Monthly Archives: November 2014

Speech Therapy: A Voice Can Save A life.

A Voice Can Save A Life

Over the past few months, I have not been feeling well and I realized that my being able to communicate has allowed me to work with medical professionals. My job has recently lost two children and I know if they had the ability to tell people they were not feeling well that we might still have them around. Communication is a vital role in every child’s life and it is literally a matter of life or death. If a child is able to communicate with their caretakers, they are able to tell them what is wrong and what they are feeling so as to figure out what can be done. A child usually is able to determine if something does not feel right in their body, so with a communication device they have the power to take the initiative of receiving medical attention. Efficient communication is the vital skill in which everyone with disabilities needs to have access to. Without this ability, we are blindly taking care of them.

Children have the gift of innocence and that allows them to be able to tell people exactly how they are feeling without the need to hold back. A child with access to communication can bypass the guessing game and inform their caregivers of their needs, which can be a real life saver. As I have mentioned, I have not been feeling well and I am fortunate enough to be able to communicate with doctors and other medical team members so they know what to research and can find out what is going on with me. Children with severe physical and speech disabilities understand their bodies but they can’t voice what is wrong with them.

My goal in life is to give each child that I mentor a voice so they will gain the ability to take control of their life. As I have stated in the past, my voice is all I have as I am severely physically disabled and without my voice, I would be ‘locked in’. I can remember being in the hospital for a week with back problems and I had to communicate with eye gazes. This had to be the scariest thing of my life as I am use to telling people exactly what I need when I need it. Fortunately, the doctors all knew I had normal intelligence so we did tons of “yes or no questions” to get what I needed. I had been able be in the driver’s seat of my care and your child can be too.

As someone with limited movement and a lot of back problems, I am going to insist upon the child receiving a communication device as early as possible. I have mentored youth with all sort of physical limitations and there are many communication devices to fit everyone’s needs. Give your child the chance to be a part of their medical care as it might be the life saver they need in the future.

Until next time, Enjoy your children!

Speech Therapy Games Ideas

Blog Written by: Maricor Pagsanjan

In honor of the holidays, I am going to discuss the importance of games for your severely disabled child. Remember they are still children and playing is an essential part of their childhood. When I was little, I had all the rag dolls you can imagine from my mother and my speech-pathologist. I loved to play house with my younger sister; and along with my love for books, my mom had to find automated adaptive toys with switches for me to play with.

A disabled toddler is typically still growing, so the more they are talked to and played with the faster the brain can potentially develop. As a toddler my parents were confused because with the limited mobility and cognitive abilities I did have, I reacted normally to my world, but the doctor failed to inform them I had Cerebral Palsy. While he had written in the notes, I had a disability, he did not want to denounce malpractice during birth, and took advantage of my parents being new immigrants telling them I would be fine. However, I believe them not knowing of my disability was a blessing in disguise because they treated me like a normal baby and continue to treat me normal through my life. Moreover, a year later a pediatrician informed them I had Cerebral Palsy. Parents starting out on the disability path, it is going to be really beneficial for your child if you can treat them as normal as possible.

A child who does not have a voice or the use of their limbs will still want to write to Santa Claus, so ask them what they want for Christmas with a lot of yes and no questions. I had a talker when I was seven so like any other little girl I told my mom what to write to Santa. If you can do this with your child they will realize that they are not any different from anyone else. Punish them when they are acting out as you would any other child because this teaches them you have expectations from them. The child with a different body and a different way of communicating still needs all the same things an able body child would.

Christmas was always special because like any little girl, I always received dolls from Santa. Halloween I always went trick-or-treating. Parents with severely disabled children treat them as children first and let the adaptations be a natural part of life for you. The children with disabilities will need their devices programmed to allow them to play with able body peers. Playing is a good and age appropriate activity for the child to practice communicating with the talker.

Children have a natural desire to play with peers, and I encourage you to create play dates with both disabled and able bodied peers. When we are able to create safe and playful environments for all children, it encourages socialization, which is a good chance for both disabled and able bodied children to interact with each other. This is going to eliminate standard stigma about disabilities, even before the children can begin to develop stigma about disabilities for themselves.

Helpful to their education, it is healthy for a disabled child to form a positive self-image, as they will be more likely to make school an achievable goal. I strongly believe that if a child has a positive self-image, they will be more likely grow into confident, secure, goals oriented adults. Communication starts at home with parents engaging the child, even though they may not be able to communicate verbally, they are still listening and understanding everything around them. The first five years of life is when the brain is maturing rapidly. During this progressive period, it is vital to talk with a child who may not have normal development to counteract a damaged cerebral cortex. A child who plays through out their childhood will have ample opportunities for communication, which will feel rather normal then forced, as it can feel in speech therapy. I like to create a playful environment in my mentoring sessions because I am able to teach them life skills more effectively when the child is engaged in a playful activity. Enjoy the upcoming holidays and use play as a form of communication. Until next time, enjoy your children.