May Is Better Hearing and Speech Month

For those of you who follow this blog, you may recall that I am a speech and language pathologist. Since May is Better Hearing and Speech Month, and ASHA, or the American Speech and Hearing Association focuses on autism during part of the month, I thought I would share some information with you. According to the organization, Autism Speaks, autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development.  These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.  They include autistic disorder (sometimes referred to as “classic autism”), Rett Syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder–not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger syndrome.  ASD can be associated with intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination, and attention and physical health issues such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances. Some persons with ASD excel in visual skills, music, math, and art. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that autism spectrum disorders are the fastest growing developmental childhood disability:  a research study from 2000 indicated that 1/150 children were diagnosed with autism, and more recently, 1/68 children were identified with this developmental disorder.  Studies also show that autism is four to five times more common among boys than girls.  An estimated 1 out of 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls are diagnosed with autism in the United States. ASD is estimated to […]

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The Weekly Bleat: Speaking Through Art

As someone who has worked with children who have a diagnosis of autism, I was especially moved and inspired by Blake Henkel’s story.  Blake is a young man from High Point, North Carolina.  While he has limited communication due to an autism diagnosis, he expresses himself beautifully and powerfully through his artwork.  Not only does Blake Henkel enjoy painting, but he is also a prolific and successful artist.  I hope you’ll take a few minutes to listen to his story, appreciate his lovely, vibrant art…and be inspired. 🙂 See Henkel’s story in this edition of Roy’s Folks.  The link is below.    http://myfox8.com/2018/01/24/local-man-with-autism-a-prolific-painter/

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It’s Never Too Late…

Farmgirl 2017 RdV Vineyards Delaplane, Virginia   If someone asked me five years ago what I’d be doing today, I really don’t think my answer would have included writing a blog, taking art classes/painting, and pursuing my WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Trust based in London) Level 3 Award in Wines and Spirits.  But, here I am. Five years ago, […]

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Remember To Breathe

‘Tis the season…for lots of continuing education, especially if you’re a speech and language pathologist AND a procrastinator–like me.  Every year, I say, “This time, I’m going to complete my continuing education hours throughout the year, not crammed into the last two months of it.” And, every year, I lie.  This coming Wednesday will be my third course since the beginning of November.  And, I’m sure it will take at least ten more months before I’m even able to think about signing up for another class.  Sigh. Last week, I attended a course called, Effective Strategies, Interventions and Resources for Autism, ADHD, and Sensory Processing Disorder (Sometimes, I think they all have this title).  Most of us are fairly aware of ADHD and autism (ASD), especially since ASD has become the number one childhood developmental disorder. However, you may not be as familiar with Sensory Processing Disorder. A condition that exists when sensory signals (information from our six senses) don’t get organized into appropriate responses due to the central nervous system not working properly. When this happens, various environmental stimuli may cause a person to feel overwhelmed, stressed, or frightened. Often, this is when children with one or more of these diagnoses may shutdown or meltdown. Anyway, it was a very interesting and valuable class, and I learned lots.  Towards the end of the day, the instructor shared a number of resources to use with children to address their stress and frustration […]

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