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Birgit Suess, owner of Sweet Sunshine Speech Therapy, is a Swiss-American who grew up between the US and Switzerland and speaks English, German and Swiss-German. Because of a worldwide shortage of Speech Therapists, she uses technology to connect special needs students around the world with English speaking Speech Therapists.
 
With almost 20 years of experience as a Speech Therapist and 10 years experience with Teletherapy, she is a pioneer in the Teletherapy world. Her personal specialty is working on social language with high functioning children on the Autism Spectrum. Her passion is finding new and innovative ways to help children with special needs.
 
www.SweetSunshineTherapy.com

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

By Birgit Suess, Virtually ConnectEd

As parents, we want the best for our children. We want them to develop on the same schedule that is hanging up on the doctor’s office wall, we want them to be happy, do well in school and have friends.

All children face some sort of challenge at one point or another. It is not uncommon for children to have difficult with speech and language. If you are concerned about your child’s speech and language development, here are some things to look for.

Articulation:
Articulation is sounds in speech. The most common errors in English are /l/, /s/ and /r/. These sounds should start emerging around ages 4 and 5, although many children struggle with them until age 8. By age 8 a child should be able to say all the sounds in the English language.

Phonological Delay:
Phonological delays often get confused with articulation delays because the child is saying the wrong sounds, but it’s not that the child can’t say the sounds, it’s that the child doesn’t say them in the correct place. For example, these children often say “tup” for “cup” and “tat” for “cat.” The might also say “gog” for “dog.” For a 2 year-old, this is typical and nothing to worry about, but if your 5 year-old is still mixing up sounds, it’s a good time to bring him or her in to see your doctor or speech therapist.

Stuttering:
Also known as fluency, stuttering is a normal occurrence for everyone once in a while. When repeating sounds, words or having blocks (when there are moments of silence when a child is trying to ‘push’ a word out) become common and/or start to include eye blinking or leg slapping, it’s time to bring your child in for professional help.

Receptive Language:
How well can your child understand language? Does your child not respond to your requests out of defiance, or do they perhaps not understand you? Does your child have difficulties following directions or answering questions? Does your child point to objects instead of ask for them? These are all signs that your child may be having difficulty understanding language.

birgit blog June 2018

By Birgit Suess, Sweet Sunshine Speech Therapy

June is here and the children will be out of school before you know it! Mothers everywhere are thinking about how to keep their children occupied for the Summer Holidays. For those mothers with kids who struggle with sensory issues, this can be an even greater challenge.

Going swimming at the lake, hiking, visiting a museum, the park, or going to a movie are some examples of fun summertime activities, but for kids with sensory issues, these simple outings can be extremely stressful. Planning ahead can reduce your child’s stress and make an outing more enjoyable for everyone.

First decide if you should let your child know what to expect in advance. This can greatly help reduce stress for children on the Autism Spectrum but can make things worse for children who worry and overthink about the upcoming event.

If you do feel preparing them for the outing will be helpful, talk to them about it as far in advance as possible, mark it on the calendar and answer their questions. It can be helpful to write up a checklist/timeline of what they can expect to happen.

Be sure to include things they may not like so much, like putting on sunscreen or wearing a hat. But don’t forget to offer them some things they do like, for example, packing their favorite lunch or that you will buy them an ice cream.

Giving children some control over the situation can help make it less stressful. Offering choices within your boundaries can make children feel better about an uncomfortable sensory experience. For example, you can offer a choice of sunscreens, cream or spray, or a choice of when to put the sunscreen on, before we leave the house, or when we get to the lake.