Get to Know Sandra Williams, CCC-SLP

Expert Corner Hearing and Speech Speech Therapy Techniques

sandra2Speech Buddies: How did you become a speech therapist?

SW: I became interested in speech pathology while completing my undergraduate degree.  I was well aware of the special needs population due to a family member receiving services throughout my childhood.  I developed a keen sense for those persons needing assistance to communicate effectively, while optimizing the strengths they already possessed.  After exploring several options, I realized the speech pathology was a great fit for me.

Speech Buddies: Do you have any specialties?

SW: I have spent the majority of my career working with the pediatric population, including children ages 0-3 through high school. I have developed the skill of being able to see the child’s strengths and systematically build on those strengths to address their challenge areas.  I have had success working with children on the autism spectrum, children with significant expressive language delays, children who have difficulties in the area of articulation, as well as, children exhibiting expressive language delays   I have also worked with children who have challenges in the area of fluency.

Speech Buddies: What is your favorite part of being a Speech Buddies Connect therapist?

SW: My favorite part of being a Speech Buddies’ connect therapist is the expediency with which services can begin and significant results can be achieved.  I love the motivation and engagement of the parents in this process which facilitates carryover of learned skills.  The process is streamline and  effective in matching eager clients with committed therapists.

Speech Buddies: What can clients expect from virtual therapy? What is different or beneficial about virtual therapy?

SW: Virtual therapy will allow flexibility in terms of scheduling for the client and for the therapist.   In this way, location and time constraints will not be a barrier in conducting effective therapy.  If the child is younger, the parent will play a direct role in carrying out the session objectives which can only help to solidify the acquisition of target skills.

Speech Buddies: What is one question you get most often from clients and parents?

SW: Most parents want to know what they can do to improve their child’s speech-language functioning.  I am able to give them strategies that they can employ during their natural interactions with their child to directly address areas of concern.  In many cases, it affirms what the parent is doing while also introducing them to new strategies they might want to try.  Parents begin to feel empowered that they, too can positively impact their child’s life in the area of communication.

Speech Buddies: What advice would you like to give to families considering seeking speech services?

SW: If parents are concerned about their child’s speech-language development, trust their instincts and seek assistance.  They can obviously speak to their pediatrician, and if concerns still remain contact the Department of Health, and/or contact Speech Buddies and have a general screening assessment done by a professional.  These initial assessments may allay their concerns or may indicate further testing and therapy is warranted.  Research indicates that the earlier a child receives therapeutic intervention when needed, the higher possibility of an overall positive  outcome.

Find out more about Sandra or book an appointment here.

4 Reasons to Supplement your School Speech Therapy with Private Therapy

4 Reasons to Supplement your School Speech Therapy with Private Therapy

School Speech Therapist Speech Therapy Techniques

There are many wonderful, publicly funded options for your family’s speech therapy services. These could come in the form of speech and language therapy provided by your local Early Intervention (EI) program, the Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) administered by your local school district, or from services provided directly to your child in his or her public school or via something called a Related Service Authorization (RSA). You may also have access to services funded in whole or in part by your health insurance plan. No matter who is providing your school speech therapy, you may want to consider supplementing those services, where possible. Here are 4 reasons that these extra services may have a profound impact on your child’s development, and could be a smart investment in your child’s future.

Choice

School speech therapy services, or those provided by other public pay sources are invaluable to your child, your family, to society in general. But because of budgetary pressures, school districts and other public payers do not allow for parents to choose which speech-language pathologist their child can see. This is of course unfortunate as so much of any therapy relationship is based on a “good fit” between your child and the speech therapist. Private speech therapy services have the added benefit of allowing you maximum choice. Speech Buddies Connect gives you choice based on many different therapists in your local area so you can decide what is most important to you. Is it the speech therapist’s level of experience or qualifications with a particular speech or language challenge? Is it convenience in terms of schedule or location? No matter your priorities, you have your choice in finding the best speech-language pathologist (SLP) for your family.

 

Undivided Attention

In the case of school speech therapy in kindergarten and elementary school, services are most often provided in groups of 3
students, and sometimes up to 5 or more students. Again, this is primarily due to strains on the resources of the public school system; there are simply too many students in need of speech and language therapy for the number of speech therapists on staff.Benefits of speech therapy
This of course means that for every 30-minute session your child receives, he or she is only really getting 10 minutes of direct intervention that is specifically tailored to your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals but is still missing that full 30 minutes of class time. I have had clients who have preferred to decline school speech therapy to work privately instead because of this very issue. Now I wouldn’t necessarily recommend you decline school-based services, particularly if your child is working on overcoming a language-based learning challenge. But private speech therapy does provide undivided attention which may provide a stronger learning environment for your child.

 

Convenience

Public payers of speech therapy services also tend to offer reduced convenience in terms of where services take place. In the case of EI, services are almost always performed in the child’s home or day care facility. Very rarely do they approve services in the provider’s office. In the case of school-funded preschool speech and language therapy, there is more flexibility but in many cases, the school administrator will dictate whether services are conducted in the provider’s place of business. Depending on how contracts with the provider agencies and the local school district are structured, they may ask you to travel sometimes long distances to your speech therapy lessons. Private therapy allows you to choose your speech therapist for maximum personal convenience. And with our lives often so hectic these days, this benefit is not to be underestimated!

 

Another Hand on Deck

Speech and language development is incredibly important to a child’s whole course of life – there simply is no other way to put it. The sheer weight of this importance can be enough for parents to seek additional support for their children. Also, for many children, having another professional communication partner can be invaluable. You will also have another member of your team: someone who you can bounce ideas off of and someone whose experience could be a powerful complement to the team you already have in place. So if you feel that your child could you a boost and you already have public speech therapy services in place, it may be time to consider finding a local speech therapist through Speech Buddies Connect.

 

Parents' Guide to Speech Therapy in School

How to Prepare for Speech Therapy Home Visits

How to Prepare for Speech Therapy Home Visits

Speech Therapy Techniques

Perhaps you’ve already determined that you’d like to have your child seen by a speech pathologist and have had some of your initial questions answered. Many times your child’s speech therapy services can be delivered in the comfort and convenience of your own home. Especially for younger children (i.e. up to age 5), being “on their own turf” can really help foster rapport between your child and the clinician and make your child feel maximally comfortable as he or she works on something that may be somewhat challenging. This brief post is dedicated to providing parents with a few tips for maximizing the effectiveness of speech therapy home visits. The better prepared and knowledgeable you can be as you start the process of your home-based speech therapy, the more likely it is that your child will achieve his or her speech or language learning goals.

Continue reading

Tips for Improving Your Toddler’s Speech Clarity

Tips for Improving Your Toddler’s Speech Clarity

Speech Therapy for Kids Speech Therapy Techniques

It can take up to about second grade for a child to acquire fluent speech that is free of articulation errors. However, certain patterns of errors can make a child less understandable to his or her communication partners. This also applies to younger children. Today I wanted to highlight some of these patterns and give you, the parent, some suggestions for improving toddler speech clarity.

Continue reading

Non-Speech Oral Motor Exercises to Treat Speech Disorders?

Non-Speech Oral Motor Exercises to Treat Speech Disorders?

Speech Therapy Techniques

Perhaps no other methodology has engendered more passionate opinion, and even controversy, in the field of speech pathology than non-speech oral motor exercises (NSOMEs). What’s all the fuss about and what are NSOMEs?

photo: World in a Bubble by Alexandre Normand

Continue reading

When to Start Tongue Thrust Treatment?

When to Start Tongue Thrust Treatment?

Speech Impediment Speech Therapy Techniques

The phenomenon of tongue thrust is a rather murky one. As the name implies, tongue thrust is observed when the tongue protrudes through the child’s front teeth and is mostly caused by an imbalance in the oral muscles. However, there are other causes that I will address below. Our “What is Tongue Thrust?” Speech Buddies blog post is a great place to start for understanding the basics of tongue thrust. Among speech pathologists, there exists some controversy as to its impact on speech. Some therapists insist that any open-mouth posture, including tongue thrust, is an extremely significant clinical matter and that it will have a wide-ranging on a child’s speech development and even social development. Others will contend that a true tongue thrust that can impact speech clarity is quite rare and that, in fact, almost all children exhibit some form of tongue thrust which most will grow out of; the vast majority of these children will exhibit no speech challenge whatsoever. So what is the “truth” of the matter? Like many things, it can be somewhat nuanced. This blog post is dedicated to providing some actionable advice to parents as well as some tips for either intervening to correct a tongue thrust or “watchful waiting” so that in the event that tongue thrust treatment needs to be addressed, you will be maximally empowered, as a parent, to do so.

Continue reading

4 Tips for Mastering L Sound Practice

4 Tips for Mastering L Sound Practice

Speech Therapy Techniques

Of all the speech sounds that Speech Buddies Tools target (namely R, S, CH, SH and L), the L sound is considered to be the earliest developing sound; in other words, of these trickier sounds that many children find difficult to accurately produce, the L sound is the one we expect them to master first. It is probably the simplest of these sounds to produce correctly from a standpoint of what the tongue and mouth has to do in order to say the sound correctly. But this sound can nonetheless present problems and this blog post is dedicated to providing parents with some crucial tips to maximizing the effectiveness of home practice, to ultimately, reduce the time it takes to see and hear your child say this sound correctly. I recommend starting with a quick look at the Speech Buddies video on L as it is a great way to first visualize for yourself what the tongue needs to do to hit the Speech Buddies Tool for L’s target and to say this sound correctly.

Continue reading

Teaching the Sound of Letter G

Teaching the Sound of Letter G

Speech Therapy Techniques
Teaching the Sound of G

Teaching the Sound of G. Image courtesy of www.pronuncian.com

“Dess what Mommy?” “Where is the dod?, “When are we donna be there?” Are these familiar questions around your house? Is your son or daughter making a “d” sound in place of a “g”? Or, leaving the “g” sound out all together? If so, don’t fret. Most children under the age of five have some trouble correctly pronouncing certain sounds and words. While most children will usually mispronounce words at some point in her growth, the majority of children outgrow these mispronunciations and master correct sounds by certain ages. And, to make things even more complicated for your young child, there are two distinct sounds of “g” that he or she must perfect: a hard g and a soft g. Is there a way to help guide your child? YES! Here are some tips and tricks for teaching your child the sound of letter g.

Continue reading

Animal-Assisted Speech Therapy

Animal-Assisted Speech Therapy

Parents' Corner Speech Therapist Speech Therapy Techniques
Animal Assisted Speech Therapy

Animals Can Be An Excellent Supplement to Speech Therapy. Image courtesy of www.pawsandthink.org

Shark Week is here! Shark Week is here!!  Sure, it’s fun to watch on TV, but what does it have to do with speech and language therapy? Actually, quite a bit. Sure, there is our good friend the Shark Buddy, but what about swimming with dolphins, riding horses or even petting a dog? Animal-assisted therapy has been gaining strength in popularity and recognition as an effective part of a therapy regime for children who have a wide range of social, language and communication disorders.
Continue reading

The Most Important Supply: Back to School Speech Therapy

News Parents' Corner Speech Therapy Techniques

Speech Therapy with Speech Buddies ConnectIt’s time to start thinking Back to School! As parents and teachers, we want to give our kids everything they need to succeed, and at this time of year it seems easy: pencils, paper, notebooks, a backpack, maybe a lunchbox — all the tools of their trade. But it’s easy to overlook the most important things: excitement, self-esteem, self-confidence. Are there tools for that? Just like the physical tools our kids use to start their new year, emotional needs should be a priority; we want our children to step through the classroom doors with ease. Speech Buddies has been busy building an easy way to make back to school speech therapy, or anytime speech therapy, as accessible as possible…

Continue reading