Friday, May 30, 2014

Better Speech and Hearing Month!

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) and speech-language pathology assistants (SLPAs) work everyday to help improve the lives of individuals with disabilities through better communication. Every May we take an extra moment from our busy days to help educate the public about better speech and hearing. Here is some information from The American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA) about recognizing the early warning signs of speech and language disorders in children and adults.

Identify the Signs of Communication Disorders During
Better Hearing and Speech Month

8%–9% of Children Suffer From Speech Disorders,
Many Parents Wait Too Long to Seek Treatment

(Phoenix, AZ) May 1, 2014—With 8%–9% of young children suffering from speech disorders, May’s Better Hearing and Speech Month is the perfect time for parents to learn how to recognize the early signs of these disorders. (Phoenix)-based speech-language pathologists from Fiesta Pediatric Therapy, Inc. are encouraging parents to educate themselves through the Identify the Signs campaign, a national effort of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). The campaign is designed to combat an overall lack of awareness about communication disorders—a major barrier to treatment for the more than 40 million total Americans who suffer.

Speech, language, and hearing disorders are among the most common disabilities in the United States. However, unlike many other disabilities, these disorders often are reversible and even preventable with early intervention. Unfortunately, many parents do not recognize the first signs of these disorders. In young children, early treatment can help prevent them from falling behind academically, socially, and in other key areas at a critical time in their development.

“As an ASHA member and certified speech-language pathologist, I see the benefits of early intervention every day. Unfortunately, I also see the consequences of parents’ and others’ waiting too long to seek treatment—which is why the Identify the Signs campaign is so important,” said (Fiesta Pediatric Therapy, Inc. therapists).

“While it is certainly never too late to seek help, treatment is most successful, less expensive, and takes the shortest amount of time when a parent or loved one is able to pick up on the earliest signs of these disorders. As May is Better Hearing and Speech Month, I suggest all parents familiarize themselves with these signs at and seek an assessment from a certified speech-language pathologist if they have any questions. One should not assume a child will ‘outgrow’ speech or language difficulties. There is never harm in seeking an assessment, whether it results in putting a parent’s mind at ease or identifying a potential issue in a child that can be treated.”

In children, parents should watch for the following signs of speech and language disorders:

  • Does not interact socially (infancy and older)
  • Does not follow or understand what you say (starting at 1 year)
  • Says only a few sounds or words or makes only a few gestures (18 months to 2 years)
  • Says words that are not easily understood (18 months to 2 years)
  • Does not combine words (starting at 2 years)
  • Struggles to say sounds or words (3 to 4 years)

In adults, signs of speech and language disorders include:

  • Struggles to say sounds or words (stuttering)
  • Repeats words or parts of words (stuttering)
  • Says words in the wrong order (expressive aphasia)
  • Struggles with using words and understanding others (global aphasia)
  • Has difficulty imitating speech sounds (apraxia)
  • Speaks at a slow rate (apraxia)
  • Produces slurred speech (dysarthria)

If you are concerned about your child’s speech development, please speak with your pediatrician for a referral to a speech pathologist.

For more information regarding typical language development and other communication topics, please visit ASHA’s website at

Monday, May 5, 2014

Welcome Home, Basket!

 Welcome Home, Basket!

He’s here! Sixty-five days later, Basket has officially completed his therapy dog training and is back  and working at Fiesta!

What he learned

Basket has been trained to participate in therapy with all kids and can respond to a variety of commands including:

  • ‘Place’: to stay and lay where he is

  • ‘Heel’: to walk to the left of the person giving commands

  • ‘Treadmill’: walk on the treadmill

  • ‘Ok’: release him from any prior command

  • ‘Say ‘hi’’: say hi to friend or sit to be pet

  • ‘Up, Up’: jump up onto surface

  • ‘Here’: come to person giving commands


What he does now

This working dog can be found working out with friends on the treadmill and maneuvering through obstacle courses. Basket participates in and helps therapists with therapy sessions.


Next time you’re at Fiesta, look for Basket and his therapy dog vest!