SWR Blog

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Baby Talk University

When I had my first child, I bought a book called, "The First 12 Months of Life," by Frank Caplan. It outlined what a parent can expect from their baby each month. I combined the information from Caplan's book with all of the  text books from my Master's Degree program and made a big, big chart out of butcher paper.  I pinned it o n the wall in my daughter's room.  It was great to look at the chart to see where she was performing. The best part of the chart, however, was  knowing what to expect and being able [...]

Say No to Mild to Moderate Obstructive Sleep Apnea; Play the Didgeridoo

You might ask, “Why are speech therapists interested in treatments for sleep apnea?”  The answer is simple.  Many of our stroke and heart attack patients with a history of sleep apnea, end up with speech and swallowing problems.  You might also ask, “Is there a correlation between sleep apnea and stroke or heart attack?” And the answer is, yes.  According to the National Stroke Foundation, “Sleep apnea can be an after effect of stroke, but can also be the cause of a first time or recurrent stroke. The condition causes low oxygen levels and high blood pressure, both of which [...]

Visual Processing

There is a difference between sight and vision. Eye sight is assessed based upon the ability to see at a distance of 20 feet and identify letters on the Snellen chart.    A determination is made regarding the eye’s ability to make clear an image at a distance.  The ability to see clearly, however, is only one of several skills needed to process information. Vision is a complex process and can be thought of as the ability to take what you see and make sense of it. There are 20+ visual performance skills necessary to process what we see. Visual perceptual [...]

What is auditory Integration Therapy and How Can it Help Your Child?

Auditory Processing Disorder (APD), also known as Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD), is a complex problem affecting approximately 5% of school-aged children. Children with Auditory Processing Disorder have difficulty processing the information they hear in the same way as others because their ears and brain don’t fully coordinate. Children with auditory processing difficulty typically have normal hearing and intelligence. Children with APD often do not recognize subtle differences between sounds in words, even when the sounds are loud and clear enough to be heard. They may also have difficulty paying attention and remembering information presented verbally, trouble following multiple-step directions, need [...]

Bell’s Palsy

Bell’s Palsy, an irritation to the seventh cranial nerve, affects thirty to forty thousand Americans each year. Unilateral weakness or paralysis of the facial muscles is not completely understood, but thought to be due to reactivation of HSV herpes virus. Symptoms, which usually manifest and peak within two to three days, may include difficulty blinking, speaking, eating and drinking as well as sensitivity to sound, diminished taste, pain behind ear, and problems with salivation. While medications are usually introduced to manage the inflammation and inhibit the effects of the virus, therapy is typically requested given the possibility that facial exercise [...]

Trismus: My mouth won’t open!

Trismus has many names, such as “lock jaw”, Temporal-Mandibular Joint (TMJ), Temporal-Mandibular Joint Disorder (TMJD), limited mouth opening, and jaw hypomobility. Trismus comes from the Greek word “trismos”, which means a restriction of the jaw due to damage or fibrosis of the TMJ musculature. An inadequate opening of the jaw is classified as anything under 35-40 mm or the ability to fit less than the width of 3 fingers within the oral cavity. Trismus can cause difficulty with mastication, speech intelligibility, and quality of life secondary to reduced range of motion of the joint. Currently there is no consensus on [...]

Accent Modification- “What did you say?”

Is your accent getting in the way of doing business?  Are you tired of hearing, “What did you say?” or “I didn’t understand you!”  When your first language is other than American English, many of the characteristics of your first language will carry over into the second.  While a few differences make your speech interesting, a substantial number of characteristics, such as a trilled /r/ or the substitution of the /v/ for /w/ will result in poor intelligibility. Accent Modification may be the answer.  With the advent of web-based therapies, pronunciation lessons can now be found on-line and completed in [...]

What is the Role of Speech Pathology in the Care of Patients with Head and Neck Cancer?

A Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) is a specialist who helps educate patients and their families about ways to minimize the effects of head and neck cancer and  provides treatment when speech and swallowing skills become impaired. Dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, in one of the the major side effects of chemo and/or radiation treatment.  Including a SLP in the initial treatment planning stage helps prevent/reduce dysphagia and improves quality of life.  The biggest concern with dysphagia due to head and neck cancer is the increased of risk of aspiration.  Aspiration is when food or liquid goes into the airway.  This is often [...]

How Do I Fix Slurred Speech? Gum Chewing…Are you kidding me?!

Slurred speech, also known as dysarthria, is a condition that results from impaired movement of the muscles used for speech production, including the lips, tongue, vocal folds, and/or diaphragm.  Common causes of dysarthria include such neurological disorders as a stroke, Parkinson, brain injury, tumor and conditions that cause facial paralysis (eg. Bells Palsy). When the muscles controlling the face are affected, symptoms may include slurring, speech that is too fast or slow, speaking softly, and impaired pitch and rhythm. Drooling may be present as well as decreased mouth movements. Sometimes therapy can treat the underlying cause of the condition.  With [...]

Auditory Integration Therapy (AIT); What is it? and How does it work?

On Thursday, June 15th from 7:00 to 8:00 pm there will be a free presentation by Melody Sheldon, MA Speech Pathologist on “Auditory Integration Therapy” in the conference room at Southwest Rehabilitation at 2085 Inland Drive in North Bend, Oregon.   Melody Sheldon will be discussing the common problems associated with listening impairments and how to enhance auditory processing, language, learning, sensory processing and socialization.   “There is a difference between hearing and listening,” says Sheldon. “Hearing is the perception of sound and listening is making sense of what you hear.” According to Sheldon, some children have difficulty with processing [...]