Holiday Hours/Cancellations

Hello Capital Speech Therapy families!  We are closing in fast on the holiday season.  At Capital Speech Therapy we will be closed to observe the Christmas and New Year holidays from Dec. 23rd-January 2nd.  We will try and make accommodations by scheduling therapy before and after our office closure to ensure continuity of care.  Space is limited in make up times, therefore please contact our office soon.  If you are a prospective or new client in our office, please contact Elaine at 571-319-3347 to schedule your initial evaluation and weekly therapy times.  We wish all our families health and happiness during the holiday season and the New Year.

Now Accepting Anthem BCBS Insurance

Here at Capital Speech Therapy we strive to help our clients and families find reimbursement for therapy sessions.  We understand that weekly therapy can be costly and we will help you with billing your private insurance.  In addition we are now considered in network providers with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield.  We encourage all our clients and future clients to check with your insurance plan to determine if speech therapy is a covered benefit.  Contact Capital Speech Therapy to schedule your appointment to discuss your speech therapy needs.  Before your first appointment we remind all families to bring:

  1. All previous testing and paperwork from previous SLPs
  2. Any paperwork that Capital Speech Therapy has asked to be filled out
  3. A referral prescription from your doctor or child's pediatrician for speech therapy
  4. Your current insurance card and information to check benefits
  5. Any of your child's toys to make them feel more comfortable.  Toys are available in the clinic and made accessible to the children, but sometimes a favorite stuffed animal will make them feel more secure.

We look forward to working with you and your family to meet all your communication needs and goals.

 

Our New and Convenient Office Location

Capital Speech Therapy is proud to announce our new office location.  It is conveniently located in downtown Leesburg, Virginia at 203 Loudoun St. SW.  Our new location offers yet another avenue for our clients to access our high quality speech-language services.  Children will love the bright and cheery atmosphere while their parents wait at the observation window or relax on the beautiful covered patio complete with a bistro table.  A licensed massage therapist and close friend Lyndsey Schmidt is also located in the same office suit and can book appointments for a relaxing massage while your child is with the speech-language pathologist. Our young adult and adult clients have an area dedicated for their speech and language therapy.  We have a few limited appointments left for the summer.  Capital Speech Therapy is here to meet your needs and support your family in meeting your communication goals.  Call 571-319-3347 to book your free 30 minute consultation.   

Our children's therapy area

Our children's therapy area

Parent consultation/adult therapy area

Parent consultation/adult therapy area

Group Therapy sessions available

Group Therapy sessions available

Parent Observation/Waiting Area

Parent Observation/Waiting Area

Outdoor Patio/Waiting Area

Outdoor Patio/Waiting Area

Welcome to Capital Speech Therapy.  You are our family!

Welcome to Capital Speech Therapy.  You are our family!

Better Speech and Hearing Month

 

 

Communication Takes Care for Baby Boomers and Beyond

 

Treatment for Hearing Loss, Speech/Language Issues, and Swallowing Disorders Can Contribute to Vastly Improved Quality of Life

 

The ability to speak, hear, and understand language and conversation are central to almost every aspect of daily life. Yet, these skills are often taken for granted until someone loses them. For older Americans, communication disorders are among the most common challenges they may face. Unfortunately, these disorders may go untreated for years—or may never be treated.

 

Often, lack of treatment or treatment delays are due to myths about certain disorders (such as “they are just part of the normal aging process”) or outdated perceptions of treatment. During May Is Better Hearing & Speech Month, it’s important to prioritize treatment—because the ability to communicate takes care.  

 

Types of Communication Disorders

 

Hearing

Hearing loss is one of the most common chronic health conditions, affecting 50 million Americans. It is highly prevalent among adults, often with serious impact on daily life and functioning. In fact, 8.5% of adults aged 55–64 have disabling hearing loss. Nearly 25% of those aged 65–74 and 50% of those who are age 75 and older have disabling hearing loss. Unfortunately, among adults aged 70 and older who have hearing loss and who could benefit from hearing aids, fewer than one in three (30%) has ever used them. This is in spite of the fact that hearing loss may affect everything from mental health (anxiety, depression, and feelings of social isolation) to vocational success (including premature departure from the workforce) to other health issues (among them, earlier onset of dementia)—and the fact that treatment advances and today’s hearing aids are more effective and less noticeable than ever.

 

Speech, Language and Swallowing

In the areas of voice, speech, and language, many disorders may affect older Americans. Some may be the result of another health condition, and some may occur on their own. Aphasia (a loss of the ability to use or understand language) is most common in people in their middle to late years. Difficulty with speech and swallowing (both issues treated by speech-language pathologists) may result from medical conditions such as stroke or oral cancer. Treatment for these disorders is critical to daily functioning and improved quality of life.

 

The Role of Loved Ones

 

In the case of older adults, loved ones such as a spouse or adult child are often significantly affected by a family member’s communication difficulties. These loved ones are also the people who are in the best position to influence the decision to seek treatment. If you have a concern about a loved one’s speech or hearing, encourage them to seek an evaluation from a certified audiologist or speech-language pathologist. If a course of treatment does follow, loved ones play an important role in providing support—from accompanying the person to treatment visits and helping to provide medical information to being compassionate and understanding throughout the process.

 

Finding Help

 

Hearing and balance disorders are treated by audiologists, and speech/language and swallowing disorders are treated by speech-language pathologists. People seeking treatment for themselves or loved ones should look for professionals who are certified. These people will have the letters “CCC” following their names when representing themselves professionally (CCC-A for audiologists and CCC-SLP for speech-language pathologists). The CCCs indicate that the person has met the highest standards of professional excellence in his or her field. If you need help finding a certified professional, visit http://www.asha.org/profind/.

 

*Thanks to the American Speech-Language Hearing Association for writing this blog post for our annual Better Speech and Hearing Month*

 

 

 

Summer Speech Therapy

I worked in the public school setting for a few years right out of graduate school.  I learned so many things, but a huge take-away was how important summer speech therapy is for almost all students.  When practicing articulation of sounds, language, fluency tools, and pragmatic skills the importance of continuity of practice is important.  Some parents requested referrals for private speech therapy, while others requested at home packets to practice.  Some students needed a little break, but most benefitted from continuation of service.  School budgets have been cut, so summer school/therapy is now more limited.  If parents are interested in continuing the child's IEP goals with another SLP, I encourage them to contact local private SLPs.  They can find nationally certified therapists at www.asha.org.  Capital Speech Therapy is offering limited local summer speech therapy groups.  If you live in Northern Virginia and are interested in discussing summer speech therapy groups, please email me at elaine@capitalspeechtherapy.com.  

Ways to Communicate with your Infant

As a first time parent, I was so worried about doing all the right things for my baby that I read and re-read books about parenting.  I purchased the "must-have's" to make sure my baby was ready to learn and grow.  Little did I know at the time, that "stuff" isn't necessarily what an infant needs to grow and learn.  In graduate school we all learned the necessary tools to needed to communicate with an infant.  Only two real items stood out: Time and YOU!!!! Your baby has been listening to your voice and your partner's voice for 9 months!  They are uniquely attuned to hearing your voice.  That's why they are calmer with you than a stranger.  That's why you comfort them in times of distress.  That is also why it is imperative that you talk to your baby A LOT!  

Look at your child and make sure he/she is looking at your face when you talk to them.  Research shows that your child learns by watching your mouth move.  Use different inflections when speaking.  Show them the range of your voice.  Not sure what to say?  Talk about the weather, what you're wearing, how you're cleaning the dishes.  When you're shopping talk about what you're buying.  Who cares what the lady next to you thinks about talking to your baby.  They are learning!!!!  They learn turn taking very early on.  When your child stops nursing or sucking at the bottle, most parents will talk to their child and they child will begin sucking again.  That's early turn taking folks and they are getting it!  It takes very little to encourage speech and language development.  You don't need expensive programs and TV/iPad games.  You just need some time and your voice.

 One last tip:  Learn some basic sign language and model those signs early on.  Some good ones to learn: "more", "no", "yes", "eat", "drink", "milk", "sit", "play", "sleep", "thank you".  These early signs help decrease frustration when they are unable to verbally communicate.  Learning signs will not interfere with verbal communication skills.

If you have questions about early communication or would like to ask questions, please contact Capital Speech Therapy for a free 30 minute consultation!  We're looking forward to meeting you soon.

Fluency

A lot of parents ask me about fluency.  At some point in development your child may have "stuttered".  "Is it normal when Jimmy says the same words over and over?"  "Sometimes I just want to finish his sentence because it takes him so long and I know what he wants to say".  I've heard these frustrations and questions during many evaluation sessions.  I can tell you that stuttering (disfluent speech) is usually transitory.  Meaning that most children will grow out of it or it's just a phase of development.  But, in a few of these cases the stuttering persists and can continue well into adulthood.  As a parent, it can be frustrating knowing when something may need further evaluation or when to be patient and let the phase pass.  Below I highlighted key features of transitory disfluency and disfluencies that are atypical.  If you feel your child may be displaying atypical fluency, please contact me today on my home page and sign up for a free 30 minute consultation to discuss your concerns and schedule an evaluation.  

Speech Sound Development

As as a speech-language pathologist and mom, the one question I get asked the most is regarding their child's speech sound development.  "Should Bobby be saying his /s/ sound correctly by now?" "Grace doesn't say any /k/ sounds.  Is that normal?"  These are daily questions for me.  Since speech sound development happens throughout early childhood and different sounds develop at different times, I can see how confusing it might all seem.  In addition to sound development, pediatricians are asking parents at each well visit if others understand your child's speech.  So, now you're worried about their intelligibility.  Many times parents are frustrated at not knowing what is developmentally appropriate and when they should seek out the services of a speech-language pathologist.  Below is a simple infographic that shows when about 80% of children will have developed sounds and their ages.  You will also take note that some sounds will develop in the initial position of a word (/b/ in "bat"), and will take another year for that child to say the same sound in the final position (/b/ in "cab").  If you have any questions or think you might need a consultation, contact me at 571-319-3347 or email me at elaine@capitalspeechtherapy.com.  We'll set up your free consultation to go over your questions and concerns.  

The Difference Between Speech and Language

Speech-Language Pathologists work with children and adults that experience speech and language delays and disorders.  But, there is a very real difference between speech and language.  The American Speech Language Hearing Association (www.ahsa.org), outlined the difference between speech and language and how each one is targeted differently in therapy.

"Language is made up of socially shared rules that include the following:

  • What words mean (e.g., "star" can refer to a bright object in the night sky or a celebrity)
  • How to make new words (e.g., friend, friendly, unfriendly)
  • How to put words together (e.g., "Peg walked to the new store" rather than "Peg walk store new")
  • What word combinations are best in what situations ("Would you mind moving your foot?" could quickly change to "Get off my foot, please!" if the first request did not produce results)

Speech is the verbal means of communicating. Speech consists of the following:

Articulation

How speech sounds are made (e.g., children must learn how to produce the "r" sound in order to say "rabbit" instead of "wabbit").

Voice

Use of the vocal folds and breathing to produce sound (e.g., the voice can be abused from overuse or misuse and can lead to hoarseness or loss of voice).

Fluency

The rhythm of speech (e.g., hesitations or stuttering can affect fluency)."

Please visit http://www.asha.org/public/speech/development/language_speech/ to learn more about the difference between speech and language or contact us at elaine@capitalspeechtherapy.com to learn more or schedule your free consultation.