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Debbie's Blog

DIY Fine Motor Activity for Finger Isolation

Finger isolation is the ability to move certain fingers independently from the rest of your fingers.  It's an important skill in a variety of everyday activities, such as pointing, activating toys, pressing the button in the elevator, dialing a phone, writing with an efficient grasp, etc.  And also for more complex tasks such as typing or [...]

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How to Develop a Rotary Chewing Pattern

I recently completed a Clinical Swallow Evaluation and today a Videofluoroscopic Swallow Study of a 10 yr old boy's swallow (both revealed a safe swallow that is within normal limits) and observed that his is not an age-appropriate chew pattern.  He engages in a Nonstereotypic Vertical Movement during mastication.  As a result, oral prep phase [...]

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DIY Noodle Snake & Fun Activities for Bilateral Coordination

Simply put, bilateral coordination is the ability to use both sides of your body together in an organized, coordinated manner.  Most children pick up this skill naturally, but sometimes there can be a disconnect.  Why is this a problem?  Most of what we do on a daily basis involves bilateral coordination: tying shoelaces, typing, opening [...]

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You Know Your Mom Is an SLP When...

.  You know your mom is an SLP when:. •  You can diagnose a lateral lisp within 2 seconds flat. •  Your mom uses sign language to talk to you from across the room. •  You are the tester / guinea pig for any new games, exercises, etc. •  Any sharp turns in your mom's car = therapy materials start [...]

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Visualizing /sh/ as a Continuant in Speech Therapy

. .  This young man has conquered /ch/ both alone and in sentences. Since he can say /ch/, /sh/ is a breeze from here. So I had him say /ch/ in isolation, and then just prolong it. I told him to "hang on to the ch." For a visual and tactile activity to go with this, I had [...]

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Favorite Spoons for Feeding Therapy

As a feeding therapist, I've seen my fair share of spoons.  Below are the ones that I've found most useful over the years.   Every spoon below is not only made in the USA, but also all designed by a speech and/or occupational therapist with specific feeding therapy goals in mind: . . 1.  Maroon Spoons These are my basic, go-to, [...]

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How to "Turn Your Voice on" - Teaching the Difference between Voiced & Unvoiced Phonemes

Speech therapists have a variety of classifications / categories for speech sounds.  One such category is voiced versus unvoiced phonemes.  Voiced phonemes are sounds made when the vocal folds vibrate.  Unvoiced phonemes are sounds that do not require the vocal folds to vibrate.   . As an example, say "sss" and then "zzz," listen and feel the difference. [...]

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What to Do When Kids Are Afraid of Cups/Straws

I have a 2 and a half year old boy.  He stopped eating and drinking just before he turned 2. He has an NG tube through his nose for 6 months so far. He started eating solid foods with great appetite three months ago.  Now we use the NG tube for drinking only.  Since they [...]

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How Stacking / Nesting Toys Can Develop Early Language and Fine Motor Skills

Stacking toys - Oh how I love thee!  Let me count (and stack) the ways.   Don't be deceived - these seemingly simple toys pack a big punch when it comes to early learning development.  How does stacking/nesting improve fine motor and language skills?  Here's how you can play to learn with these classic toys: . . FINE [...]

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Thumb Sucking Side Effects + Strategies to Help

I have a client (5-years) who sucks her thumb.  She has a lisp and produces most of her consonants while protruding her tongue.  I perfectly understand that unless we resolve the thumb sucking, the protrusion will not going to go away, but her parents are not on the same page as me.  What techniques would [...]

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