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Information About the Communication Continuum
Speech, Language, Literacy
Park Slope Communication & Learning Center Newsletter
Issue 22 - October, 2012
You can sometimes make words using the letters in a larger word. For example, from the word "tube" you can make "be," "bet," "but," and "tub." Now onto a harder one: how many words can you make from the word "pottery?" (Hint: we found 40.)

Riddles for Kids: Halloween
Q: What do you call it when Halloween spirits rob a bank?
A: A polter-heist!

Q: What did the werewolf do after graduating school?
A: He went to claw school!

Q: Why was the boy witch unable to go out?
A: His parents kept him under warlock and key!

Q: Why did Dracula return his new computer to the store?
A: It didn't have enough bytes!

Q: How do spiders do computer research?
A: On the Web!

Q: Why are mummies so boring at parties?
A: Because they're so stiff!

Q: What do old spirits do when they retire?
A: They move to a ghost town!

Q: What holiday do zombies love the most?
A: Mummy's Day!

Q: Why doesn't Dracula do well on blind dates?
A: Because all the girls think he's a little batty!

Q: Why do skeletons make great stand-up comedians?
A: Because they've got real funny bones!

Answers to WordsInWords
Opt, or, ore, otter, per, pet, petty, poet, poetry, pore, port, pot, potter, potty, pretty, prey, pro, pry, pyre, repot, roe, rope, rot, rote, rye, to, toe, top, tort, torte, tot, tote, toy, trot, try, type, typo, yep, yet, yore.

In This Issue

  • Speech Vitamins: do they work?
  • Stories from the Kids: Rowan and Sophia (with videos!)
  • Monthly Feature: Phonic Engine Reading Method & KidsVoyager Online: What happened last month?
  • For Fun: Trivia Quiz
  • For Fun: Some Interesting Events in October!

In Upcoming Issues

  • Bilingualism, is it a positive or a negative?
  • CAPD Therapy
  • Causes for hearing loss
  • How to help your child write short stories

You're receiving this newsletter either because you have requested it, or because you're a current or former client or associate of Park Slope Communication & Learning Center. If you do not wish to receive any further newsletters, please click "Unsubscribe" at the bottom. You'll have the opportunity to "opt-out" with every e-mail.

Our ongoing goal is to keep you informed about all matters related to the Communication Continuum: Speech, Language, and Literacy; to keep you updated on our seminars and other matters of interest; to answer questions you may have, and also provide some fun activities for your child, created by us, by colleagues, as well as syndicated content.


Please submit any questions you have regarding Speech, Language, and Literacy, and we'll be happy to reply in an upcoming issue of CC-News. If you do submit a question (to news@parkslopecc.com), be sure to let us know if you'd like your name (first and/or last) to appear, or if you'd prefer it left out.


In the past, we've held seminars and discussions on: Stuttering, Auditory Processing Disorders, How to Help Your Child Develop Reading Skills, Early Speech and Language Development (0 - 5), Speech/Language/Feeding Developmental Milestones, Using the Phonic Engine® Reading Method to Facilitate Reading, Writing, and Spelling. Please let us know if you'd personally like any of these repeated, or have other topics that you'd like to hear about.

Speech Vitamins: Are They Effective?

When we first heard that there was such a thing as "speech vitamins", it came as a great surprise. Supplements are available with claims that they can help children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and oral and speech apraxia, a condition that makes volitional movement impossible or difficult.

But before parents run out to order these products, we'd like to point out that, after poring over the literature, there is a lack of really good research in this area. One of the products is a mix of vitamin E and Omega-3 Fatty Acids and is touted as treating both conditions. Even though oral apraxia is relatively rare, it is common in children with ASD. This product was developed by Dr. Marilyn Agin, the developmental pediatrician who used to be in charge of the state's Early Intervention program. She and another pediatrician, Dr. Claudia Morris did a study on 187 children diagnosed with verbal apraxia, associated with ASD. The researchers identified a phenotype of autism with sensory issues, malabsorption (such as gluten intolerance) and poor coordination, as well as other deficits. The doctors reported that 181 out of 187 families noted significant improvements. The researchers went on to suggest that "controlled trials are warranted."

Drs. Agin and Morris now have a patented product which they sell through a company called NourishLife. The product is called Speak and consists of Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Omega-3 Fatty Acids (EPA and DHA) and GLA. Because children with ASD often have digestive disorders, treatment with supplements has been the subject of research. In the 1980s, we treated a severely autistic boy who was being seen by a doctor in Staten Island Hospital for "vitamin therapy." This boy had suffered from chronic, recurrent ear infections and was constantly on antibiotics during the first two years of his life. The doctor felt that his digestive tract and nervous system had been compromised by this and treated him with B complex vitamins. (This boy, who was about 8 years old at this time, did not benefit from this treatment.) So treating children with ASD using nutrients is nothing new. The rationale for using Omega – 3 Fatty Acids is because they are necessary for optimal brain functioning. (Salmon, for example, which contains Omega – 3 Fatty Acids is touted as being "brain food.") Some concerns about the NourishLife product are the lack of research and the large amount of Vitamin E: five times the recommended daily amount. If more research is done, and these kinds of products are found to be effective, that will be a wonderful addition to our arsenal for treating Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Another small study looked at ASD and Vitamin C. Only 18 subjects were studied. The finding was a small decrease in stereotypic behaviors, with the recommendation that more research be done. No other study has provided a similar result.

Stuttering has also been the subject of much research. Dr. Martin Schwartz of NYU looked at treating adult stutterers with thiamine. His study lasted for two weeks and evaluated adult males only. Dr. Schwartz found that 30% of his clients showed significant improvement and suggested future research be performed using a lipid based form of the vitamins.

One study found that woman with Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy were twice as likely to have a child with a language delay. This study, done in Australia, followed 750 mothers and their children for 10 years.

Certainly, there is much more work to be done in this area. Until we have large numbers, with replicated results, common sense should prevail. We know that good nutrition is important in mothers-to-be and in developing, growing children. Behaving accordingly makes the most sense at the current time, especially with those ASD numbers continuing to grow.

Stories from the Kids

The students in our reading groups produce writings using KidsVoyager Online with KidsVoyager Animated Storywriter. The writings may be imaginative stories, summaries of things they've read online, writings to teach higher level skills, such as persuasion, and so on. They are composed by children from Kindergarten on up, including children who have never written things before without a teacher's assistance. The stories are entered into the Online Storywriter's text box using typed spelling, combined with Phonic Engine Encoding (i.e. selecting initial & final phonemes for a word, then clicking a matching word displayed in a multisensory word grid). Writing is a terrific way to learn, teaches numerous skills, and kids love it. We hope you enjoy them.

My Brothers, by Rowan

My brother was born. He got all the attention but I only thought that he got all the attention because I was normal with having most of the attention.

My parents always talked about having a little brother. He was a pumpkin. They thought that this is the craziest baby because he was a pumpkin boy.

They were humans! When they were having normal thoughts they hugged the pumpkin baby and they read a book about pumpkin babies that came out of mommy's stomach, like me and you.

The pumpkin baby was my favorite brother in the world. Then I had 2 favorites because there was another baby pumpkin! He came out in a surprise. I hugged him and my parents did that too. The End

You can see and hear Rowan's original story here!

My Pet Dinosaur, by Sophia

My dinosaur was at a pet shop and he escaped and came to my house. When my parents were sleeping, he scared them by making a sound like banging on the window, and making the house bounce up and down with his footsteps.

My parents looked out the window and my mom screamed. My mom wanted to bring him back to the store but he kept coming back to my house. Mom said "If you won't go back to the store, you'll have to go back to the dinosaurs, back where you lived with the T-Rexes."

He found his family and his friend, and he gave everybody a hug and a lick-kiss and he decided to stay with his own family and friends. He said, "You know what? I'm just going to stay with my friends and my family," and that's what he did. He told everybody about his story in Brooklyn and that is the end.

You can see and hear Sophia's original story here!

Monthly Feature: Phonic Engine Method & KidsVoyager Online: What Happened Last Month?

After our summer break, with our younger students, we got right back to work on phonics, phonemic awareness and word attack skills.

As always, our lessons were guided by the children's own interests — which, as you may know, is made possible by KidsVoyager Online — as well as the New York State Core Curriculum, which is more stringent than the national standards.

Children are expected to know letter-sound correspondences by the end of preschool, even though preschool is not mandatory. They are expected to be able to identify initial sounds in words and to identify rhymes. Children are expected to decode consonant-vowel-consonant combinations (excluded are the ending sounds of /l/, /r/ and /x/) by the end of Kindergarten, even though Kindergarten is also not mandatory.

So in sessions with our K-2 reading groups, we always work on bringing our students' foundational skills in line with the New York Core Curriculum, to help provide them with a solid foundation to build upon.

Since children almost always have a harder time with vowels than with consonants, we work on vowels on an ongoing basis. Every word in our language must have a vowel. In fact, every syllable in our language must have a vowel. To be fluent readers and writers, we have to be able to identify the vowel. This is a skill we spend a great deal of time working on in our sessions.

We've noticed that kids often have difficulty identifying the short vowel sounds of i, e and u, whereas with the long vowels, the challenge is how to spell them. For example, the long e may be spelled ee, ea, ie, ey and even ei. After we teach the "magic e", we select two vowel pair patterns to teach at a time. We teach the ee and ea patterns first. Many children are familiar with the expression, "When two vowels go a-walking, the first one does the talking." Using Phonic Engine spelling and the KidsVoyager Online word grid, the students easily find words with these patterns. For example, with the beginning sound of /m/ and the ending sound of /t/, we find the words meet and meat; with /l/ and /k/ we find leak and leek; with /r/ and /d/ we find read and reed.

Finding homophones with targeted spelling patterns is great fun, and we make lists of words where the "title" of each list is a specific pattern.

For a treat that was also continued learning, the students played a really fun spelling game called "Fearless Frieda". This game, which also works on "magic e", can be found at at Game Goo.

We also read lots of stories. With our younger students, we read many online stories. Websites we often use are BAB Books, DLTK Kids (especially stories by Artie Knapp), and Apples 4 the Teacher, which contains both fiction and non-fiction, and is excellent for learning about holidays and history. Since the KidsVoyager Online text reader reads the stories out loud, we are free to stay focused on reading comprehension, without the "interference" that might exist with respect to issues related to decoding, fluency, other aspects of reading.

Major goals for our older students include reading comprehension, writing skills and spelling (always spelling!) Many of our students are resistant to writing at first. After they see how easy Phonic Engine spelling and KidsVoyager Animated StoryWriter makes it, their enthusiasm increases markedly.

For reading, we use Merlin, KidsVoyager Online's animated assistive-technology text reader, to assist in the reading of classic literature. Some of our students are reading "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz", while others are reading "The Time Machine."

Writing topics are varied, with fantasy being the one that most students prefer, followed by persuasive essays.

It is very heartening to see how well our students progress in all areas of literacy, no matter their age, and no matter what level they start at.

Trivia Quiz: Cookies

October is National Cookie Month. Test how much you know about these sweet treats with this cookie trivia quiz.

1. Which cookie brand has been the most popular in America since its introduction in 1912?
2. What cookie was invented in 1937 by Ruth Graves Wakefield?
3. During the first quarter of the year, which cookie brand is the number one seller in the U.S.?
4. Barnum's Animal Crackers introduced a new animal in 2002. What animal was it?
5. Which U.S. cookie manufacturer boasts that their cookies are magically baked by elves?
6. Which traditional German cookie was introduced in the early 14th century?
7. What distinct flavor do Biscochitos cookies have?
8. True or False: The fortune cookie was invented in China in the 18th century.
9. In England, what are cookies called?
10. Which Girl Scout cookie type is the most popular?

1. The Oreo cookie.
2. The Toll House chocolate chip cookie.
3. Girl Scout cookies.
4. A koala.
5. Keebler.
6. Lebkuchen.
7. Anise.
8. False. It was invented in San Francisco in the 20th century.
9. Biscuits.
10. Thin Mints

October 2012 Holidays and Events

Adopt a Shelter Dog Month
American Cheese Month
Antidepressant Death Awareness Month
Celebrating the Bilingual Child Month
Celiac Disease Awareness Month
Children's Magazine Month
Church Library Month
Co-op Awareness Month
Cut Out Dissection Month
Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Dyslexia Awareness Month
Emotional Intelligence Awareness Month
Emotional Wellness Month
German-American Heritage Month
Global Diversity Awareness Month
Go Hog Wild—Eat Country Ham Month
Health Literacy Month
Home Eye Safety Month
International Starman Month
International Strategic Planning Month
Long-Term Care Planning Month
Month of Freethought
National "Gain the Inside Advantage" Month
National Animal Safety and Protection Month
National Audiology Awareness Month
National Bake and Decorate Month
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month
National Chili Month
National Chiropractic Health Month
National Crime Prevention Month
National Cyber Security Awareness Month
National Dental Hygiene Month
National Depression Education and Awareness Month
National Disability Employment Awareness Month
National Doughnut Month
National Down Syndrome Awareness Month
National Go on a Field Trip Month
National Kitchen and Bath Month
National Liver Awareness Month
National Medical Librarians Month
National Orthodontic Health Month
National Physical Therapy Month
National Popcorn Poppin' Month
National Reading Group Month
National Roller Skating Month
National Spina Bifida Awareness Month
National Stmap Collecting Month
National Work and Family Month
Organize Your Medical Information Month
Photographer Appreciation Month
Polish-American Heritage Month
Positive Attitude Month
Raptor Month
Rett Syndrome Awareness Month
Right-Brainers Rule Month
Self-Promotion Month
Spinach Lovers Month
Squirrel Awareness Month
Talk About Prescriptions Month
Vegetarian Month
Workplace Politics Awareness Month

1-7 Financial Planning Week
3-10 No Salt Week
4-10 World Space Week
6-12 National Physician Assistants (PA) Week
7-13 Emergency Nurses Week
7-13 Fire Prevention Week
7-13 Great Books Week
7-13 Mental Illness Awareness Week
7-13 Mystery Series Week
7-13 National Carry a Tune Week
7-13 National Metric Week
7-13 National Work from Home Week
7-13 Nuclear Medicine Week
8-12 Kids Goal-Setting Week
14-20 Freedom From Bullies Week
14-20 Getting the World to Beat a Path to Your Door Week
14-20 National Chestnut Week
14-20 National Food Bank Week
14-20 Teen Read Week
15-19 National School Lunch Week
15-21 Fall Astronomy Week
17-24 Food and Drug Interaction Education and Awareness Week
21-27 Kids Care Week
21-27 National Character Counts Week
21-27 National Chemistry Week
21-27 National Forest Products Week
21-27 National Friends of Libraries Week
21-27 National Massage Therapy Awareness Week
21-27 Pastoral Care Week
22-26 National School Bus Safety Week
25-31 International Magic Week

1 Child Health Day
1 International Day of Older Persons
1 World Habitat Day
1 World Vegetarian Day
2 Guardian Angels Day
2 International Day of Nonviolence
2 World Farm Animals Day
5 National Denim Day
5 National Diversity Day
5 World Teachers Day
5 World Smile Day
6 National German-American Day
6 World Card Making Day
7 Intergeneration Day
7 International African Diaspora Day
8 Columbus Day
8 National Kick-Butt Day
8 National Pierogy Day
9 Leif Erikson Day
9 National Face Your Fears Day
9 World Post Day
10 Emergency Nurses Day
10 International Top Spinning Day
10 National Bring Your Teddy Bear to Work Day
10 National Stop Bullying Day
10 International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction
10 World Mental Health Day
13 Universal Music Day
14 Be Bald and Be Free Day
15 National Cake Decorating Day
15 National Grouch Day
15 International Day of Rural Women
15 White Cane Safety Day
16 Dictionary Day
16 National Boss Day
16 World Food Day
17 Hagfish Day
17 Mulligan Day
17 International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
18 Get Smart About Credit Day
18 International Credit Union Day
19 Evaluate Your Life Day
19 National Mammography Day
20 Fall Astronomy Day
20 Sweetest Day
22 International Stuttering Awareness Day
23 National Mole Day
24 United Nations Day
24 World Development Information Day
26 Mule Day
26 National Pharmacy Buyer Day
27 Cranky Coworkers Day
27 Make a Difference Day
27 National Forgiveness Day
27 Navy Day
28 Mother-in-Law Day
29 National Cat Day
30 Checklists Day
30 Create a Great Funeral Day
31 Halloween
31 Magic Day
31 National Knock-Knock Day
31 National UNICEF Day

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