The Month of Love

February – the month of love; loving and caring for our family, our friends, our significant other. February gives us the opportunity to show our loved ones what WE see when we look at them. When you look at your child, spouse, friend, what do you see? The unevenness of their eyebrows? The gray hairs? The blemishes? The love handles? No! You see the light that they give. You see the love in their eyes – the window to their soul. You see the kindness they share. You see how amazing they are, have been and will be.

So how does this relate to speech and language? Too often when a loved one experiences a speech-language deficit – regardless of the severity – we are quick to explain this deficit to others in front of them. This is not to say that we need to ‘hide’ this deficit or only speak of it in hushed whispers when our loved one is not in earshot. This is to say we need to be more aware of how we explain our loved one’s communication style.

Our loved ones tune into everything we say and do, especially when they know we are talking about them. Challenge yourself to first, listen to how you describe or explain your loved ones speech-language deficits; second, work to change this dialogue to create a more positive uplifting exchange.

When we first meet someone and they address your loved one who experiences a language deficit, consider using phrases that explain their style of communication versus their inability to talk.

  • Instead of “He doesn’t talk ….” try “My son communicates using gestures ….” or “My daughter communicates so well with her device….”.
  • In place of putting your child on the spot to perform, “Say Hi….say hi” try incorporating the use of visual and verbal cues to encourage your loved one’s communication – (while waving your hand slightly) “My son waves to say hi when he meets a new person.” You may be surprised at your loved ones eagerness to imitate and ‘show off’ their skills.
  • Acknowledging your loved ones hard work may result in increased willingness to carry-over difficult skills to a variety of settings. Instead of insisting on your loved one maintaining eye contact when greeting/talking to others, try using phrases like “My daughter is working so hard on making eye contact when talking to friends and family, we are so proud of her.” or “Eye contact can be hard for my son, but he is really working hard on it, he’s doing a great job.” Your loved one may look as though he/she is not paying attention to what you are saying, but they are and want to make you proud.
  • Parents and caregivers, without thinking, will answer questions asked specifically to loved ones as a way of protecting or helping. Instead of immediately answering a questions, try silently counting to 10 to give your loved one time to process the question. If after 10-15 seconds (which can seem like a 10-15 hours) use sentence starters to help your loved one – “I go to…..” or “My name is….” Your loved one will be much more aware of what is expected as well as how to answer the question. If your loved on uses a communication device being navigating to the page or buttons that have the information. Begin the response as you would modeling it with words and gesture (by pointing) to the button that would complete the answer.

These changes, while seemingly small, can make a significant difference in how your loved one perceives her/his ability and desire to communicate with others.

February – the month to show our love!

Yours in speech,
Lakeshore Speech Therapy, LLC

It’s Okay!

It’s Okay!  This week the message is short, but it comes with an assignment and that’s Okay.  

The book “It’s Okay to be Different” by Todd Parr is a favorite in some homes (the author of this blog to be exact).  The message is simple and speaks to everyone, young and old.

This week, go to your local library and take out a copy of “It’s Okay to be Different” and read it out loud every day.  It’s guaranteed to make you and your loved ones smile.

Some families (again the author of this blog) adopted a specific line as a reminder that it’s OK; especially when a loved ones difference cause frustration or hurt feelings.  “It’s Okay to eat macaroni and cheese in the bathtub.” was enough to calm those hurt feelings or frustration.

Go ahead, get the book. It’s Okay!

Yours in Speech,

Lakeshore Speech Therapy, LLC.

Help with Stuttering. You’re NOT alone!

silhouette for students jumping at sunset

We have all experienced a moment when what you are trying to say just won’t come out. Those episodes of stuttering are typically a blip in time occurring far and few between.  Stuttering is a natural part of development for children between the ages of 2 and 5. When a young child stutters, she/he may repeat certain syllables, words or phrases, prolong them, or making no sound for certain sounds and syllables.  These ‘episodes’ can be attributed to the child having so much to say, but can’t get the information out quickly and don’t want to lose her/his audience or turn to talk. Developmental stuttering my last for a few weeks or several months, and it may be sporadic.  Most children stop stuttering by age 5 without speech-language therapy intervention. However, if these episodes are accompanied with facial or body movements, become worse and more frequent, a speech-language evaluation is suggested for children as young as 3 years of age.

While there is no cure for stuttering, there are effective treatments that can help an individual control his/her speech.  As fluency therapy is a complex marriage of clinical and psychological intervention, It is recommended these treatments and therapies be administered by a speech-language pathologist who has experience or specializes in the area of fluency therapy.  As a child matures, intervention/therapy techniques adjust from learning the techniques for fluent or smooth speech to learning how to best manage dysfluencies given specific situations in the home, peer, work and academic settings.

Middle and high school years are filled with uncertainty and the constant feeling of trying to ‘fit in’.  Anything that makes you ‘different’ isn’t necessarily considered a ‘positive’. For teens who have a fluency disorder or stutter, these years can be a time of significant social struggle and self-doubt.  We take for granted the number of times in any one given day we are required to answer, comment, question or defend ourselves with clarity and ease.

Lakeshore Speech Therapy is fortunate to have Wendi Willmer as part of our staff.  As a Board Certified Specialist in Fluency, Wendi possesses in-depth knowledge on how to treat stuttering in people of all ages. Sensitive to the struggles teens and young adults experience with stuttering, she is offering two six-week small group sessions to help students..  One group is specifically designed for the needs of students in grades 6th thru 8th and another for students in grades 9th thru 12th. While working in a group setting, not only will the students learn new techniques to control stuttering, but practice those skills they do have; all the while creating a network of friends that truly understand what they are going through.  Class sizes are limited and registration is open until Wednesday, September 12, 2018. Find more information at

Yours in Speech,

Lakeshore Speech Therapy, LLC