Monthly Archives: October 2014

Speech Therapist mentor

Blog Written By: Maricor Pagsanjan

Disabilities are not a death sentence unless the person makes them their death sentence. I have severe Cerebral Palsy but I live a normal young person’s life. I had moved from home at eighteen, went to college and got a job doing what I am passionate about. Families who are just starting out on the disability path I want you to be patient with the upcoming challenges you will face and just laugh at them.

My life is so rich because I have found my calling to work with children with disabilities who are not quite seeing themselves as being independent communicators yet. I love when I have finally broken through to them and I can now get them to talk about their future. I love how the tables turn all of a sudden and they are now directing our sessions.

A child who started off not talking is now talking with me about leaving home one day. Do you know how cool that feeling is, it’s a mentor’s natural high. A life with multiple severe physical disabilities can be as meaningful as anyone without disabilities, but the person has to hear yes your life is valuable from the beginning.

Parents here is this months advice, from the mentor girl, enjoy your children. Challenge your children as you would if the doctors had not said the word disability. You will be amazed at what they will teach you. Young disabled people are no different from anyone else, they are just going through life in a wheelchair.

Speech Therapy in Pre-School

In honor of October being AAC awareness month, I have decided to write this blog on the importance of getting a toddler with severe speech and physical disabilities a communication device. The earlier I can get a child to communicate efficiently, the better their chances are to catch up to their able bodied peers. My prior experience with a seven year old showed signs of intelligence, however she would not talk to people, and I was called in to discern the problem. Not only did I discern the problem, but was also able to figure out she wanted to engage with those close to her age and be held while using her flip book.
In my several years of working with children who have complex physical and speech disabilities, I have learned to customize my sessions to each child. A mentor has to realize each individual is different. For example, I had three male high school students with the same severe speech disabilities, but were completely opposite of one another. I had to develop three different plans tailored to their interests. I guarantee parents, nine times out of ten your child will have the desire to communicate, and it’s a matter of their speech therapist finding the right fit with a communication device. When I had been born with severe Cerebral Palsy, my parents were new to this country and were not aware of what services to ask for. A speech therapist actually had to tell them, I had normal intellectual abilities and my form of Cerebral Palsy is only affecting my motor skills and speech.
A typical child during development has the ability to verbalize eighteen to twenty-two words when they are a year and a half; so a disabled child starting at three with a device is already slightly behind their peers. A parent who fights for their child from the start is not only giving the child an early start towards a normal life, but also showing the child they have value in this society. I had the great fortune in that my mother had the sense to surround me with the best professionals because she knew I had the capability to make something out of my life. Your child can have a life independently from you, but they need a voice to accomplish the goals they have set for themselves.
You are going to hear a few “no’s” like I had because it is easier to put a child in a day class and leave them there until the age of 22. If you can see that he or she can do more, as a parent you have the right to ask for more services to see your child become an active percipient in society. The child has their individualize education plan for this very reason. I strongly encourage you to use their IEP to obtain everything they need as it is your legal right to give your child every opportunity to succeed in their life. Until next time, enjoy your children and remember “anything is possible”.

Communicating is a vital: How can speech therapist help children?

October 8, 2014

New parents of children with multiple disabilities and with medical issues related to the particular disabilities, you would want to get your child to communicate right away and an early age. The child needs a voice to articulate what they are feeling to be able to be an active member of the medical team. The child is the only team member, who truly knows what is going on in their body, and this is why I hate when adults exclude the child when discussing how to help obtain a care plan for their child.

Communication for a child with complex medical and requiring complex care needs is vital to their well being. I have been in constant back pain since I was fourteen years old, and I had actually chosen to leave our family doctor because he had not treated me as a normal functioning human being. This doctor actually asked my mother a really personal question and because she had not known the answer and she had given him the wrong information.

Communication is valuable to a severely disabled child, and I have seen too many of my clients passing away from a cold that developed into pneumonia because their communication skills were inadequate to tell us what was wrong with them. I love what I do for a living because I get to help children develop their communication skills, and I would feel better if a child would use a simple flip communication book to communicate because at least they have a system to work with.

As I have been emphasizing, a child without accurate communication skills has no future and it’s actually dangerous. This is the reason why I have dedicated my life to helping children to become more comfortable with communicating with their communication devices. I believe that even the most severely disabled individual is able to be a part of the decision making of their care, if they have the right communication device to engage with people with. Until next time! Enjoy your children and remember “Anything is possible”.

Why do children need Speech Therapy?

Parents who are just learning of what special education has to offer, I would strongly advise you to ask for a speech therapist who believes in natural articulation development, and also has a wealth of knowledge on communication devices. It’s best not to put your child’s potential learning abilities in a box, think outside of traditional teaching and give a plethora of options to enhance their communication skills.

As I along with my colleagues have discovered, speech therapy with a mentor works well and produces better results. Therefore, Speech therapist students, here is my advice to you, get a seasoned AAC user to work with.

Speech therapist are extremely important for children with verbal disabilities. An adequate communication device is the first step towards giving the child a “normal” life. If a parent has been informed by a psychologist who says ‘yes your child has normal intellectual abilities but he/she needs someway to communicate’, take the advice immediately.
If the IEP team was a sandwich the speech therapist would be the meat that everything revolves around, because a child without language is a child with a limited future. I had met my first speech-language pathologist when I was seven and I can honestly say that I started to rapidly develop when I had gain the ability to communicate.

Communicating does not have to be through the mouth, communication can take on different forms and the more important thing is the child is able to communicate with the world. Speech-language pathologists are there to get the child to be an active participant in society, with a affective voice to achieve that goal. Speech therapist here is my advice to you, if you are working with a toddler program, make the device assimilate to a toddlers tone. I like when the communication devices grow with the child as it is more natural. The child will learn how to make the device essentially a part of his or her body.

I am going to end this blog by saying the first step to a child’s success is to get them to communicate. Communication opens doors to endless possibilities. For example look at Steven Hawking, we would never know how brilliant he is without a talker. A voice in any form is the key to your child’s world. Multiple disabilities are not depressing, but a rather fun puzzle to solve. Until next time I encourage parents to work with speech-language pathologist to find your child’s voice, and I also advise new speech-language pathologists to find what is current in the AAC world.