Capture Shoot for the moom

Four Great Speech Tips to Help You Succeed in Business and Real Life

 

Common perception is speech therapy is for kids.

While many of our Great Speech clients are 12 years old and under, there is a growing trend of young and older adults who are looking to correct speech issues or learn new ways of communicating to facilitate success in the business world.

Some had speech therapy as children and were not successful. Others did not have access to the right therapist or any services due to geographical or financial constraints and are now grappling with the problems as an adult.

I currently have a client who is in the process of looking for a new job and is having difficulty being hired due to articulation issues.

The good news is: It’s never too late to remediate.

Sometimes we are not ready as children to put in the time and effort it takes to correct a speech-related issue. As adults, the added maturity can be a huge advantage.

Capture Public speaking

I recently read an article by Jon Westenberg who shared his personal saga of overcoming major speech issues and through ongoing speech therapy, determination and a strong, now speaks before large audiences.

His four tips are worth sharing:

  1. “The first thing people try and do is look for a way around those limits. A way around, instead of a way through.
  2. The way to break those limits is to learn new skills, and push yourself to try, fail and uncover data.
  3. The way to break those limits is to spend years focused on them.”
  4. If you do not break those limits, I’ve got news for you. You’re not going to make it.”

Learning new skills is scary for all of us. Even as a seasoned speech therapist, I hesitate to commit to live TV segments. I recently was asked to share insights on toys which promote language on a live TV show. “There would be no retakes and do overs,” they explained.

My first reaction was no.

Then I did it. It was an amazing feeling. And I would do it again.

It is in our best interests to go outside of our comfort zones, take risks, break the limits and reach for the moon.

Even if we fall short, we will land among the stars, with support from clinicians trained to remediate speech problems.

And while being a star may be a large and overwhelming task, it is no small accomplishment.

Ready to see how online speech therapy can help you succeed in business?

 

 

Voice image 2

Changing Voices: Will Yours Change in 2017?

The inaugural parade has had the same voice since Eisenhower.

This year it’s changing.

Inauguration Day will sound different this year without Charlie Brotman behind the microphone at America’s biggest political extravaganza. The octogenarian has been the official announcer at every inauguration since President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s second term in 1956. That is more than 60 years.

This inauguration, Steve Ray, a D.C.-based freelance announcer and audio engineer, will take the microphone.

A new voice at the inauguration may signify President-Elect Trump’s voice of change.

Or his voice of reason. Or his way of finding his voice in the time honored traditions of the inauguration. Time will tell.

There are so many definitions of the word voice, depending on whether you use it as a noun, verb or as a grammatical term (active vs. passive voice).

But putting aside the part of speech, your voice defines you. It’s your signature. With a quick hello, you can convey emotion, state of mind, gender and place of origin.

And your voice is something which can be modified. Our voice naturally changes as we go through puberty. But speech and language therapists can change the sound, pitch and tonal quality of your voice. This is particularly important for the transgender population who need to create a new voice to match their new gender identity. But it can be equally important for professional reasons as well as medical ones.

The voice of Great Speech has not changed since our inception. We are firm believers in the power of speech therapy to unlock possibilities.

We also stand firmly in support of online speech therapy as an effective alternative to the traditional mode.

And while we may have recently updated our practice in 2017 to become HSA/FSA approved providers, our focus this year is to remind everyone of the benefits of TeleSpeech:

  • It’s convenient, interactive and accessible worldwide.
  • We treat a broad spectrum of disorders
  • Can provide services in multiple languages to clients ages five to 85.

And we can modify your voice without breaking from tradition.

Can we count on your to help spread our message?

 

image-for-toy-blog-_1

Three Tips for Buying Holiday Toys: When More is NOT Merrier

As we gobble down the last bite of our Thanksgiving pumpkin pie, it officially becomes gift buying season.

And toys are always on everyone’s gift list.

As the mom of four boys, I firmly believe that when it comes to toys, more is not merrier. And in my role as speech pathologist, here is my holiday motto:  Let’s move away from the techy toys, stop hunting for the coolest and newest playthings and instead focus on gifts which promote creativity, appropriate social skills and self-expression…skills which last a lifetime

And it is easier than you think.

This refocusing is particularly important for children with speech and language issues where a toy can become a resource, increasing their chances for success. The right toy can teach a child essential social skills such as patience, the importance of waiting for your turn and how to be a successful teammate as well as vocabulary, reading and memory skills. And with so many games now available in Spanish and other languages, the playing field is leveled for everyone.

images-blog-on-toys

Here are some of my favorites:

  • Traditional toys like blocks, dolls, cars and trains may look old fashioned by are excellent communication skill builders. Because they do not speak, you have too! And the more you talk, sing or show your creative side, the greater the chances your kids will too.
  • Board and card games are the ultimate social engager. In addition to building a culture of family fun, board games are timeless. My favorites include Twister, a golden oldie which is great for teaching direction as well as body and spatial awareness, Apples to Apples, the ultimate game to teach vocabulary and word usage and Zingo, a fast-paced variation of bingo, which improves vocabulary and reading skills, matching, and memory. Hedbandz is also a winning and engaging way to master critical thinking.
  • Puzzles provide a superb opportunity to promote spatial intelligence as well as problem solving skills. The best part is your child can play solo or you can make it interactive by adding other players.

And if you do break down and are lucky enough to find this year’s blockbuster must-have toy, Hatchimals, don’t sweat it. In addition to increasing your child’s coolness factor, Hatchimals reinforces nurturing skills and the importance of delayed gratification

Can you receive too many toys?

An overabundance of gifts presents lots of unique opportunities. There is the option of donating or you can categorize and rotate them. Older children can be involved in the process, a perfect opportunity to teach the art of making choices, sequencing and delayed gratification. Rotating toys allows for repetition, an effective strategy for children with speech and language issues. It also changes the perception of a toy from being “old” to “new” every time you bring it out.

And perception is reality.

 

 

 

boy playing with Rubiks cube

Eight Great Reasons to Buy a Rubik’s Cube: Why Speech Therapists Are Using the Cube in Therapy Sessions

Some toys have true staying power. The Rubik’s cube has topped the list of best-selling toys of all times since its creation in 1974.

It’s amazing. Everywhere I go these days I see kids and adults playing with these 3-D combination puzzles, in all its various formats, from the traditional, to the two square and flat cube.

kids playing Rubiks image

So what contributes to its success and why buy one?

Reason #1: It’s fun and dynamic. You can figure it out on your own or you can grab a lifeline by watching a YouTube how-to video.  It merges the old philosophy of figuring it out for yourself with our new technological capacity to google for answers,

Reason #2: It’s the perfect social icebreaker. Take a cube to the park and within minutes you   are surrounded by others who either have cubes of their own or are willing share solutions.

Reason #3: As a speech therapist, I have found that this portable game has extensive cognitive and problem solving capabilities. It helps promote spatial relationships, can be used to teach patterns and even improves eye-hand coordination for children and grownups.

Other benefits include:

Reason #4: Increases your concentration and focus

Reason #5: Promotes development of a wider perception to the process of problem solving

Reason #6: Improves short term memory

Reason #7: Teaches life lessons including patience, perseverance and pride

Reason #8: Here is my favorite advantage. Completing the puzzle promotes optimism because “most day-to-day personal problems are easier to solve than a Rubik’s Cube.”

Suddenly $12.99 seems to be a worthwhile investment. Don’t you think?

 

Shopping list

Gr8 Lessons Learned from the Supermarket

Grocery shopping- a thankless job that appears on our to-do list weekly.

But what if we could take this task and turn it into an activity that benefits our children?

Suddenly, a mundane task becomes altruistic, creative and something beneficial we do for the sake of our children. So with list in hand and kids in tow, you pull up to the grocery store. Depending on the age of your children, assign them each a number of items to locate, either verbally or by having them create their own list. Bravo! You have introduced the concept of sequencing or creating an ordered list.

Speech therapy as a way to improve language development

Ask them to estimate the cost of each item, a great math (and reality) lesson and then let them shop, either on their own or by your side. Have them read the aisle signs and let them figure out in which aisles their items are located. Then have them cross off the item on the list once it is in the basket. Teach them to group items as they unload them from the cart to the conveyer belt at checkout for easier unpacking at home, a Gr8 organizing skill. Unloading and unpacking at home reinforces that skill, with like items grouped together in the pantry and refrigerator.

Whew, sounds exhausting but look at the skills you have reinforced or introduced…sequencing, reading, estimating and organizing, all for the price of your shopping list!

Sure it is way faster for you to shop on your own. But after the first few times, as your children familiarize themselves with the supermarket, shopping can become a pleasure (and a shared task!)

gr8speech-87a

The Future of Speech Therapy: Will Telepractice Play a Major Role?

telepractice speech therapy

I recently gave a seminar for speech therapy graduate students at Nova Southeastern University….online.

An online class is so consistent with the telepractice model I was promoting to the students.

Ironically, I live ten minutes from the university, while the professor was in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and the students were scattered across the US. This session was a true reinforcement of the benefits of online sessions, whether for teaching a class or providing therapy. It is always a joy to share my journey from traditional speech therapy to telepractice and discuss with the students some of the challenges involved including licensing and regulations, testing and assessments and of course, changing public perception.

For most, it was their first exposure to the model of telepractice. I was amazed at their enthusiastic grasp of this emerging field. Though they are millennials….why shouldn’t they embrace it?

The questions they asked were so insightful:

  • What clients benefit from this model?
  • How do you handle behavior issues that arise during the sessions?
  • What are the best ways to keep clients engaged?

The session ended, all too quickly, with a discussion of what qualities make for a Gr8 therapist?

Whether using traditional therapy or providing speech therapy services online, the qualifications

are generally the same: professional, responsible, innovative, creative, patient and passionate to

help people improve their communication skills and lives.

What qualifications would you add to our list?

new-year-586148_1920

Gr8 Expectations for 2015

My 2015 New Year’s resolution is…to create a mission statement instead of a New Year’s resolution. We’ll call it the Gr8 Expectations!

As I look back over the past year, I am energized by the evolution of Great Speech. In 2013, the focus was on our website; in 2014, we tackled social media, created brand awareness online, recruited talented and passionate therapists, and made Gr8 strides in changing public perception of the effectiveness of TeleSpeech.

But most importantly, I have discovered that my passion is not just entrepreneurial but altruistic. Great Speech offers me the opportunity to fulfill the mission of bringing therapeutic services to a population who did not have access to receive care. Geographical proximity, transportation and weather are no longer obstacles. I am energized by our team of therapists who are providing services across the US and internationally to clients in Aruba, Jamaica, Slovakia, Turkey; places where speech therapy was not readily available.

So here is my 2015 mission statement:

My Gr8 Expectations are to grow my client base and increase the size and skill sets of the Great Speech Team to ensure a perfect fit each time. Even more importantly, while in continual attendance at conferences, I plan to participate as a presenter, not as a participant, so I may share my belief that speech therapy has the power to unlock possibilities, help people realize their potential and promote communication. By offering workshops to parents, teachers and other healthcare professionals, I know I will be able to increase the shelf-life of my 2015 Mission Statement.

My mission is in place. Will you join me? Your commitment would “speak volumes.”

smartphone-2212963_1920

To Call or Not To Call

To Call or Not To Call? That is the Question!

Sometimes I think children should be born with playbook. Not that the experience of having older children does not count in child rearing. It’s just that each child is different and as a result our response to each one needs to be carefully tailored to match individual personalities.

As a trained speech and language pathologist, I am often approached by parents who are baffled by a child’s speech pattern. After all, their older child was vigorously verbalizing at the age of 12 months and their second is still grunting!

My first question is always, “Does your child need to speak?” After all, in our endless eagerness to express our love, we often take away a child’s need to speak. Older siblings and doting grandparents are often part of the cycle. If a child points to an object and everyone jumps to retrieve it, your child may be learning that language is optional and pointing is the key to communication. Before you pick up the phone and make an appointment with the speech therapist, here are a few routines to implement to encourage verbalization:

  1. Create a need. By giving a child the wrong item or asking questions and waiting for an answer, you are promoting opportunities for speech and conversation.
  2. Verbalize everything around you and use specific words. Avoid using this, that, here or there and there.
  3. Praise EVERY attempt to speak.
  4. Keep track of progress by creating a log. Take a piece of paper write the date and list ALL the words that your child uses. You can count consistent sounds they use for specific items as ‘words’. Keep the log in easy reach so you can add words each week.

If the list does not grow, it may be time to schedule a speech screening. Other indicators include a lack of connection to the environment, inability to follow simple directions like, “Come here please, “and frustration communicating. If all things are in order, then enjoy the silence….chattering cannot be far behind!

new-year-690800_1920

Speaking Volumes

With the New Year, comes new resolutions.

Of course, I have the usual list of personal ones like creating more me time and engaging in more physically-fit activities like rollerblading with my family. But equally important this year are my professional goals. While launching the Great Speech website was a 2013 milestone, spreading the word is my 2014 focus.

My primary goal is to grow the company, not just in terms of clients, but also by adding Gr8 therapists to the team, with expertise in areas like stuttering and autism as well as voice therapy for Parkinson patients. Talent is not my only criteria. Gr8 therapists need to be joyful, professional, creative and passionate about changing peoples lives.

A challenging set of criteria? Probably no bigger than the challenge of changing public perception about the effectiveness of TeleSpeech. That too is my goal and I’m ready to take it on! And while I’ve taken Great Speech into the social media arena with Facebook and LinkedIn, my 2014 addition is my blog, Speaking Volumes. It’s another Gr8 vehicle for us to provide information and initiate a meaningful dialogue! Here’s to new business, new talent, new perceptions and new conversations.

Happy 2014!