Hi! I'm Joan and Welcome to my practice...
For the last 30 years I have offered an eclectic, holistic approach to speech/language services aimed at the improvement of a child's speech / language disorders. My patient age group normally ranges from 2 years to 13 years old.
I specialize in issues such as Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) a.k.a. verbal dyspraxia, Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD), language processing disorder, reading difficulties due to processing issues (dyslexia), word retrieval, and general speech/language issues dealing with articulation delays (/r/ and /s/ problems), oral motor difficulties and grammar/syntax, morphology, and pragmatic difficulties. Additionally, I have extensive experience with Sensory Processing Disorder(SPD), Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD), Executive Functioning Disorder, and Learning Differences.
I believe in using an eclectic approach to each child. I see each child as a unique individual with unique strengths and weaknesses. Therapy should conform to the child's issues, not to strictures of a therapy technique. Amongst therapists "cookie cutter" approaches force that square peg child through a round therapy hole. In other words, not every CAS or ADHD child is the same. Successful treatment should be tailored to the child's therapeutic needs in conjunction with the child's personal needs. If I treat a child for CAS in accordance to a treatment profile versus a child's ability to incorporate the treatment in his day-to-day life, then I have failed that child.
I believe in an holistic approach to therapy. Years of additional training beyond the field of speech/language pathology, time spent as an associate professor, time as advocate/consultant, etc. has led me to a perspective with a greater depth and breadth with regards to the whole child. When a child enters my practice, I have to recognize that a "tick", a lack of focus, an inability for their eyes to work in unison could be symptomatic of another non-speech issue impacting my treatment plan.
I believe therapy should be built upon a solid foundation. Assessment aids in the construction of that foundation. Therapists utilize evaluations in the identification of different issues. Evaluations range from the formal to the observational depending upon parental wishes and the type of potential issue. I have been a contributing clinician on nationally used evaluative testing equipment. As a contributing clinician I realize there is a great deal of nuance built into each test. The actions of the child during the testing can be as diagnostically valuable as the test results. Often, being subjected to billable time constraints can cause some therapists to unconsciously impact test results. Children "feel" the anxiety of the clock and will sometimes shut down or rush results. This is why I feel it is necessary to allow some time flexibility to be built into evaluations. When the therapist explains their findings, parents should understand the outcome of testing. Terminology ought to be defined and questions answered within the scope of the parents understanding.
I believe in using the most recent neurological and motor research to assist with my therapy approaches. There is new research on the brain's plasticity (flexibility) in compensating for deficiencies in other areas. Additionally, there are new perspectives on how the brain ages or how synaptic connections form. All lead us to ponder how truly adaptive the human brain is and how that will influence treatment
I believe that certain technologies offer a viable alternative to traditional therapy techniques. In my practice I review the research and efficacies of new technologies before I utilize them in therapy. Often "studies" are more for the marketing of a product rather than the treatment of a child. When I do use these programs I am as assured as I can be that the product will perform as stated. Some of the specialty programs I use are Fast ForWord®, Interactive Metronome®, Earobics®, Lindamood-Bell®, PROMPT, and Handwriting Without Tears® .
I believe therapists, no matter how good their original education, need to constantly expand or update their expertise. Speech/language pathologists must accumulate a number of CEU's to maintain their clinical status with ASHA. This can be done through an myriad array of online, phone, classes, or programs. Over the years I have gained an number of accreditations. Each one was taken with a focus on pediatrics. Two examples are NDT and PROMPT. When the parents of a new patient come to me, we will discuss my background and philosophy. Additionally, I will give them a complete professional list of my qualifications for them to review at their leisure.