Speech-Language Team Visits Shanghai Healing Home

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In August, several of our speech-language pathologists visited Shanghai Healing Home together. Assisting local Chinese Children’s Welfare Institutes by providing pre and post-surgical care to abandoned Chinese orphan babies born with surgically correctable deformities, Shanghai Healing Home provides a home-like environment that meets not only the babies’ physical needs but also their emotional and developmental needs. In this post, they share their thoughts in their own words on the opportunity to volunteer their time together.2014_0826_Kid on hands & feet

Marifloyd Wright:

“The Healing Home was a great experience for me.  I enjoyed playing with the children; they were adorable.  It was also a learning experience for me.  I was able to see several different children with cleft lips and palates; some have had surgery to repair them and others haven’t yet.  I was at the Healing Home during meal time so was able to observe the caregivers feeding the children.  I was able to observe and mentally take note of the feeding practices they used.  I read a book about feeding over the summer so was able to notice techniques that could be changed; it was a way of mentally applying what I had learned this summer.  When we arrived at the orphanage, there were volunteers interacting with the kids.  They were singing songs, practicing the alphabet, and making various animals sounds corresponding to targeted animals.  It was really fun to see the kids participating and dancing around.  While in China, I have heard a lot about orphanages; I  am glad I was able to go to one and experience it.”

Holly Chen with a child at Shanghai Healing Home

Holly Chen with a child at Shanghai Healing Home

Holly Chen:

“Shanghai Healing Home was an eye-opening experience! The home exudes comfort and warmth. The children were precious and undeniably curious and social. It was a magical experience to hold, rock, sing, chat, and laugh with the children. I can’t wait to go back!”

Yi Lien:

“I loved this trip to the healing home. I had fun spending time with all of you and the kids! It was my first time holding babies younger than 1-year-old. When the babies were laughing in my arms, I felt that the trip was worth it. Even though it was the first visit to the healing home and I did nothing special but entertained the kids. It was a great experience to play with them, to observe during their feeding time, and to think what I can do more for them. I would love to go there again.”

Angela Gong:

“It was great going to the Shanghai Healing Home with other speech-language pathologists. We observed the children during play time and at lunch. We had a blast playing with them, holding them, and loving on them. It was a great team bonding experience and I look forward to regular team trips to the Healing Home.”

Speech & Language Strategies for Parents and Educators: Grammar and Vocabulary

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by Sophia Guarracino, Speech-Language Pathologist

by Sophia Guarracino, Speech-Language Pathologist

One of the most important points to keep in mind when your child or a student in your class is receiving speech and language services is the importance of carrying over intervention in both the home and school settings. It is ideal for parents, therapists, and educators to work together and discuss the techniques that will be effective for each child. There are many strategies that can be incorporated into a child’s daily routine to boost their speech and language skills. In this post, we will focus on two areas: grammar and sentence structure and vocabulary and word meanings.

Grammar/Sentence Structure: These strategies are intended for students who have difficulty with grammar and/or sentence structure.

  • If the child says something incorrectly, repeat it for them correctly in a natural way. Be sensitive about not calling negative attention to their language. For example, if the child says “I goed to the store.” You’d say, “Oh, you went to the store.”
  • When the child’s speech or writing contains grammar or word order errors, show them in writing the correct form.
  • When working with the child individually with written or oral language, repeat the error and ask the child how the sentence sounds. For example, if the child says or writes, “I goed to the store.” You say, “I goed to the store? Does that sound right?” If the child is unable to correct it, give them a choice. For example, “Which sounds better, ‘I goed to the store.’ or ‘I went to the store.’?”
  • For frequently occurring errors, build oral language practice into the daily routine for the entire class.


Vocabulary/Word Meanings: These strategies are intended for students who have difficulty with vocabulary/word meaning.

  • Prior to introducing new units or stories, compile a list of key vocabulary words. Discuss the words and their possible meanings with students.
  • When introducing words, try using a graphic organizer or visual mapping to come up with word relationships, including antonyms or synonyms.
  • When possible, pair a picture with the vocabulary words. When vocabulary is abstract and pictures are not available, try to relate the words to a personal experience to which students can relate.
  • Place words and definitions on note cards. Use the cards to play games such as matching or memory.
  • Create a word list with vocabulary and definitions to display in a visible place within the classroom.
  • Provide students with a vocabulary list including definitions one week prior to beginning a new unit.
  • Encourage the use of word-games at home (Tribond, etc.).
  • Consult with a speech-language therapist for more ideas using graphic organizers.