Browsing articles in "Speech"

Music Therapy & Speech Language Pathology

May 14, 2015   //   by clcadmin   //   Blog, Events, Speech  //  Comments Off

What is Music Therapy?

Music Therapy is the use of music to achieve goals. Some of these goals may be musical, social, emotional, communicative, behavioral or cognitive. What makes it therapy is a few things, One is that a therapeutic relationship is established between patient and child. Another is that all the goals are objectives for the patient are clinical, and they are achieved through the use of specified interventions. Every child will have different goal areas and needs so no two Music Therapy sessions ever look alike.

How does it work with Speech Therapy?

Music Therapy and Speech Therapy are different from each other.  There are many similarities though. Both are facilitated by a trained therapist, both use specialized techniques and skill sets to achieve clinical goals, and both are beneficial for the development of a person.

Music Therapy can promote many speech goals, including but not limited to increased breath and muscle control, stimulated vocalization, developed receptive and expressive language skills and improved articulation skills.

Why would we want to add Music Therapy to our services?

Music Therapy provides a structure to promote speech therapy goals in a fun and effective way. Music varies in tempo (speed), dynamics (volume) and rhythm (intonation). These structured principles of music make it easy for children to match and learn, allowing for fun and learning.

Additional Benefits –

Music Therapy can help people meet their sensory needs; often times when these needs are met other goals are more easily achievable.

Music therapy recognizes and appreciates nonverbal communication, not only is language a factor in learning to achieve speech goals, so are nonverbal cues and responses. These cues we can see in faces and bodies and are interpreted just as equally as the words we say.

Music Therapy is fun and easy… or at least it looks like that. A Music Therapist can address goals in a non-threatening manner, and attempt to try and reach patients in a ‘new’ way that may not have been as effective. Music and Language are in different areas of the brain. Therefore there is a chance that one medium or another may be more effective for a patient previously.

The Social-Communication goals of music therapy make it a great tool for not only individual but group sessions. It is a great facilitator for allowing children of all ages to vocalize and speak together, promoting not only the development of communication, but also the social and emotional development of the child.


Music Therapy Infographic

Little Language Learner’s Club

Apr 29, 2014   //   by clcadmin   //   Blog, Events, Speech  //  Comments Off

Language Club

The Little Language Learner’s Club is about to finish its first 8 week cycle and will be starting again on May 7.   The club is a parent involved class that focuses on language development and developing social skills with peers.  The fathers, mothers, and the children who participated have had a great time while learning early readiness skills to help the children transition to a preschool setting.

Our therapist, Shannon Johnson, who created and runs the Club, says “each week you can see the children blossom into able learners who are beginning to understand how to listen and respond to the language of learning.”  The projects and the music used in LLLC encourage creativity, concept development, and careful listening.

One of the parents in the group, Maria Madrid, has this to say about the experience:

“It’s a great choice because it gives me the option to bring my son to a setting where there are preschool skills and language skills taught by a specialist.  And also they have a small group of students so he has a lot of one on one attention and regarding his special needs.  A regular preschool setting is very hard to manage where there are 20 students.

I come from an hour and fifteen minutes away, Merced County and there he would be on a waiting list or his special accommodations cannot be met at this time. Having this option really helps him with his language skills.”

The Little Language Learner’s Club is an affordable 8 week course for $80 per 4 week block.  This is a good time to sign up for the next session of the Little Language Learner’s Club.  Just call the office at 559-228-9100.

For more information please view our flyer.


Can You Hear Me Now? A Boomer’s Guide to Listening Problems

Jun 29, 2012   //   by clcadmin   //   Blog, Health, Research, Speech  //  Comments Off

by Kathryn Wage

Can you relate to this conversation?  I say, “Boy, it’s a windy day today.”  My husband says, “No, it’s not, it’s Thursday.”  This type of little exchange gets replayed again and again with increasing frequency in Boomer households.  Is it hearing loss?  Is it selective listening? Or is it a symptom of a brain that is working less effectively?  No matter what the reason for this type of misunderstanding, there can be serious emotional friction between spouses, especially when one partner does not acknowledge the problem.   The real reason for conversation breakdowns is not always what you might think and sometimes it is a combination of factors.

Just like other Baby Boomers I want to remain young as long as possible.  Hearing problems, more so than vision problems, are thought of “showing signs of age”.  Changes in hearing and listening ARE part of aging, but just like needing glasses to see, there are things we can do to improve our listening skills.

Hearing loss in Boomers is higher than for prior generations.  One study states that as many as 40% of Baby Boomers have hearing loss.  We are more susceptible because of past exposure to loud noises and continuing exposure through our listening devices at too high a volume.  Even though Boomers are more likely to have hearing loss they are slow to get hearing evaluations and wear hearing aids.  Hearing aids have never been better than they are now, but they do not restore normal hearing.  You may need to learn other techniques to get the most from your aids.

“Selective hearing is a nice way of saying that someone only listens to what they want to hear, or, worse, masks everything they hear with what they expect the other person is really saying.” Scientists are just beginning to understand how the brain chooses what to listen to and what happens in the brain when there are overlapping events that require listening to understand.  To be able to selectively listen you have to focus on a single speaker in virtually any environment — a classroom, sporting event or coffee bar — even if that person’s voice is seemingly drowned out by a jabbering crowd.  Being able to selectively listen depends on your brain and can be “better” or “worse” depending on general health or brain functioning.

As a brain ages we can measure slowing performance in many areas.  One of these measures is listening speed.  Think of having a conversation with someone while they are on a train going a steady 80 miles an hour and you are on a parallel different train that is very gradually slowing down.  You begin missing more and more of the conversation.  You don’t notice it at first, but then you start saying things like, “Why can’t these young people speak clearly?” or “I just don’t understand why people don’t speak plain English anymore.”  It’s not because you have a hearing loss that you feel this way; it is because your brain needs tuning up to listen faster.

It’s common to have more than one problem that diminishes Boomer listening skills.  The good news is that these problems have solutions.  Start by visiting your doctor and asking to see an audiologist.  Then, if you need aids, get them.  They have never been better or smaller.  Chances are your brain is slowing down too.  Talk to a professional who deals with training the brain to listen.  This is the path to better listening and happier relationships.  Take it!


I Want to Say….

Apr 20, 2012   //   by clcadmin   //   Blog, Special Needs, Speech, Superstars, Technology  //  Comments Off

by Kathryn Wage

Kayla Takeuchi is no stranger to starring in feature films. “I Want to Say” is a new film about Kayla and others who use technology in new and exciting ways to move past their limitations and take their place in the world.  Hewlett Packard started the project to find new markets for their TouchSmart technology.  From their efforts emerged Hacking Autism, an initiative to develop and deploy technology to give people with autism a voice.  You can read more about the movie and watch a trailer at the link below.

The Power Of An Insight Poignantly Comes To Life, Sparks Social Good

The Mysterious Case of the Unhappy Learner

Feb 5, 2012   //   by clcadmin   //   Academics, Blog, Health, Special Needs, Speech  //  Comments Off

by Kathryn Wage

What happened to that well-adjusted, smart child who had a great summer away from school? Are you seeing homework meltdowns, hearing from the teacher that there are behavioral concerns, or getting progress reports that are dismal? You wonder why your once well-adjusted child is now unhappy, distracted or acting out. If only your child would “try harder” to pay attention in class. Tears, anger, frustration and withdrawal now replace the happy well-adjusted behavior that was the norm all summer long. If this scenario sounds familiar, it may not be so mysterious: your child may have dyslexia.

Dyslexia is a genetic, language-based learning disability present in 10-15 % of the population. It is a condition resulting in difficulties with specific language skills, particularly reading and spelling. Over time there is often an emotional, behavioral cost that may influence personality over a lifespan.

While most dyslexics are happy and well-adjusted before they start school, dyslexia eventually takes its toll on social relationships because:

  1. Dyslexic children may be physically and socially immature in comparison to their peers. This can lead to a poor self-image and reduced confidence.
  2. Dyslexic children may have difficulty reading social cues. They may be oblivious to the amount of personal distance appropriate in social interactions and /or insensitive to other people’s body language.
  3. Oral language function is often affected. Dyslexics may have trouble finding the right words and may stammer or pause before answering direct questions. This puts him at a disadvantage particularly as he enters adolescence, when language becomes more critical in establishing relationships with peers.
  4. Children with dyslexia are at high risk for intense feelings of sorrow and pain.
  5. Dyslexics sometimes demonstrate greatly exaggerated strengths and weaknesses and perform erratically from day to day. Anxiety is the most frequent emotional symptom reported by dyslexics because of the large gaps in learning strengths and weaknesses that lead to inconsistent performance.

What can you do to help a child who may have dyslexia? It is very important first of all to listen to the child’s feelings. Most emotionally healthy dyslexic children have someone that has been extremely supportive and encouraging early in life. Emotionally healthy dyslexics have found at least one area where they can succeed. Successful dyslexics also appear to have developed a commitment to help others.

Dyslexia can be overcome. The first step is recognizing the condition. The International Dyslexia Association ( has many resources for parents and teachers to explain dyslexia and provide referrals to qualified professionals who can help. You can find more information or have a free consultation from the California Learning Connection to discuss your child’s learning issues, 559-228-9100.

Helping Children Interact with the World

Jan 27, 2012   //   by clcadmin   //   Blog, Special Needs, Speech  //  Comments Off

by Kathryn Wage

What can be done to help a child learn to interact with the world in a positive manner? Children with delayed social interaction skills frequently raise concerns for parents and teachers. Sometimes direct training is needed when good parenting and school support are not enough. At CLC, our goal for each child is to develop understanding and self-control over time so that gradually less structure will be needed from adults.

One successful method to teach self control is the ALERT program. The program teaches children to monitor their own internal body state and practice strategies for self-regulation when they are over or under responsive. Social stories offer another way to develop insight and appropriate responses. These stories are specifically written to teach and practice appropriate behavior and social understanding. Almost any situation can be portrayed in a story as the need arises.

If you have a child with social interaction needs, call for more information.

Comprehensive Treatment Offers Hope for Autism

Nov 2, 2011   //   by clcadmin   //   Blog, Research, Special Needs, Speech  //  Comments Off

by Kathryn Wage

Autism is a neurologically based condition that affects many areas of development including speech, language, social interaction, behavior and motor skills. Parents of children with autism are often bewildered about the best choice for treatment and are uncertain of how to ensure their child receives appropriate services.

Though very little data exists on early treatment in Autism there are encouraging recent studies that demonstrate early treatment has a positive effect on the development of the child with autism. Recent studies also show that appropriate comprehensive intervention for children as young as 18 months of age can improve symptoms and reduce the severity of the disorder. While speech communication skills are often the most obvious symptom that causes concern for parents; motor skills, sensory processing, and social responsiveness are also affected and provide additional challenges as children begin to interact with the environment during the first year of life.

Little is known about the types of intervention that are most effective because studies have not focused on comparing treatment outcomes of the different types of therapy. Treatment ranges from the most structured discreet trial methods to more open-ended, child-centered methods. A critical component appears to be parent responsiveness training so that skills learned can be used in natural environments such as home and play. Children with autism benefit from multiple approaches to encourage normal development.

The California Learning Connection (CLC) provides an environment where the integration of approaches creates positive outcomes for children with autism and their families. The occupational therapists, speech/language therapists and play therapists at CLC design programs that are intensive and effective in providing a variety of appropriate interventions. Additionally, CLC therapists work cooperatively with other agencies and providers to build successful programs that increase social engagement, communication and sensory motor skills in children with autism. Most importantly, parents are given support and training in extending the benefits of therapy throughout a child’s day and across environments.

To learn more about the services at the California Learning Connection call for a free consultation (559) 228-9100 or visit

Our daughter, Emma (age 5) has made tremendous progress in the past three years and as a result no longer requires the same level of services. In fact, she was receiving  over forty hours a week of combined services and now merely requires speech a few hours a week. We attribute her progress to the comprehensive and intensive early intervention she received while at the California Learning Connection. We believe early intervention has profound effects for children with autism and Emma is proof of the same.

-Testimonial from Bethany Berube

Center For Communication Skills, Speech & Language Pathologists, Fresno, CA