Donate to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation this Christmas

Everyone loves to get a really good book for Christmas. But how many of the people that you buy books for already have full bookshelves? This year, you can make a gift donation for a family member or close friend. $50 or more will help purchase 5 or more books to send to remote Indigenous communities – where they are needed the most.

More details here.

Free Delivery on all Books this Christmas at the Book Depository

Dinner Smoothies for Dysphagia

From left to right: cottage pie, Sunday roast chicken, fish n chips with mushy peas, butter bean casserole

Source – The Daily Mail.

A pint of cottage pie, a glass of fish, chips and mushy peas and a roast chicken dinner cocktail are all the menu created by a chef in York.
But he isn’t serving up his creations at a Heston Blumenthal-style restaurant but at a hospice for people with life-threatening illnesses.
Darren Walker, 37, serves his innovative smoothie meals in Martini glasses, tumblers, pint pots and tankards in an attempt to make them more appetising than the usual drab puries given to residents of St Leonard’s Hospice who can’t eat solid food.

Read more:
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Visual Supports for ‘Simon Says’

Boardmaker Simon Says

Yesterday at work, I made up this board for Simon Says – I got the .pdfs of the visuals from Therapy Games at the Speaking of Speech materials exchange.

I blew them up to A3 for printing, and did one as is, and one with pull off visuals. While, as the adult, I would use it receptively to help the students to understand the instructions – passing the pull off to a child if he needed it – I find this sort of board comes into its own when the kids are being Simon. Having ideas there to help them generate the instruction, or the pull offs there for the non/less-verbal kids gets them in control of the game, increasing participation.

Free Children’s Audio Books @ Children’s Audio Theatre

oct2012 002

Want some children’s classics for those long car trips, or for use in the classroom?

Children’s Audio Theatre is supported by Lion’s and IMB to allow access to a whole range of books for download (or on cd for a fee) to help kids access texts that they might not typically access at home these days.

Guest Post: Preserve your hearing!

What Can I Do About Hearing Loss?

Hearing loss often occurs as people age, and though the decline is gradual, it is something that affects nearly every person eventually. The National Institutes of Health states that about one-third of people in the United States who fall into the 65 to 75 age range have some degree of hearing loss. While some degree of hearing loss is inevitable, it is still something that you can address and attempt to mitigate. If you are invested in preventing hearing loss, there are a few things that you can do.

Turn Down the Music

Prolonged exposure to loud music is something that can lead to gradual hearing loss. A few loud concerts will not hurt you, but constantly playing your music loudly through your headphones can seriously affect your hearing acuity over time. Pay special attention to when you adjust the volume control when playing music. If after listening to music, your ears seem to be ringing, it is a good idea to turn the music down.

Consider the Lawnmower Test

According to several audiologists, you should use the lawnmower test when you are considering putting in earplugs or any other noise blocking device. You generally know how much noise a lawnmower makes; if something is as loud or louder than a lawnmower, you should have some kind of hearing protection against it. This is something that can make a huge difference when you are taking care of your health.

Get Tested

The best way to deal with hearing loss is to diagnose it quickly and to take steps to fix it. Most people do not get their hearing tested until they have started to notice a severe decrease in the amount of things that they can detect. If you get your hearing tested regularly, you will be able to detect any changes as they happen. An audiologist can recommend treatments like wax removal, a hearing aid or even a cochlear implant, depending on the situation.

Look At Your Family History

The truth of the matter is that some people are more prone to hearing loss than other people. If you have someone in your immediate family who has hearing loss, the chances are greatly increased that you might develop it as well. If you know that a parent or a grandparent has issues hearing, start being conscious about your own hearing today.

Stop Smoking

Smoking is linked to increasing hearing loss, though the mechanism through which one affects the other is unclear. If you are a smoker, consider cutting down or stopping entirely, especially if you have other risk factors for hearing loss.

Do Not Push Things In Your Ear

Q-tips should only be used in the outer parts of your ear. Do not push a Q-tip into your ear canal; doing so can cause mild to severe damage.

If you are someone who is interested in protecting your hearing, there are many things that you can do. You are not helpless in the face of hearing loss. Take control, and consider which techniques you can implement.

Tacker Trackers for kids who just GO

I know that it’s not just my clients who tend to run away from their parents in shopping centres, parks, fast food restaurants and anywhere they’re given an inch, MOST kids do it at some point. And there is such a range in kids’ abilities to tell that lovely person who stops them in the street, or before something scary happens who they are, where mum was last and how to get in touch with her!

Tacker TRacker

This is where Tacker Trackers come in. Disposable wrist bands (like the ones I might get at a festival to show I should be there, or that I am 18+!) with cute little designs, and a place to write a mobile number in case of separation.

Tacker TRacker

They come in packs of 12 (3 designs) for $9.95 including texta and instructions. There are “Boys”, “Girls” and “mixed” packs. All pretty cool! :)

Do you use anything like that with your kids to help track them down?

Old Macdonald’s Lotto Game (Orchard Toys)

Old macdonald bingo

Ahh, love getting new toys!

This one came today (much to my mother in law’s disappointment who hoped I’d bought shoes online!) via spending my QANTAS frequent flyer points on it. I know, such as nerd, but it will be awesome! I LOVE the Orchard products… my poor Shopping List Memory Game has had a good workout. I’d love to get the extension packs one day! (I need to start at speechie Amazon wishlist, don’t I? Ask clients to get me something there rather than a box of chocolates at Xmas time!! hehe)

So, how will I use the Old Macdonald’s Lotto Game in the clinic? Aside from the matching and sorting potential, naming animals and the like, there’s grammatical potential with he and she, plurals and more. We can do some describing, positional concepts, colours and the like. Oh and don’t forget stimulus for stuttering therapy, or simple, old reinforcement (aka bribery!)!

How could you use this game in your work?

Clinic Room Essentials

Yay! Speech Shelf!

I was very very happy last night when we found the final box of my clinical things that had been hidden in the garage since the move back to Newcastle. It was full of things that lived on my desk at the Cerebral Palsy Alliance (and thus the muchly culled version of my resources that I had in arms reach when I had all the storage at Therapy ACT), so I was nervous when I couldn’t find it!

What did I have in that box? Well, this box was pretty much books, but they were books that I accessed a lot, including:

  • My Key Word Sign books and collection of photocopies of things like vocab sheets for food or certain play
  • Cued Articulation and Cued Vowels books.
  • My copy of Caroline Bowen’s Articulation Screener
  • McLeod and Hand’s Consonant Clusters Assessment tool
  • My stuttering stuff, like the Lidcombe Program manual, and a few other things for when Lidcombe isn’t right
  • Some communication books and the awesome news folder
  • Dictionary use/ editing / reading for meaning type reasources

And a bunch of other things, but these are what stick out. VERY happy to have this back.

And to have my Stackrobats and tissues in easy reach ;)

Happy Speech Pathology Week – Tell Your Story

Speech pathologists urge Australians to ‘tell their story’ (source)

Speech Pathology Week 19 – 25 August 2012

Speech Pathology Australia (SPA) estimates that more than 1.1 million Australians have difficulty communicating or being understood, a statistic speech pathologists hope to change through a national story-telling campaign.

Launched at the beginning of Speech Pathology Week, the ‘Great Australian Communication Story’ project encourages people around the country to ‘tell their story’ and connect with their community.

SPA National President Christine Stone said many Australians struggle to communicate effectively enough to interact with their friends and families, work and participate in social events.

“Even though we estimate more than 1.1 million Australians have difficulty communicating, we know that number is much, much higher.”

“Difficulties can be present at any age, from newborn babies who can’t feed properly, to a preschool child who has difficulty making speech sounds, a primary school child who has autism, a teenageer who stutters, a young adult who has had a stroke, a teacher whose voice is strained, a retired person with Parkinson’s disease who has difficulty coordinating their speech movements – right up to an older person living with dementia.”

“During Speech Pathology Week, we want people to share their stories, and to know that they are not alone,” Ms Stone said.

The ‘Great Australian Communication Story‘ aims to take a snapshot of the stories and experience of people living and working with communication impairment in Australia in 2012.

The project asks members of the public to fill in speech bubble templates which will be compiled into an e-book, to be released in September this year.

“Communication is about sharing stories and information. Just because someone communicates differently from you doesn’t mean that their story isn’t worth hearing,” Ms Stone said.

“We hope that by sharing their stories, it may encourage people to visit a speech pathologist to help understand and improve their communication.”

Speech pathologists study, diagnose and treat communication disorders, including difficulty with speech, language, swallowing, fluency (stuttering) and voice. They work with people who have difficulty communicating because of developmental delays, stroke, brain injuries, learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, dementia and hearing loss, as well as other problems that can affect speech and language.

The negative impacts of communication difficulties are well documented and include a higher risk of literacy problems, lower academic acheivement, low self esteem and behavioural problems, particularly in children and young people.

Did you know:

• At two years of age 20% of Australian children have speech and language delay while
50% of this group will have persisting language delay at four years. A further 10-15% of children
not identified at two years will be later identified at four years with a speech and/or language
• One quarter (25%) of all preschool children have difficulty speaking or making speech
sounds. Fewer than half receive the specialist treatment they require.
• 20-25% of children have difficulty understanding and using language upon entry to school.
• 75% of children with autism, 69% of children with Down syndrome and 55% of children
with cerebral palsy demonstrate communication impairment.
• 14% of Australian children at 15 years do not have baseline literacy skills, and up to 27%
of Year 3 children in some states demonstrate a reading impairment.
• Significant gaps in literacy levels exist between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children,
with the gap widening over time and increasing in remote and isolated areas.
• Upwards of 70% of Indigenous children in remote communities suffer from chronic Otitis
Media, a serious middle ear disease that can cause permanent hearing loss and inhibit language
and literacy development.
• 25% of stroke victims have aphasia (acquired speech and language difficulties).
• More than 50% of Australians with dementia experience communication difficulties.
• 85% of those with Parkinson’s disease have voice, speech and/or swallowing disorders.
• 13,000 Australians use aids to assist them in communication.
• Around 20% of Australians over the age of 50, as many as one third of children with
cerebral palsy and one in 20 children with a traumatic brain injury experience difficulties swallowing
food and/or drink.
• One in seven users of government disability services (over five years of age) has little or no
effective communication.

Source: Speech Pathology Australia