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Premium Teletherapy Services

With schools temporarily closing and the recent transition to Distance Learning, it’s a challenging time for kids to maintain healthy routines that keep their brains 🧠 and bodies active! 🏃🏽‍♂️

Whether it’s targeting speech and articulation, early intervention, social pragmatics, fluency or language skills, Chatterboxes has you covered! 

Our clinicians are available to provide Live Video Services during this time. Sessions are now enrolling for this week.

Our Live Video Platform allows our team of SLP’s and OT to provide face-to-face services through either a computer, iPad, or your mobile device. No additional technical set-up, knowledge or software or special downloads are required by the parent.

Here are some frequently asked questions about remote therapy sessions:

What are remote sessions?

Known as ‘Teletherapy,’ remote sessions are very similar to traditional face-to-face speech-language and occupational therapy sessions, but they are done with a computer or tablet device.  Your clinician will implement your child’s current therapy plan with traditional activities, while innovative technology enhances therapy tasks to deliver high-quality services.

In addition, you will have the opportunity to take a more active role in your child’s  therapeutic process.

What do remote sessions look like?

What do I need at home to make this successful?

A computer or iPad with a camera (or phone if you don’t have either of these) and an internet connection.

Through teletherapy we are able to increase accessibility of speech-language pathology services to children dealing with speech, language and feeding concerns.

How can I book a session?

Visit us online. Our homepage offers online booking. Choose your clinician, time and type of session (Speech or OT) www.TeamChatterboxes.com
Click: Request Appointment to book your session.

Questions? Or prefer to connect over the phone?

Contact Megan at 617-969-8255 or via email at megan@teamchatterboxes.com to schedule a complimentary phone consultation for your child today.

4 Feeding Tools for Starting Solids

Is your baby ready to start solids? Check out these 4 feeding tools used by our pediatric feeding therapists:

1) Nuk Brush (Available here on amazon) Wake up your child’s mouth by allowing them to explore a nuk brush or any textured object for a few minutes before a meal.  Watch as your child’s tongue follows the nuk side to side–tongue lateralization is important when eating solids!

2) Choo Me Starter Flex Spoons: (Available here on amazon) These spoons are flexible, which allows your child to practice scooping food with decreased frustrations and independence. Textured grooves also allow food to latch easier.

3) Munchkin Fresh Food Feeder: (Available here on amazon) This tool is a safe way for your child to try new flavors and textures.  It can also provide relief when teething, while also enhancing chewing skills.

4) Nuk Gerber Graduate Tri-Suction Plate: (Available here on amazon) Compartments allow for placement and presentation of preferred and non-preferred food items in a fun and “safe” way. The suction on the bottom of the plate also helps keep everything in front of your child.

 

5 Simple Picky Eater Holiday Tips

 

The holidays bring so much! More Family, More Food, More Time Off, More Stuff! And More FOOD!

If you have a picky eater, you know way before a meal is served, or food is offered, that your picky eater won’t be happy. Of course, we all want to avoid meltdowns, let alone mealtime meltdowns on Holidays!

That said, our Feeding Specialists at Chatterboxes have compiled a list of tips and tricks, and some rules you might like to implement this Holiday Season to be sure your picky eater and you have a positive food-related Holiday experience!

Put It On the Plate

Fill their plate with a small sample of a few new offerings.  Let them explore the food (smell, touch, taste or nibble according to where they’re at). The focus is on the sensory experience of the new foods, not on the consumption!

Get Them Involved

Are you baking Grandma’s Sweet Potato Recipe? Share the love of your family’s traditional recipe with your child! Get them involved, talk about the ingredients, how you used to have it growing up as a child. Get them measuring, peeling, mixing and share the experience of making this special recipe together!

Try a Practice Meal

“If you’re serving a new food or dish to your child for the first time, it’s best to do so at a time when there’s minimal stress—and that usually isn’t the case at a holiday meal,” says Annette Bartz, R.D., a clinical dietitian at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio

A Few Favorites

When offering new foods, always be sure there are at least 2 favorite foods, or preferred foods on your child’s plate. Discuss this in advance so your child know his favorites will be offered, as well as some new/traditional foods, if he’s feeling adventurous!

The Old Standbys

Given the heightened stress the holidays can bring, there’s nothing wrong with relying on your child’s usual meals. So break out the Mac’n’ cheese and Chicken Nuggets if it means you and your child will happily enjoy this special time together!

Questions? Visit Us at www.TeamChatterboxes.com; Free Feeding Consults Available! 617-969-8255.

 

This August, Your Child’s Teacher Would Love If You…..

The end of August is an exciting time for kids (and parents) as they get ready to go back to school, but it can be hard to transition out of summer mode. As a former teacher, I can tell you that it’s just as hard for teachers! Everyone wants their child to start the school year off confident and happy. From my experience, there are some simple things you can do to make sure your child starts the school year off right.

Preview

Even if your child is super excited for school, there are always little worries about what to expect. A good way to ease those anxieties is through literature. There are many great books out there about the first day of school – some are even specific to the grade level. Here are a few of my favorites:

First Day Jitters by Julie Danneburg

This School Year Will be the Best! By Kay Winters

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

Get into a Routine

Usually our summer days are more relaxed and less structured. Setting up a routine for your family now will help create a less hectic first week of school. Here are some ideas:

Wake your kids up early at a certain time each morning and have them get ready for the day

Make the schedule a little tighter: limit screen time and add in chores

Set a bedtime and read every night before bed

School Supplies

Going back to school shopping may seem like an obvious one, but it’s important to make sure you get everything on the back-to-school list. Kids are sensitive, and if Mrs. Walsh asks everyone to pull out their blue folder and Timmy doesn’t have his, he’s going to feel anxious. If your child is able to pull out everything he/she needs on that first day, they will feel confident and prepared

Connect with the Teacher

Don’t be afraid to reach out to your child’s teacher. If your child has needs that you want to talk to their teacher about, be proactive and set up a meeting for the first week of school. If your concerns aren’t urgent, I would wait to connect until after the first week of school. That way, the teacher has had time to get to know your child and can match a face to a name.

Make a Play Date

In most schools, once the class lists go out there’s no changing them. Teachers put a lot of time, thought and effort into creating next year’s classrooms, but sometimes decisions are out of their control. Don’t panic if you don’t see your child’s best friends on the list. Instead, make a play date or two with some new classmates. Knowing you have a friend to play with that first day makes all the difference!

I hope these 5 tips will help your child have a confident and smooth transition into the school year! Remember to stay in touch with your child’s teacher throughout the year – they want your child to be happy and successful as much as you do!

 

What’s an Advocate? How can they help?

Public schools have many great resources for children with special needs and, let’s be honest, public school educators are some of the most hard working and caring professionals out there. But what happens when you feel like your child’s needs are not being met? To answer that question, we invited Suzanne Flax to one of our “Lunch and Learns” to talk to us about her work as a Special Education Advocate and Consultant.

Suzanne is a speech-language pathologist with over 30 years of experience advocating for children with special needs in the public school system. She has worked with many families in both suburban and urban school systems. In this role, she works closely with families to help them ensure that their child’s needs are being met by their school.

When a family contacts Suzanne, she becomes their ally, confidant and superhero sidekick. She begins by meeting them, listening to their concerns, and building trust. She then accompanies them to all meetings with the school, where she acts as a mediator and translator, providing a clear and open dialogue between the family and the school. She summarizes every meeting and states what the child’s services should look like.

So when is an education advocate needed?

WhenParents do not understand their rights/Feel like their voice is not being heard

When: The educational program does not meet the child’s needs

When: Aspects of the IEP are not being met

The child is: not progressing the same as his/her peers

The child is: not getting the support he/she needs to access the curriculum

The child is: facing suspension

Suzanne’s work is so important to children’s success. Her goal is to help children get the support they need to access the curriculum, while maintaining a positive relationship between parents and the school.

You can contact Suzanne Flax, MS, CCC at 617-962-2154 or sflaxslp@gmail.com

What is Lego based Therapy?

Lego based therapy is a collaborative play based therapy approach in which children with high functioning ASD work together to build LEGO models by working in pairs of 2 or more.

LEGO therapy encourages both nonverbal and verbal communication skills including: collaboration, joint attention, joint accomplishment, division of labor, sharing, turn taking, eye contact, gaze following, learning to be flexible thinkers, problem solving skills, and conflict resolution skills.

The communication and social bonding occurs as a result of the joint focus on a common goal: LEGO building!.

Ages for Lego groups: Groups can start as early as preschool age to adolescent years.

Criterion for Lego group:

  1. The child must be able to sit in a chair at the table and not attempt to escape, etc.
  1. The child should be able to respond to verbal instructions and nonverbal prompts, including pointing and gaze direction,  imitating LEGO-building basic activities as demonstrated, with or without verbal prompting.
  1. Follow simple visual instructions
  1. Have the fine and gross motor skills to combine pieces/build structures.
  1. The child should be able to receptively and expressively communicate with peers effectively, either verbally or nonverbally.
  1. Does not does aggressive/disruptive behaviors

Lego Group size:

There is a minimum of 2 children per group. Group sizes can range up to 6 children, however, we prefer a maximum of 3-4 children per group to ensure highly individualized care.

* Please Note: Children with severe ASD would not be a good fit for these groups. Lego groups seem to work best with children with PDD/Aspergers/high functioning autism that can already demonstrate the skills mentioned above.

Group Mechanics: How does it work?

Group of 2 children: One child is the “engineer” who gives verbal instructions of the pieces needed and directions for assembling them. The “builder” follow his/her directions, and collects and puts pieces together. The roles are then switched.

Groups of 3: Each child has a role. The “engineer” describes instructions, “supplier” finds the correct pieces, and the “builder” puts the pieces and then they switch roles.

SLP’s role:

The Speech Pathologist is focused on highlighting the presence of particular issues or problems as they arise. The Speech Pathologist works to facilitate ho  the children themselves can brainstorm their own solutions and resolve issues. The SLP focuses on positive behaviors rather than negative.

Interested in enrolling or learning if your child is a candidate for Lego Therapy?

Contact Us at 617-969-8255 or megan@teamchatterboxes.com

Summer Speech & Language Sessions!

 

Avoid the Summer Slump and enroll in Chatterboxes Summer Speech & Language Therapy Program!

Our Sessions are designed to encourage pragmatic & social skills, language learning, and basic concepts via visual supports, music, gestures, and other multi-sensory based activities in a peer driven environment.

Schedules are flexible: Your child may attend 1-5 sessions a week based on your preference. Each session is 45 minutes; Contact us below for more schedule details.

Each session focuses on your child’s individual goals, new vocabulary, sounds & words, and language concepts. Our play-based space presents an ideal environment for children to be exposed to opportunities to use their newly acquired and emerging speech & language skills.

All sessions are lead by top-rated ASHA Certified Speech Language Pathologists.

Ready to Learn More? Click Here

Sensory Integration Therapy: What’s That and How Does it Work?

It seems like there are millions of different therapies out there today, and some of them sound totally crazy or confusing! Well, we’re here to tell you about one of those therapies, and how awesome and beneficial it can be for your kiddo!

Sensory Integration: What’s That?

Sensory Integration is the ability to take in information through the senses of touch, movement, smell, taste, vision, hearing, and to combine the resulting perceptions with prior information, memories, and knowledge already stored in the brain. This heavily relies on the functions of processing and recollection to make connections.

This skill, like any skill, can be impaired or in need of practice. So, what do you do if your little one needs some help with Sensory Integration, or would benefit from practicing these kind of skills? That’s where Occupational Therapy (OT) comes in!

Sensory Integration Therapy: Here’s How it Works!

Sensory Integration Therapy is usually performed by Occupational Therapists, or OTs for short. They assess developmental levels and determine whether sensory-motor processing is impaired.

Sensory Integration Therapy looks like play, because play is the child’s way of learning and developing. Activities are carefully chosen to stimulate development in deficient areas. Children with lower sensitivity (hyposensitivity) may be exposed to strong sensations such as stroking with a brush, vibrations or rubbing. Play may involve a range of materials to stimulate the senses such as play dough or finger painting. Children with heightened sensitivity (hypersensitivity) may be exposed to peaceful activities including quiet music and gentle rocking in a softly lit room. Treats and rewards may be used to encourage children to tolerate activities they would normally avoid. 

This kind of therapy is great because it relies a lot on learning through play, which doesn’t feel like therapy at all! The key to success for kids with hyposensitivity or hypersensitivity is practice! Sensory Integration Therapy is, in other words, a way to practice getting used to new things and making them seem more normal.

Would my Infant or Child Benefit from Feeding Therapy?

Feeding Therapy Insight

As a pediatric speech-language pathologist with special interest in feeding and swallowing disorders, I have encountered a wide range of ages of children who present with difficulties surrounding feeding and mealtimes for a variety of underlying reasons. I have also had the unique opportunity to see these children make incredible gains and progress toward enjoying mealtimes.

For most of us, eating is generally an enjoyable, fairly effortless experience that we look forward to; but unfortunately this is not the case for everyone.

Prevalence

Studies have shown that 25% of the pediatric population exhibits moderate to severe food refusal and that number increases to 80% in children with developmental delays.

Infants or Children Who are Tube-Dependent or Have a Complex Medical History that Negatively Impacts Feeding

Feeding disorders can present themselves in a variety of ways, making it important to know when your child would benefit from seeing a speech language pathologist who specializes in feeding.

  • Is your child’s medical history significant for complexities that negatively impact their ability to receive nutrition orally?

  • Is your goal for them to rely less on a feeding tube or to decrease building stress when it is time to eat?

When children require significant medical attention, they can develop negative associations surrounding feedings or even any touch close to the face.

Feeding tubes can be required for a variety of reasons, but a speech-language pathologist is knowledgeable on the anatomy and physiology of the systems that work together for eating and drinking and can help you reach goals you have for your child, whether it be related to behaviors, oral motor difficulties, etc.

 

Enteral feeds can feel unnatural and frustrating for both parents and their children and unfortunately removal can feel like an intimidating and sizable goal. For this reason, feeding specialists also use strategies to make this experience positive, while gaining the child’s trust to allow touch to the face or for foods to enter the mouth without heightened fear that someone is going to hurt them.

The future is always in mind, as we work with families to establish positive feeding behaviors that will decrease stress further down the road. Since caregivers are with their children for the majority of these feedings, it is also critical that the feeding specialist work alongside families as members of the team.

With the help of a feeding specialist, issues surrounding negative mealtime behaviors and oral motor abilities will evaluated and treated.  Feeding therapy will target providing your infant positive oral stimulation and equipping families with tools and knowledge necessary to meet their goals for their infant. This process requires patience, as it takes small steps to achieve this large goal.

If you have questions or are concerned about your child’s feeding abilities, contact us at anytime. We would welcome to provide a complimentary phone consultation.

Written by:

By: Abby Ziegler M.A.,CCC-SLP
Pediatric Speech Pathologist
Feeding Specialist

Read More about Abby at: http://www.teamchatterboxes.com/about/abby