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Strategies for Parents & Educators: Vocal Quality, Hearing Difficulty, and Ear Infections

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by Sophia Guarracino, Speech-Language Pathologist, Olivia's Place Shanghai

by Sophia Guarracino, Speech-Language Pathologist, Olivia’s Place Shanghai

One of the most important points to keep in mind when your child or a student in your class is receiving speech and language services is the importance of carrying over intervention in both the home and school settings. It is ideal for parents, therapists, and educators to work together and discuss the techniques that will be effective for each child. There are many strategies that can be incorporated into a child’s daily routine to boost their speech and language skills. In this post, we will focus on the topics of vocal quality and hearing difficulty and ear infections.

Vocal Quality These strategies are intended for students with consistently poor vocal quality. This means their vocal quality may be hoarse, breathy, rough, or they have no voice or their vocal quality gets progressively worse as the day wears on.

  • Allow the student to have a water bottle at their desk in order to take frequent sips. If necessary, use a visual aid for the student to track intake- a reward may be needed.
  • Discuss healthy ways for students to use their voices, i.e. drink water, no caffeine, no yelling or making strange noises, or to use a quiet voice, but NOT to whisper.
  • Provide a positive comment to a student for using good vocal hygiene such as not shouting to get attention.
  • Place a visual cue on students’ desk (like a picture of someone talking). When you hear vocal misuse, touch the picture on the desk to help remind the student to use good vocal techniques.


Hearing Difficulties and Ear Infections Ear infections, and/or fluid in the middle ear, are common childhood problems which can reduce a child’s ability to hear effectively within the classroom. Although these are often outgrown by age six, children with persistent problems may have them until approximately the middle school years. They often impact a child’s school performance, as seen by difficulties listening and attending to information presented, thus affecting their language learning and use. Language is the cornerstone of all learning. Understanding and use of appropriate language is necessary for all subjects, from gym to math and science. These strategies are useful for children suffering from ear infections and hearing loss.

  • Parents whose child has a history of ear infections are well versed in their knowledge of how to medically manage this problem. The teacher is often notified each year at the beginning of school but often there is no further discussion. There are, however, additional ways which you, as a parent, may become a participant in making sure your child’s needs are met in school when he/she may have fluid in the ear.
  • Tell the teacher of your child’s specific signs of an ear infection or fluid because every child is different. These may include some of the following: (Pulling on his ear, ear pain, discharge from the ear, congestion from a cold, decreased attentiveness, irritability, increased questioning-“What?”, inappropriate answers-misunderstanding what is asked or said, or other sudden changes in behavior that you have noted previously).
  • Let the teacher know if your child has frequent episodes of ear infections.
  • Inform the teacher as soon as you suspect a cold or fluid in the ears so she/he may accommodate your child.
  • Request that she/he inform you of noted signs of an infection/fluid.
  • Provide a list of ways that the teacher can increase your child’s understanding during these times.You may copy the following list and suggest that they be considered:
  • Be responsive to the child/ tune into their current language needs.
  • Face the child at all times when addressing the student and the class.
  • Gain the child’s attention prior to speaking/ remind to listen.
  • Use visual support, stand close to child, and reduce noise levels.
  • Provide more small group opportunities and/or use a buddy system.


Your ear nose and throat doctor is the best person to consult with for proper management of ear infections. Consultation with a speech-language pathologist may also be appropriate if you are concerned about your child’s language and speech development due to frequent ear infections or hearing difficulties.

Sophia Guarracino is a US licensed speech-language pathologist with ASHA certification (CCCS). She has four years of experience in school, clinical, and rehabilitative settings. Sophia has evaluated and treated children with articulation and phonological disorders, learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, and other health impairments. In addition, she has treated children with severe cognitive communicative and sensory disorders in an inclusive school setting. She has been a national-level ASHA presenter for several learning disability topics and has volunteered with organizations that serve children in the US, Latin America, and Germany. Sophia holds a BS in Communication Disorders and an MS in Speech-Language Pathology from Bowling Green University (Ohio, US). Language: English

Intensive Training in Evaluation and Diagnosis of ASD in Kunming

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by Alice Fok-Trela, PsyD, Clinical Psychologist at Olivia's Place

by Alice Fok-Trela, PsyD, Clinical Psychologist at Olivia’s Place

Rehabilitation services, which in China include speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy, are growing fields. Over the past few years, more resources have been devoted to improving the quality of rehabilitation services for the local Chinese population. Olivia’s Place Pediatric Therapy Center has been instrumental in providing professionals to support the development of rehabilitation services in China.

This was the purpose of the trip to Kunming, China, from February 1st to 3rd, 2015. During these three days, I provided intensive training on conducting comprehensive evaluations for autism spectrum disorder to a group of therapists, doctors, and special education teachers. We discussed how doctors currently assess for and diagnose autism spectrum disorder, and engaged in some terrific discussions on how the Chinese method of evaluation and assessment differs from a more Western approach. Several assessment instruments commonly used in America were demonstrated. Cultural suitability of the instruments was also discussed. This point was particularly salient during our discussion on interpreting the results. It was a learning experience for all involved to dialogue about how behaviors that may be viewed as maladaptive or problematic may be viewed in a different light in a different culture.

On the second and third days of training, participants observed full assessments conducted in Chinese. We then held a collaborative discussion to consider the results and determine a diagnosis. In a sense, this discussion was really an interdisciplinary team approach as the participants came from different professional backgrounds. For example, having the input of physical therapists, medical doctors, and special education teachers allowed us to review and consider the client from multiple therapeutic perspectives and generated several lively discussions.

Finally, it was fascinating to discuss pertinent recommendations. Many of the recommendations that would be appropriate in a Western country cannot be implemented in China. Other recommendations are simply not culturally relevant. We worked together as a team to identify more culturally relevant recommendations and to consider how to creatively adapt good recommendations to the Chinese culture.

One of the main takeaways is that conducting evaluations and assessments for autism spectrum disorder is a culturally-sensitive endeavor. As such, it becomes extremely important for clinicians to have a thorough understanding of the client’s cultural and family background, to be hesitant in pathologizing behaviors, and to work collaboratively with local therapists and medical professionals to validate diagnoses and recommendations. Utilizing a collaborative approach allows the best of both Western and Eastern worlds to be combined to ensure treatment is in the best interest of the client.

Alice Fok-Trela, PsyD, is a registered clinical psychologist from Canada. She holds PsyD and Masters degrees in Clinical Psychology from Azusa Pacific University in California, and a BA in Business Administration from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario, Canada. Dr. Fok-Trela has worked in a variety of settings including pediatric therapy centers, schools, community counseling centers, and hospitals in Canada and the U.S. She has specific training in assessing and treating children with severe emotional and behavioral disorders. One of her special interests is working with cross-cultural issues, including immigrants and expatriates. Language: English, Cantonese, Mandarin

Physical Therapists Grow Skills Through Visiting Grand Valley State University Professor

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In March 2015, Olivia’s Place had the pleasure of hosting Dr. Lisa Kenyon PT, DPT, PhD, PCS. Lisa is an Associate Professor of Physical Therapy at Grand Valley State University in Michigan, USA. She is a specialist in pediatric physical therapy and physical therapy education. Last winter, Lisa began partnering with Olivia’s Place in the development of a framework to provide educational advancement for Chinese trained therapists.

Participants of the regional Facilitating Movement in Children  workshop at Beijing School for the Blind

Participants of the regional Facilitating Movement in Children workshop at Beijing School for the Blind

Lisa’s visit to China started at Kunming Medical University in Yunnan Province, where she provided three days of training to the university’s rehabilitation educators regarding the US accreditation system and clinical education. Dr. Ao Lijuan, Chair of the university’s Rehabilitation Medicine Department, said, “”Dr. Kenyon was remarkable. Her training was a huge help to all of the faculty and leaders from the rehabilitation education community in China who traveled from around China to hear her. The participants felt her training was vitally helpful to our efforts to advance the profession of physical therapy, set up new physical therapy degree programs and accreditation standards and systems for those programs, and to improve the quality of clinic education for physical therapists here.” Following her time in Kunming, Lisa noted, “Like physical therapist educators I have met from all over the world, the Chinese educators are strongly committed to providing the best education possible for their students so that their students can provide the best possible care to all patients.”

Lisa Kenyon demonstrates techniques to improve head control at Beijing Children's Hospital.

Lisa Kenyon demonstrates techniques to improve head control at Beijing Children’s Hospital.

Lisa also provided training to therapists at Olivia’s Place and Eliott’s Corner on current physical therapy practice in the neonatal intensive care unit and the development of clinical reasoning skills. Lis Ringrose, Clinical Director, reported, “It was great to have Lisa visit and help our clinicians keep up with latest therapy thinking and practice. As we look to working toward our mission of helping to further therapy in China, and we work more in training local therapists, it is vital that we work closely with experienced educators.”

Lisa Kenyon and April Gamble, PT at Eliott's Corner, with training participants at Beijing Children's Hospital.

Lisa Kenyon and April Gamble, PT at Eliott’s Corner, with training participants at Beijing Children’s Hospital.

In Beijing, Lisa also provided a workshop regarding the use of manual handling techniques in facilitating a child’s movement and function.This was hosted by the Beijing School for the Blind. Forty-five therapists, doctors, and teachers attended from schools, hospitals, childcare centers, and orphanages in the Beijing area. An American physical therapist currently practicing in Tianjin who attended the workshop reported that Lisa provided a training that was more valuable than a continuing education course she recently took in America. She highlighted that Lisa provided both theory and relevant application, which is essential if participants are going to incorporate new information into their work with children.

Finally, Lisa provided training at Beijing Children’s Hospital, with participation from about 50 therapists and doctors. She worked directly with three pediatric patients in order to demonstrate the role of physical therapy in spinal cord injury, encephalitis, and coma. Dr. Fang Fang, Chair of the Neurology department at the hospital, stated that the training helped the hospital team further recognize the role of rehabilitation in improving a child’s function in a variety of conditions and diagnoses.

Dr. Han,Beijing Chidren's Hospital (2nd from left), reviews a brain MRI with Lisa and therapists from Eliott's Corner to discuss the role of physical therapy in the child's treatment plan.

Dr. Han,Beijing Chidren’s Hospital (2nd from left), reviews a brain MRI with Lisa and therapists from Eliott’s Corner to
discuss the role of physical therapy in the child’s treatment plan.

Lisa summarized her experience in China with, “I have developed a heart for China and see hope for a future that includes the availability of high quality therapy services for children in China. I look forward to the opportunity to partner with the therapists and staff at Olivia’s Place as they focus on their mission to improve the standard of care for the children in China who have special needs.”

What is Learning and Behavior Support at Olivia’s Place?

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by Jamie Fanelli, Learning and Behavior Support Lead

by Jamie Fanelli, Learning and Behavior Support Lead

At Olivia’s Place in Shanghai, the Learning and Behavior Support team has been growing and evolving since we opened our doors. Today, we have a team of four learning specialists and behavior analysts to meet a wide variety of needs.

Most of the children the Learning and Behavior Support team serve receive learning support through Olivia’s Place in addition to the academic/behavioral support they receive at school, which varies widely from school to school from none at all to a full time aide. Like all professionals at Olivia’s Place, our specialists work as part of the multidisciplinary team (MDT), both through formal MDT meetings and by routinely checking in with other therapists treating the same children. Overall, our goal is to improve foundational academic skills so our kids can meet their academic potential and be able to work more independently. Most children receive between 1-3 sessions per week of ongoing support, although, we have some parents schedule only a few consultation sessions aimed at teaching them skills and giving them resources to use at home. The sessions may take place at the clinic, or the child’s school or home, depending on the child’s needs and the availability of our team members.

A child’s school or a psychologist most often refers a child for academic support (reading, writing, mathematics) with our team. Sometimes, children are referred by a speech-language pathologist (SLP) for more specialized reading interventions or an occupational therapist (OT) for writing support. For example, we had a client who was referred by an OT for creative writing support. He continued to see the OT for handwriting/fine motor development but received learning support to further develop his creative writing skills and help him better align his verbal and written output. In addition to academic skill development, we also work with children to help them develop better executive functioning skills (e.g., organizational skills, initiation of tasks/homework, juggling multiple tasks, controlling impulses, etc.).

As with the other disciplines, the learning support specialist collaborates with parents and teachers when setting goals and monitoring a child’s progress. When the sessions occur at school, this is often done on a weekly basis and some of the methods used are often introduced into the classroom. For example, with the parent’s consent, a child’s aide was asked to observe a few learning support sessions. The learning support specialist and the aide then created visual supports together that served as cues for both the child’s writing development and to self-monitor his behavior. The child then used these visuals in his classroom, during learning support sessions, and at home when completing his homework.

Learning support typically begins with an informal assessment and interviews with the child’s parent, teacher, and/or other therapists. We find the child’s current functioning/academic level and build from there. Sometimes, our specialists will provide support for team meetings at a child’s school to review their therapy and/or academic goals and discuss strategies to implement in the classroom. Both parents and teachers usually attend these meetings.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services are also offered through our Learning and Behavior Support team. These services include:

  • Behavior Intervention – Targeted at reducing challenging behaviors and adaptive skill building. Includes Functional Behavior Assessment to identify why the behaviors are occurring, home/school observations, and parent training.
  • Early Intervention: Comprehensive evaluation targeted at identifying a young child’s functional skills across various domains (i.e., pre-academic, communication, social, play). Can be used to develop/guide an intensive home program or assess school or inclusion readiness.
  • Short Behavior Assessment: Following a school or home observation, a formal report with recommendations is provided to parents.
  • Behavior Consultation: Face to face meeting with parents to provide strategies and support to better manage their child’s behaviors.
  • Ongoing ABA therapy


All of our learning support specialists and behavior analysts have a background in education, and the majority of our team holds at least one master’s level degree in special education, counseling, and/or behavior analytics. Many have further training in specific intervention tools, such as the Wilson Reading Program and Handwriting Without Tears. We’re all experienced and trained to focus on the process of learning and how to better facilitate learning by identifying different learning styles and addressing different processing areas, such as memory, visual perception, etc. Our goal is help children develop new skills and foster confidence with those skills. We strive to make even the most challenging work more enjoyable.

To summarize, we’re here to help children better access the curriculum. Our work is often focused on reading, writing, and math support while simultaneously developing strategies to address attention and behavior problems, but varies based on client need. The focus of the treatment is on identifying and using the child’s strengths to help her reach her full potential and we strive to follow a family-centered approach as much as possible. We also try to schedule services both at school and home to ensure generalization of the skills across environments and give parents/teachers the opportunity to participate in the sessions. In addition to ongoing therapy, we have been involved in projects helping local schools develop better inclusion practices.

Learn more about our Learning and Behavior Support specialists. To schedule services with our team, please contact us via e-mail or call Olivia’s Place at 5404-0058. If you have not previously received services with us, please take a moment to complete and return our intake form so that we can better understand your needs.

SHINE Academy Merges with The Nest

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SHINE Academy, an inclusive learning center in Pudong, and The Nest, a dynamic preschool in Puxi, have combined forces to create a Reggio Emilia flavored, fully inclusive learning experience in Shanghai. The combined group is called The Nest and is located in Puxi.

“Our mission is to bring an inclusive learning model to China and share our learnings with the education system here,” says Julia Burks, SHINE’s Director of Education. “This merger means we take another step forward in our mission.” “We are thrilled at the prospect of working with SHINE Academy,” remarks Helena Xie, The Nest’s Director of Operations. “Their staff bring specific expertise with individualized programs for students. It nicely compliments our own Reggio Emilia based philosophy.”

The Reggio Emilia approach puts the natural development of children, shared relationships and the environment at the center of its philosophy. The experiences of touching, moving, listening, and observing are key components. The inclusion model brings students with extra needs together with typically developing children in a shared classroom setting. Differentiated teaching is a key component and all students benefit through an emphasis on meeting every child’s unique, individual needs.

The Nest preschool was founded by Faust Galluzzo and Helena Xie in 2009. SHINE Academy was  founded by Nelson and Quynh Chow (also founders of Olivia’s Place), Michael and Lori Boll, and Fausta Galluzzo in 2012. The Chows and Bolls both have children who attend The Nest.

For more information about The Nest, visit their new web site,

Strategies for Parents and Educators: Understanding Basic Concepts

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by Sophia Guarracino, Speech-Language Pathologist, Olivia's Place Shanghai

by Sophia Guarracino, Speech-Language Pathologist, Olivia’s Place Shanghai

One of the most important points to keep in mind when your child or a student in your class is receiving speech and language services is the importance of carrying over intervention in both the home and school settings. It is ideal for parents, therapists, and educators to work together and discuss the techniques that will be effective for each child. There are many strategies that can be incorporated into a child’s daily routine to boost their speech and language skills. In this post, we will focus on basic concept understanding and use.

These strategies are intended for students who have difficulty understanding concepts.

Pre-kindergarten through Grade 1/Year 2

  • Provide a visual demonstration of the concept. For example, if working on the concept ‘on,’ actually put an item ‘on’ a table.
  • Have the children physically demonstrate the concept when possible. Have the student actually get ‘on’ a carpet square.
  • Let the student use objects to demonstrate comprehension of the concept. Have the student verbalize comprehension by explaining what they did with the object. ‘Where did you put the bear?’ ‘I put it on the table.’
  • Have the student use the concept in a variety of situations throughout the day. Use their bodies, pencil and paper, in different places of the school, etc.


Grade 2/Year 3 – Grade 5/Year 6

  • Allow students to use manipulatives to solve math problems to give them a visual cue.
  • When working on time and measurement concepts use visual organizers (i.e., timelines, thermometers, graphic organizers, etc.). Allow students to use these visual organizers on tests or projects.
  • Keep a running list of concepts the student is having trouble with and utilize others (i.e., classroom aids or student teachers) to help work on those concepts individually.
  • Give students time to talk through new concepts in social studies, science, math, etc.

Orphanage Staff in Inner Mongolia Empowered Through Therapy Training

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Olivia's Place Speech-Language Pathologist Angela Gong works with an infant during her recent trip to Inner Mongolia

Olivia’s Place Assistant General Manager, Heidi Gao, works with an infant during her recent trip to Inner Mongolia

In May 2014, three staff members from Olivia’s Place, Heidi Gao (Assistant General Manager), Angela Gong (Speech-Language Pathologist), and Lis Ringrose (Physical Therapist/Clinical Director), spent three days at a children’s welfare center in Inner Mongolia, working alongside staff who are currently assisting the welfare center by helping to train staff and develop their practices. The welfare center is home to more than 200 children, from infants up to the age of 18, some of whom are developing normally and others who have diagnoses such as cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, cleft palate, and children with sensory needs. The orphanage works with an organization that provides supplemental resources in the form of staff training, infant formula, and additional staffing. They have collaborated and formed a model room with a lower staff to child ratio for children with more complex special needs who require more care.

Our team working with local therapists and caregivers.

Our team working with local therapists and caregivers.

During their trip, our team trained local therapists and ayis (caregivers). Due to the high child to staff ratio at the center, Lis and Angela focused on training the local therapists in group therapy techniques to provide support for the greatest number of children in the therapists’ limited time. Lis helped the therapists create a positioning program to work with six to eight children in a group where the children would rotate to a different position at set intervals. Once the children were positioned in their groups, Angela showed the therapists that language activities can be implemented while the children are in their positions. The local therapy team appreciated that positioning and speech goals could be targeted simultaneously and with a group of children.

Our team came away with wonderful memories from their trip. This was Heidi’s first experience volunteering at a children’s welfare center and she commented that what she will remember most is the experience of working over several days in a group home environment. She worked with a seven month old girl and helped her learn to roll over in just two days, with her attention and support. Lis’ most memorable experience was seeing the welfare center therapists learn to do a group session and realize how many children they could help within the time restrictions they have. For Angela, the most impactful moments were when the local therapists realized that they could simultaneously train positioning with the children while addressing occupational and speech-language therapy goals.

In August 2014, Angela returned to the orphanage because she wanted to ensure sustainability of the work started and she also
missed the children. She spent two days at the orphanage, primarily in the model room with the ayis. The ayis and Angela jointly

A therapist from the center works with infants

A therapist from the center works with infants

created a daily schedule that incorporated activities that promote interaction and gross motor and language skills development. One activity involved rolling a ball between children to promote communication skills while they were in a therapeutic position (e.g., standing while using braces, lying on the tummy to improve trunk control). Another activity involved the children racing to get a prize by crawling, rolling, scooting, or walking). The head ayi commented that she and the other ayis have a great responsibility to care for the children, appreciated the support provided, and felt more equipped to help the children.

How can you help? Therapists can volunteer to travel to Inner Mongolia on one of our team’s future trips as they provide more training. Community members can donate money for much needed therapy equipment. To become involved in this project, please contact Lis Ringrose.


CARM and Olivia’s Place Look to the Future of Rehabilitation in China

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Dr. Ao LiJuan, CARM Vice Chair and Olivia's Place Technical Advisory Board Member, gives the opening presentation for the 2014 CARM conference in Fuzhou.

Dr. Ao LiJuan, CARM Vice Chair and Olivia’s Place Technical Advisory Board Member, gives the opening presentation for the 2014 CARM conference in Fuzhou.

During 30th October – 3rd November 3 2014, the Chinese Association of Rehabilitation Medicine (CARM) held their nationwide conference on the rehabilitation/therapy field’s education and training in FuZhou (FuJian Province).  Overall, the conference was quite successful, both for the rehabilitation and therapy fields of China, and for Olivia’s Place.

In total, 8 conference speakers attended via our introduction or initiation:

  • Dr. Jean Deitz, Professor Emeritus, OT Department, University of Washington , Olivia’s Place Technical Advisory Board Member
  • Dr. Sharon Demuth, Professor, PT Department, University of Southern California, Olivia’s Place Technical Advisory Board Member
  • Guy Djoken, Chairman of UNESCO (United Nations Education/Science/Culture Organization) Clubs and Executive Director of UNESCO Center for Peace
  • Dr. April Gamble (DPT), Eliott’s Corner Physical Therapist
  • Wendy Lee, Adjunct Professor, University of Texas, Dallas and Program Manager, Bethel Speech & Hearing
  • Dr. Henry Lew, Professor and Chair, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders University of Hawaii, Olivia’s Place Technical Advisory Board Member
  • Dr. Lucy Liu, Adjunct Professor, University of Texas, Dallas & Chief Research Officer, Bethel Speech & Hearing
  • Dr. Margaret Rogers, Chief Staff Officer for Science and Research, American Speech-Language Hearning Association (ASHA)


The leadership for CARM, as well as the heads of major Chinese universities and medical schools were present. Also in attendance was leadership from the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) and the World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT), along with experts from universities in Australia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the United States. Overall, the conference demonstrated how seriously China is looking at the gap that exists in training and qualifying the millions of therapists needed as China continues to build out rehabilitation and therapy infrastructure over the next five to ten years. Dr. Henry Lew noted this following his recent visit to China, saying he was “glad to see that the rehabilitation professionals in China are embracing the concept and implementation of evidence based practice (EBP).”

Before the conference, a multi-day nationwide student clinical competition was held.  Students from all over China worked in university teams to assess and treat cases using standardized patients before an audience of judges, faculty, and experts. Prizes were awarded to the top scoring teams from the competition. Dr. Jean Dietz, who assisted with this competition, commented that she was “charmed by the conscientious, enthusiastic students who participated in the OT/PT skills contest” and believes that “these students will help to define the future.”

The international panel of speakers presented on accreditation systems, faculty training, curriculum development, among other topics. The need for degree programs in Chinese medical schools and universities and the need to establish credentialing and accreditation programs were both highlighted as key conference conclusions. With respect to the latter, these programs should not just be about testing, but also to increase training for existing rehab specialists in order to strengthen their professional level to international standards. Dr. Sharon Demuth reflected that it is “important that bachelors level programs for the education of physical and occupational therapists are being developed. And it will be very critical for the future of our professions in China that those programs are successful in getting recognition for discipline specific education as well as support for educating and employing the large number of physical and occupational therapists that China requires. Having model programs like Olivia’s Place and Elliot’s Corner to turn to, especially when it comes to the provision of clinical education for therapists in pediatric physical therapy will help faculty in those university based programs with appropriate educational goals and objectives.”

Reflecting on the conference, Dr. Dietz was “impressed by the people I met and their commitment to individuals with disabilities and to strengthening rehabilitation in China.  She “witnessed an energetic network of people working together and drawing on both national and international resources in order to build strong rehabilitation education and service delivery programs.” Olivia’s Place was honored to be able to support CARM and to host several international experts in their fields in keeping with our mission to promote high quality pediatric therapy in China.  We consider these experts true friends of Olivia’s Place and of the field of rehabilitation in China.  We were touched by Dr. Dietz’ comments about her trip to China, where she visited both Fuzhou and Shanghai, “I loved and appreciated all of the opportunities I had to interact with people in China, especially those at Olivia’s Place and SHINE Academy. Nelson, Quynh, and their children, and the staff and therapists were so welcoming. It felt like being in a warm family. “

Kunming Medical University Starts First Medical Bachelor’s Program in Speech-Language Pathology

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Kunming Medical University’s Rehabilitation Medicine Department, led by Dr. Ao Lijuan, who is also a member of the Olivia’s Place Technical Advisory Board, has just recruited the first cohort of freshman students in September for a four year degree program in Audiology and Speech and Language Pathology. It is the first-ever such program at a medical school in China. Through collaborative work with Olivia’s Place, Kunming Medical University began a partnership with the University of Hawaii’s John Burns Medical School.  The University of Hawaii has been providing technical support and faculty training to Kunming Medical University since summer 2013 to develop this groundbreaking new program.  Congratulations to Kunming Medical University, the faculty led by Dr. Ao who have worked to establish this program, and to the first freshman class of future speech-language pathologists!

Strategies for Parents & Educators: Stuttering

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by Sophia Guarracino, Speech-Language Pathologist, Olivia's Place Shanghai

by Sophia Guarracino, Speech-Language Pathologist, Olivia’s Place Shanghai

One of the most important points to keep in mind when your child or a student in your class is receiving speech and language services is the importance of carrying over intervention in both the home and school settings. It is ideal for parents, therapists, and educators to work together and discuss the techniques that will be effective for each child. There are many strategies that can be incorporated into a child’s daily routine to boost their speech and language skills. In this post, we will focus on stuttering.

  • Allow the student to complete his/her thoughts without interrupting or completing the sentence for them.
  • It is important not to ask the child to stop or start over their sentence. Asking the student to ‘take a breath’ or ‘relax’ can feel demeaning and is not helpful.
  • Maintain natural eye contact with the student. Try not to feel embarrassed or anxious as the student will pick up on your feelings and could become more anxious. Wait naturally until the child is finished.
  • Use a slow and relaxed rate with your own speech, but not so slow that you sound unnatural. Using pauses in your speech is an effective way to slow down your speech rate as well as the student’s.
  • Give the student your full attention when they are speaking so that they know you are listening to what they have to say. You can be most supportive when the child does not feel that they need to fight for your attention. With younger children it is also helpful to get down to their level, placing a hand on their chest as well as using eye contact assures them that they have your attention.
  • After a student completes a conversational turn, it would be helpful for you to rephrase what they said in a fluent manner. This can be helpful as the student realizes you understand what they said, but also provides a fluent model for them.
  • Try to call on the student in class when you feel that they will be successful with the answer (when the student raises his/her hand) versus putting the student on the spot when they have not volunteered information. In addition, new material or complex information may cause the student to feel more stress and thus, increase dysfluencies.