How to Find a Learning Style That Fits Your Child’s Personality

It’s all too common for parents to say “I’m not a teacher.” That may be true in the traditional sense. But parents usually know their kids like no one else.

“I’m not a teacher when it comes to school,” says mom of two, Blagica Stefanovski Bottigliero. “But I am my child’s life teacher. It’s just a different way of teaching.”

Whether your child is an active mover, a diverse learner, a shy child who likes to blend into the background or a kid who wants everything to be flawless, here are some tips to help your child learn more effectively.

The Perfectionist

“Perfection is the enemy of done,” says Carl Hooker, an educational consultant. “I was one of those kids.”

One of the hardest things for the perfectionist is finding a stopping point. Find a mini goal in the middle of the project for a bigger project. “Maybe it’s getting through the first draft,” Hooker says. “Break it into smaller chunks so the child can say at least I accomplished this.”

When the final part of the project is nearing, remind your child of all the work they’ve put in and discuss how you are going to close this project and find a good ending point to turn it in.

“Then remind them, once you’ve submitted the work, even if it’s not perfect, any type of improvement you can make, any type of failure you made, can be discussed to help us on the next project,” Hooker says.

The Unmotivated Student

“Every kid has something they are interested in,” Hooker says. “For most of them it isn’t schoolwork.”

Find something that is motivating. Maybe it’s a TV show, going hiking or allowing them to choose dinner.

Once you know their motivational factor, tell them, “Listen, I’ve got a lot of work to do today, but if I can get through all my work and you get through all of your work, let’s set up that board game or play cards or take a bike ride.”

If a younger child isn’t interested in doing an activity, try using “first, then language.”

“First, we must do (insert disliked activity) and then we can do (insert activity they want to do),” says Avivit Ben-Aharon, founder of Great Speech.

For older kids, find smaller things that will get them excited as they work towards a longer-term goal. The key is being consistent and delivering on promises made.

The Distracted Learner

Create a visual schedule. Cut out pictures and photos that represent different activities a child should do throughout the day. Tape the pictures to a whiteboard.

It can be calming to see predictable routines that feel safe.

Create sensory breaks, says Wendy Oinonen, an occupational therapist. For little kids, have them do some heavy work by pushing a basket full of laundry on the floor by making it a race. Have children bend over to get their head below their waist to trigger their senses.

Create a swing to help calm your child by wrapping a blanket around a table, knotting it on top and let it swing underneath.

“Your child can crawl in and have a little quiet time,” Oinonen says. “A lot of research says children need 10- to 15-minute breaks each hour.”

The Anxious Child

“A lot of kids are having anxiety and stress around remote learning,” Oinonen says.

Setting daily goals and having a consistent schedule with check-off lists can really help, says high school teacher, James Conley.

“Parents need to keep their expectations in check,” Ben-Aharon says. “That really helps anxious kids who want to know what to expect.”

Keep lines of communication open, “but don’t be on top of them to where they feel like they’re not able to make autonomous decisions on their own.”

If it feels weird for the student to see their face on the video screen, turn off the video.

For younger children, consider using a Learning Tower, Davora Sides says. The wooden adjustable stool is like a vertical crib of sorts that allows the child to stand up and view a screen at countertop height, but they can still feel safe in an enclosed space.

The Quiet Kid

Online, first-grade teacher Michelle Gunderson says, many of the quiet students who are usually very hesitant and careful have blossomed thanks to the chat function of video calls.

Parents can help, she says, by advocating to the teacher about their child’s preferred communication method.

The Active, Fidgety Child

Have some tactical activities to keep a child’s hands busy while they are paying attention to the screen, says Sides. Look at manipulatives, such as Play-Doh, pipe cleaners or Wikki Stix that students can work with quietly while learning.

Swap a chair for a bouncy ball or get a rocking chair for kids who want to move. Or try an inflatable wobble cushion.

“We had one child who had a trampoline in front of their virtual station,” Sides says. “They would be bouncing the entire time, but it worked because they liked jumping up and were locked in place.”

During breaks in learning, try doing jumping jacks, run to the end of the driveway and back or jump rope.

“Kids need a physical outlet,” Ben-Aharon says.

This article also appeared in Chicago Parent’s August 2020 magazine


Online Speech Therapy

8 Tips for Promoting Online Learning Success for Your Children During COVID-19

It’s all about the setup. 

As the mom of four boys, ages 4-18, I have experienced firsthand the challenges of virtual learning during the last four months.

But as the founder of Great Speech, an online speech therapy platform, I have discovered how to maximize learning success by setting up the physical space as well as setting expectations. 

Here are my top eight tips. They have worked with my boys. They have worked for my clients. And I know you will find success with your own families.

1. Minimize Visual Distractions

Just like when doing homework, set up the physical space to minimize visual distractions. The less distractible objects available to play with, grab, pull, or touch during the online activity, the more focused your children will be, and the greater the chances for successful learning.

A desk and office chair work for some children. For others, a folding table or an inflatable wobble cushion enhances learning. Play around with your furniture choices until you find the right combination of table and chair. 

2. Maximize Concentration

Designate a physically quiet space to maximize concentration. Any background auditory distractions such as people walking around, cooking in the kitchen or talking on the phone is picked up during a Zoom meeting and can interfere with your child’s level of concentration. For some, incorporating headphones, especially noise-canceling ones, increases focus while minimizing auditory distractions.

3. Decide Which Technology Works Best

When possible, always choose a computer laptop or desktop over a tablet or a phone. The bigger screen allows for better engagement. Additionally, children associate the iPad with watching movies and playing games. By using a desktop or laptop computer, you are setting a more serious tone for the activity.

4. Set the Schedule

Set a schedule so your child knows when a session or activity is scheduled to begin and end. Sharing times helps set expectations and gives your child a feeling of control.

5. Coordinate Naps, Lunch and Early Risers

Identify when your child learns best and schedule virtual sessions when possible around your child’s optimum learning schedule. We have found most kids do their best learning in the earlier part of the day but it does vary with each child.

6. Praise Hard Work

Set up in advance a positive reinforcement or reward system for specific tasks and milestones. Match the reward to each child and vary the choices to keep the momentum. At the same time, discuss consequences for going off task. Structure can be super beneficial as long as it is realistic and implementable and setting expectations in advance avoids miscommunication and diminished results.

Side note: It’s best not to use computer time as a positive or negative reinforcement in this age of virtual learning. It’s difficult to take away computer time when children need to be on the computer for school. 

7. Involve Yourself in the Process

Monitor the learning session from afar and let your child know you will be checking in. While virtual learning is often viewed as an independent activity, it’s important for your child to know you will be checking in regularly to observe the process.

8. Help Your Kids ‘Own’ It

Probably my most important recommendation is involving your children in the planning as much as possible. Particularly with older children, there is a strong sense of ownership when they are included in the process. 

And ownership is a major component in promoting success.

Are You Looking for Help with Speech Therapy While Your Kids are at Home?

Great Speech is ready to support your children at home during their virtual learning. Our individualized and interactive programs are ready to go. You can start speech therapy at home today.

Telepractice allows us to deliver professional services from another location. We are excited to have the ability to provide services during this time. Schedule an introductory call today.

Key Questions to Ask Your Speech Pathologist Before a Therapy Session

The decision to see a speech-language pathologist is never an easy one to make, but it’s always in the best interest of the patient. Early intervention for children as young as the age of three can make a difference in the coming years.

Once you’ve decided to see a speech-language pathologist, you probably have a lot of questions! So what are some great questions to ask before your first therapy session? How do you know if you’ve found a stellar speech-language pathologist?

Keep reading to find out these answers to these questions and more.

What is A Speech-Language Pathologist?

Speech-language pathologists work with both adults and children who have trouble speaking clearly and other communication disorders. They also can diagnose and assess those who suffer from speech problems.

Some issues speech-language pathologists work with are:

  • Stuttering
  • Language
  • Communication sounds
  • Swallowing
  • Eating

This is not an exhaustive list, as a speech-language pathologist might work with a variety of communication disorders.

Seven Questions to Ask Before Your Therapy Session

If you’ve never seen a speech-language pathologist before, you might be curious about what to expect. Here are some questions to address.

1. Credentials

Before you select any type of medical professional, you want to scope out their credentials. Things like:

  • How long have they been in practice
  • What degrees they’ve earned and any certifications or licensing
  • What type of patients do they see
  • Are they certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association or ASHA
  • Are they a specialist in any area
  • What is their approach to speech therapy
  • Do you work individually or on with a team
  • What has been your experience with people who suffer from a specific speech impediment

Questions like these help you develop an overall picture of the therapist, their education, and experience in the field.

2. Fees

Nearly any therapy you attend will have fees or cost associated. The best thing to do is to ask the therapist what their fees are and if they accept insurance.

Insurance companies will vary across the board as to how they cover any type of speech therapy. Some may cover it fully, but typically there are limitations. Get in contact with your insurance company to find out the specifics.

It’s also possible to work out a payment arrangement with the therapist at the time. Ask them when fees are due and how they take payment. Discuss your unique situation with them to see if you can come to a payment agreement if you’re having financial difficulty.

3. Contact Information

It’s important to know how to contact the therapist if you need to, especially if you have more questions or a need. Find out their preferred method of contact – email, texting, calling – and write down numbers in your phone or write them down in a way that’s easy to remember and accessible.

4. Session Environment

Coming into a new office or clinic can be a little uneasy, especially for children. They may feel scared or anxious in a new environment and be hesitant to participate in therapy because of it.

If possible, see if you can visit the office or clinic first to test the waters. Ask your therapist if this is appropriate and possible.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions while you’re there: What will the sessions be like? Can you watch or should you wait in another area? How long will the therapy session take?

5. Goals

When someone decides to enter speech therapy, the therapist will assess them first and then write out a plan for treatment complete with goals they wish to accomplish.

Once the therapist knows and understands the needs of the patient, you can ask about these specific goals. Questions like, how does this practice help to reach the goal, or how did you decide this treatment is right for the patient.  Staying curious about why certain techniques are practiced during therapy gives you insight so you can practice at home.

5. How Can I Support?

Especially for a child, parental involvement is key to therapy success. It’s important to reiterate and practice skills learned during a therapy session in real life. This way, the skills stick and the child can improve.

Asking your therapist how you can support your child (or another adult!) outside of therapy walls is critical. Be sure to inquire about what resources, techniques, or other methods you can be implemented at home.

Your therapist will likely be enthusiastic about this and offer plenty of ideas because it shows you take therapy, and skill-building, seriously. They may even recommend group therapies or support groups outside of one-on-one time.

6. Length of Therapy

Because each patient’s challenges differ, the length of therapy will vary from person to person. This means that one patient may be in therapy for a few months, while some therapy sessions can last several years.

In the beginning, it’s hard to assess exactly the duration of the therapy; much of it depends on the patient, their specific case, and how well they improve. Severe cases may take longer, and those who resist therapy, or do not respond well, will likely have a lengthier time.

7. Progress

You don’t want to be attending therapy without knowing if it’s working. Be sure to inquire about how the therapist communicates progress with you, such as writing up a progress report or chart, to document changes during therapy sessions.

Seeing A Speech-Language Pathologist

Your first therapy session can be a little intimidating and nerve-wracking, but by asking the right questions and finding the right therapist, you can have a sense of calm and preparedness.

Are you searching for a speech therapist? We’ve got you covered! Visit our scheduler today for a free consultation.

Speech Therapy at Home During the Coronavirus

6 Strategies to Do Speech Therapy at Home During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Was your child or loved one receiving speech therapy before the coronavirus pandemic? It’s important that they continue with this therapy so they don’t lose ground.

Today, telepractice provides an option for face-to-face therapy sessions. One study compared therapy provided in-person to that provided through telepractice. They found that both groups of students made significant speech sound production improvements.

Continue reading to learn about tips for speech therapy at home. Don’t let the pandemic cause regression.

What Do Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) Help With?

SLPs have extensive experience in treating people with speech, language, and swallowing problems. They treat the following problems:

  • Articulation problems: trouble speaking clearly and often making incorrect sounds
  • Fluency problems: trouble maintaining a normal flow of speech, such as stuttering
  • Resonance or voice problems: difficulty with pitch, volume, or quality of their voice
  • Oral feeding problems: trouble with eating and swallowing and with drooling
  • Receptive language problems: difficulty receiving language
  • Expressive language problems: trouble speaking or expressing themselves
  • Pragmatic language problems: trouble using socially appropriate language

Speech therapists develop individual plans of care according to each person’s needs. They use different strategies and techniques that will work best for the individual.

Speech Therapy at Home

The coronavirus pandemic has forced everyone worldwide to practice physical distancing. This has led to the closing of all activities where people gather together. This includes school and non-emergency therapy appointments.

In today’s world of internet connectivity, people can continue with speech therapy during this pandemic. Online services such as Face Time, Zoom, and Skype provide a great way to have appointments and do therapy.

If your child was working with an SLP at school, contact them and ask for a copy of your child’s IEP. The IEP is the Individualized Education Program developed by the school SLP. This shows the target goals and activities your child practices with the therapist.

Home Activities for Speech Therapy

The following is a list of ideas and activities to work on at home. Try to find ways to weave some of them into your normal routine.

1. Short Bursts of Target Sounds

Have your child practice their target sounds for short periods throughout the day. This will provide a greater benefit than a one-on-one hour-long session.

If the person has trouble imitating a sound, break it down for them. One example is having trouble with the “th” sound. Tell them to put their tongue between their teeth and blow.

Keep practicing until they can correctly make that sound. Homeschooling includes many distractions. Ease into speech therapy.

2. Take Care When You Correct the Individual

When working on speech therapy at home, take care when giving corrections. Avoid saying, “that’s not right” or “say it this way”. Instead, ask the person to clarify what they said.

For example, “did you say wabbit or rabbit?” Always make sure the person is looking at you when you speak so they can see your mouth. This allows them to watch you make the incorrect version and then the correct word.

3. Oral Motor Exercises

Practice simple oral motor exercises to stimulate the lips and tongue. This is a great, fun way to start a session. Examples of oral motor exercises include:

  • Wag your tongue from side to side like a dog
  • Make kissy faces
  • Lick your lips

These exercises increase the range of motion and strength of the tongue and lips. They also isolate muscle groups to strengthen those that may have a weakness.

Licking up and down on a popsicle or lollipop without moving the head is beneficial. You can involve other siblings by making a fun contest.

4. Gradually Add Sounds

If the person you are working with had recent success with a certain sound, start there. This helps increase their confidence. Next, move to another sound. Allow time for mastery in a supportive and positive atmosphere.

Use the following progression. Begin by isolating the sound, then move to syllables, and then the whole word. From there, put the word in phrases, sentences, and conversation.

5. Working on Receptive Language

Receptive language refers to the ability to understand the information they’re receiving. When working on this problem, use “wh” questions. For example, if you’re playing a game, like Candy Land, ask questions such as:

  • What color is your playing piece?
  • What number did you roll?
  • Why are you sliding to this spot?
  • What kind of candy is this?

Include “wh” questions in your daily routine. Read books and pause to ask questions throughout the book. Make sure the questions fit with the person’s learning level.

Work on a gradual progression of difficulty.

6. Working on Expressive Language

Expressing language problems manifest as difficulty putting thoughts into words or sentences. This involves spoken and written language as well as gestures. They may also have trouble labeling things in the environment or describing actions.

Activities that you can practice at home include:

  • Making choices: offer two options and ask them to verbally request one without gestures
  • Discuss activities: after finishing many tasks, discuss, draw, and act out what you did
  • Look at books and discuss what they see
  • Ask questions about things that happened in the story and why they think the story ended that way
  • Sing songs
  • Read stories to them to model the correct use of language
  • Write letters to friends
  • Place pictures or drawings in the correct sequence of events to tell a story

All these activities keep the person using and working on their language skills. If they sit and passively watch TV, their progress can regress. When they resume therapy, they will have to backtrack.

Are You Looking for Help with Speech Therapy During the Pandemic?

Great Speech has technology and web content ready to fill the void left by the coronavirus pandemic. Our individualized and interactive programs are ready to go. You can start speech therapy at home today.

Telepractice allows us to deliver professional services from another location. We are excited to have the ability to provide services during this time. Schedule a free consultation today.

Your Coronavirus Educational Activity Toolbox: 10 Tips to Help Parents Weather School Closing

School is out.

But it’s not a snow day nor a vacation week. 

You may be tempted to dump your daily routine and transition to a vacation mentality. 

But this coronavirus hiatus from school and work has no definite end date, a cause for anxiety.

It’s also an opportunity. 

While our older children will be immersed in distance learning, we can reframe and restructure our younger children’s schedule to create a daily routine. The learning experience will be different than the formal school one, but I have created 10 tips to make the process easier for you and for them.

  1. Get them dressed… and dress yourself as well: We all do better with routine which sets expectations. While it may be tempting to lounge in your pajamas and allow your children to do the same, the lack of routine for everyone can be confusing, particularly when it lasts more than a few days. Lose the snow day mentality and think more long term.
  2. Create a schedule: Do it with the kids or for them, depending on their age. Use timers to allow for digital/TV time and digital detox time. The timer is the equivalent of the school bell which helps children of all ages define the class “period.” Try to model their day at home to their day at school (as much as possible) with specified times for different activities. And don’t hesitate to give them jobs…they are used to having them at school.
  3. Redefine learning: Unexpected prolonged school closing forces us to rethink learning expectations. 

Involving children in daily chores like setting the table or going to the supermarket gives us the opportunity to teach some of the same skills they learn in school but in a different way.

For example, setting the table involves sequencing (what comes first, second, third), going to the supermarket teaches to make lists, feel the textures of the fruits and veggies (rough and smooth), count the items on the conveyor belt, estimate the total cost of the total purchases and of course promote vocabulary. Baking brownies is a science lesson bathed in chocolate with the opportunity to teach shapes as you cut them for consumption.

There is so much opportunity for informal learning. This is an important time to seize it.

  1. Create a theme: Teachers often design their weekly curriculum around a theme. Follow their example and keep it up at home. Your theme could incorporate letters, numbers, colors, holidays and animals to name a few. For inspiration, email your teacher or Google.
  2. Reshuffle the shelf: Put away all the books and toys and then take out five each day to match your theme or your mood (if you have no time to have a theme). This way old toys and books will feel new and you will avoid the temptation of ordering new ones.
  3. Do good: Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are restricting visitors to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Offer your children the opportunity to ”do good” by making cards for others. You can use your theme in choosing colors, letters etc. in the design or just let their imagination run wild.
  4. Think out of the box: While we stock up on toilet paper and cans of tuna, there should be plenty of boxes lying around. Refrain from throwing them out since they can become part of valuable learning tools. Tape them up and turn them into blocks. Paint them in the color of the day, decoupage them with magazine pics which follow your theme.
  5. Download audio books for kids to read while you are doing your work or catching up on chores. Look into learning apps and websites. Here are some of the ones we use in our telespeech sessions like PBS and ABCmouse
  6. Stock up on basic art supplies:Big rolls of paper, crayons, markers, paints and play dough can be part of a lesson or suggested tools for free play.
  7. Refrain from recycling:Instead of putting the newspapers and magazines in the recycling bin, put them to good use. In the hands of your children, those recyclables can be a great medium for practicing scissor cutting, finding pictures or letters for a theme or covering a card or box for decoupage. 

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Spread the word NOT the virus.

The Top 3 Benefits of Online Speech Therapy During the Coronavirus Outbreak and Flu Season

Coronavirus has been officially declared a pandemic.

Schools are closed in some parts of the country.

Businesses and healthcare offices may be next.

Some consumers are worried they will not be able to access the speech therapy services they need- for themselves or for their family members and they are researching online speech therapy alternatives as a backup plan.

As the coronavirus continues to spread globally, The Center for Disease Control is exploring alternatives to face-to-face contact. Online speech therapy has been proven to be an effective, convenient and individualized alternative to traditional speech therapy services.

In the event of an outbreak like the coronavirus, online speech therapy offers several advantages over in-person, traditional clinical services, protecting both clients and practitioners.

Here are the top three benefits of online speech therapy during the coronavirus outbreak and flu season.

1. Practice Social Distancing: Avoiding Unnecessary Exposure to Germs

The Center for Disease Control suggests avoiding close contact with people who are sick, and putting distance between yourself and others to prevent the spread of the virus within your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk  such as the elderly or those with other medical conditions.

Online speech therapy services limit exposure to viruses by allowing clients to avoid physical contact with other clients in waiting rooms as well as with the speech therapists in the office or your home.

The Center for Disease Control suggests being at least six feet away from another person in a waiting room, which can be difficult to maintain in an often busy and crowded office. In an in-home setting, sitting six feet away from a therapist may feel impersonal and distracting.

In-home speech therapists travel from one client to the next and can potentially expose clients to germs unintentionally. Some clients and their family members have compromised immune systems and this unnecessary exposure can be detrimental to their overall health. This includes clients recovering from a stroke, traumatic brain injury, autoimmune disease and genetic disorders. While currently there is no data available on the possibility of an increased risk for pregnant women, common-sense dictates avoiding anyone who has symptoms.

Currently there is no vaccine available for the coronavirus. Practicing hand hygiene, cough etiquette and social distancing is key to preventing the spread of the virus.

2. Maintain Consistent Speech Therapy Schedules to Ensure Client Success

Online speech therapy services allow clients and speech therapists to maintain consistent schedules regardless of school closures, limited clinic hours and service interruptions due to inclement weather or illnesses such as the flu and the coronavirus outbreak. Nontraditional academic models, like homeschooling, utilize the innovative online speech therapy model to support the needs of homeschooled students.

During the winter, weather disruptions are fairly common due to heavy snowfall, strong winds and rainstorms. These interruptions can easily shut down school districts and clinics but rarely impact online speech therapy services.

Even during a flu or coronavirus outbreak, clients and therapists, who have been quarantined without symptoms, are still able to receive and provide services and maintain a sense of normalcy during a potentially stressful time.

With online speech therapy services, like Great Speech, clients can follow their prescribed therapy plan with their recommended frequency and are able to reschedule easily as needs arise. The result is convenience, consistency in care and general improvement over a shorter period of time.

3. Save Valuable Time and Focus on the Priorities

Online speech therapy typically takes place in the comfort of your home or office and at a time that is mutually convenient for both the client and therapist. While you may be preoccupied with a possible coronavirus outbreak in your community or hastily trying to stockpile supplies to keep your family safe, the last thing you have the time for is driving to a speech therapy appointment.

With online speech therapy, access to a sub-specialist in your area no longer means spending valuable time in the car traveling or delayed in traffic. Qualified companies like Great Speech will match you with a highly qualified online speech therapist that will support your communication journey, help you master your speech and language goals and achieve success.

The Great Speech Mission: Stay safe. Stay healthy.
Spread the word NOT the virus.

In preparation for the possible impact of the coronavirus in local communities, the Great Speech team is available to support the growing need for online speech therapy services. Our goal is to offer expedited enrollment and fill in short term gaps in services as needed.

Our dedicated team of speech therapists are adding hours and will continue to try to accommodate those in need during this healthcare crisis. We are dedicated to be proactive in providing services but also protective of the health of our clients and therapists and their families.

Schedule a free consultation today to see how Great Speech can help you, a family member or friend receive the speech therapy services they need.

How Online Speech Therapy Works: A Complete Guide

How Online Speech Therapy Works: A Complete Guide

40 million Americans suffer from communication and speech disorders. Unfortunately, not every city or town has speech therapy readily available to help.

The good news is, through the use of online speech therapy, patients can get the help they need when they need it and from the comfort of their own home.

If you or someone you know is looking for the right form of speech therapy to help, read on for more information on online speech therapy options.

Do I Need Online Speech Therapy?

Before taking a closer look at online speech therapy, it’s important to know whether or not you suffer from a speech impediment and if therapy is the right choice for you.

Typically, a speech impediment can be diagnosed by age 5. However, if the child is more on the shy side or was a late developer, it could go unrecognized.

Unfortunately, the long a speech impediment goes without treatment, the more difficult it is to treat.

Some common symptoms to be on the lookout for include:

  • Repetition of specific sounds
  • Adding on additional words
  • Dragging out specific words or sounds
  • Ticks such as jerking, blinking, or making sudden movements while speaking

It’s important to remember that not all speech impediments can be cured. Some issues caused by strokes, facial or vocal cord paralysis or nodules may not benefit from speech therapy.

The Benefits of Online Speech Therapy

There are a number of benefits that come from choosing online speech therapy over traditional speech therapy. These benefits include:

Being Part of Something Bigger

For many people suffering from a speech impediment, it’s easy to feel alone in the struggle.

Through online speech therapy platforms, you can be part of a larger community of people that know exactly what you’re going through. Many of whom have been through the same thing themselves.

Your Life, Your Schedule

Kids, work schedules, school commitments. It can be difficult to dedicate yourself to the same time every week to attend speech therapy.

Fortunately, with online speech therapy, you can work on your speech impediment in your own time without having to worry about commuting or getting it all in.

You no longer have to worry about traveling for work or relocating and having to find a new therapist in a new town. You have the support you need wherever you go.

You Choose Your Therapist

You’re no longer limited to what’s in your area, or stuck with a therapist that doesn’t seem to be working for you.

With online speech therapy, you have a much larger pool of speech therapists available so you can find one that specializes in your unique need.

This also means you won’t have to skip a beat if your current therapist is unavailable or you’re transitioning to a new one.

Better for Your Wallet

Speech therapy costs can add up, but through online therapy sessions, you’ll save money on gas, fees, and will be able to find a speech therapist that fits your budget.

You can also choose a package size the best suits your needs and spread out sessions over time. Just remember, consistency is key.

Additional Benefits

If you are shy or suffer from a social disorder, online speech therapy can provide you the help you need without pushing you too far out of your comfort zone.

You’ll also be able to find online speech therapy for any age group, so you can work towards ending your speech impediment no matter how long you may have had it.

Giving Your Students Your All

If you’re working as a teacher or educational professional, chances are you are dedicated to giving your students every opportunity and advantage they need to succeed.

Unfortunately, school budgets don’t always allow for a speech therapy program, especially when it’s the minority of the children at school that suffer from a speech impediment.

Online speech therapy offers a budget-friendly tool that can provide your students with the help they need without having to bring on a full-time therapist or teacher.

The computer set up is also more engaging and can better motivate children to focus on their sessions. Most importantly, your students can easily access their sessions and practices no matter where they are.

How it Works

There are a number of ways that online speech therapy can be performed, and the style of practice will often depend on the age level.

Often a headset and microphone are used to practice reading out loud and dictation. The speech therapist joins the patient through live video calls, and may even provide additional work or practices for them to do on their own time.

Similar to your favorite video conference platform, the patient only needs a meeting ID to be able to jump onto their session from the comfort of their computer.

Tools and payment methods will vary from speech therapist to speech therapist, but will often involve paying for sessions in packages that can be scheduled ahead of time according to your availability.

The Right Choice for You

Whether you are a parent looking into online speech therapy for your child or are looking for sessions yourself, this is one option that can make a major impact in your life.

Finding a platform like is essential to working with passionate and dedicated speech therapists from around the world.

Ready to take control of your speech impediment? Try online speech therapy for yourself!

Contact us today for more information.


How The Gardiner Scholarship Helps Florida’s Children with Unique Abilities Receive Online Speech Therapy

Good news for parents and caregivers in Florida! Your child may qualify for the Gardiner Scholarship and can receive online speech therapy from the convenience and comfort of your home. This scholarship, also known as the Personal Learning Scholarship Account (PLSA), is designed to better meet the individual educational and therapeutic needs of Florida children with disabilities, ages 3-22 (or 12th grade).

If your child qualifies for the Gardiner Scholarship, you can purchase approved services or products such as online speech therapy from certified providers such as Great Speech.

Is Your Child Eligible For The Gardiner Scholarship?

To be eligible, the child must meet the following criteria:

  1. Residency: Only available for Florida residents
  2. Age: Applicants must be 3 or 4 years old on or before September 1 of the year in which the student applies for program participation, or eligible to enroll in kindergarten through 12th grade in a Florida public school or 22, whichever comes first.
  3. IEP: Applicant must have an IEP
  4. Diagnosis of Disability: Applicant must have a diagnosis of disability from a physician licensed under chapter 458 or chapter 459 or a Florida state-licensed psychologist
  5. Disabilities: A number of diagnoses are covered including:
  6. School: Applicant must be enrolled in a private school or participating in a home school program

The Gardiner Scholarship is not a set amount but rather is determined by a number of factors including where you live in Florida, level of need and grade, though the average for the current school year is approximately $10,000.

Your Child May Be Eligible For Online Speech Therapy Services

Great Speech is a provider with the Gardiner Scholarship, and we help ensure you are reimbursed for your child’s services. Parents and family’s value online services provided through Great Speech because its:

  • Successful: Great improvement over a shorter period of time
  • Secure: Therapy delivered in a safe, secure manner that meets HIPAA regulations
  • Professional: Endorsed by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
  • Interactive: Digital platform engages all ages
  • Efficient: Eliminate travel time, mobility issues and weather-related disruptions
  • Convenient: Clinical services provided in the comfort of your home or office
  • Accessible: Flexible schedules available including evening and weekends

What is Great Speech?

Great Speech is an effective, innovative, speech therapy solution which utilizes video conferencing technology to provide live, interactive, individualized services online.
Our model provides a proven clinical alternative to traditional speech therapy for children and adults.

How Does Great Speech Work?

With a computer, high-speed internet, web camera and a quiet room, our licensed clinicians provide services using appropriate, interactive therapeutic activities and exercises.

Practice materials and follow-up resources are available for use between sessions. If your child is approved for the Gardiner Scholarship, we are here to help you ensure they receive the best care and improve their communication needs. Please contact us to schedule a complimentary consultation.

Vision Board Promote Communication

Three Benefits of Creating A Vision Board: Tips to Make It A Fun Holiday Tradition

Every December, I purchase a variety of poster boards, collect magazines, head to our local art store for scrapbooking materials and send out a calendar invite to the members of my family.

The agenda: Visualizing our New Year goals together, one board at a time. 

I did not create the concept of the vision board, a powerful tool which Olympic athletes have been using for decades to improve performance. What I did is to take this performance tool and turn it into a family activity to encourage communication, introspection, the sharing of ideas, feelings and goals to my family of boys.

Four boys to be exact, ages 4 to 18. Five if you include my husband. Ever try to discuss feelings with boys? In general, having long deep meaningful conversations can be a rare occurrence.

Here’s how vision boards can be beneficial, entertaining and a great communication tool.

Benefit #1: A Vision Board Promotes Language-Building Skills and Family Conversation.

As a clinical speech and language therapist and founder of Great Speech, an online speech therapy company, I am constantly searching for different activities to promote communication and goal setting for our therapists to initiate with clients as well as ways to promote language skills and conversation in my own family.

After creating a vision board for myself in 2015 and then with my husband in 2016, I confidently decided creating vision boards as part of a New Year’s resolution with the members of my family would be an amazing interactive, goal-setting, language-building activity for us to do together.

It was an epic failure.

The kids, then ages 7, 11 and 14 resisted. My husband and I persisted and created individual boards, chatting and encouraging each other as we worked. Proudly, we displayed our boards in our bedroom closet wall for easy access and constant reflection. 

As time passed, our kids began to comment about our artistic talents, our goals and progress. There was a lot of eye rolling and some teasing, with occasional words of encouragement.

The conversation had started.

Benefit #2: Vision Boards Promote Introspection and Goal Setting.

The following year, we decided to give it another try, tweaking the process to make it more kid-friendly. We increased the magazine selection, decreased the activity time, added a dinner in their favorite restaurant and let the kids pick the art supplies. 

I wouldn’t call it a success but there were three boards (our youngest just colored). 

Last year was a success. Our oldest son created a very detailed, introspective and intentional vision board of whom he wanted to meet and what he wanted to accomplish during the course of the year. His goals were conceptualized in a crystal-clear fashion. He even gave his board a title, 2019 will be the GOAT (Greatest of all Time). As the oldest, he set the tone for the others and in true male fashion, the project turned competitive.

Here is the true sign of success: one of our sons recently asked about the date for this year. Another requested to go with his brothers to the art store to pick out the supplies. And the third created a playlist, without being asked.

It’s official. We have an annual tradition and way of visually sharing our goals as a family unit.

Benefit #3: Visualization is One of the Most Effective Mind Workouts.

A word of caution: Avoid defining success by your first attempt. Personalize the activity to meet the needs of your family. If there is any conversation, positive or negative, give yourself a pat on the back.

Teaching kids, whether in your family, classroom or clinic, to be introspective and intentional is a lifetime skill which grows in importance as we get older.

And definitely don’t give up. Visualization is one of the most effective mind workouts you can share with your kids, students or patients. Keep in mind this type of activity can be adapted to other times of the year, like the beginning of the school year or before starting a new job. 

For tips on how to effectively integrate this activity into your family, practice or classroom, download my eBook. Then share your vision boards with me. 

The 5 Most Successful Tips For Improving ADHD Vocabulary Development

The 5 Most Successful Tips For Improving ADHD Vocabulary Development

Approximately five percent of children in the United States have Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (also known as ADHD).

That might not seem like a lot, but it still works out to more than six million children. More children are being diagnosed with ADHD every year, too.

Are you a parent to a child with ADHD? If so, then you know how challenging it can be to help them develop their vocabulary and perform well in school.

If you want your child to be successful, ADHD vocabulary development ought to be a top priority. Read on for some tips that will help your child to improve their vocabulary.

ADHD and Communication

It’s common for children with ADHD to have trouble communicating. They may struggle with articulation disorders. This is a speech issue that makes it hard for them to produce certain letter sounds.

These children might also have difficulty with speech fluency and vocal quality. It might affect their ability to produce the right words in conversation.

For example, children with ADHD might produce vocal repetitions and stammer more often than other children. They may use filler words like “um” more often than usual as well.

These communication and vocalization issues can lead to frustration and impatience in children with ADHD. They may be hesitant to work on their speech and communication skills because they’re upset or embarrassed.

Tips for Improving Vocabulary Development

If your child has ADHD and is struggling to develop their vocabulary and keep up at school, there are lots of things you can do. The following five tips are great first-steps you can take to help them:

1. Read to and with Them

One of the best things you can do to help your child improve their vocabulary is to read to them and read with them on a regular basis.

Even if your child is able to read on their own, spending time doing it with them provides you with a bonding opportunity and allows you to see how they’re doing.

Listening to your child read allows you to learn more about what words they know and don’t know. You can point out new words and define them for them so they can work on building their vocabulary.

There’s value in having your child listen to you read, too. They can follow along and work on their comprehension skills. It also provides them with an opportunity to learn how to pronounce words that might be problematic for them.

2. Show Interest

It helps to show an interest in what your child is reading and watching, too.

If your child is able to converse with you about the things that they enjoy, they’ll get better and holding conversations and speaking in a way that other people can understand.

Remember that kids are often a lot more willing to engage in vocabulary practice when it involves things they actually like, too.

3. Define New Words

When you come across a word your child doesn’t know, be sure to define it for them and teach them the correct way to pronounce it. Encourage them to get comfortable using new words themselves, too.

It also helps to teach your child how to look up words they don’t know in the dictionary. That way, if they come across a new word while they’re reading or watching a movie, they’ll be able to define it themselves without your help.

Having the skills to look up new words also boosts their confidence and will help them to feel better about using those words in conversation.

4. Translate Figures of Speech

Children with ADHD sometimes have trouble understanding figures of speech. They might take phrases like “grab the bull by the horns” a little too literally.

To avoid this confusion, talk to your child about what different figures of speech mean and help them understand when to use them.

5. Work with a Speech Therapist

Finally, don’t be afraid to hire a speech therapist to work with your child one on one. As a busy parent, there’s only so much you can do on your own.

Having them work with a speech therapist will help them to make progress and expand their vocabulary at a much faster rate than if you were practicing with them by yourself.

Speech therapists also have access to many more tools and are aware of the best techniques to use to help your child build a bigger vocabulary and improve their reading and speaking skills.

Tips for Finding the Right Speech Therapist

There’s a lot you can do on your own to help your child build their vocabulary. Sometimes, though, you need to bring in a professional.

If you want to hire a speech therapist to work with your child, these tips can help you make sure you’re working with the right one:

  • Ask about their specialty and the types of children they typically work with
  • Ask about their experience and how long they’ve been practicing
  • Find out about their educational background and the continuing education courses they’ve taken

It also helps to arrange a consultation with them and your child. During the consultation, pay attention to how they interact with them.

Do they use a positive, encouraging tone? Do they speak to your child in a respectful manner? Does your child seem to like them?

Let the answers to these questions guide the decision-making process for you.

Experience Effective, Successful ADHD Vocabulary Development Today

Helping a child with ADHD to develop their vocabulary can certainly be a challenge. It’s not impossible, though.

If you keep these tips in mind and find the right speech therapist to work with your child, you’ll find that they can make great strides toward improving their vocabulary.

Do you want your child to experience effective, successful ADHD vocabulary development? Do you want them to work on their vocabulary from the comfort of your home? If so, we’re here to help at Great Speech.

Contact us today to learn more about our services or to schedule a free consultation with one of our speech therapists.