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Back to School SLP Efficiency Bundles™

September is practically here and many speech language pathologists (SLPs) are looking to efficiently prepare for assessing and treating a variety of clients on their caseloads.

With that in mind, a few years ago I created SLP Efficiency Bundles™, which are materials highly useful for SLPs working with pediatric clients. These materials are organized by areas of focus for efficient and effective screening, assessment, and treatment of speech and language disorders.

A.  General Assessment and Treatment Start-Up Bundle contains 5 downloads for general speech language assessment and treatment planning and includes:

  1. Speech Language Assessment Checklist for a Preschool Child
  2. Speech Language Assessment Checklist for a School-Aged Child
  3. Creating a Functional Therapy Plan: Therapy Goals & SOAP Note Documentation
  4. Selecting Clinical Materials for Pediatric Therapy
  5. Types and Levels of Cues and Prompts in  Speech Language Therapy

B. The Checklists Bundle contains 7 checklists relevant to screening and assessment in speech language pathology

  1. Speech Language Assessment Checklist for a Preschool Child 3:00-6:11 years of age
  2. Speech Language Assessment Checklist for a School-Aged Child 7:00-11:11 years of age
  3. Speech Language Assessment Checklist for Adolescents 12-18 years of age
  4. Language Processing Deficits (LPD) Checklist for School Aged Children 7:00-11:11 years of age
  5. Language Processing Deficits (LPD) Checklist for Preschool Children 3:00-6:11 years of age
  6. Social Pragmatic Deficits Checklist for School Aged Children 7:00-11:11 years of age
  7. Social Pragmatic Deficits Checklist for Preschool Children 3:00-6:11 years of age

C. Social Pragmatic Assessment and Treatment Bundle  contains 6 downloads for social pragmatic assessment and treatment planning (from 18 months through school age) and includes:

  1. Recognizing the Warning Signs of Social Emotional Difficulties in Language Impaired Toddlers and Preschoolers
  2. Behavior Management Strategies for Speech Language Pathologists
  3. Social Pragmatic Deficits Checklist for School Aged Children
  4. Social Pragmatic Deficits Checklist for Preschool Children
  5. Assessing Social Pragmatic Skills of School Aged Children
  6. Treatment of Social Pragmatic Deficits in School Aged Children

D. Multicultural Assessment and Treatment Bundle contains 2 downloads relevant to assessment and treatment of bilingual/multicultural children

  1. Language Difference vs. Language Disorder:  Assessment  & Intervention Strategies for SLPs Working with Bilingual Children
  2. Impact of Cultural and Linguistic Variables On Speech-Language Services

E. Narrative Assessment Bundle contains 3 downloads relevant to narrative assessment

  1. Narrative Assessments of Preschool and School Aged Children
  2. Understanding Complex Sentences
  3. Vocabulary Development: Working with Disadvantaged Populations

F. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Assessment and Treatment Bundle contains 3 downloads relevant to FASD assessment  and treatment

  1. Orofacial Observations of At-Risk Children
  2. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder: An Overview of Deficits
  3. Speech Language Assessment and Treatment of Children With Alcohol Related Disorders

G. Psychiatric Disorders Bundle contains 7 downloads relevant to language  assessment  and treatment in psychiatrically impaired children

  1. Recognizing the Warning Signs of Social Emotional Difficulties in Language Impaired Toddlers and Preschoolers
  2. Social Pragmatic Deficits Checklist for School Aged Children
  3. Social Pragmatic Deficits Checklist for Preschool Children
  4. Assessing Social Skills in Children with Psychiatric Disturbances
  5. Improving Social Skills of Children with Psychiatric Disturbances
  6. Behavior Management Strategies for Speech Language Pathologists
  7. Differential Diagnosis Of ADHD In Speech Language Pathology

You can find these bundles on SALE in my online store by clicking on the individual bundle links above. You can also purchase these products individually in my online store by clicking HERE.

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Professional Consultation Services for Speech Language Pathologists

Today I’d like to officially introduce a new professional consultation service for  speech language pathologists (SLPs), which I initiated  with select few clinicians through my practice some time ago.

The idea for this service came after numerous SLPs contacted me and initiated dialogue via email and phone calls regarding cases they were working on or asked for advice on how to initiate assessment or therapy services to new clients with complex communication issues. Here are some details about it.

Professional consultation is a service provided to Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs) seeking specialized in-depth assessment and/or treatment recommendations regarding specific client cases or who are looking to further their professional education in the following specialization areas:

  • Performing Independent Evaluations (IEEs) in Special Education Disputes
  • Comprehensive Early Intervention Assessments of Monolingual and Bilingual Children
  • Speech Language Assessment and Treatment of post-institutionalized Internationally Adopted Children
  • Speech Language Assessment and Treatment of Children with Psychiatric and Emotional Disturbances
  • Speech and Language Assessment and Treatment of Children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders
  • Assessment and Management of Social Pragmatic Language Disorders
  • Speech Language Assessment and Treatment of Bilingual and Multicultural Children
  • Speech Language Assessment and Treatment of Severely Cognitively Impaired Clients
  • Speech Language Assessment and Treatment of Children with Genetic Disorders

These professional consultation sessions are conducted via GoTo Meeting and includes video conferencing as well as screen sharing.

The goal of this service is to facilitate the SLPs learning process in the desired specialization area. The initial consultation includes extensive literature, material and resource website recommendations, with the exception of Smart Speech Therapy LLC products, which are available separately for purchase through the online store.

The initial consultation length is 1 hour. SLPs are encouraged to forward de-identified client records prior to the consultation for review. In select cases (and with appropriate permissions) forwarding a short video/audio recording (~7 minutes)  of the client in question is recommended.

Upon purchasing a consultation the client will be immediately emailed potential dates and times for the consultation to take place.   Afternoon, Evening and Weekend hours are available for the client’s convenience. In cases of emergencies consultations may be rescheduled at the client’s/Smart Speech Therapy’s mutual convenience.

While refunds are not available for this type of service, in an unlikely event that the consultation lasts less than 1 hour, leftover time can be banked for future calls without any expiration limits.  Call sessions can be requested as needed and conveyed in advance via email.  For further information click HERE. You can also call 917-916-7487 or email [email protected] if you wanted to find out whether this service is right for you. 

Below is the recent professional consultation testimonial.

Professional Independent Evaluation Consultation Testimonial (8/20/15)

Tatyana,

I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the mentorship consultation with you yesterday. I learned a great deal, and appreciated your straight forward approach, and most of all, your scholarly input. You are a thorough professional. This new service that you offer is invaluable for many reasons, one of which is that it buffers the clinical isolation of solo private practice.  I look forward to our next session, about which I will email you in the next week or so. If stars are given, I give you the maximum number of stars possible!    The consultations are pure wonderful!
With gratitude,
Aletta Sinoff Ph.D., CCC-SLP, BCBA-D
Licensed Speech-Language Pathologist
Board Certified Behavior Analyst
Beachwood  OH 44122
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SLP Efficiency Bundles™ for Graduating Speech Language Pathologists

Graduation time is rapidly approaching and many graduate speech language pathology students are getting ready to begin their first days in the workforce. When it comes to juggling caseloads and managing schedules, time is money and efficiency is the key to success. Consequently,  a few years ago I created  SLP Efficiency Bundles™, which are materials highly useful for Graduate SLPs working with pediatric clients. These materials are organized by areas of focus for efficient and effective screening, assessment, and treatment of speech and language disorders.   Continue reading SLP Efficiency Bundles™ for Graduating Speech Language Pathologists

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What if Its More Than Just “Misbehaving”?

Frequently,  I see a variation of the following scenario on  many speech and language forums.

The SLP is seeing a client with speech and/or language deficits  through early intervention,  in the schools, or in private practice, who is having some kind of behavioral issues.

Some  issues  are described as mild such as  calling out, hyperactivity, impulsivity, or inattention, while others are more severe  and include  refusal, noncompliance, or aggression  such as kicking, biting,  or punching.

An array of advice from well-meaning professionals immediately follows.  Some behaviors may be labeled as “normal” due to the child’s age (toddler),  others may be “partially excused” due to a DSM-5  diagnosis (e.g., ASD).   Recommendations for reinforcement charts (not grounded in evidence) may be suggested. A call for other professionals to deal with the behaviors is frequently made (“in my setting the ______ (insert relevant professional here) deals with these behaviors and I don’t have to be involved”). Specific judgments on the child may be pronounced: “There is nothing wrong with him/her, they’re just acting out to get what they want.” Some drastic recommendations could be made: “Maybe you should stop therapy until the child’s behaviors are stabilized”.

However, several crucial factors often get overlooked. First, a system to figure out why particular set of behaviors takes place and second, whether these behaviors may be manifestations of non-behaviorally based difficulties such as medical issues, or overt/subtle linguistically based deficits.

So what are some reasons kids may present with behavioral deficits? Obviously, there could be numerous reasons: some benign while others serious, ranging from lack of structure and understanding of expectations to manifestations of psychiatric illnesses and genetic syndromes. Oftentimes the underlying issues are incredibly difficult to recognize without a differential diagnosis. In other words, we cannot claim that the child’s difficulties are “just behavior” if we have not appropriately ruled out other causes which may be contributing to the “behavior”.

Here are some possible steps which can ensure appropriate identification of the source of the child’s behavioral difficulties in cases of hidden underlying language disorders (after of course relevant learning, genetic, medical, and psychiatric issues have been ruled out).

Let’s begin by answering a few simple questions. Was a thorough language evaluation with an emphasis on the child’s social pragmatic language abilities been completed? And by thorough, I am not referring to general language tests but to a variety of formal and informal social pragmatic language testing (read more HERE).

Please note that none of the general language tests such as the Preschool Language Scale-5 (PLS-5), Comprehensive Assessment of Spoken Language (CASL-2), the Test of Language Development-4 (TOLD-4) or even the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals Tests (CELF-P2)/ (CELF-5) tap into the child’s social language competence because they do NOT directly test the child’s social language skills (e.g., CELF-5 assesses them via a parental/teachers questionnaire).  Thus, many children can attain average scores on these tests yet still present with pervasive social language deficits. That is why it’s very important to thoroughly assess social pragmatic language abilities of all children  (no matter what their age is) presenting with behavioral deficits.

                 

But let’s say that the social pragmatic language abilities have been assessed and the child was found/not found to be eligible for services, meanwhile their behavioral deficits persist, what do we do now?

The first step in establishing a behavior management system is determining the function of challenging behaviors, since we need to understand why the behavior is occurring and what is triggering it (Chandler & Dahlquist, 2006)

We can begin by performing some basic data collection with a child of any age (even with toddlers) to determine behavior functions or reasons for specific behaviors. Here are just a few limited examples:

  • Seeking Attention/Reward
  • Seeking Sensory Stimulation
  • Seeking Control

Most behavior functions typically tend to be positively, negatively or automatically reinforced (Bobrow, 2002). For example, in cases of positive reinforcement, the child may exhibit challenging behaviors to obtain desirable items such as toys, games, attention, etc. If the parent/teacher inadvertently supplies the child with the desired item, they are reinforcing inappropriate behaviors positively and in a way strengthening the child’s desire to repeat the experience over and over again, since it had positively worked for them before.

In contrast, negative reinforcement takes place when the child exhibits challenging behaviors to escape a negative situation and gets his way. For example, the child is being disruptive in classroom/therapy because the tasks are too challenging and is ‘rewarded’ when therapy is discontinued early or when the classroom teacher asks an aide to take the child for a walk.

Finally, automatic reinforcements occur when certain behaviors such as repetitive movements or self-injury produce an enjoyable sensation for the child, which he then repeats again to recreate the sensation.

In order to determine what reinforces the child’s challenging behaviors, we must perform repeated observations and take data on the following:

  • —Antecedent or what triggered the child’s behavior?
    • —What was happening immediately before behavior occurred?
  • —Behavior
    • —What type of challenging behavior/s took place as a result?
  • —Response/Consequence
    • —How did you respond to behavior when it took place?

Here are just a few antecedent examples:

  • —Therapist requested that child work on task
  • —Child bored w/t task
  • —Favorite task/activity taken away
  • —Child could not obtain desired object/activity

In order to figure them out we need to collect data, prior to appropriately addressing them. After the data is collected the goals need to be prioritized based urgency/seriousness.  We can also use modification techniques aimed at managing interfering behaviors.  These techniques include modifications of: physical space, session structure, session materials as well as child’s behavior. As we are implementing these modifications we need to keep in mind the child’s maintaining factors or factors which contribute to the maintenance of the problem (Klein & Moses, 1999). These include: cognitive, sensorimotor, psychosocial and linguistic deficits. 

We also need to choose our reward system wisely, since the most effective systems which facilitate positive change actually utilize intrinsic rewards (pride in self for own accomplishments) (Kohn, 2001).  We need to teach the child positive replacement behaviors  to replace the use of negative ones, with an emphasis on self-talk, critical thinking, as well as talking about the problem vs. acting out behaviorally.

Of course it is very important that we utilize a team based approach and involve all the professionals involved in the child’s care including the child’s parents in order to ensure smooth and consistent carryover across all settings. Consistency is definitely a huge part of all behavior plans as it optimizes intervention results and achieves the desired therapy outcomes.

So the next time the client on your caseload is acting out don’t be so hasty in judging their behavior, when you have no idea regarding the reasons for it. Troubleshoot using appropriate and relevant steps in order to figure out what is REALLY going on and then attempt to change the situation in a team-based, systematic way.

For more detailed information on the topic of social pragmatic language assessment and behavior management in speech pathology see if the following Smart Speech Therapy LLC products could be of use:

 

References: 

  1. Bobrow, A. (2002). Problem behaviors in the classroom: What they mean and how to help. Functional Behavioral Assessment, 7 (2), 1–6.
  2. Chandler, L.K., & Dahlquist, C.M. Functional assessment: strategies to prevent and remediate challenging behavior in school settings (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.
  3. —Klein, H., & Moses, N. (1999). Intervention planning for children with communication disorders: A guide to the clinical practicum and professional practice. (2nd Ed.). Boston, MA.: Allyn & Bacon.
  4. —Kohn, A. (2001, Sept). Five reasons to stop saying “good job!’. Young Children. Retrieved from http://www.alfiekohn.org/parenting/gj.htm
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Why is FASD diagnosis so important?

Recently, I’ve participated in various on-line and in-person discussions with both school-based speech language pathologists (SLPs) as well as medical health professionals (e.g., neurologists, pediatricians, etc.) regarding their views on the need of formal diagnosis for school aged children with suspected alcohol related deficits. While their responses differed considerably from: “we do not base intervention on diagnosis, but rather on demonstrated student need” to “with a diagnosis of ASD ‘these children’ would get the same level of services“, the message I was receiving loud and clear was: “Why? What would be the point?”  So today I decided to share my views on this matter and explain why I think the diagnosis matters.
Continue reading Why is FASD diagnosis so important?

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App Review and Giveaway: Social Norms

Today I am reviewing “Social Norms” a brand new app developed by the Virtual Speech Center to improve social skills in children with autism spectrum disorders. 

This app can be used by parents, educators, and SLPs. The users can customize it to add their photos, text, and audio to create individualized stories that teach specific skills to children with ASD with significantly impaired language abilities. It includes 53 stories on the following topics: Continue reading App Review and Giveaway: Social Norms

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Love It and List It: Behavior Management

This month I am joining the Speech Room News’ Love It and List it Linky Party to talk about my favorite Behavior Management techniques tools and strategies.  In fact I’ve actually combined my favorite strategies into my product entitled Behavior Management Strategies for Speech Language Pathologists which you can find HERE. In it I explain what type of common challenging behaviors can manifest in children with genetic, psychiatric, and neurological disorders, describe the role of SLP in the management of challenging behaviors, list behavior management hierarchy from least to most intrusive methods for students with differing levels of cognitive functioning (high-average IQ to varying levels of intellectual disability) as well as describe positive proactive strategies used to prevent inappropriate behaviors from occurring.

Then there is my article which explains how to “Create Successful Team Collaboration: Behavior Management in the Schools” which you can find HERE which explains how SLPs can collaborate with other school based professionals to successfully work with children exhibiting challenging behaviors secondary to psychiatric diagnoses and emotional and behavioral disturbances. 

You can also read my post on how parents can Manage their post-institutionalized child’s behavior during study times which you can access HERE

Finally, you can also read about materials which can hep you figure out whether the child’s behavior manifestations are due to sensory processing issues vs. true social emotional difficulties, HERE.

How do you work on behavior management in your sessions?

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Creating Successful Team Collaboration: Behavior Management in the Schools

In March 2014, ASHA SIG 16 Perspectives on School Based Issues, I’ve written an article on how SLPs can collaborate with other school based professionals to successfully work with children exhibiting challenging behaviors secondary to psychiatric diagnoses and emotional and behavioral disturbances. In this post I would like to summarize the key points of my article as well as offer helpful professional resources on this topic. Continue reading Creating Successful Team Collaboration: Behavior Management in the Schools

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Birthday Giveaway Day Six: Eliciting Language In Pre-verbal Children with ASD

Eliciting Language in pre-verbal ASD-thumbnailToday it is truly my pleasure to bring you a giveaway from Maria Del Duca of Communication Station Blog entitled: “Eliciting Language In Pre-verbal Children with ASD: A Review of Behavioral and Naturalistic Therapy Techniques“.

This is a wonderful 64 page presentation which reviews the research supporting the current behavioral and naturalistic therapy techniques for pre-verbal children with ASD and explains how they are used to elicit verbal communication.  It’s great for any educator who needs a detailed and highly comprehensive introductory crash course on the multitude of therapy techniques used with nonverbal children ASD.

Intended audiences:

  • Graduate SLP students
  • Clinical Fellows
  • New SLP clinicians
  • Mid Career Switch Clinicians
  • Ancillary educational and health professionals
  • Parents of children with ASD interested in learning more regarding research based therapy techniques

Select techniques discussed in this presentation:

  • Applied Behavioral Analysis
  • Discrete Trial Training
  • Verbal Behavior Analysis
  • Rapid Motor Imitation Antecedent
  • Milieu Communication Training
  • Pivotal Response Training
  • Total Communication
  • Picture Exchange Communication System
    • And much much more

I remember when I was just starting out in the field and worked with non-verbal children with ASD, I spent inordinate amount of time looking for and reading much of the research articles listed in Maria’s presentation to learn more re: these approaches. Have I had this material it would have saved me a huge amount of time and effort. The way its written is logical, informative and clear. I like how the limitations are included with each technique’s review, which is a bonus since to read about each technique’s limitations one typically needs to locate even MORE articles, thereby spending even more time on this endeavor.

You can find this wonderful product in Maria’s online store  30% off for the next two days (October 7 and 8) by clicking HERE or you can enter my one day giveaway for a chance to win.

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In case you missed it: How to Successfully Address Client’s Inattention, Impulsivity, and Hyperactivity in Therapy Sessions

Last week I did a guest post for The Speech Bubble Blog. In case you missed it,  below are my recommendations on how to address aspects of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity in your therapy sessions.

In recent years, with the ‘back to district trend’ sweeping our schools, more and more speech language pathologists find themselves working with children who present with behavioral deficits in conjunction with speech-language delays and impairments. A significant portion of work with these children in therapy involves successful management of a number of behavioral difficulties, which often interfere with successful objective completion and goal attainment. Continue reading In case you missed it: How to Successfully Address Client’s Inattention, Impulsivity, and Hyperactivity in Therapy Sessions