Multidisciplinary Pediatric Center

Speech Therapists Near Me | Encino, Tarzana, & Sherman Oaks
Our Blog
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Anthem
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Frank D. Lanterman Regional Center
  • North LA County Regional Center

Should I Encourage My Toddle to Stop Thumb Sucking?

At some point during growth, most children suck their thumbs for comfort.  Parents expect their baby will find his/her thumb and self-soothe; however, the effects of thumb sucking on the child’s speech is not.  For some children with oral myofunctional disorder, eliminating their habit to suck on their thumb through speech therapy exercises helps improve their expression over time.  With help from the Speech Source Therapy staff and their parents, children can reduce their dependence on their thumb and improve their speech.

Redirecting Behavior

For many children, finding another activity or behavior to replace sucking their thumb will help eliminate the habit.  Redirecting their attention towards a safer oral fidget will positively influence the change needed to improve their articulation.

Alternative Coping Mechanisms

Children who depend on thumb sucking for comfort or to self-soothe when feeling stress need an alternative to cope.  Many children find a soft toy, favorite blanket, or other fidgeting techniques helpful in dealing with anxiety or stress. Parents can discuss soothing options with the staff at Speech Source Therapy to determine which alternative coping mechanisms are best for their child.

Use Straws for Drinking

While using a straw doesn’t help to deter thumb sucking, it can encourage the tongue to retract and the cheeks to tighten.  In time, this practice can help with oral myofunctional disorder.

At Speech Source Therapy, our staff understands the importance of helping your child have the best speech practices possible.  If you would like to learn more about how we can help your child eliminate thumb sucking or improve his/her speech, please contact us at  SFV: (818) 788-4121 or LA: (213) 493-6698.

Posted in Occupational Therapy | Tagged , | Comments Off on Should I Encourage My Toddle to Stop Thumb Sucking?

Does My Child Have a Developmental Delay?

One of the most rewarding parts of parenthood is watching your child learn a new skill.  From the first smile to their first day of school, there is so much to look forward to as your child grows.  What about when you notice your child may not be developing at the same rate as other kids their age?  Many times it is nothing to worry about.  Kids grow and learn at their own pace and often it can seem a few steps behind.  However if you are concerned your child is experiencing a developmental delay, there are a few steps you can take.

developmental delays

Identifying a Developmental Delay

Finding out whether or not your child is experiencing developmental delays can be challenging.  With this in mind, it is important to take the necessary steps to educate yourself and to create a support system for both you and your child.  A few ways to get started include:

  • Educate Yourself.  Learning about the developmental stages of children in your child’s age range can greatly help you understand the basics of what to expect.
  • Share with Others.  Share your concerns with your child’s co-parent and decide together what the next step should be for your little one.
  • Visit a Child Development Specialist.  At Speech Source Therapy, Inc., we specialize in child development early intervention. Our Child Development Specialists provide consultations, assessments, evaluations, and therapy to children who have developmental delays and difficulties in the areas of cognitive development, gross/fine motor development, communication, adaptive skills, and social-emotional development.

To learn more about the stages of child development, contact our team of specialists at SFV: (818) 788-4121 or LA: (213) 493-6698.

Posted in Child Development Specialist | Tagged , | Comments Off on Does My Child Have a Developmental Delay?

Is Self-Confidence Essential for My Child?

You may have discovered at an early age that your child has a natural self-confidence that drives their everyday activities, emotions, and goals.  On the flip side, your child may struggle to believe in themselves and their abilities.  For parents, this truth can be difficult to navigate because they see their child’s potential but may not know how to help their child realize it for themselves.  The good news is there are daily opportunities parents can take advantage of to help encourage self-confidence in their children.

self-confidence in children

Supporting Self-Confidence in Your Child

Many parents are surprised to find out that encouraging self-confidence can be as easy as noticing opportunities in your daily schedule to let your child take the lead, including:

Giving Them a Real Household Job

Even at the toddler age, kids can contribute to the life of your family community by doing regular chores.  Whether it is load utensils in the dishwasher, watering plants, checking the mail, or folding socks, children thrive when they have responsibilities.  Many children even take charge of their responsibility making the task their own.  Feeling connected to the greater household community and discovering they can do the task has the ability to enhance their self-esteem for future interactions.

Encouraging Friendships

Having friends you have things in common with is a confidence boost at any age.  Encourage your child to meet new kids at the playground or storytime in order to develop their confidence.  The more people they meet the easier it can be in new situations to be confident.

Using Their Words

It is easy for many young children to melt down when facing a challenge.  When you notice your child is getting frustrated, encourage them to use their words so you can help them navigate what needs to happen to complete a task or work through an issue with another person.  Knowing how to communicate their feelings will boost their confidence and help them in future social situations.

To learn more practical ways to encourage self-confidence in children, please contact our team at Speech Source Therapy, Inc. at SFV: (818) 788-4121 or LA: (213) 493-6698.

Posted in Speech Source Therapy | Tagged , | Comments Off on Is Self-Confidence Essential for My Child?

How You Can Help Your Child Develop Speech and Occupational Skills at Home

As your child begins to work with their speech or occupational therapist, you may find yourself wondering how you can support your child’s development at home. Fortunately, your therapist can help you find various ways to develop your child’s occupational and speech skills outside of therapy sessions.

speech skills

Developing Speech and Occupational Skills at Home

There are severely ways you build upon what they are learning during therapy, including:

1. Interact With Your Child: Engage & Explain

Following a routine is important. Even more important is to actively interact with your child by engaging during routine and learning activities, while also making sure to explain each activity.

2. Observe Your Child

Some children with special needs perceive sensory input in different ways and may be unable to verbalize discomfort. Remember that all behavior is communication.  Always keep a lookout for these differences and think about what the child’s behavior is communicating to you.

3. Use Common Sense 

Put safety first and arrange the home environment or any place for learning/engaging for physical and emotional comfort.

4. Use Tactile, Auditory, Or Visual Cues With Your Child

Having the right cues in an environment can mean the difference between participation and non-participation for many children with special needs. Tactile cues like gently touching a person’s shoulder, offering a blanket or other soft fabric, or providing silly putty are easy ways to mark a transition and get a person’s attention. Using color or auditory cues can also help reinforce lessons.

5. Stay Positive, Every Situation Is A Learning Opportunity

A positive attitude is imperative for anyone who works with children with special needs. There will always be ups and downs throughout any learning process, but having the right attitude can make all the difference. Turn struggles into lessons, and bring light to every activity through your positivity.

Schedule Your Consultation

To learn more about early speech and occupational therapy, contact your speech therapist in Los Angeles today!

Posted in Speech Source Therapy | Tagged , | Comments Off on How You Can Help Your Child Develop Speech and Occupational Skills at Home

How a Preschool Readiness Program Prepares Your Child for Kindergarten

Here at Speech Source Therapy, our Little Learners Early Intervention Program (LLEIP) is a preschool readiness program specifically designed for your child. Preschool readiness (which can also be called kindergarten readiness) refers to a child’s readiness to make a smooth and successful transition and integration into the preschool environment and its routines and expectation.

preschool readiness

What to Expect with Our Preschool Readiness Program

LLEIP is a comprehensive, multidisciplinary center-based group program designed for children between the ages of 18 and 36 months who are demonstrating overall developmental delays and/or disabilities in the areas of speech and language, social/ cognitive development, self-help, motor development, feeding and play skills.

Our program is geared toward children who are at risk or demonstrate global developmental delays or have a diagnosis of Down Syndrome or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

The Little Learners Early Intervention Program uses all of the below strategies to help children learn.

  • Build on a child’s interest
  • Offer a predictable schedule
  • Develop joint attention, communication and social understanding
  • Teach tasks as a series of simple steps
  • Reinforce appropriate behaviors
  • Make use of visual strategies to help understanding
  • Parent education during class time and in support group settings

To schedule a tour of our preschool readiness program, contact our Program Director Lusine Martirosyan at 818-788-4121 ext. 109.

Posted in Little Learner Early Intervention Program | Tagged , , | Comments Off on How a Preschool Readiness Program Prepares Your Child for Kindergarten

How Reading Aloud Can Improve Speech

Many children who struggle with speech difficulties or who are nonverbal benefit significantly from parents reading aloud to them. Reading aloud to your child provides a wide variety of opportunities to engage her in conversation which can help improve her speech and build her communication skills naturally. At Speech Source Therapy, Inc., we encourage parents to read aloud to their children when possible to build future confidence and learning.

improve speech

Ways Reading Aloud May Improve Speech in Children

  • Repeat Stories – You may have noticed your toddler or elementary-aged child enjoys reading the same story over and over. This repetition is no coincidence. Repeating stories helps your child better understand the story and communicate what they have heard.
  • Look at Pictures -Take time to discuss the pictures in the story. Often the pictures give greater detail to the action read in the story. Have your child point out different aspects of the story and explain what is happening.
  • Read Rhyming Stories – Rhyming stories are not only fun for your child, but also make it easier for them to follow along and understand. Have your child repeat the rhymes to practice saying certain sounds.
  • Ask Questions – While reading a story, pause to ask your child a question about what the characters are doing at the moment or what they believe will happen next. Questions create opportunities for your child to communicate her opinions in safe space in turn building confidence.

Reading aloud is one of the simplest and beneficial ways to strengthen your child’s understanding and communication skills over time. For more information on how Speech Source Therapy can assist your child, schedule an appointment at SFV: (818) 788-4121 or LA: (213) 493-6698.

Posted in Speech Therapy | Tagged , , | Comments Off on How Reading Aloud Can Improve Speech

How to Encourage Self-Help Skills

At an early age, many children begin to show independence. For some, starting to exercise independence through self-help skills requires more intentional effort. At Speech Source Therapy, our occupational therapists work with children to better develop motor skills to encourage their ability to care for themselves including ways to encourage these skills at home.

self-help skills

Ways Parents Can Encourage Self-Help Skills

Meal Time Independence

One of the best ways for children to practice independence at an early age is allowing them to feed themselves. As infants and toddlers, using their hands to feed builds fine motor skills and gives them a sense of self-confidence. The intent of self-feeding continues as children grow through the use of utensils and cups.

Getting Dressed on Their Own

For many children, getting dressed is a way to express who they are as a person. Allowing your child to pick his outfit and put it on himself builds not only self-confidence but also motor skills needed for other independent activities. Even playing dress-up can encourage a child to dress herself for everyday occasions.

Helping Clean Up

Encouraging children to participate in the clean-up process after playing with toys is a fantastic way to promote self-help skills for the future. Children learn early the responsibility to care for their belongings and build fine motor skills by picking up and placing toys in their proper place.

These are only a few ways to encourage self-help skills at home. To learn more about how our occupational therapists can assist your child at Speech Source Therapy, Inc., call SFV: (818) 788-4121 or LA: (213) 493-6698.

Posted in Child Development Specialist | Tagged , , | Comments Off on How to Encourage Self-Help Skills

Should I Limit Screen Time for My Child?

TV can be a good learning resource for children but it’s not nearly as effective as interactive, hands-on experiences such as touching, shaking, stacking, feeling, or problem-solving with people they’re familiar with. Therefore, a limit on screen time can be beneficial for many children.

Results Based on Studies the Role of Screen Time

Most studies on the effect of screen time on early childhood development are based on watching television. Researchers agree that TV does not offer any merits for early learning, at least for children under 2 years.

Other studies suggest that toddlers learn best in an interactive environment, where they receive proper feedback based on their actions. The problem with TV is that the programming does not give the child time to process the information, form an opinion, and respond. Ultimately this denies them the type of engagement they need for learning.

The biggest argument against TV for early childhood learning is the fact that it does not provide any feedback. However, this is not representative of all screen media. In fact, some reactive screens that engage the user have been found to be quite beneficial to children. For instance, a recent study revealed that the ability for toddlers to learn vocabulary words from a virtual Skype session on a monitor was just as effective as via face-to-face interaction.

Although the research on touchscreen devices is minimal, the fact that they’re flexible enough to provide feedback in real-time based on your actions, means that they might be useful for early childhood learning. A recent study showed that 4-6 year olds could learn logic puzzle strategies from a 2D app and effectively apply them to a real-life 3D model. Other studies also show the benefits of apps and touchscreen devices, such as the use of Bedtime Math to cultivate children’s math skills.

Final Note

More research is necessary to provide conclusive recommendations. But for now, parents in Van Nuys, Los Angeles can rest easy substituting the television for a tablet or smartphone; not for their children to stream online entertainment, but to engage with apps that offer high-quality content for their development.

Posted in Child Development Specialist | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Should I Limit Screen Time for My Child?

Understanding the Benefits of Pediatric Occupational Therapy

According to popular research, occupational therapy is helpful not only in developing necessary life skills but also in reducing the risk of hospital admission (and readmission in some cases). At Speech Source Therapy, Inc. we pride ourselves on providing families with an occupational therapy program that is personalized to meet the unique needs of your child.

occupational therapy

Personalized Pediatric Occupational Therapy

Typical issues addressed in pediatric occupational therapy that can be personalized include:

  • Cognitive skills – remembering letters, shapes and sequences
  • Fine motor skills – finger dexterity, wrist and forearm control, and hand strength
  • Gross motor skills – balance and body coordination
  • Self-care tasks – dressing, bathing and self-feeding
  • Social skills – taking turns, listening and following directions

In addition to one-on-one training with a Speech Source therapist and your child, we also offer training to families and caregivers on ways to assist with maintaining range of motion exercises and other self-care tasks. Our goal is to help train your child in both the physical aspect of self-care and in the psychological aspects (stress management and coping skills).

The first step in beginning your child’s pediatric occupational therapy journey is allowing us to evaluate their sensorimotor, cognitive, and adaptive skills. Once this has been done, we can develop a strategy that includes milestones.

Speech Source Therapy Inc. facility includes therapy and sensory integration gym with the necessary equipment to ensure the needs and best quality of care for our patients. If you are interested in working with a professional team with whom you can grow, please contact us at SFV: (818) 788-4121 or LA: (213) 493-6698.

Posted in Occupational Therapy | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Understanding the Benefits of Pediatric Occupational Therapy

Developing Self-Esteem in Elementary Years

For many children, developing self-esteem in elementary years has challenges and opportunities at school to grow their confidence by discovering new capabilities and greater independence.  Others may find opportunities such as making new friends difficult leading them to doubt themselves.  As parents, you can help your child grow their self-esteem through the essential elementary school years to help them build confidence for the future.

self-esteem elementary years

Ways to Help Build Self-Esteem in Elementary Years

  • Self-Help Activities: As your child grows, he will be able to do more for himself.  It is important to allow your child to button his shirt, tie his shoes, or fill his drink cup once he can do it.  The more children do for themselves, the more confident they are in their capabilities which boosts self-esteem.
  • Praise Wisely: Praising your child’s efforts rather than results is vital for them to learn how to persevere, have a positive attitude, and focus on progress.  Children who learn how to focus on trying their best instead of getting everything correct are more likely to have higher self-esteem because they can generally find a positive in their efforts to accomplish a task or reach a goal.
  • Helping at Home: Elementary-aged children can contribute to the household in various ways.  Giving children chores such as taking out the trash, watering plants, or feeding the family pet will provide them with a sense of purpose and grow their self-esteem.

If you would like to learn more about building your child’s self-esteem, please contact our knowledgable Speech Source Therapy staff at  SFV: (818) 788-4121 or LA: (213) 493-6698.

Posted in Child Development Specialist | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Developing Self-Esteem in Elementary Years