Learning to be Social

The calendar doesn’t lie.  How is it we are only 10 days away from Valentine’s Day!? With all the attention on sharing love and kindness on that day (as well as every day), we need to take a moment to pause and take into account the skills that bring people closer are really hard to learn.

Some loved ones pick up on social cues and nuances without issue and others require a very clear explanation.  As parents, taking the time to frame acceptable and unacceptable  behaviors for your family’s values is crucial.  Society dictates a number of ‘unwritten’ rules, which makes learning these skills even more difficult for some. Providing a safe environment to discuss and process these ‘unwritten’ rules is important at every age of development. The American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) provide a nice resource for families focused on this area of speech and language.

Your friendly speech-language pathologist would be happy to help you and your family with any questions or concerns you may have related to social communication, social skills, or social pragmatics.  Please feel free to give Kelly a call at 440-471-7190 to set up an appointment.

Yours in Speech,
Lakeshore Speech Therapy, LLC.


Express your love!

February – the month of love; loving and caring for our family, our friends, our significant other.  Everyone needs a little help now and then. Helping our loved ones express themselves is important in February and all year through. Expressing one’s self cannot be limited to talking.  Expressions of love come in variety of shapes, colors, and sounds. Give your loved ones the opportunity to express and communicate with the world.

Opportunities to communicate happen every minute of the day, knowing the best or most effective way to communicate may take some practice.  Give you and your loved the time to practice. This practice doesn’t have to take long or even have a lot of ‘moving parts’. Valentine’s day is only a few days away, what a wonderful reason to practice and share your loved one’s communication skills with the special people in their lives.  Here are a few ideas to get your creative communication juices flowing.

  • Teach your loved one the sign for “I love you”.  Remember to teach those in your lives the sign as well so when your love one signs “I love you”, the recipient will understand that wonderful message.
  • Use a speech bubble and write a Valentine’s message in the bubble or a simple heart cut from paper.  Have your loved one hold the speech bubble or heart and snap a picture. Whose day won’t be uplifted receiving that message via text or email?
  • Using pink or red lipstick/chapstick, have your loved one decorate a Valentine with lip prints by having them kiss the paper.  Not only is this just adorable, but it’s a GREAT oral motor exercise for speech.
  • Simple communication boards or pictures are also a great way of communicating. Making a video of your loved one creating a message and send it out via text or email will definitely brighten the day!

Let the world hear your loved ones message loud and clear this Valentine’s Day!

Yours in Speech,

Lakeshore Speech Therapy, LLC

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