Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Thanks to Theresa, Center Volunteer!

Thank you, Theresa! You returned to the Center as an awesome volunteer & assisted us in the clinic a total of 30 hours so far this year. We appreciate you very much!

Center Conducts Screenings at Lift For Life Academy

Center for Hearing & Speech stopped by the Lift For Life Academy campus August 22 to give students hearing and vision screenings to make sure they have the resources to be ready and capable to excel in the classroom!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Allergies Can Cause Hearing Distortion & Speech Problems in Toddlers

When my son, Carter, was a toddler, I couldn't help noticing that he did not react to my voice or loud sounds and rarely looked me in the eye. He would line up his toys and play alone, oblivious of who was around him. He would startle until I grasped his little hands to get him to look at me. By age two and a half, the age his sister was babbling multiple clear words, my son's words were few and mostly unintelligible.

I was very concerned, so I pointed it out to our First Steps nurse. First Steps is Missouri's Early Intervention system that provides services to families with children, birth to three years of age, with disabilities or developmental delays. To calm my fears about Autism, she referred me to a neurologist, an allergist and a speech pathologist. 

Although my son passed all of his Autism tests, the SLP tests gave me a long list of sounds my son couldn't make. The practitioner commented that his speech was like that of someone speaking underwater. However, she noticed Carter spoke much better when she used a microphone, which told us the problem was his ears, not his brain.

The allergist ran a battery of skin scratch tests, revealing that my son was allergic to a lot of airborne stuff, like tree and grass pollen, cats, feathers, dust mites and mold. He found that my son's ear passages and sinuses were full of fluid, most likely his body's response to allergens in the air. Right after his third birthday, my son was hospitalized to have drainage tubes installed in both ears. 

On the way home from the hospital, my son looked me squarely in the eye and said, "Mommy, you sound funny." Within a week, we noticed him being more social and reactive to sound and music, joining his sister in dancing to their Disney video soundtracks. The SLP said Carter was making good progress with his speech therapy, which we continued for a full year to help him catch up with the other kids in his preschool.  The ear drainage tubes, combined with ear plugs for pool and bath time and allergy meds for playing outside, worked well in place for two years. By the time he was old enough for kindergarten, Carter no longer had any speech difficulties. With his hearing and speech restored, he was selected for our school district's Talented And Gifted (TAG) elementary and middle school programs. 

As a teenager and later in college, Carter has attracted a big circle of friends, loves concerts and attends every school dance he can.  

If you are a parent with any questions or concerns about your child's mental and communications progress, start with a call to Missouri First Steps, at  866-583-2392. Center for Hearing & Speech can then assist you with SLP evaluations to ensure that your child's communication skills are developed to their full potential; call us at 314-968-4710.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Five Things Treating Hearing Loss Says About You

Here are 5 illuminating things treating hearing loss says about you: 

1: You value relationships! People who use hearing aids are more likely to have a strong social network. 

 2: You like to Be Active! Those who use hearing aids are more likely to meet up with friends for exercise. 
3: You Love Life! People who use hearing aids are more likely to be optimistic and feel engaged in life. 
4: You Value You Happiness! Those who use hearing aids get more pleasure from doing things and are less likely to feel down. 
5: You are a go-getter! People who use hearing aids are more likely to tackle problems.

Not Cured...But Improved

Check out this article from the The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association about how conversational and memory supports can help maximize communication for clients with Alzheimer’s dementia.

There is no cure for dementia—the inevitable result of increasing cognitive impairment caused by Alzheimer’s disease, the progressive neurocognitive disorder. Speech-language pathologists need to focus “treatment” on managing symptoms with the goal of decreasing disability and maximizing functional abilities.

For SLPs, however, traditional models of rehabilitation and goal-setting involve an expectation of improvement, or at least stability—not decline—in function. So, when working with people with Alzheimer’s dementia, SLPs may have questions about how to best approach treatment. In my experience, the key is to facilitate specific communication behaviors related to everyday activities and life participation.

Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age

Does handwriting versus keyboarding have an impact on how children learn to engage with written language? 

In an article this year in The Journal of Learning Disabilities, researchers looked at how oral and written language related to attention and what are called “executive function” skills (like planning) in children in grades four through nine, both with and without learning disabilities.
Virginia Berninger, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Washington and the lead author on the study, told me that evidence from this and other studies suggests that “handwriting — forming letters — engages the mind, and that can help children pay attention to written language.”

Congrats to Jace, Center Speech-Language Program Grad!

Jace is now in kindergarten. He graduated from the Center's Speech-Language Program in the summer of 2015. He began therapy with us when he was only two years old. Therapy focused on acquiring words which he learned to combine into sentences. He also worked on his developmental speech sound production, understanding oral directions and answering questions about a story or event.
Jace made great strides in his development and graduated from the program. Yeah Jace!
Jace visited us yesterday and told his therapist, Miss Kimberly, that he is excited to go to his new school and that he is very happy. Jace is entering kindergarten with the speech-language skills necessary for him to learn to read and write and to have fun with lots of new friends.
Can we ask for anything more?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Recertification for the Center's Volunteer Program!

The Center's volunteer program has met the quality standards for volunteer program administration by the United Way of Greater St. Louis' Volunteer Center, and we received our recertification through August 31st, 2017! 

In addition, our Volunteer Manual and volunteer recognition activities were recognized as local best practices!

Center's Mission & History Show Our Dedication to St Louisans Since 1920

The Center for Hearing & Speech improves the quality of life for individuals with hearing and speech disorders by providing caring and high quality services, regardless of one’s ability to pay, and continually striving to address a greater portion of the unmet need relating to speech and audiology in the St. Louis region.

The Center for Hearing & Speech is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization that reduces the impact communication disorders—the nation’s No. 1 disability—can have on the health and well being of individuals in the St. Louis metropolitan area. The Center’s primary goal is to identify, treat, and prevent communication disorders by offering speech-language and audiology services to infants, children, and adults, whether or not they have the insurance and/or financial resources to afford these services. On-site and outreach efforts provide identification and treatment of communication problems among needy and low-income populations who would not otherwise have access to such services.

Founded in 1920 as the League for the Hard of Hearing, the agency originally focused on the social and financial needs of people with hearing loss. By the 1930’s it had developed into a full service audiology clinic offering community education and screenings, evaluations, and treatment options for those with hearing problems. In 1965, the agency added services to individuals with speech disorders. In 1969, the Center developed the School Screening Program to provide hearing and vision tests for area students. The Center’s services expanded over the years to include diagnostic testing and the dispensing of hearing aids in 1975. Today, the Center is an established and unique facility for audiology and speech-language pathology, serving more than 10,000 individuals annually.

Got a Slow Talker & a Noisy House?

Web MD Says Noisy Homes Can Slow a Toddler's Vocabulary. Limit background chatter when teaching new words. 

Researchers from the university assessed the ability of 106 children, aged 22 to 30 months, to learn new words. They found they were more successful when their surroundings were quiet than when there was background noise.

But providing the children with additional language cues helped them overcome the detrimental effects of a noisy environment, according to the study. The findings appear July 21 in the journal Child Development.

Check out the whole story below families can assist toddlers with their speech growth.

Ongoing Speech-Language Services Build Kids' Confidence

Your contributions enable us to provide ongoing Speech-Language services to clients like J’Shawn, a bright 9-year old boy, who’s been working hard to improve his verbal skills.
Although he has a beautiful, endearing smile, J’Shawn is a little shy in school due to his speech difficulties, but his mother has seen his confidence increase since receiving speech therapy and at home, J’Shawn has been engaging more with his brother and sisters. His condition demonstrates that the inability to speak clearly can impede social and academic growth. We have professionals who can address these problems and develop personalized therapy for each client.
To help other children in need of services, please donate online. Many thanks!

Join Young Friends' Happy Hour on August 30th!

Hey, check out the Young Friends happy hour, scheduled for later this month! If you haven’t joined Young Friends yet, plan on attending. They are a group of young people, looking to spread the word about what the Center does for those who need audiology and speech-language services in the St. Louis community who may not be able to afford this help. 
More info on this fun event coming soon!

SLP Job Opening!

Here is another opportunity to join this fantastic staff team!

We have an immediate opening for a full-time ASHA certified Speech-Language Pathologist. 

For more information about this position, please email Gina Cato, Chief Speech-Language Pathologist at

Back to School Therapy Donations Needed

A smile from a child that has had therapy to help overcome a communication disorder is worth far more than you can imagine. Your donation of any amount helps the Center provide speech-language therapy for children to communicate clearly with their parents, teachers and friends. Your gift is priceless. Please use this link to bring priceless smiles to faces of other St. Louis children when they return to school this fall!