Tag Archives: Speech

What’s Up Wednesday: Stroke/ Broca’s Aphasia Headway!

26 Jun

Stroke affects a cast population of people every year. Sadly, numerous stroke sufferers have long-term effects, including speech and language issues. This holds especially true for those who had a stroke in the left hemisphere, where the majority of our communication abilities originate. When there is damage done to this side of the brain, it can lead to Broca’s Aphasia, which is associated with non-fluent speech. In these cases, the person knows what he/she wants to communicate, but doesn’t possess the ability to utter out the entire utterance. In turn, only words or short phrases come out. Other related deficiencies include spontaneous speech, reading and writing, and other communication issues.This condition affects the sufferer’s entire life, as the ability to communicate is vital to daily interactions, which can render the person incapable of holding a job or conversation. Luckily, there has been a decent amount of research on the matter, and one researcher from the University of South Carolina, Dr. Julius Fridriksson, Ph.D. along with his team have found a technique that may be suitable for those with this condition.


What he has come to find so far in his preliminary studies, is the possible viability of a technique called speech entrainment. Within this technique, the part that relies on audio-visual feedback seems to prove most promising. The process involves the client to watch and listen to a speaker who talks slowly on an iPod and mimic the speaker simultaneously. Over time, the video portion is taken away and the speaker attempts to speak via audio. In his study with 13 patients, they all went through a 3 week period and practiced speech every day. By the end,the ability to produce spontaneous speech increased, which is superb considering this population of patients rarely see that type of success. So this technique seems to provide some hope for Broca’s Aphasia patients!


If you would like to read more, here is the article: http://speech-language-pathology-audiology.advanceweb.com/News/In-The-News/New-Technique-Helps-Stroke-Victims-Communicate.aspx

Dr. Fridriksson also gave a talk on TED about his research and gives some background on Broca’s Aphasia. It includes video of patients talking with this condition, including one who is a severe case and got better after the therapy. It shows his talking with and without the audio-visual feedback, which is neat to watch. It’s only 15 minutes, so here’s the link:  http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Cy6S7aMmUYo


What’s Up Wednesday: Stutterer on Spain’s Reality TV

19 Jun



Now a days, TV shows require some type of diversity, whether it be ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status, childhood adversity, illness… what’s sort of special about this video is that a contestant, Juan Carlos, on Gran Hermano in Spain doesn’t have an illness that’s viewed as much on reality (or many other) shows. Stuttering.


What is stuttering? Well think back to Looney Tunes. Remember how episodes would end with our favorite pig, Porky Pig, exclaiming, “Th-th -th-that’s all folks!” The part of the utterance where Porky Pig is stuck on ‘th’ is considered stuttering. There’s actually many types of stuttering (also known as stammering). Some examples include those at the single sound level (h-h-how are you?), entire words (dad-dad-dad, I want that) or even phrases (are we done- are we done- are we done, mommy?). Of course, they don’t always go on for 3 repetitions, sometimes more. Even prolongation is considered a stammer; so, when Daffy Duck says “That’s dissssssspicable”, it could be thought of as a stammer. These are just some examples, you can find more types of stammering in one of the links below for further reading.


Aside from this, there’s also different ’causes’ of stuttering, for lack of a better term. In Juan Carlos’ case, I believe his is developmental and tends to run in his family. Now, don’t count me 100% on that, but I’m pretty sure. Also, for most developmental cases, the person outgrows the condition as they age. Some don’t. As for him, if my memory serves me right, his older relative that had this communication disorder as well had grown out of it at some point. Juan Carlos still hasn’t, and neither has his younger relative who has fluency issues as well. So hopefully that changes soon!


In addition to developmental stammering, there’s two others as well- neurogenic and psychogenic. If you’d like to learn more about those, and developmental, fell free to search or visit the second link below “Causes of Stammering”.


Over all, I’m glad they had a contestant with a speech disorder on the show. In his case, it could’ve been a con, as some people may not have had patience listening to him, but that doesn’t seem the case! He made quite a few friends on the show, and from what I saw, it mostly occurred when he was nervous, excited or had the focus on him. Despite those kinks, he did great on the show, and it’s awesome that they casted him!


Types of Stammering: http://www.wordsinmotionspeech.com/types-of-stuttering.html


“Causes” of Stammering”: http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/speech-pathology/speech-language-disorders/stuttering/types-stuttering.cfm

Photo: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_g7H3XufwC24/TNfpoxylHqI/AAAAAAAAAhw/EngKuTZtoME/s1600/thats-all-folks.jpg


Specialty Profile: Transgender Voice Therapy

18 Jun

Although I´ve been aware of voice therapy for teachers, musicians and actors or accent reduction therapy for foreigners, I hadn´t given much thought to transgendered people. It´s not due to a fear or ignorance of that population, I´ve just heard more about therapy that was available for foreigners, teachers, etc. After receiving a text bringing up therapy for transgendered people, the gears in my mind started cranking… there´s plenty of people who go through these operations, so why wouldn´t there be therapy for their voices? After all, hearing someone´s voice can be a pretty decent indicator of their gender.

Just a simple search of ¨Transgender voice speech pathology¨(creative, I know) brought up quite a bit of information! There were even some scholarly articles and books listed, albeit most were in Transgender scholarly journals and not written by speech researchers. None the less, the topics seemed interesting! Some of the non-scholarly webpages that were brought up were articles on voice therapy for those that went through the transition, or stories about voice therapy. Some were even speech pathologists´websites stating one of their specialities was teansgender voice femininization-masculinization. There were even fellow transgender people (not certified speech-voice therapists) offering vocal therapy services to teach their techniques.  Even the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) had information on transgender voice therapy! How was I not in the know about this?

From what I read, there´s quite a bit that goes into therapy for these clients. For men that are now female, there is a bigger obstacle of obtaining a feminine voice, as estrogen doesn´t make the voice higher. Female voices also have a higher pitch and rely on intonation rather than volume to stress words in an utterance. These two facts came from the second article below, which has more discrepancies between male and female speech and body langauge. There´s plenty more information in these articles/websites.

A Speech Pathologist who does this work in NY:http://www.transgendervoice.net/about.html

Info-Q&A- Further Reading: (Note, the lady interviewed is not a speech therapist)http://blogs.plos.org/wonderland/2011/08/17/learning-to-speak-like-a-woman/

A Transgendered male-to-female´s website: http://www.lauras-playground.com/transgender_voice_therapist_list.htm

ASHA: http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/TGTS.htm

Article on Gov´t giving money to GWU for transgender voice research:http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/gov-t-spending-152500-study-voice-therapy-transgenders

Brochure: http://people.umass.edu/mva/pdf/ComDis%20612%20Student%20Presentations_09/Transgender%20Voice%20Therapy%20Brochure.pdf

Image retrieved from: http://www.rebeccaroot.co.uk/userimages/WebsiteTSLogo1.jpg

What’s Up Wednesday: Organization/Study Methods

3 Apr

As any aspiring professional, or at least I hope, I’m on a mission to gain as much knowledge as I can about my future profession. I want to learn it and retain it, every little bit. I just have some slight issues: note organization and retaining the mass of information. I’m able to remember the gist of things, and most details, but I want to remember it all so I have a great repertoire to draw from. As for organization, my notes from past and current classes are slightly organized in a few folders, but I’d like to have them better filed for reference. So how do I plan about doing these tasks? Here’s what I’ve come up with:

I know I tend to learn by writing, so this may seem tedious for some. But for me, this should lead to positive results:

-Take notes in class and from readings, either in a 5 subject notebook or one notebook for all classes (you’ll see why this doesn’t matter as much later). Star/Highlight anything said multiple times or pointed out by teacher.

-Re-write these notes more neatly, and more organized, in the designated single subject notebook for each class/topic.

  • color code all things that were starred/highlighted from notes: blue for terms/definitions; green for concepts; red for extra information pointed out or that seems important; yellow for assessment/treatment tests and techniques

– When it’s near test time, re-write the notes in a summarized form, with the most important information. This will be used to study for tests (and re-read the full notes a few times as well).

-Make note cards to use for random practice throughout year to stay up-to-date on information.

-Place the single-subject notebooks and any handouts in an accordion folder/ small box for safe keeping and future reference. If there is extra room in single-subject notebook, then rip out pages and place them in a folder with handouts to put in accordion folder. The extra pages can then be used for another subject, and the folder will save space in the accordion folder/box. Be a tree hugger!

I’m hoping that by using this system I can be more well organized and create a way to store/ review information when needed in the future. Hopefully you find this, or an adapted version, helpful for your studies!

Volunteering Is Almost Okay’ed!

2 Apr

I’m sooo excited. After quite some time passing to get many papers, tests, fingerprinting orders, etc done… I’m 99% the way to volunteering at a school! This is great, as I can get more experience with kids, and some will have disabilities, and some will also meet with SLPs! So now I can get some observation hours in as well (hopefully). I’ve been waiting for this to happen, and now it’s just about here. I love working with kids and seeing them grow, so this will just be all the better. And not only will I get something out of this, the kids will too, as I’ll interact with them and possibly help with projects and such. I’ll keep you guys updated as things get laid out more!


I suggest that if you want volunteer hours to look through every facet that you can! I found this by attending a volunteer fair, and a representative from United Way was there and she contacted the director of this program based on my preferences! So you can find these types of things everywhere, and networking helps. There were other great opportunities at the fair too, and just from looking online. So just keep looking, contacting, etc. You should find a good placement within some time! Just remember you’ll probably need to do clearances and possibly some medical tests to work with certain populations. AND always comply with HIPPA!

Funny Video!

17 Feb

Soooo… the other day we were learning about typical speech and Autism Spectrum Disorder, especially about gaining friendship and positive association with your clients (particularly the younger crowd) to be placed in their “trusted” circle to promote willingness to participate in therapy. It also helps to get their peers involved too. The guest speaker then showed us this video, which I find pretty hilarious. This demonstrates the outside-in approach to therapy, except in a more abstract way, not necessarily therapy related. But the concept is “shown” when you get further in the video. It may possibly be a stretch, but either way, here’s the video. Hope it brightens your day!

SLP Skills Saturday #2: Finding Patterns

9 Feb

It’s time for the second installation of the SLP Skills Saturday series! As you can see in the title, today I’ll be focusing on the idea that hopeful and current SLPs should be able to find patterns. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean putting the pieces together for a small 6-piece puzzle… professionals in this field have to also be able to complete those life-size 500 piece puzzles as well. Finding all the little things and piecing them together to find the underlying patterns that make the entire Shaquille O’Neal puzzle pattern. It’s a very valuable skill to have, as sometimes these patterns can have the tiniest little details that need attending to or you might just miss it and spend an extra hour figuring out where that darn blue piece with yellow and white spots might go.

SLPs needs to have good auditory perception to help detect some patterns of speech. One example would be for phonological patterns. They must be able to tell if a certain sound is said correctly in each position in a word (Initial, Medial and Final).  Perhaps the client can say /t/ in the intial position (ex. [tɪn] “tin”), but then it resembles the flap/tap in medial or final positions when it shouldn’t… like, [bʌɾn]  instead of  [bʌʔn]  for “button”.  Or maybe the client omits specific phonemes, or just consonants in general in certain parts of a word. Sometimes this is just part of typical development, like omitting the final consonant in a word. You have to be able to identify patterns like that and discern if it is part of development or needs intervention.

To go along with this theme, perhaps you will have to use those pattern finding skills to pick out articulation issues. You’ll have to watch and listen for misarticulation of sounds. Place of articulation seems to be a big one; is the client pronouncing the sound in the wrong area of the speech mechanism? /S/ is sometimes dentalized and said with the tongue near the teeth instead of the alveolar ridge (the bumpy part behind the teeth).  It’s things like that where you have to find the pattern and determine the best method for therapy. Perhaps it’s tied in with another issue and is only dentalized when after a certain phoneme or in a specific syllable position. That’s when you are trying to find out where that blue piece with yellow and white spots fits into the life size puzzle. The big, crazy puzzle.

It isn’t always about what the client says, but just getting the client to talk or finding a way to have him/her gain more interest in the activities! This piece of the puzzle will rely on your eye for creativity and adapting to the situation. What if you have a mute or autistic client that has communication issues with starting or continuing a conversation? Or even a fear of communication? You’ll have to use multiple techniques to see which one is just right, and what piece of the puzzle will fit to have your client be enthusiastic about learning and talking. You want to find that one piece that encourages him/her to engage in therapy and conversing. Sometimes it’s a simple hobby that fits in the 6-piece puzzle, other times it’s a piece that you have to search for like a needle in the haystack of 500 pieces.

Of course there are other patterns that need finding. This is just a simple “taste” of some possibilities of possible patterns that SLPs (and those to be!) need to keep an eye out for. Pattern finding is an integral part of this profession. It’s necessary to find what is going on and where it occurs so you can form an appropriate therapy plan for optimal progression. You probably won’t completely fix and complete the puzzle, but you will at least be able to see more of the therapy picture puzzle.

*picture from: http://www.illustrationsof.com/royalty-free-puzzle-pieces-clipart-illustration-221865.jpg

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