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Child writing in speech and language therapy

The Downlow on Dyslexia

What is dyslexia? According to the International Dyslexia Association, dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin, characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition with poor spelling and decoding abilities. What does this mean? Let’s find out…

Breaking it down:

Those with dyslexia process language differently in the brain. They will show strong signs of difficulty within the phonological aspect of language; in other words, being aware of the sound structures of language. Does this mean there is something “wrong” with the dyslexic brain? Absolutely not! It simply means there is a difference in the way they process information. The other side to this, is that it also allows them the ability to excel in areas that others do not because of the way their brain operates. How beautiful! Because of these struggles, reading comprehension can often be affected as well. This is because they are giving so much of their mental energy to simply “processing”, and in turn, taxes the other parts of their reading development.

Speech therapy sight words

Debunking the myths:

It is important to be aware of the many myths surrounding this learning disability. First and foremost, is it is not related to IQ at all. A common misunderstanding is that the individual sees things backwards. Dyslexia is not a visual problem, but rather a phonological one in which the way information is processed. Another misconception is the idea that Speech-Language Pathologists cannot diagnose dyslexia; but indeed they can! Our office is trained to do it!! The earlier a child receives a diagnosis and begins a treatment plan, the more opportunity they have for success. It is crucial to watch for early warning signs in a child’s development and to begin taking action if needed.

Early warning signs of dyslexia:

  • Delayed speech and language skills
  • Difficulty learning shapes, colors, numbers, days of the week, or letters
  • Difficulty pronouncing words
  • Difficulty learning new vocabulary
  • Rhyming and identifying sounds is difficult
  • Difficulty knowing right from left
  • Struggles with sight word recognition
  • Poor spelling
  • Difficulty memorizing number facts
  • Frustration with school and homework
  • Difficulty understanding what is read
  • Putting ideas in writing is difficult

Getting the right treatment plan for dyslexia as early as possible is essential in developing a positive outlook and skillset for your young one! Give us a call today for a free screening to get your child set up for success!!

Speech therapy sight words

Sight Words and the 4 Alphabetical Phases

Sight words have been used to help young learners begin reading simple words. It is an easy yet effective form of helping young learners decode words into meaning. There has been some debate to fully understand what defines a sight word. From a teacher’s perspective, it is a high frequency word that is typically found in kindergarten and first grade level text. However, sight words are also described as not being common and difficult to decode for young learners, because it does not follow the rules of the English language. Learning to read comes in four different phases.

  1. Pre – Alphabetic Phase: This is when children use visual cues to learn to read. For example, a child can read their own name by associating the blue caterpillar that they have on their name tag.
  2. Partial – Alphabetic Phase:  When a child begins to acquire relationships between some letters and sounds. It is very common to misspell words in this phase and replace them with another letter that has similar acoustic characteristics. Ex: vey à they.
  3. Full – Alphabetic Phase: Moving from sound representation to a full spoken word with all the sounds present. Child has solid phonological sounds and matching it to letters, but it may not be orthographically correct. Ex: moister à moisture.
  4. Consolidated – Alphabetic Phase: Child can memorize and store words. Ex: can spell words that contain syllabics and clusters. Ex: Scooter.

When these four stages are successfully met a child can start orthographic mapping, which is the process to store words into long term memory. But what happens if a child does not meet these phases? It does not mean that the child has trouble with visual memory, lack of attention or it simply does not “click”, but maybe the problem to store words in long term memory can indicate signs of dyslexia. So, what happens next if your child is having trouble decoding words and your child’s teacher has expressed concerns? It is important to work with your child’s teacher and his speech-language pathologist (SLP) to identify the most effective methods for your child to learn.

Family Reading

Children’s books celebrating diversity

“These days, it seems more important than ever for books to show young people how to act with thoughtfulness, civility, and kindness.” ―The New York Times Book Review

When Tanisha spills grape juice all over her new dress, her classmate wants to make her feel better, wondering: What does it mean to be kind?

From asking the new girl to play to standing up for someone being bullied, this moving story explores what kindness is, and how any act, big or small, can make a difference―or at least help a friend.

With a gentle text from the award-winning author of Sophie’s Squash, Pat Zietlow Miller, and irresistible art from Jen Hill, Be Kind is an unforgettable story about how two simple words can change the world.

Who better than Sesame Street to teach us that we may all look different on the outside—but it’s important to remember that deep down, we are all very much alike. We all have the same needs, desires, and feelings. Elmo and his Sesame Street friends help teach toddlers and the adults in their lives that everyone is the same on the inside, and it’s our differences that make this wonderful world, which is home to us all, an interesting—and special—place. This enduring, colorful, and charmingly illustrated book offers an easy, enjoyable way to learn about differences—and what truly matters. It is an engaging read for toddlers and adults alike.Dreamers by Yuyi Morales

Dreamers is a celebration of making your home with the things you always carry: your resilience, your dreams, your hopes and history. It’s the story of finding your way in a new place, of navigating an unfamiliar world and finding the best parts of it. In dark times, it’s a promise that you can make better tomorrows. This lovingly-illustrated picture book memoir looks at the myriad gifts migrantes bring with them when they leave their homes. It’s a story about family. And it’s a story to remind us that we are all dreamers, bringing our own strengths wherever we roam. Beautiful and powerful at any time but given particular urgency as the status of our own Dreamers becomes uncertain, this is a story that is both topical and timeless.

There will be times when you walk into a room
and no one there is quite like you.

There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it’s how you look or talk, or where you’re from; maybe it’s what you eat, or something just as random. It’s not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it.

The world needs your voice. If you have a brilliant idea… say something! If you see an injustice… say something!

In this empowering new picture book, beloved author Peter H. Reynolds explores the many ways that a single voice can make a difference. Each of us, each and every day, have the chance to say something: with our actions, our words, and our voices. Perfect for kid activists everywhere, this timely story reminds readers of the undeniable importance and power of their voice. There are so many ways to tell the world who you are… what you are thinking… and what you believe. And how you’ll make it better. The time is now: SAY SOMETHING!

This gorgeous, lyrical ode to loving who you are, respecting others, and being kind to one another comes from Empire actor and activist Grace Byers and talented newcomer artist Keturah A. Bobo.

We are all here for a purpose. We are more than enough. We just need to believe it.

Big, small, curly, straight, loud, quiet, smooth, wrinkly. Lovely explores a world of differences that all add up to the same thing: we are all lovely!

Is there anything more splendid than a baby’s skin? Cocoa-brown, cinnamon, peaches and cream. As children grow, their clever skin does, too, enjoying hugs and tickles, protecting them inside and out, and making them one of a kind. Fran Manushkin’s rollicking text and Lauren Tobia’s delicious illustrations paint a breezy and irresistible picture of the human family — and how wonderful it is to be just who you are.

Seven-year-old Lena is going to paint a picture of herself. She wants to use brown paint for her skin. But when she and her mother take a walk through the neighborhood, Lena learns that brown comes in many different shades.

Through the eyes of a little girl who begins to see her familiar world in a new way, this book celebrates the differences and similarities that connect all people.

Karen Katz created this book for her daughter, Lena, whom she and her husband adopted from Guatemala six years ago.

Every Child is Unique! Whether they are big or small, short or tall, like to swim, dance, sing or bike. Perhaps they have a special need or are from a different ethnic background. Maybe they wear glasses or talk differently. The truth is that all children are different and their individuality should be celebrated, not shunned. And this inspiring and brightly illustrated rhyming picture book does just that.

By highlighting the ways kids are different from one another it helps children to accept themselves and others as the beautifully unique individuals that they are. It’s OK to be Different encourages kids to be kind and befriend those who are different from themselves, showing young children that they don’t have to look alike or enjoy doing the same activities to be kind to one another.

Readers will come away with the message: “You should always to kind to those who are different from you. Because to them, YOU are different too.”

As more children read this book and learn this concept, we can impact the world in a positive way while at the same time teach early literacy. This non-fiction book closes with a short survey for children about kindness and is a terrific way to help you start an age appropriate conversation about diversity.

It’s OK to be Different is a kid’s book that belongs in children’s book libraries alongside other popular children’s books like Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown because of the simplicity of the rhymes, the detailed illustrations and it’s uniquely powerful message about kindness and diversity.

Themes represented in this book include diversity, kindness and anti-bullying.

A is for Ability, B is for Belief, C is for Class. All people have the right to be treated fairly, no matter who they are, what they look like, or where they come from. An ABC of Equality introduces complicated concepts surrounding social justice to the youngest of children.

From A to Z, simple explanations accompanied by engaging artwork teach children about the world we live in and how to navigate our way through it. Each right-hand page includes a brightly decorated letter with the word it stands for and an encouraging slogan. On the left, a colorful illustration and bite-size text sum up the concept. Cheerful people from a range of backgrounds, ethnicities, and abilities lead the way through the alphabet.

  • L is for LGBTQIA. Find the words that make you, you.
  • N is for No. No means no.
  • P is for Privilege. Be aware of your advantages.
  • X is for Xenophobia. Ask questions and you’ll see there’s nothing to be afraid of.

Celebrate your Differences, ask more Questions, share your Kindness, and learn to Understand the world.

With the ease and simplicity of a nursery rhyme, this lively story delivers an important message of social acceptance to young readers. Themes associated with child development and social harmony, such as friendship, acceptance, self-esteem, and diversity are promoted in simple and straightforward prose. Vivid illustrations of children’s activities for all cultures, such as swimming in the ocean, hugging, catching butterflies, and eating birthday cake are also provided. This delightful picturebook offers a wonderful venue through which parents and teachers can discuss important social concepts with their children.

From early on, children are looking to discover their place in the world and longing to understand how their personalities, traits, and talents fit in. The assurance that they are deeply loved and a unique creation in our big universe is certain to help them spread their wings and fly. 
Through playful, charming rhyme and vivid, fantastical illustrations, When God Made You inspires young readers to learn about their own special gifts and how they fit into God’s divine plan as they grow, explore, and begin to create for themselves. 

Thunder Boy Jr. wants a normal name…one that’s all his own. Dad is known as big Thunder, but little thunder doesn’t want to share a name. He wants a name that celebrates something cool he’s done like Touch the Clouds, Not Afraid of Ten Thousand Teeth, or Full of Wonder.

But just when Little Thunder thinks all hope is lost, dad picks the best name…Lightning! Their love will be loud and bright, and together they will light up the sky.

Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms. A school where kids in patkas, hijabs, and yarmulkes play side-by-side with friends in baseball caps. A school where students grow and learn from each other’s traditions and the whole community gathers to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

All Are Welcome lets young children know that no matter what, they have a place, they have a space, they are welcome in their school.

Father Reading to Child

3 Tips to Create Effective Storytime with Your Child

Reading with your children is essential to creating a variety of literacy skills at an early age. Research has shown the importance of exposing children to literacy by reading. However, sometimes it might be difficult to keep them engaged. Here are 3 tips to create effective and engaging Storytime with your child.

  1. Shared book reading – This is when children are engaged with text and illustrations while reading. Parents should expose the child to vocabulary, ask questions about the illustrations, ask comprehension questions like who, what, when, where, and why, and make inference/prediction questions. Keep your child engaged in what they are reading and what the child thinks is going to happen next with images or context clues in the story. You can also connect books to personal life by finding a book that a child may connect to i.e. if your child is starting school you can find a book about the first day of school.  
  2. Finding the right book – Choosing the right book and finding books that will keep your child engaged is crucial. Depending on your child’s age, you want to look for books with appealing content and illustrations. If your child is into space, find books about space! For younger children, it is important to find books with predictable repetitive context i.e. Dr. Seuss. This gives the child the opportunity to create reading fluency and exposure to words that they may read independently during Storytime.
  3. How to read books – When you are reading with your child it is important to read with enthusiasm. Create eye contact, add dramatic flair or even silly voices to keep the engagement while reading. You can also provide opportunities for your child to join in by reading along with you, taking turns reading or repeating what you just read.

Creating effective Storytime with your child can give them the skills that they need to succeed. Keeping your child engaged and interested in what they are reading makes reading fun. Pick up a good book and read with your child today!

Child writing in speech and language therapy

The Downlow on Dyslexia

What is dyslexia? According to the International Dyslexia Association, dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is …

Speech therapy sight words

Sight Words and the 4 Alphabetical Phases

Sight words have been used to help young learners begin reading simple words. It is an easy yet effective form of helping …

Family Reading

Children’s books celebrating diversity

“These days, it seems more important than ever for books to show young people how to act with thoughtfulness, civility, …