Things We Should Say More Often

I’m always searching the internet for fun and creative ways to target social skills with the kids I work with. When I came across this video posted on Facebook, I knew right away it would be perfect.  It is a video of a very energetic and candid child and his views on the things we should all say more often.  It amazes me how kids can make things so simple.

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There are a lot of valuable social skills “lessons” that he talks about in the video that cover a range of difficulties such as not knowing what to say to friends to having difficulty taking others’ perspectives. Here are some of my favourites:

“Please and thank you”

These words go a long way with everyone in your life, there is a reason we were taught them! Many people don’t use these words much anymore.

“I have BBQ sauce on my shirt too”

This is a way to remind us not to criticize others because nobody is perfect. We’re encouraged to be aware of ourselves as well as others feelings before saying something. In other words, think before you speak!

“I don’t know”

Sometimes we really don’t know, and that’s okay. Every day is a learning opportunity. Knowing when to admit we don’t know something and to ask for help is an important skill to learn.

“You’re so awesome I named my dog after you”

I laughed out loud when listening to this one! The message here is to give compliments.  It’s nice to tell people that they are great – everyone needs a boost now and then!

“My sports team isn’t always the best sports team”

In my opinion this is the nice way of saying “don’t be conceited”. You and/or your team are not going to win every game, no one is perfect and that is okay! Realizing we aren’t always the best at everything is important, because that is real life and in real life we can’t always be the best.

“I disagree with you, but still like you as a person”

This is an important one for everyone, especially kids – to know that you can still like a person even if you disagree with them. It is important to separate feelings from opinions/choices. We can talk about our differences, thoughts, and choices with others in a happy, neutral way.

“Say something nice! Anything. If you can’t think of something nice to say, you aren’t thinking hard enough”

This one is the most important, in my opinion. Some of the kids I work with choose to say nothing, but this can often just avoidance. If you think hard enough, there is always something nice to say. This is so important for social interaction with kids because it helps build strong relationships with others. It could be as simple as saying, “I like the hat you’re wearing today”.

“Let’s dance”

Finally, my absolute favorite was this ‘bonus’ lesson – sometimes dancing around crazy is all you need to do to make yourself and others feel happy! This is just a reminder to make an effort to make the people around you happy and comfortable.

How to use this video at home with your children

The reason this video is so great is because it’s not a “bossy adult” that is sharing the lessons, instead it’s one of their own – another kid! Using this video at home with your child is easy – all you have to do is talk about a couple of the lessons at a time and think about questions like:

  • Why is this a good thing to say?
  • How will it make the other person feel?
  • When could I say this?
  • Who could I say this to?

Taking the time to link real-life scenarios that come up in your child’s daily life to this video is also helpful to reinforce the lessons taught here. For example, if your child tells you about having a fight with a friend at school over a difference of opinion, you can reinforce the “I disagree with you, but still like you as a person…” lesson.

LynseyWilson-220Lynsey Wilson is a Communication Disorders assistant with experience treating a wide range of clients with varying ages and disorders. She also has her Early Childhood Educator certificate and specializes in working with pediatric clients. Lynsey enjoys working with a variety of age groups to keep her on her toes!

Voice Therapy- Are You A Candidate?

We rely on our voices to inform, persuade, and connect with other people.  When our voices are unhealthy or unable to perform as they typically do, this affects other’s perceptions of us, and our own confidence level in our ability to effectively communicate.

How do you know when your voice is unhealthy?

  • Your voice is hoarse, raspy, and scratchy feeling for 10 days or more
  • You have lost ability to sing high notes or reach high notes when speaking
  • Your voice sounds deeper than it usually does
  • You experience chronic laryngitis
  • Your throat feels raw, achy and strained for several days
  • It is effortful to speak
  • You are repeatedly clearing your throat
  • You are vocally exhausted at the end of the day/week and do not want to talk at all

If you are experiencing these issues, contact your doctor and ask for a referral to an otolaryngologist (specializes in ear, nose, and throat disorders).  This specialist can determine the underlying cause of your vocal problem.

He/she may then refer you to a speech-language pathologist who can help you with improving the use of your voice and avoiding vocal abuse.

Causes of vocal problems may include:

  • Respiratory infections
  • Genetic factors
  • Heavy exposure to environmental pollutants
  • Smoking
  • Acid reflux
  • Vocal misuse, abuse and overuse
  • Vocal nodules
  • Laryngeal growths
  • Neuromuscular diseases (spasmodic dysphonia; vocal cord paralysis)
  • Psychogenic conditions due to psychological trauma

Vocal demand

Typically vocally demanding jobs such as singers, actors, teachers, doctors, lawyers, nurses, sales people, and public/motivational speakers place the most demand on their vocal system and are prone to vocal injuries.

It is believed that approximately 7.5 million people worldwide have disorders of the voice. 

Good News!!

The majority of these disorders can be avoided by taking care of your voice and following healthy vocal habits.

LindaSaarenvirta-220Linda Saarenvirta has been practicing for 11 years as a registered Speech-Language Pathologist at S. L. Hunter SpeechWorks.  During her time at Speech Works, she has worked with a variety of clientele. For the past 5 years, Linda has focussed in the area of vocal rehabilitation including the use of videostroboscopy as well as the Visi-Pitch program.  She has taken the Acoustic and Aerodynamic Instrumentation Workshop by KayPentax to facilitate her work with indepth analysis of vocal cord functioning.  She enjoys working with all clientele and believes strongly in the client centered approach that S.L. Hunter SpeechWorks provides.

Is Your Accent Affecting Both Work and Play?

What Does an Accent Mean for Success in the Workplace?

In today’s workplace, accents are inevitable. However, when accents are heard, different biases and social judgements can take place around the individual’s intelligence or competence, depending on the accent. It’s a fact that people are often perceived as less credible when it is more difficult to understand what they say.

According to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, it is illegal to make an employment decision based on foreign accent, unless it “seriously interferes” with the job being applied for. However, many companies find a way around this very general statement and some clients have indicated to me that they feel their accent got in the way of them being hired at a new position.

Not Created Equal

Research has shown that a Western European accent is held in higher regard than other accents. Biases are often present even though they may not be intentional.

If you find your accent is holding you back in the workplace, an accent reduction program may be helpful in lessening the intensity of your accent. Working with a qualified speech-language pathologist with specific knowledge in this area is a worthwhile avenue to help you achieve your goals.

Affecting Social Communication?

Do you find that your Canadian friends are having trouble understanding you when you are out together? Are friends leaving you out of conversations because you don’t understand the lingo?

It is a fact that when a person emigrates from another country and has a heavy accent, they tend to gravitate towards people with similar accents and from similar countries until they are more comfortable with the language.

Immersing Yourself

Immersing yourself in the language of the country and making friends with natives of that region, can help you learn more about the colloquial phrases, jargon, and slang terms that are leaving you left out of conversations.

Lessening your accent will help to reduce the biases people place on those who have accents and help you with your social integration. Joining clubs, sports groups, etc., can help you immerse yourself in the language native to the country you are living in.

For an accurate analysis of your accent and specific goals to lessen your accent, seek professional advice from a qualified speech – language pathologist who specializes in this area.

LindaSaarenvirta-220Linda Saarenvirta, M.S., SLP Reg. CASLPO, has been practicing for 11 years as a registered speech –language pathologist at S.L. Hunter SpeechWorks.  During her time at Speech Works, she has worked with a variety of clientele, both pediatric and adults, including:  articulation and language, fluency, voice, acquired brain injury, stroke, and accent reduction.  For the past 5 years, Linda has focussed in the area of vocal rehabilitation and utilizes the videostroboscopy tool for assessment of vocal cord movement as well as the Visi –Pitch program for analysis of pitch, intensity, and stability of the vocal cords.  She has taken the Acoustic and Aerodynamic Instrumentation Workshop by KayPentax to facilitate her work with indepth analysis of vocal cord functioning.  She enjoys working with all clientele and believes strongly in the client centered approach that S.L. Hunter SpeechWorks provides.