be beneficial.

Akron speech therapy

Speech Therapy Tips to Make the Most of Reading With Your Child

The gift of reading is one that keeps on giving. It sparks imagination, expands vocabulary, develops comprehension and listening skills – all things that help children excel in academics. Our Akron speech therapy team recognizes too that reading is key in speech and language development for children.

The American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) reports kids with communication challenges have a higher likelihood of difficulty with reading and writing. In turn, this will impact their school performance, social development and self expression.

Parents can play an active role in helping bolster their child’s reading skills. Researchers at The Ohio State University discovered that if children are read just one book daily, they will hear nearly 300,000 more words by the time they get to kindergarten.

Children who are read to from infancy will start to develop these skills sooner. When reading is a fun, bonding activity, children love it. When they love it, they choose it. When they choose it, they’re on their way to becoming better readers.

Therapy & Wellness Connection Teams With Augment Therapy

Therapy and Wellness Connection in Brecksville has teamed with Cleveland-based virtual therapy provider, Augment Therapy to provide our patients with high-quality speech, occupational, ABA and physical therapy online.

Families can set up this service through their television. It uses augmented reality programming (think Pokemon GO) to make exercise and engagement fun. The software is equipped with a camera that can capture not only the child’s image but movements too. These games on screen can be used to help children interact with cartoon characters and other features, allowing them to earn badges for reaching certain goals. physical therapy

It’s a prime tool in any circumstance, but especially effective as social distancing guidelines remain in place. With the tools and software provided by Augment Therapy, we’re able to continue teaching social and emotional regulation and participation in one of our many social skills groups.

Augment Therapy was founded and designed three years ago by Chagrin Falls pediatric physical therapist Lindsay Watson and software developer Stephen Blake. As Watson explained to a reporter from FreshWater Cleveland last year, many of her young physical therapy patients with conditions like cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorder and Down syndrome were sometimes resistant to repetitive physical therapy exercises.

Inspired by the way Pokemon GO motivated so many kids to become active, she began brainstorming a similar program that could motivate her patients to move, communicate and push themselves to their highest potential.

Supplement to In-Clinic Speech, ABA, Occupational and Physical Therapy

physical therapy
Photo Courtesy of Augment Therapy

Augment Therapy has been valuable  at a time when teletherapy services have become a necessity due to the ongoing pandemic. But long-term, it will be an excellent supplement to our in-clinic and therapy services Therapy and Wellness Connection.

When kids are having fun, they’re motivated to stay the course. Virtual, interactive games can accomplish this. For them, it’s not “doing therapy.” It’s playing a game. Yet it keeps them engaged with the therapist and other children and focused on their goals. Ultimately, allows them to achieve faster results that are more likely to “stick.”

Some of the benefits as outlined by Augment Therapy:

  • Improves adherence. This refers to how closely a child follows the prescribed moves with good frequency and consistency.
  • Use in home and in clinic. It has applications not just for therapists but teachers and parents too.
  • Ease of use. Basically, you just plug in the software and play it. The setup time is minimal.
  • Portable technology. The hardware itself is small, so even if you’re traveling or otherwise not at home, it can still be used.
  • Does not require wearable devices. Lots of our patients have sensory issues, so wearing a technology device isn’t comfortable or practical. The Augment Therapy technology does not require it.
  • Encourages social interaction. It can be played by more than one child at a time, promoting social skills as well as physical movement.
  • Makes therapy and exercising fun! What kid doesn’t love video games? The difference between this and other movement games is that it focuses on engagement as much as movement.

Pilot programs were launched at the Cleveland Clinic and Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital. The technology also earned a sponsorship from MetroHealth after securing an award at the Medical Capital Innovation Competition.

Anything that can improve accessibility, participation and progress for children with special needs is something we’re eager to utilize, and we’re excited to offer this new service to our patients.

Therapy & Wellness Connection – your connection to a life without limitations – provides speech, occupational, ABA and physical therapy to children in Cleveland, Brecksville-Broadview Heights, Akron and surrounding communities. We also offer summer camp, day programs, education services, vocational counseling and more. Call us at (330) 748-4807 or send us an email

Additional Resources:

Cleveland-based Augment Therapy is making physical therapy fun for kids via augmented reality, Aug. 24, 2019, By Ilona Westfall, FreshWaterCleveland.com

More Blog Entries:

5 Ways Our Akron Physical Therapy Helps Children With Down Syndrome, Sept. 28, 2019, Cleveland Physical Therapy Blog

virtual learning

Virtual Learning, Therapies Continue at Therapy and Wellness Connection

With Ohio schools closed for the remainder of the school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Therapy and Wellness Connection has continued to provide therapy and virtual learning to children with special needs and learning disabilities in the Cleveland metro area.

Since schools have shuttered, many of these students have lost access to the critical services and programs offered by school districts and some outside providers. These students receive a combination of speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, behavior therapy and community integration services.

Although we very much look forward (when it’s safe) to resuming the daily, in-person interaction that is so vital to students with autism, Down syndrome and other special needs, we are proud to have quickly on-boarded our teletherapy and virtual learning services as well as online social groups and functional fitness courses.

Cleveland speech therapy

How Long Will My Child Need Speech Therapy?

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.

Cleveland speech therapist

Questions to Ask Your Child’s New Cleveland Speech Therapist

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.

Akron speech therapists

Transition Talk: How Speech Therapists Help Kids With Autism Move From One Thing to the Next

Humans are creatures of habit. Even if you’re a person who welcomes change, the fact is, it takes more effort than continuing on as you were. Our speech therapists understand that for a child, being asked to stop one thing and start another (i.e., “a transition”) is a really common trigger for problematic behaviors. This is especially true for children on the autism spectrum, who rely so heavily on routine to understand and feel comfortable with the world around them.

The anxiety and frustration of a transition can be especially overwhelming if a child is transitioning from a preferred activity (something we like and want to be doing) to a non-preferred activity (something we’d rather not be doing, even if it’s necessary).

As speech therapists, we’ve seen trouble with transitions manifest in a number of ways, including:

  • Avoidance
  • Distraction
  • Resistance
  • Negotiation
  • Full-blown meltdown

Although it can seem like the child is simply overwhelmed by their emotions (and sometimes, they are), the ABA therapists at Therapy & Wellness Connection recognize that these are often the responses the child has learned to have been successful in helping them delay or avoid a transition.