Intro

hello hello welcome to the 360 method uh podcast  where we chat about everything autism 360.  talking about what’s going on in the program chatting with program members  team members and talking all things mindset as well as exploring relevant  ideas that autism parents think about i’m your host ella bailey i’m an autism  360 veteran coach and explorer explorer of all things parenting support today i  am super lucky to be joined by the talented and delightful er school one of  our senior speech pathologists here on the program hello  hello ella thank you for that wonderful intro  oh that is you i’m so good it’s lovely to have you and it’s lovely uh to be  able to chat with you uh and kind of uh  welcome our lovely listeners we um are so listener um focused here at the 360  method and we want to hear from you we want to hear from our listeners um about  their thoughts and experiences so please do drop us a line at hello  autism360.com whether you’re a program member or not we would love to hear from  you so before we get started and before i start to pick erskill’s brain  i do just need to give a disclaimer um that this podcast does not substitute  for medical advice if you do have concerns about your child or their  speech development please do seek medical or allied health support i’d  also like to acknowledge the gadagal people of the eora nation on whose land  i live and work and from where this podcast is being broadcast today

 

CHAPTER I

so today we are busting speech therapy  myths with earth  our uh delightful senior speechy here on the  program it’s so good to have you thank you ella it’s so good to be here  yes and so i mean in all your years of speech  therapy you must have heard some some wild uh some myths some wild facts  uh there are a few floating around yes we’re gonna um i’m gonna round up a few  good ones and we might get started with one of the most common ones that i found  so this is a speech therapy myth that baby talk  will inhibit language development have you heard this one before what do you  think yes yes definitely and look the short  answer is is that no it won’t um but let’s talk about what does that  baby talk look like so what does it mean when we say baby talk so  um believe it or not ella there is actually a  um thing called mother ease or parentese have you ever heard of that before  yes i have heard of that before okay fantastic so  basically what that refers to is um how  we as adults actually change the way we communicate  um with our babies so from early on we  naturally do it maybe some of us do it more than um others but what we tend to  do is we we will change the point of our voice we might speak at a slower rate we  might repeat more um and use simpler vocabulary so it’s actually a thing that  we do do and it helps kids  so um if you think about you know even  yourself like or if parents are listening at the moment you know if they  think about maybe have they’ve referred to their children i know early on with  my kids even when i was training a nephew i’d be like oh let’s paint your  nappy you know and i pause between and you kind of just talk as you go  and so that’s that’s the technique that we’re talking about when we’re talking  about baby talk um and it’s definitely been found to  actually help um babies but even young children so if you think about it when  we do that type of talking we’re emphasizing the key words and what  that’s doing is it’s almost like a light bulb with putting on a light bulb and  going flash flash important word here you know  you know pay attention kind of thing so it really does help  that is interesting you know i used to work at a um  a psychology research lab before i worked here and we were doing a um we  did a uh an international study on  um what we would call infant directed language so  this exact thing baby ease that’s right yeah and and it turned out  that every country that we were receiving data from in their own  languages did this thing they you know directed  their speech differently their um fluctuation and intuition um  uh

 

CHAPTER II

intonation was different except for one country do you know what country  that is um was it the african countries no it  could be wrong nope it was germany yeah tell me  although what so it was  it was germany yeah so interestingly they the german language doesn’t use  infant-directed speech wow fascinating that’s news to me i know  now it was news to us too when we were researching it i  that know really interesting um look and you know what’s really  interesting is that we’re almost pre-wired to do this it’s  just it comes naturally um  and i guess  there’s one thing to think about though when we’re referring to the baby talk  is that you know it’s not baby talk as in using made up words with our children  so that’s something just to be cautious about you know sometimes um  i hear or you know i may have even used them earl years ago but just you know  with the words we use it’s really important not to make up the words so  like not to say but for a bottle um if you know and especially if our  child’s making an unclear sound or a word for something it’s really important  to say the correct word back to them so  that they have a really good example of what the correct word is yeah absolutely  and i think um that’s something i’m presuming that’s particularly important  for a child whose language or communication development  might be atypical in some way definitely it applies for all because if  you think about it at the end of the day um  it’s about communication and we all want to be understood  so if we have a consistent form that we’re  using so we’re consistent with the words we’re exposing our children to those  words that they’re going to hear somewhere else as well so we’re only  going to be helping their understanding yeah yeah totally understood  um i guess that that kind of leads interestingly into our next speech  therapy myth that we’re either going to bust or affirm and that is using  telegraphic speech so does that help young children to talk  yeah so what is telegraphic speech should we  first maybe talk about that question absolutely yeah yeah so holographic  speech is when you’re using only sort of content words not  using the grammar that belongs in the sentence so  an example might be something like wear shoe instead of where is your tube or  you might say um daddy car instead of oh look there’s daddy’s car  okay so what they’ve actually found is that  um you know there’s there’s been some  research around this area and what they’ve found is that if we don’t  use those important smaller words and the grammar in the sentences we’re  really depriving our kids of a rich language environment  and interestingly actually um in the  autism space they’ve they’ve looked at this as well and whether you know um

 

CHAPTER III

autistic kids benefit from telegraphic specs or not and they’ve found that the  same applies regardless we need to expose our kids  to the correct structure of the language  with the correct grammar with the words in it so  what we can do is you know how we talked about with the baby talk strategy we’re  emphasizing the key words what we can do is we can still use our sentences but  emphasize those keywords the important words  yeah interesting so um oh look it’s daddy’s car  yeah or yeah or like say you know we were saying  oh do you want a drink oh here’s your drink  so i’ve sort of emphasized those key words  um and look there’s no reason why you can’t um hone in on the actual you know  particular word once you’ve said the sentence as well you can do that as a  bit of a repetition so there’s multiple opportunities to hear the word  really important not to use that telegraphic or robotic speech sometimes  we refer to as that as well so um but keep it simple yeah so even  though we’re saying use grammar use sentences yeah you know we don’t want to  use um a huge long sentence when our child is probably able to understand you  know shortest in you know simple sentences  um and always i think just um on a side note i think it’s really important to  remember that us adults we talk um a lot faster than young kids  a lot we use a lot more syllables a lot more words um so we need to sometimes  slow down as well so you know between  sentences too i i think that’s really important and that also gives our  children time to process what we’ve said and to  understand it and it gives them also a chance to respond if they want to  yeah awesome i love those tips and it um it makes me want to ask one of these  next ones one of these next speech therapy uh  myths um and one of them is i should insist that my child repeats a  word after me what do you think about this oh i’m seeing a speak a specie head  shake on that one um i would have to say um i totally  disagree with that one all right and i’ll tell you why  um if we think about communication it’s so much more than just words  okay so if we think about it there’s our  respective language which is our understanding of what other people say  and then there’s also our expressive communication so how we express  ourselves to get our needs met now  um there are many ways apart from just speech so before even your first word  you know you’re communicating um  well without you know sometimes i suppose the eye contact can be a little  bit difficult but you know that is one form  pointing is another form of communication and again um sometimes our  kiddos can have difficulties with pointing  but you know they might pull you they might drag you to the thing that they  want so they’re really still communicating so i guess what i’m  saying is that we need to probably shift our focus off the words and focus more  on the communication intent so what is

 

 

CHAPTER IV

my child trying to convey to me  and if you said to me why shouldn’t i insist on my child saying a word or  repeating after me well one maybe they don’t know how to repeat after you yet  or maybe it’s difficult because for some of our kids they can have difficulties  with the motor planning so with the muscles you know executing the movement  so if that’s the difficulty then it’s going to be really hard for me  to get the words out but if there’s another way that i can show you  then you need to respond to that rather than insisting that i say something  because i always say this to parents if your child could they would  okay totally and when they can they will yeah okay so  um so i guess it’s really about respecting that and  being patient giving other ways for our children to convey their msc they’re not  insisting on them um saying a word yeah  interesting i feel like um the next one  um is another thing that people will often do if they’re trying to find some  way to really promote their child using spoken language as a  as their primary form of communication and that’s the use of flashcards so one  of our primary um speech therapy myths is um using flashcards promotes language  development what do you think about that what have you um seen in your practice  yeah look um first of all i have to say that you know  visuals can be very um supportive of communication so  visuals using any type of visual so using objects using your gesture your  body language and pictures sometimes um or even a  device so any type of visual is going to support your communication but if you’re  referring specifically to flashcards i hold up a flashcard and make my child  say the word kind of thing there is no evidence to suggest that it promotes  language development and especially because when we think  about um ella the way that we learn language it’s actually through natural  interaction yeah so  if we’re naturally interacting with our children if we’re doing something that’s  meaningful if we’re doing something that they enjoy  that’s when we’re going to actually um promote that language development not  making them look at a flash card and say what’s on there now that doesn’t mean  you can’t use flashcards you know you can use them you can point to the  picture maybe you can talk about it if your child’s interested they enjoy it  you can do that but there’s no evidence to say that it’s  going to promote their language development  um and what i would recommend you know if parents are saying well then what do  we do how do we get our kids to um you know how do we promote their  language development then what do we do and i would say play with your kids  you know language develops through play now i  know that some of our kids can have their own way of playing  but it’s about how do we get ourselves involved in  their play so rather than you know trying to get them to play with  something that we want to focus on let’s follow their lead let’s try and  look at what they’re interested in let’s try and do something that they’re doing  maybe if we copy them we might grab their attention maybe they might engage  with us then and then we can say a word or do another action and see what  happens and it’s about building  the um i guess the two-way process of  communication or that reciprocal turn-taking and playing and having fun  together that’s what’s going to develop the language  and i guess the other thing too is that you  don’t have to always play you know i know we’re busy sometimes parents will  go i don’t you know i work i don’t have a lot of time  and i understand that and that’s where i guess it’s about thinking about how do i  incorporate some of this language strategies or how  i can engage with my child maybe during a routine  so maybe during you know path time let’s talk about things in the bath  let’s you know um do something fun in the bath or it could be doing a meal it  could be doing um getting ready for school putting their  shoes on there are so many opportunities that we can use  um to help develop language yeah interesting i feel like that  um change in headspace can be really tricky for parents you know they feel  like the only way that they can have um a helpful impact on their child’s  language development is that really rigorous kind of tabletop  setting where you’re you know using flashcards or whatever it might be  um but uh it almost feels like that’s gonna be much more fun  you know for both parties to be able to play relax  be natural about your interactions oh my goodness  absolutely definitely definitely ella and i always say i have i have my little  sayings and i always say for communication you need to have  motivation okay and it’s not just for our kids it’s for us  as well you know we always there’s an intrinsic motivation for us to do things  and same goes for our kids so just think about it if it’s fun  the child is going to be paying attention they’re going to  be learning anyway but if it’s not fun then that’s not going to necessarily be  happening the same way yeah no you couldn’t be more right and i  think um this next myth kind of uh  illustrates or maybe depending on what you think about it um illustrates a bit  of that mindset shift um especially that’s gone on in speech therapy over  the past few decades and that is um uh speech therapy is done in a therapy  room what do you think about that  yeah look

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER V

i’ve been a clinician well you know my background speech pathology for  more than 20 years and obviously a lot of that was spent in the clinic room  totally but i have to say on reflection i think the biggest impact that my  therapy even had was when i  trained other parents and when i went into their homes and  supported them at home or when i supported kids at candy so what i would  have to say is that speech therapy isn’t just done in a therapy room  it’s actually it can be done anywhere and i think it’s  also about um having a mind shift about  instead of a therapist doing the therapy um seeing yourself as part of that and  part of that team and seeing yourself as like a therapist  and the fact that you can make a change i mean there is so much evidence out  there in terms of early language development and the role  that parents have to play um  and what they’ve found particularly i don’t know if you’ve heard of the hannan  program ella but yeah  yeah so they’ve done a lot of research around early um language development and  the interaction between children and their caregivers or their parents and  what they’ve found time and time again is that  if we as parents shift how we  um respond to our children if we get down to our child’s level if we respond  to them at their level we can actually make the biggest change  and this has been shown so it’s very evidence-based we know that parents can  make a difference yeah but it’s just having the right  strategies totally absolutely and i mean that’s our bread and butter isn’t it  that’s what we do day in day out we help parents to  know that they can be the change that they can  um have an input they don’t have to feel  alienated from their child’s development process  um is that the is the hanon  method the one that’s called it takes two to talk  yeah they have a few different programs ella so with um  if we if we’re looking at eight uh you know typical neuro neuro um diverse sort  of different populations you know and it takes you to talk was one of the early  ones developed for sort of the um let’s say typical language development and  they have what’s called a more than words program which is more specific to  our autistic kids and families so  um they they’ve sort of expanded on the strategies or made it more relevant to  our kids because obviously there is the difference in the communication  um and they can be really effective the strategies so  um yeah it’s amazing what knowledge can do i think once we know  then yeah we can really be the change oh absolutely once we know better we do  better right yeah for sure absolutely um we’ve got  our last uh myth to bust here um and it is that learning to learn  languages at a time bilingualism causes language delays in young children  now i would have to say that’s a big false  yes so  yeah so learning two languages in fact learning more than even two languages at  a time does not cause language delays  if we’re going to have a language delay it will probably acquire affects um all  the languages across the board so there’s no evidence to suggest that  speaking another language will cause a delay and in fact what they’ve found is  that kids who are exposed to more than one language have what we call um  linguistic skills so if you think about it from a higher thinking sort of more  flexible thinking level um because if you think about it you  know when you speak one language you have vocabulary in one language when you  speak more than one let’s say two you may have  another word that represents the same thing in a different language so you’re  learning that oh wow that can mean that things so  um yes so the short answer is no  bilingualism doesn’t cause any language delays and  i have to say that you know um i think it’s really important for families that  are bilingual um particularly if english isn’t their first language  i really encourage the parents or the the families to  um use their mother tongue because what we find from a language perspective is  that if you’re using a language that you’re  less fluent in you’re not as comfortable you’re less likely to talk  and you’re less likely to do the normal things that you would say if you were  comfortable in your mother tongue so for example singing songs or you know  nursery rhymes or just talking to your child so  i always encourage families to use their mother tongue if they’re most  comfortable in that if you want to use both you can as well  we say try not to mix the words in the same sentence where possible  purely because every language has its own um  grammatical rules i guess from that sense  but you can repeat it in the other language  um but you know even i suppose you know the thing is  even when we don’t admit we sometimes find our kids mix the languages and then  um sometimes parents will go well does that mean my child’s the answer is no  they’re not confused actually doing something really clever  um have you ever heard of something called code switching or code mixing yes  that but not in this context oh okay so  um it’s actually when we will switch from one language to the  other um when it’s easier to access the vocabulary from another language so kids  will often if they’re exposed to more than one language they might mix the two  languages together and sometimes um we’re led to believe that our child’s  confused when in fact they’re doing something really clever with their brain  they’re going okay i know this word from this language that word from that  language i’ll just put it together and there’s my sentence so that’s really a  clever thing that they’re doing um and so that’s not a reason to stop speaking  to your language your child in another language if anything they’re doing a  higher level thinking skills so that’s really awesome if you do see that  that is awesome um i did part of my internship in copenhagen and i mean one  of the well-known things about scandinavian countries is that they are  very bilingual everybody learns english and is very comfortable in  english but what they noticed is that um  and i mean i was in in denmark kind of thing and so the examples that i’ll use  are danish and english but that kids would grow to kind of seven or eight  doing that exact same code switching between danish and english in sentences  um picking up you know having a full sentence of danish but an english word  that they want to use to describe something in the middle and then at  about seven or eight dependent you know when the kiddo is developmentally ready  they they kind of then seem to understand and extricate the two  languages and use them in context you know context appropriate ways  is there something in that about the research what’s that about  um yeah look i’m not sure about the ages i must admit um i haven’t you know  checked on that but i can definitely do that for you but i do know  um in terms of the languages and um i  suppose the exposure to those languages and sometimes what can happen is that  if you’re exposed to say like a particular language in a particular  country for certain hours of the day and then you may be exposed to another  language let’s say at home or what have you so it’s not as  i guess frequent or the hours or less and you are still bilingual or you’re  still understanding but you may be what we call like a passive bilingual so you  understand one language um you’re stronger in the other language so  you tend to speak that language more so i’m not sure if i’m answering your  question yeah particularly but you know that’s an interesting finding in itself  um and look i just want to say something  about bilingualism particularly for our kiddos that are nonverbal totally you  know what if the parents are saying well my child doesn’t use any words you know  can i still speak to them and yes you can yes you definitely can  because remember it’s about enriching our child’s environment and sometimes  our children understand more than they can say so just because they can’t say  the words doesn’t mean they don’t understand it  so we need to still be exposing them to  that rich language and if you think about it when you’re  comfortable in your mother tongue you’re more likely to  engage with your child on many different levels and  there are also going to be if you think about connections and  family and extended you know like grandparents and what have you he’s  going to open up another world for them so even if they can’t speak they’re  going to hopefully understand and pick up on some of that vocabulary that we  can still support um so it’s really important from an understanding point of  view and i just want to quickly share something ella i remember years ago um  i used to visit a lovely family and um it was a um the family was from a  chinese background and so they were bilingual so they were exposed to you  know mandarin in english but what they had done was they were told to speak in  a single language so they had spoken to their child their autistic son i can’t  remember how old he was now but only in english  um however they had been speaking to each other in mandarin for all this time  yeah and then one day something happened  and then they were speaking amanda into each other and and their son turned  around and responded and now they were shocked because they thought well we  haven’t spoken a word of mandarin to you how do you  understand well if you think about it he was exposed to that language all his  life he’d heard his parents talk the whole time so that just shows just  because they weren’t teaching him directly he was exposed to it he was in  an environment where he heard that language and he understood it  isn’t that amazing yeah i think that’s amazing oh how cool i’ve certainly heard  stories about um kids learning spanish from the  internet yes there’s media there’s bilingual media and that kind of thing  and all of a sudden they’re speaking spanish and their  parents are thinking we didn’t teach them spanish  yes yes oh look that’s an interesting point you make ella actually one of my  parents was asking that the other day because she was finding her child was  preferring to watch videos in other languages and um  okay yeah yes so um and i’m hearing that more and more you know like preferring  russian when you you haven’t and spoken i’ve heard that yes i’ve heard  specifically russian yeah yeah so i don’t know what it is about the  intonation of that language but it seems to be that for some of our kiddos who  maybe have preferences from a auditory sensory point of view maybe they’re  preferring to listen to the flow of some of these languages  yeah it’s really interesting and i’d love to hear some more research in this  space because it’s obviously just um coming out in you know recent years  because of all of the access i guess with the devices and the  technology so um but i wouldn’t be concerned you know  sometimes parents will say oh should i stop my child from watching a video in  another language i would say look if they’re enjoying it you can still watch  it maybe you can sit alongside them have a chat about what they’re seeing what’s  happening so um you know don’t worry but um and just you know obviously as  long as you’re exposing them to other experiences and play opportunities and  talking to them and i wouldn’t be too worried about a video here and there in  another language yeah  amazing um  i think uh there’s you’re right that it’s it must have um something to do  with the increase in access to all these different types of media and the the um  youtube rabbit holes yes definitely  yeah yeah um we’re gonna answer one of our lovely listener parent  questions now um so this one i thought would be um super appropriate for you  um and it is from sarah from launceston who asks or says um i’m worried that  using signs or pictures to communicate will inhibit

 

CHAPTER VI

my child’s speech  development what are your thoughts and this is this is just a straight handle  to you go for it  look i i totally understand sometimes um parents can be reluctant um you know  moving towards i guess a non-verbal way of communicating yeah but  what the evidence and the research tells us is that actually  if we provide those other means for our children to communicate so things like  um it could be keyword signing it could be gesture um it could be pictures  photos devices too communication devices  all of these things will actually not inhibit their talking it will facilitate  so if anything it’s going to help speed up that process  yeah so and the reason for that is if again i’ll  go back to remember i said communication you know it’s more than just talking  yeah so there are many ways that we communicate  a need and so if we can provide these other  ways for our kids to communicate it’s going to help them  because it’s not going to just help from a talking perspective it’s going to help  from an understanding perspective and  the reason why i say that earlier is because if you think about it we take  language for granted we talk we speak with words  but if you think that it’s very abstract you know i say a word it’s gone  now our kids they may need a bit more time to process to make sense of those  things now if it was something i could see  and then i heard the word that’s going to help me to remember  it’s going to give me more time to process the meaning and if i can see  that thing so whether it’s um a picture or whether  someone signs so for example you say finish i said the word it’s gone if i  say finish you can see it  you can hear it and it’s giving you time to process and make sense of it and  imagine seeing that hearing it all the time  that’s going to help you make a connection with meaning  or um with a picture or sometimes i say even with an object you know use objects  for meaning as well because if you connect any sort of thing that i can see  with your language with your speech you’re going to help me understand and  remember if i understand then i’m more likely to come out and use that thing  um and again just on a side note ella remembering that some of my kiddos can  really have a difficulty in terms of getting those muscles moving in the way  that they want to get verbal language out so the reality is it may be  difficult for some of them and so we need to give them those other  ways so signs and pictures are actually a perfect way to do that  yeah absolutely and it sounds like there’s a bit of a gold mine there that  we might have to get you back on um again soon to chat about  um that kind of motor planning um issues with speech

 

OUTRO

anytime yes oh thank you for coming and chatting with me i appreciate it it was  a pleasure thank you yeah and um i want to let the um parents  know that every time we get a coach on to um chat to you guys and and bring the  expertise um the company donates a day of access to um a computer  um literacy course for our indigenous community um in in remote australia so  that’s just an added bonus for getting you on here which is that’s awesome as  well awesome thanks ella oh that’s my pleasure thank you for coming um and we  will chat again soon bye bye  you

Summary
Busting communication myths.
Article Name
Busting communication myths.
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This week Ella chats with one of our senior speech pathologists Ozgul Kara. Ozgul is a hugely experienced speech therapist with decades spent in paediatric care. Ella and Ozgul talk about Speech Pathology myths and bust a few of long held misbeliefs about what speech therapy is and isnt. Ozgul has been working with the program for about six months and is already making waves with her excellent in Apraxia care and passion for communication!
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Autism 360
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