Parents

25 ways to ask your kids "how was school today?"

As parents we want our kids to tell us more, but often we’re frustrated by their one-word responses; leaving us curious and pressing for more info.

Make it more fun (and less of an interrogation) with questions suggested by Huffington Post! Click here for the full article.

Here are some of our favorites:

  • Where is the coolest place at the school?

  • Tell me something good that happened today.

  • If you could switch seats with anyone in the class, who would you trade with? Why?

  • If you got to be the teacher tomorrow, what would you do?

  • If an alien spaceship came to your class and beamed someone up, who would you want them to take?

 
 

Think these could work for your kids? Try it out and let us know how it goes!

VIDEO: Is it time to seek stuttering therapy for my child?

Don’t let anyone tell you “don’t worry.”
You’re a parent, and you have the right to be concerned about your child .
And you have the right to choose what to do.
— Uri Schneider

Things to remember when thinking about seeking speech therapy:

What Type of parent are you?

  • Tolerant Parent

    • Are you able to “watch-and-see” and tolerate allowing some more time, and give your child the opportunity to sort it out themselves?

  • Concerned Parent

    • Are you more concerned, risk-aversive and more comfortable being more proactive rather than applying a more patient approach?

 
 

What ABOUT YOUR CHILD? And They’re Temperament?

  • Is your child reactive and fussy?

  • Is your child easy-going and unbothered?

IF Parents and kids are not concerned…

  • If neither parent, nor the child is concerned - it can be a legitimate option to allowing more time. There is no objective need to rush to therapy sooner than later.
    (In some cases there can be reasons to seek therapy sooner than later", but it’s not always true that “early intervention” is always the best policy.)

  • If you choose to “watch and see,” then put a date on your calendar to follow-up (4-12 weeks later). Something like this: “If by this date, nothing has changed, let’s give therapy a try.”

Click here for a practical infographic - when to seek professional stuttering evaluation for your young child who stutters.

For more - see the video above.

Uri Schneider, Co-Director Schneider Speech

3 Tips for Active Listening

3 Tips for Active Listening (between adults and kids)

1. Get down to the child's level, shoulder-to-shoulder. Sit down and meet them at eye level.

2. Ask yourself - 'How much am I talking here?’ Optimal balance is 50/50. This way we do half the talking and the child does half the talking

3. We need to start to think about talking with the language complexity that matches the child. Talk about trains, bugs, whatever they want! 

I would like to recommend the book, ‘How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk’, by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. In this book, you'll see cartoon illustrations and chapters that really talk about a lot of what I’ve just talked about. A second book I would recommend, is the book called, ‘Brain Rules for Babies’, by John J. Medina. It's written in a way that's very easy to consume, but it's written by a scientist, someone I recommend and really respect. 

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VIDEO: Is Therapy Right for a Stuttering Three Year Old?

Click the video above to start watching

The Right Way Vs. the Wrong Way

  • There is no right way

  • There is a wrong way, which is to try to do a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution.

  • We may be the professionals and we may be the experts, but we're not the boss. A mother's intuition, a father's intuition is the best knowledge and the best guide in the process.

 
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remember what stuttering is

  • Stuttering is

    • a physical issue not an emotionally based issue

    • a neurophysiological issue, which involves the coordination of signals and neurons in the brain setting up the coordination of the speech mechanism

  • Stuttering is NOT

    • a learning disability

    • caused by anxiety

    • caused by parents

 
 

Good Communication Values

  • Plant communication values during moments of opportunity. You don't teach values, you plant them.

  • If we can listen to what the child has to say and practice active listening at the moment that the child is getting stuck, we can send a very powerful message to that young child. And that message is:

“What you have to say is worth listening to, no matter how it comes out. I'm listening to what you have to say more than how you say it”. 

Uri Schneider, Co-Director Schneider Speech

VIDEO: What to do When a Parent Wants Therapy But a Child Does Not

Click the video above to start watching!

Let’s review!

What to do when a parent wants therapy but a child does not?

  1. Ask yourself: What's the root of the problem?

    • Thinking about what the child's concerns are and helping to alleviate them can be a big step forward.

  2. Talk about it in a different way

    • Present therapy in a new light! For example:

“Mommy and daddy noticed that sometimes your words are getting stuck. We love you and we found someone who knows a lot about kids whose words get stuck and we want to get some help, some tips, some advice on how we can do the best we can for you. Would you like to come?” 

 
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3. Respect them

  • As they get older, they start to own shares of their life. Allow the child's voice to be heard, even if it's not what we wish to hear.


Now how about this...

‘How do you work with children who might not want to be in therapy?’ 

1. Learn what's troubling them

  • If a child is going through something significant in their life, like a stutter, learn what it is and what it's not. Let them know help exists.

2. Give them an invitation

  • Give a child an opportunity and an invitation. It can be helpful to present therapy as a project: “Would you be interested in a little project? We'll meet for three times and learn a little bit more about this whole speech thing.”

Uri Schneider, Co-Director Schneider Speech

VIDEO: It's OK to Talk About Stuttering

Click the video above to start watching!

Here’s a recap of our video!

Talking about stuttering with your teen can be challenging, but it needs to happen! Read below for some tips on approaching this sensitive topic in a safe and dignified way.

1. Don't ignore the elephant in the room!

  • The worst thing to do is to pretend the stuttering is not there. That sends a message (and transmits a value/judgement) that this way of talking is a "no-no," taboo, we don't talk about it.

 
@Schneiderspeech on Instagram

@Schneiderspeech on Instagram

 

2. Talk about it, in a way that is respectful, dignified and nuanced

  • Use descriptive language - not judgmental language.

  • If we can use words that are descriptive and just acknowledge what it is, we can talk about stuttering in a respectful and sensitive manner

    i.e.: “It must be hard sometimes, would you like to find some ways to learn how to make it easier to talk about it?” 

  • Being insensitive can lead to negative outcomes including poor self-image, reduced confidence and ultimately, a young person who retreats into a safer shell of silence.

Uri Schneider, Co-Director Schneider Speech

Speech Therapy 2.0

Let’s get personal. Yesterday, I met with 4 clients on three continents. Technology is amazing!
But the most invigorating moments aren’t generated by tech.

The great moments are more often the subtle ones, face to face, one on one.
I want to invite you in, to appreciate the subtlety of my day yesterday.


I met an 18 year old young man who is struggling with his speech. As a result, he is starting to avoid conversations, acting shy and worrying about his future employability.

I asked him, what was most helpful in our meeting today?
He said: "I thought no-one would understand. I thought it was just me."
He appreciated the understanding I afforded to him. And in our meeting, I had the fortune to introduce him to a friend of mine, another young man who stutters. And that friend shared his own journey which resonated with this 18 year old!

I met another new client, a college-age young woman who is almost unintelligible. She lives the definition of resilience, but her deepest wish is the ability to speak for herself, and claim the independence she craves. And one of the keys to unlock her independence is her ability to speak for herself, and to be understood.


You see, what strikes me is the subtlety of these two meetings - two different people with different circumstances... they both come for "speech therapy." But what they really need isn't "speech therapy." "Put your tongue here..." "Slow down..." "Take a deep breath..."

What they want is:

[1] To be heard and to be understood - without judgement or whitewashing the real speech struggles. To be afforded the opportunity to own and wrote their own story. Often with the support of family, friends and sometimes... abcaring professional too.

[2] Real life change - the ability to communicate with greater success and more ease! In real life; not only in the speech therapy office. To be able to order food, enjoy friendships, meet new people, and pursue a career.


What these clients need (and deserve) is a guide. A speech-language pathologist, with a caring heart, problem solving mind, and championing spirit to unleash their fullest potential... and give them the greatest gift! An incubator for their improvement, growth and increasing independence!

This is what we do at Schneider Speech with each of our clients.
Younger kids, teens, adults and parents!

I can tell you, it's effortful and exhausting, even though it may appear fluid and informal.
That's because it's not your grandma's speech therapy.
It's speech-language therapy 2.0
Speech-language therapy with soul.
As we have learned from our teachers, clients mentors - first and foremost, Dr. Phil Schneider.

We feel privileged to do this every day with each of our clients.

If you know someone looking for this kind of help, let them know we're here.
Kew Gardens Hills, Queens,
Roslyn, Long Island
Cedarhurst, Long Island
Flatbush, Brooklyn
Upper West Side, Manhattan
and
Riverdale, Bronx

Sparking Conversation through Literacy

It can be really challenging to talk about uncomfortable topics.
All the more so when speaking with our kids.

Books can be really helpful to open-up crucial conversations with young people.

 
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Never underestimate young people, and the valuable opportunities to open conversations to engage important topics!

Practical suggestion: Shared reading time can be a great opportunity to sit-down with your child and enjoy real quality time.  Every time you do, you strengthen their reading skills, and you also create a rich opportunity to make connections from the text-to-life.

Talking about stuttering with your child can feel overwhelming.  As a caregiver, you may have a lot of your own questions and emotions about stuttering and/or having a conversation about stuttering.  You are not alone. 

Try using a book to facilitate the conversations.

Books can provide clarity - making it easier for the both of you.

And you may enjoy some bonus smiles along the way!

Here is a list of books that may help start the conversation:

“Steggie’s Stutter” by: Jack Hughes

“Stuttering Stan Takes a Stand” by: Artie Knapp or  access this story for free on Youtube

“Sophie’s Stutter” by: Ingrid Bruske

“Gabriela (American Girl)” by: Teresa E. Harris

“Paperboy” by Vince Vawter

“Copyboy” by Vince Vawter

“When Oliver Speaks” by Kimberly Garvin and Saadiq Wicks

 
 
 

Happy Reading!

Tiffany Marino, associate speech-language pathologist, Schneider Speech

 

VIDEO: Bullying: Zero-Tolerance

Nothing gets me more upset, than when I hear kids are being bullied.

When it comes to bullying I think there are three important questions:

  1. What is bullying and what is just "kids being kids"?

  2. Where and when does it happen?

  3. What can we do about it?

 

1. What is bullying and what is just "kids being kids"?

First of all bullying is different than teasing and it's different than abuse. The definitions are shifting with time, but what is definite about bullying is that it's the repetitive targeting of an individual or individuals with some behavior that makes them feel uncomfortable.

It could be something as "innocent" as walking past a student in the aisle, and giving them a little elbow.... over and over and over.  That's bullying.  It could be something as egregious as inappropriate touching, name-calling and/or teasing in a way that relentlessly and repetitively focuses on the same target over time.  That's also bullying. 

 
 

2. Where and when does bullying happen

Most often, the bully knows how to slip-in, most often targeting kids in the in-between moments; transitions between classes, recess, lunchtime, dismissal,  the bathroom, on the bus, during unsupervised times, and unfortunately, bullies don't keep it reserved for school.  Bullying occurs in our communities, in the park, in synagogues, churches, and mosques.  And of course, it can occur online in the shadows of social media.

 

3. What to do about bullying?

It's tricky. 

OPTION A: Empower the bullied
Too often we turn to the targeted kids - the ones being "bullied" - and we put the onus of responsibility on them.  We tell our kids to fight back, speak-up for themselves, ignore... But, often the bullied kids (especially the ones with communication challenges) can't do it.  If they could speak-up for themselves, they would.  Sometimes, facing a bully can be legitimately challenging, scary and ineffective.  And sometimes, it can be more trouble than it''s worth!

OPTION B: Confront the bully
Often the bully is unresponsive to other adults intervention, and too often, even speaking to the parents of the bully is less-than we wish it would be.

OPTION C: Activating the community - adults and young people together

ZERO TOLERANCE FOR BULLYING MEANS: We all share a common interest to ensure that all children are safe to grow to learn and to flourish.


What is proven to be effective is engaging the responsible adults in that space; whether it's teachers at school or people in your community.  The shared interest is to ensure that all children are in a safe environment, where all children are safe to grow to learn and to flourish.

There is also another overlooked resource against bullying.  That is all the "other kids."  Not the ones who are bullying and not the ones being bullied, but all those kids who are watching it happen day-in and day-out.  By observing this behavior and standing-by passively, these "other kids" are giving permission and even approval to the bully's behavior!

So, if we engage all the students in class, and the young people in our communities to be "good samaritans" then they play an active part in creating a bully-free environment.

All of us are stronger than any one of us.
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VIDEO: Top 5 Ways Talk About Stuttering

 

Click the video above to start watching!

 
Contrary to popular beliefs,
the act of talking about stuttering is often liberating
- not traumatic. 
— Uri Schneider

In this video, we learn about a family of school-age child who stutters, working together to find descriptive language - as opposed to judgmental language (i.e. good/bad) - to talk about stuttering.


 Top 5 Words to Talk About "Stuttering"

  • sticky

  • bumpy

  • effortful

  • tense

  • pressed

* NOTICE: Can you see the descriptive language - and the absence of judgemental language?
** Also, try to use words to describe what it is (i.e. "tense"); and not what it's not (i.e. "not easy"). 
You can see how it gets confusing using negatives ;-)


Top 5 Words TO TALK ABOUT "FLUENCY"

  • gliding

  • smooth

  • easy

  • fluid

  • flow

  • effortless

* NOTICE: These words are centered on the experience of the speaker / talker; how it feels for the speaker (i.e. sticky, easy).   As opposed to focusing exclusively on how it is perceived by the listener (ie. stuttering or fluent).


 
 
 

EXERCISE: Build YOUR OWN (FAMILY) "vocabulary"

TIPS: Try with your family

  • Keeping it light-hearted (even fun) thinking of words to describe speech (both "stuttering" and "fluency")

  • Brainstorm altogether, or see if each person can create their own list and then share with each other.

  • See who can come up with the most words!

  • Put the words in a notebook, on your phone notepad or on the fridge; and begin to use these words when talking about speech.  You can even discuss sharing "your personalized vocabulary" with therapists, teachers, family.

 

Let us know:

What words are in "your stuttering vocabulary"?

 


VIDEO: How To Talk To Kids About Speech Therapy

 
 

Watch our video!

If we were talking to an adult, we would (hopefully) consider their experiences, their feelings, their concerns...  We would consider whether they like surprises, or like to be informed in advance; whether they prefer to skip the details, or prefer to know exactly what to expect.

We need to think about children as young people.
— heard from Taro Alexander, SAY

Speech therapy is not part of the everyday routine.  It's not like the universal daily ritual (wrestle) of brushing teeth. 

Let's be honest, speech therapy is unusual.  It's different.  And it's often unclear what it is, what it looks like and how it works.

So, if you're a parent or a therapist, ask yourself these questions, BEFORE speaking to your child.  Of course you might discuss some of these questions WITH your child. 
And you might speak with the professional IN ADVANCE of your appointment - so everyone is on-the-same-page.
And this conversation should be ongoing, checking-in during the first meeting and subsequent appointments, to ensure the "young person" is taken into account.

 
 

What's going through the child's mind?

The example I think of is something I heard from Dr. Carol Westby, one of giants in in research and clinical speech-language pathology.  She contributed loads of research, assessments and more to show us how children learn through play

Now, for example, if you think about how children learn to swim, children don't learn how to swim when they're terrified of/in the water.  They learn how to swim only after they're comfortable to "splish splash" and fool-around in the water. 

So, what that means for us is this: children don't learn when they're terrified.  None of us do. 
We may memorize something out of fear, we may be able to spit it back on a test, but we're not really learning, long-term, deep learning.  Long-term, deep, learning happens when you feel safe.  Learning and therapy for that matter, happens when you feel interested and curious; when you feel secure; when you feel there's someone on the other side that has something to offer you.  When you feel that other person "gets you," responds to you and can enlighten you. 

Children don’t learn when they’re terrified. 
None of us do. 
Our brains learn best, when they feel safe, even playful.
— Uri Schneider

WORDS THAT TURN-OFF:

  • homework

  • therapy

  • job

  • test

 

WORDS THAT TURN-ON:

  • project

  • adventure

  • fun

These are ways to create a bridge, to create trust, and once you do that, you can have a very productive relationship, and you can really work on very sensitive things. 

 

SUMMARY TIPS:

I think that's the way to set-up "how we talk about therapy."  Whether it's a young child, or an older child, or a teen, or an adult, we should make sure to make it relevant; make sure to address points of concern (and even resistance), and make it matter of fact, and description not judgmental.

If we prepare well, then we can engage in therapy with the confidence that we want to have - and assured that our kids will have the confidence they crave.  After all, we all deserve to feel safe and secure.

 

Uri Schneider, Co-Director Schneider Speech

VIDEO: Practical Tips Better Than Telling Kids to "Slow Down"

 
 

Check out our video here!

In summary:

TIP #1:  ONLY say things, you would WANT TO hear.

TIP #2:  ONLY suggest doing things you WOULD do yourself.

TIP #3:  model the behavior you wish to see from others

If we want to help people who stutter especially our kids, then the first thing we should do is say less and listen more - turning-up our active listening.  Active listening is all about being present and really listening to what they have to say more than how they say it

 
 

Give these tips a try.

They'll probably be more helpful than telling your kids to slow down.

 

Nurture kids' self-esteem, and you'll never need to "build their self-esteem"

 
 

Watch our video!

Parents often ask what they can do to help build their kids self-esteem.

Self-esteem on the one hand is such an important topic, and on the other hand it's really unclear what it is.  What is "self-esteem"?  As compared to- what is confidence?  What is self-image?  Are they the same, different...

 
 

I'd like to suggest a paradigm shift.  Let's re-think "self-esteem." Instead of being something we build into the child, let's recognize it as an innate gift, included within every newborn child.  Consider this: no baby looks in the mirror and thinks negatively of themselves!  In reality, every baby is born "in-love with themselves" wholly as they are.  At some point later on, experiences and feedback from their environment that can send them messages, and over time those negative/doubtful/critical messages chip-away at what was whole.

Let’s re-think “self-esteem.”
Instead of being something we build into the child, 
let’s recognize it as an innate gift, included within every newborn child.   
 
 

So when we think about self-esteem let's think about what our kids are born with, and how they see themselves. 

If they have differences (a stutter, speech- language-challenges, learning disability, communication challenge, physical anomalies) then the question we ask ourselves should be early and often, as they develop into childhood and adolescence:

TIP#1  HOW can WE amplify the ways they identify themselves with thier unique strengths, talents and characteristics

TIP #2 How can we influence the self-reflection they see when they look in the mirror of life; so their points of difference are not the defining or dominant characteristics

Certainly their unique completion of being make them no less and no more than anyone else.

If we can help young people grow-up with a sense of who they are, and what makes them unique - then we can raise them with a nuanced sense of self-esteem. This sort of self-esteem will lead to confidence and positive self-image through school years, teenage years, young adulthood and beyond - and most valuable of all, will lead them to grow-up as responsible citizens of the world with compassionate and understanding for themselves, and others.

Stuttering Videos

Sometimes, we find ourselves without words; words to explain how we feel inside and words to help others understand what we’re dealing with.

These films are some of the very best videos to artistically express “what is stuttering.”