May is Better Hearing & Speech Month! Know The Signs Of Communication Disorders.

bhsmA new, nationwide effort to educate the public about communication disorders was recently launched by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Called Identify the Signs, this campaign specifically aims to help people recognize the early warning signs of communication disorders. This topic couldn’t be timelier—or more important. Click here to learn how to identify the signs in infants, children and adults.

An estimated 40 million Americans have trouble speaking or hearing due to a communication disorder. Millions more family members and friends are also impacted. Here in the Snoqualmie Valley, there are parents reading this whose children are struggling to speak or understand language; spouses living with partners whose hearing is deteriorating; and co-workers, neighbors and others who see someone who needs help but don’t know what to do.

With years of experience working in the field of communication disorders, Encompass has seen the debilitating effects that these issues can have when left unaddressed. Too often, people wrestle with these challenges for years because they fail to receive proper, timely treatment. Early detection of speech, language, and hearing issues is absolutely critical to improving academic, social, and career outcomes—and improving one’s quality of life at any age.

For people with communication disorders, those closest to them are often their biggest asset. Unfortunately, many parents and caregivers are unable to identify the warning signs or dismiss them too readily. A recent poll of speech-language pathologists and audiologists by ASHA reported significant parental delays in getting help for children with communication difficulties. This is just one example of the missed opportunities that commonly occur with communication disorders.

Every day, I see in my work that untreated communication disorders often lead to larger academic, social, and developmental issues. Early diagnosis is the most powerful way to reduce or even reverse their impact and can give your loved ones the opportunity to lead the fullest lives possible.

speechEncompass offers many forms of pediatric therapy including speech and language therapy. Specialties include language development, fluency (stuttering) and apraxia. The best way to know if our services are right for your child is to call 425.888.3347 to speak with one of our therapists. This confidential conversation will result in recommended next steps, which may include coming in for an evaluation at the Encompass Downtown North Bend clinic.

More information.


Decrease Parental Stress and Target Challenging Behavior

By Kerry Beymer

PFP_WashingtonColorEach April, people across the country join forces to raise awareness of the terrible tragedy of child abuse and neglect for National Child Abuse Prevention Month. At Encompass, we know that parenting can be difficult – especially when kids have challenging behaviors. Parenting is the most challenging yet most important job we do and in those challenging times parental stress runs high. Parental stress levels can be a predictor of child abuse.

There is no single known cause of child maltreatment. Nor is there any single description that captures all families in which children are victims of abuse and neglect. Child abuse occurs across all socio-economic, religious, cultural, racial, and ethnic groups. No one is immune. It must be emphasized, however, that while certain factors often are present among families where maltreatment occurs, this does not mean that the presence of these factors will always result in child abuse and neglect.

In 2011, Child Protective Services (CPS) accepted referrals for 46,636 individual children, equaling a rate of 30 per 1,000 children under age 18. Bear in mind that only a portion of child maltreatment is reported to CPS, and not all referrals are investigated.

To reduce child abuse and neglect in our community, Encompass offers a host of programing that can help decrease the parental stress and help parents sort through their children’s challenging behaviors, including:

Each of us can make a difference preventing child abuse and neglect. There are a few ways for you to get involved:

  • Educate yourself and others about child abuse and its prevention by visiting or
  • Build a support network by increasing your involvement in your community. Getting involved with Encompass programs, community center groups, or library programs is a good start.
  • Volunteer for organizations serving children and families.
  • Contribute to organizations working to prevent child abuse. At Encompass, your contribution will go a long way at helping to develop healthy children and create strong families – two critical components of child abuse prevention. To donate, click here.

With your support, we can to increase child abuse prevention efforts in our community.

To report child (or adult) abuse, call 866-ENDHARM in Washington State.

“TherAPPy”: Encompass uses technology in pediatric therapy

Example of an app Encompass uses: Handwriting Without Tears.

Example of an app Encompass uses: Handwriting Without Tears.

Tablets (like iPads and the Microsoft Surface) are increasingly used by Occupational Therapists and Encompass has integrated the use of tablets and apps into working on specific skills with our patients. Megan Daniels, a Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant at Encompass, told us about how she uses apps to assist in promoting age-appropriate skills.

Skills that can be developed through apps:

  • Fine motor skills for dexterity, finger isolation, strength, grading movement and pressure when using stylus to promote correct pencil grip. Also correct letter formation with specific apps.

Below are examples of the skills and apps that many children could benefit from using!

  • Visual motor skills for tracking, eye convergence/divergence, eye-hand coordination, foreground and background, bilateral integration and crossing midline
  • Self-regulation and impulse control
  • Sequencing and following directions
  • Social interactions and turn taking

Examples of the types of apps that are used for fine motor and visual motor skills are mazes, matching, puzzles, memory, and handwriting. Other apps that assist with visual motor are hidden pictures, word searches, popping/catching moving objects across the screen and finding the differences between pictures. Apps that are used for self-regulation and impulse control include metronome, music, interactive books and visual stimuli. Many app examples listed above can be graded to include (or already include) promotion of sequencing, direction following, social interactions and turn taking.

Encompass Occupational Therapists also use their tablets to record and take pictures for consults with colleagues, demonstrations for parents, baseline data and video modeling.

There are many great opportunities to incorporate apps in assisting your child’s development and improving age-appropriate skills!

Here are the apps Encompass Occupational Therapists currently use (new ones launch every day—check out our Pinterest board dedicated to apps for therapy & education, including how to CHILDPROOF your tablet — ):

  • Handwriting Without Tears (Occupational Therapist-based program that has the letters in a specific order that is easier for kids to build their skills on).
  • Sam Phibian
  • Trainyard EX
  • Alien Buddies
  • Flow Free
  • Highlights Countdown (hidden pictures)
  • iMazing
  • Lego Juniors
  • Metronome
  • Even Monsters get sick (interactive book)
  • Nighty Night (interactive book)
  • Pandora

An unexpected journey: A mom’s perspective regarding autism

Marsha mug shotBy Marsha Quinn

 Autism is my reality!

I am the parent of two boys who are different in every way, but both fall into the infamous “autism spectrum.”

People often ask me, “How do you do it?” My honest answer is, “I know nothing different.”

Cole, a vivacious 11-year-old boy, plays sports, has many friends, is extremely bright but has social anxiety issues. His older brother, Camden, on the other hand, is 14 and is very affected by this disorder. Cam is non-verbal and will need life-long support and systems throughout his life.

My experience with parenting differs from that of many of my family and friends, but I try to share my experiences with others in the community and through my work at Encompass as the community resource manager for our pediatric therapy programs.

“Welcome to Holland” is an essay well-known by mothers like me who have children with special needs. It is a great way to unveil the journey of diagnosis, acceptance and understanding. It also yields the insight that my life might be starkly different than I anticipated yet as rewarding and meaningful as that of any “typical” parent.

Welcome to Holland

 I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this …

 When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

 After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags, and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

 “Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean, Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”

 But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland, and there you must stay.

 The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

 So you must go out and buy new guidebooks. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

 It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around … and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills … and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

 But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy … and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say, “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

 And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away … because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss.

 But … if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland

c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved.

Marsha Quinn will be presenting “Red Flags in Child Development” workshop on Thursday, June 5, 2014 from 5:30-7pm at Virginia Mason, Issaquah clinic.  Click here to register.