Speech and Language Disorders Caused by ADHD

Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is a problem that affects learning in school-age children and inhibits their ability to pay attention. It can create many problems, including speech and language deficits, which can affect the child’s quality of life. Symptoms of the condition include difficulty concentrating, problems learning new information, inability to sit still, and difficulty thinking before acting. A neurologist or developmental pediatrician can usually diagnose the condition, although they will likely seek input from the family and/or educators before making an official diagnosis. The doctor might also seek input from a speech-language pathologists, teacher, and psychologists before an official diagnosis is made.

Speech and language disorders are often present with ADHD, so early treatment can help the child learn to compensate and communicate more effectively. Common treatments include organizational skills, expressive language goals, helping the child learn to communicate better in the classroom settings, auditory comprehension strategies, just to name a few. A child with ADHD can have trouble with social communication skills, pragmatics, the use of vocabulary, pronunciation or articulation, and phonological awareness, all of which can be treated with the help of a speech-language pathologist.

Treating ADHD in children involves the cooperative efforts of everyone in the child’s life. From physicians to parents to therapists to educators, they must all work together to ensure the child is responding appropriately to treatment and is progressing as planned. Finding ways to help your child cope with this disorder is crucial to their ability to learn and communicate effectively. Speech and language disorders as a result of ADHD can create many social and educational challenges for the child, so it’s important to seek the help and guidence of experts in order to help your child overcome these barriers. It’s possible to find a way to allow your child live a full and productive life in spite of these challenges.

The Therapy Group of Tucson can help treat these disorders. For more information regarding language and speech disorders as a result of ADHD, contact us here.

Sensory Friendly Films In Tucson

Have a loved one in Tucson, AZ that loves the movies, but has difficulty with lights, sound or becomes sensory overloaded?

Then it’s time to try a Sensory Friendly Films event in Tucson.

All Sensory Friendly Films are shown at the AMC Loews Theatres – Foothills 15. Tickets are $5 at the box office. Showing’s are at 10:00 am. Remember that the lights will be turned up, the sound will be turned down, there will be no previews, AMC’s “Silence is Golden” Policy will not be enforced, and you can bring in your own food for those on special diets.

For more information about this wonderful service in Tucson, please go here.

Feeding Tubes and Dysphagia

I see many adults after extensive stays in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Most of the time, the patient has had a stroke, or some sort of respiratory failure that requires the placement of a feeding tube. When talking to the patient or other family members, the question of eating again comes up quickly.

Swallowing problems, or Dysphagia requires extensive, clinical knowledge, and poor management of this disorder can result in aspiration pneumonia or even death. Eating safely depends upon many variables, such as: Arousal state/cognition, laryngeal function, airway protection, oral motor skills, just to name a few.

Some patients may be referred for a Modified Barium Swallow Study (MBSS), others may only require a Bedside Swallow Assessment (BSA), some patients may require a Blue Dye Test of Swallow. Once a patient has been cleared to start oral feeding trials, I usually start the eating process very slowly. Depending on the patient, the process may take several weeks and require intensive oral-motor exercises in conjunction with oral/pharyngeal compensatory strategies.

Before initiating an oral diet, it is best to consult with a licensed, speech and language pathologist. Insurance companies generally reimburse for oral and/or pharyngeal dysphagia treatment by a licensed speech pathologist.

For more information regarding outpatient dysphagia services in Tucson, or to simply ask a question about speech therapy services in Tucson, please contact me here.

More Information on Stuttering

Relaxation for Stuttering and Voice Patients (Click the link to play or right click to save on your machine)

Here is a free tool for you to use on a daily basis. It’s quick, effective and simple. In the morning, before you start your day, listen to this recording and practice relaxing the respiratory and phonatory system.
Try it for 7 days and see if it helps relieve your dysphonia, stuttering or vocal tension.

I digitized this recording while working in New Zealand. It’s from the Speech and Hearing Department located at the Whangarei Base Hospital. The speaker on this audio is a clinical psychologist by the name of Peter Dawson.

If you think you have a voice or stuttering problem, or would like additional information regarding speech therapy services in Tucson, please contact me here.

If you live outside of the Tucson area, and would like an online/phone consultation, please visit me here.


[kaltura-widget uiconfid=”1553092″ entryid=”1_wvhoqzw7″ width=”400″ height=”330″ addpermission=”” editpermission=”” /]

Speech Pathology in the Hospital Setting

I have worked in the field of Speech Pathology for 18 years now, and I wanted to provide you with some insight to what occurs when an endotrachael tube is removed from a patient in the intensive care (ICU) setting following a sudden onset of TBI (traumatic brain injury).

The patient is first assessed for vocal production. That is, we check to see if the patient is able to physically move their vocal cords. In some instances, there can be swelling in and around the area of the vocal cords secondary to trauma and the actual placement of the tube itself.

Secondly, depending on the part of the brain that is affected, we would then assess if there are deficits to the motor programming that controls one or both vocal cords. If there is a unilateral paresis or paralysis of one vocal cord, the voice could be very soft or breathy in nature.

Then we would assess the speech and language abilities of the patient. We would assess if the patient has a dysarthria in the face, tongue, lips or jaw that would impact articulation. We would also assess if the patient exhibits apraxia, a motor programming component to speech. A classic sign of apraxia is “groping” when attempting to communicate.

Next, language would be assessed. Language is divided into receptive (listening/reading) and expressive (speaking/writing) abilities.   The left hemisphere of the brain controls language in most right handed individuals.   A complete Aphasia Diagnostic Battery, such as the Boston Test of Aphasia or the Western Aphasia Battery would be implemented. One or both of these diagnostic batteries would give the clinician very specific data as to what breakdowns have occurred in expressive and receptive modalities.

Lastly, we need to evaluate swallowing. Most patients can exhibit signs and symptoms of dysphagia (a swallowing disorder) after sudden onset of TBI. Since most patients are unresponsive secondary to trauma, most have a nasogastric (NG) tube or a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tube placed for nutrition purposes. A Speech Pathologist, in conjunction with a radiologist will complete a modified barium swallowing assessment (MBSS) in the hospital to assess and determine the safest, least restrictive diet that a patient can safely tolerate. It is not uncommon for a patient to be non per oral (NPO) for weeks or months until the patient is alert enough to tolerate safe deglutition (swallowing). Types of dysphagia diets can include pureed, mechanical soft, chopped and regular foods. Liquids can be thin, nectar thick, honey thick or pudding thick consistencies.

Speech pathologist play a vital role in assisting patients recover voice, speech, language and swallow function, both on an inpatient and outpatient setting. I have provided evaluations and treatment in both settings for over 18 years now, and if you have any questions regarding speech therapy services in Tucson, please contact me here.

Sialorrhea (drooling) in Children With Cerebral Palsy

In 2001, I had the pleasure of working on a research project with Dana L. Suskind, MD and Ann Tilton, MD that was presented at the 16th annual meeting of  The American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology.  The study was performed at Children’s Hospital, New Orleans, Louisiana. You can download and read the program here (see page 58).  You can read the study abstract posted here.

Drooling, or sialorrhea as it is referred to in the medical community, is the excess production of saliva or the inability to keep the saliva in the oral cavity.  In children, this is very common up to a specific age.  In adults, I normally see drooling after a stroke or associated with a condition known as dysarthria.

In children, it is very normal to have excess drooling, especially when teething.  Infants explore their mouth with their fingers, toys and other objects.  Much of the saliva ends up on fingers, hands, arms, and eventually onto a bib or the child’s clothes.  But when is drooling abnormal?  Drooling becomes abnormal when it interferes with normal speech and swallow mechanisms.  Some of the causes of drooling can be neurological or functional in nature.  Low muscle tone in the oral cavity, allergies, and upper respiratory illnesses  can cause excessive drooling.

At The Therapy Group of Tucson, we treat children and adults with speech, language and  swallow disorders.  For more information about our services, or how we may help you, please contact us here.  We are here to help you.

The Importance of Play for Speech and Language Development

Kids learn by playing and using their imagination. So when your child asks, “play with me”, get on the ground, have some fun, and make that eye contact. There is nothing more rewarding than to connect with your child through the medium of play. One you have established the child’s attention during play, try the following activities:

1. Take turns making speech sounds, like /G, K, T, D, S, L, CH, SH, eR/. You make a sound and have your child say it back. There is no right or wrong here, just play with the sounds.

2. Make up fun stories with the toys you are playing with. Project concepts like “go/stop, up/down, in/out” onto the toys. Say these words out loud as the toy/object performs that concept.

3. Ask the toys questions. Focus on the “WH” questions, like “who, what, where, when, why”. Use lots of facial expressions and hand gestures when asking questions to cue the child that you want an answer in return. When children start answering questions, their vocabulary grows and their sentence length expands.

As you can see, speech and language development can be a fun process. Get on the child’s level, have fun, and make eye contact. You’ll be amazed at what you get in return !

For more information about speech therapy services in Tucson, please contact me here.

How Do I Know If My Child Has A Speech Delay?

Delayed speech is a common problem that can be corrected, given a thorough evaluation and treatment by a licensed and skilled Speech and Language Pathologist. If you suspect your child has delayed speech, the first step is to contact your child’s pediatrician and rule out a hearing loss or other physical or physiological deficits. Next, it is important to make an appointment with a Speech and Language Pathologist to have your child’s speech properly evaluated.

A Speech and Language Pathologist will take an appropriate developmental and medical case history and complete a comprehensive assessment of the oral mechanism. Next, a norm-referenced assessment will be completed so that your child’s speech productions can be compared to those of his or her peers. The Speech and Language Pathologist will also assess your child’s speech in conversation or during play in order to gain additional insight to the severity of the speech disorder.

Properly diagnosing speech disorders requires skill and accuracy. At the Therapy Group of Tucson, we have that skill and have diagnosed and treated speech disorders for over 17 years now. If you suspect your child has a speech delay or other communication disorder, please contact us here. We answer questions and assist families and parents daily, so no question is too small. The Therapy Group of Tucson is here to provide speech therapy services to children in Tucson.

Speech Disorders and Cleft Palate

The most common birth defect in the United States is cleft palate. One in every 600 newborns is affected by cleft palate or cleft lip, according to the Cleft Palate Foundation.

A cleft palate is an opening between the roof of the mouth and the nasal cavity. Not all cleft palates are visible to the eye. It is an anatomical defect that is the result of the soft tissues and bones in the palate failing to grow together during the mother’s pregnancy. Children with cleft palates almost always have speech problems.  Some may have swallowing problems, too, but surgery and therapy can help a child overcome their speech problems and adjust to normal communication.

Many children with cleft palate will have a speech sound disorder.  They might not be as vocal as other babies, and you may notice less babbling or talking than the average child.  Children with cleft palates may also develop speech that sounds nasal. This is because they cannot close off their nasal cavities appropriately during speech production.

Once the cleft palate has been surgically corrected, it’s important to seek help from a licensed and skilled speech and language pathologist. Speech therapy will not only assist your child by developing an appropriate sound inventory, but also help in breaking any negative or learned behaviors that were developed as a result of the cleft palate.

At the Therapy Group of Tucson, we provide speech therapy services for children who have cleft palates. By contacting us here, you can give your child the opportunity to fully overcome these disorders and develop healthy communication skills. Please let us know how we can help you.

Properly Diagnosing Communication Disorders In Children

Watching your child acquire various milestones is one of the most exciting parts of parenting. Likewise, one of the largest responsibilities as a parent is to monitor your child’s development and take action if there is a problem. Since communication plays such a crucial and vital role in your child’s development, the consequences of not taking action when a problem is suspected can result in a developmental delay. Understanding common communication disorders in children is the first step to proper identification.

Communication disorders include language or speech disorders. There are many causes for these disorders, such as multiple ear infections, or a neurological impairment. Hearing disorders can also contribute to communication disorders. Sometimes, there may be no known cause of the communication disorder, making it even more difficult to diagnose and treat. Whatever the cause, early detection and intervention is the key to better outcomes.

Language disorders involve impairment with expressing or understanding language. It could involve the form, content, or function of language, or a combination of any of these factors. Speech disorders involve issues with the articulation or fluency of speech, as well as impairment with the way the voice sounds, such as hoarse or raspy vocal quality.

Early detection and intervention is the key when dealing with communication disorders. If you suspect your child has a communication disorder, please contact me here.