Monthly Archives: December 2014

Speech Pathology: Communication to Live Life

Communication to Live Life

Communication is vital to live life. Communication deters prolonging illness because we have the ability to obtain help, the medication and assistance we need in a timely matter. My back and ribs are sore at the moment and if I had no voice, my chiropractor would have to explore my entire skeleton before she would know where it hurts and how to help. I go for weekly adjustments and spend ten minutes talking with the massage therapist, giving her the knowledge of what to look for and focus on.
Until yesterday I did not know my rib cage was out of alignment. I only knew that I did not feel good and that I was in a great amount of pain. Along these same lines, I am currently in a battle with my supported living service about a solution to the problems of my pain due to staff doing incorrect transfers. The fact that I have the ability to articulate myself well is allowing me to exchange ideas and possible solutions to the issue. This is not fun but if your severely disabled child has the power to to communicate accurately, they will truly have the power of advocating for themselves in adulthood.
Communication should be one of the first skills that an IEP team should tackle in preschool because once communication is in place, the other big pieces of the IEP will fall together as the child can express themselves. A student with a voice can tell people their thoughts and their reasoning for wanting or not wanting something. Practicing this skill all through school will give them the practice to do this effortlessly when they are ready to live on their own.
Teach your child that if they know they are right about something, they have every right to stand up for themselves and voice it. I am capable to reason with my supported living agency and explain or express concerns of an idea they have came up with to solve my problems. Communication is truly your disabled child’s access to independence and a way of protecting themselves from harm. Talkers are very important to a lock in individual. They will be able to work with people and come up with a more appropriate care plans which work best for them. Most of my clients have ‘normal’ intellectual abilities which allows me to work with them on communication skills, enabling them to stand up for themselves and take care of their needs on their own.
Cerebral Palsy has taken my body and natural speech but my mind was left intact which is all one needs to be independent and successful in this day of age. A quadriplegic with an ability to reason and intelligently articulate themselves will be able to create a life for themselves and live away from home, while still being healthy and safe. If my mother had left me in front of the TV for the sake of being “easier”, I would be a vegetable today instead of doing a job I love. Pressure your school district to give your child speech therapy at the age of three and as he or she is learning how to communicate also insist on them receiving a proper education and appropriate support for them to succeed.
Communicating with a device is not just for school as some people think but rather a tool for living life and a productive one, at that. Talkers are a part of a disabled individual’s body. I consider mine to be part of me because 90 percent of what I do is communicating with my students or writing progress reports on a child. Children that just happen to be born with unconventional bodies do not have to be at the mercy of inappropriate care if they are provided a voice at a early age. Fight for them now so later on they will have the ability to fight for what they need, independent of your assistance.

Until Next Time, Enjoy Your Children

Speech Language: Language is Power

When we think of intellectual and intelligent life, language is in the core of the definition. To have intellectual is to have the faculty of reasoning and understanding objectively (especially with regard to abstract or academic matters). To be intelligent is to have the ability to acquire and apply knowledge. Language, intelligence and intellect shape today’s civilization, so why would we deny a severely physically disabled child with cognitive capacities speech?
I have a belief that if a child is able to gain the appropriate adaptive equipment, he or she can have a impact in the world. A disabled child is not any different, as most of the time they have the ability to achieve the same academic goals as their able body peers. My peers and I all graduated with honors from college, therefore can you imagine what would have been missed if we had not gotten our communication devices at an early age?

A communication device gives the world a chance to see the person inside the unconventional body. I hate when a parent says their child can’t speak when the child is right there communicating with their device. This is extremely disrespectful to the person who is clearly communicating with their talker. My parents have slipped up a few times by starting to say this, but catch themselves and tell people I communicate with a device.

Communication does not have to be one way, it comes in all forms. So start working with your child early and when the right device comes along you will see the child blossom and start to thrive. Children are incredibly resilient and will figure out a way to tell people what they need quickly. Communication is power and everyone deserves to have access to that power. I have lived thirty-four years with severe disabilities but I have made a life for myself by being able to communicate. Give your child the opportunity to create a life for themselves by providing them a voice.

Until next time, Enjoy your children!

Speech Therapy: Communication and a Productive Life

Communication and a Productive Life

“The only thing about a man, that is man, is his mind. Everything else you can find in a pig or a horse.” said motivational speaker Earl Nightingale (also known as the Dean of motivational speaking in the early 1950’s). This quote gives the perfect illustration of how distinguished and powerful mans mind is. What separates us as human beings from animals is our ability to think critically, analyze and use our mind to its fullest capacity (a great example to reference is the english theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author and Director of Research at the Centre of Theoretical Cosmology, Stephen Hawking).
A disabled child without vocal muscles is not any different, their brain is developing language and sound at the same rate of their peers (possibly even faster); they may just lack the motor skills to verbalize their thoughts.
As soon as your child is three start speech therapy; and be open minded for communication because expressing one self comes in a range of forms. The mind is flexible and unique; so much so that if a body part is not functioning at its full potential, another limb will automatically take over to compensate for the feeble body part. If you take a child outside who doesn’t have the use of four limbs, the child is going to play with their head because they have full control of that part. I hate when a parent says “my child is so helpless” because that is not true. Yes they have disabilities, and yes they might have to eat through a g-tube, but they have the ability to communicate and therefore make a difference in the world. I know a teenage athlete with this condition, and she is raising funds for disabled extreme sports.
I am starting a support group for teenagers with severe physical and speech disabilities because they deserve a space to be able to express themselves as teenagers. My voice enables me to do my work, in which I love. Give your child a voice and the sky is the limit for what they can accomplish.

Until next time, enjoy your children.

Disabilities Without Limits

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.