What Is Speech Therapy?

By Barbara Smith

If your child has a speech disability that includes trouble pronouncing words, speech therapy may help improve language development, communication, and pragmatic language skills.

Speech therapy is an intervention service that focuses on improving a child’s speech and abilities to understand and express language, including nonverbal language. Speech therapists, or speech and language pathologists (SLPs), are the professionals who provide these services. Speech therapy includes two components: 1) coordinating the mouth to produce sounds to form words and sentences (to address articulation, fluency, and voice volume regulation); and 2) understanding and expressing language (to address the use of language through written, pictorial, body, and sign forms, and the use of language through alternative communication systems such as social media, computers, and iPads). In addition, the role of SLPs in treating swallowing disorders has broadened to include all aspects of feeding.

Read more on Parents.com >>

Iron Chef, Dysphagia Style

By Melanie Potock

Picadillo ground beef from the Dining With Dysphagia cookbook.

What do a coconut-milk-infused shake, spicy risotto, and macaroni and cheese have in common? They are just a few examples of the winning recipes from a cooking competition created for people who have difficulty swallowing. Sampled by professional and celebrity chefs in New York City, these culinary creations were developed by students taking Interdisciplinary Care-Based Management of Dysphagia.

Read more on the ASHA LEADER BLOG >>

7 Surprising Baby Safety Mistakes You Might (Still) Be Making

By Tamekia Reece

September is National Baby Safety Month. Check out these surprising “don’ts” that many parents still do.

Picky Eating Prevention Plan

With Nancy Ripton, co-author of Melanie’s baby book, Baby Self-Feeding

Many times parents don’t worry about picky eaters until it’s too late. Once you already have a picky eater, it’s much more difficult to change the way your child looks at food. The good news for parents who haven’t yet started solids is that you can do a whole lot to prevent picky eating by the way you introduce first foods. 

Read more on Just the Facts Baby >>

How Your Picky Eater Changes the Dating Dynamic and What to Do About It

By Melanie Potock

You’ve finally made the step to introduce your child to that special someone you’ve been dating. Problem is, most dates involve at least a snack, maybe lunch, and God forbid a fancy dinner. If your child is a picky eater, the dinner options narrow down to anything with a kid’s menu, but if the chicken nugget isn’t cooked just so, or the French fries are crinkle-cut and not skinny, or the macaroni and cheese is beige and not made with the preferred orange powdered cheese… all bets are off.  The dating dynamic changes once your child’s idiosyncrasies with food are revealed.

Read more on the Wellness Blog >>

5 Tips to Make the Kitchen Connection for Kids with Autism

By Melanie Potock

As a speech-language pathologist specializing in pediatric feeding treatment, I work mostly with kids, food and creating happier mealtimes for families. I often find the kitchen is the heart of the home, where parents are most relaxed and where we can build relationships with kids with autism, especially if they are hesitant eaters.

To help SLPs and parents embark on their food adventure, I offer five tips to make the kitchen connection for kids with autism.

Read More on The ASHA Leader Blog >>

 

The Cooking Connection

By Melanie Potock

I once had a client with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), age 10, who had a history of picky eating and feeding difficulties. He also had an affinity for movie production logos, from the iconic roaring lion that represents MGM to the letters and swing-arm white desk lamp that form the Pixar logo. Based on my experience with tackling such feeding difficulties, I sought to merge his interest in logos with exploring new foods.

Read More on The ASHA Leader Blog >>

Understanding Autism: Restaurant Meltdowns

By Melanie Potock

I sat in a popular restaurant chain and watched an 8 year old boy have a major meltdown at his table. His mother cringed as lunch time patrons stared. An irritated couple at a nearby booth got up and moved, but only after glaring at the mother. I’ll be honest, the child was disrupting my lunch too, but one thing I suspected was that this child had autism. He appeared to be just like any other child, but the intensity of his outburst was out of proportion to the issue he was yelling about: The waiter had served him waffle fries and he had expected “skinny fries” just like the french fries served at home.

Read More on The ASHA Leader Blog >>