Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’” Today, as we celebrate MLK day, we invite you to take this question to heart and find a way to give back! All across the country Americans come together during this holiday for a day of service. From helping out a neighbor, to donating to a local non-profit, today is about helping others, and being a part of the greater good in our society.

How are you giving back this MLK Jr. Day?

Little-One Fun at Your Local Library

Little-One Fun at Your Local Library

If your family is getting “house-buggy” this winter and you are searching for something to do with the kids, look no further than your local library.  Events such as Super Saturdays and Move & Groove Story Time provide great opportunities to expose young children and children with special needs to book reading, music, and peers.  Literacy parties are also provided in Spanish to support early literacy skill development in Spanish-speaking children.  Check out all the fun and educational opportunities available at your eastside library locations!

A New Look at Literacy

This December, I completed a continuing education course presented by Vicki Reed, Ed. D., CCC-SLP, BRS-CL, which discussed literacy, the many skills involved, and its importance in academic success.  Reed defined literacy as “more than basic reading and writing,” as it requires the ability to think about language.  Literacy entails higher level skills, such as reasoning and inference, which aid in our comprehension and expression of written text.  For example, a writer must consider the prior knowledge that the intended audience would have on a topic and select appropriate vocabulary.  Likewise, the reader or listener may have to rely on previous knowledge to discern figurative from literal comments or “read between the lines” to gain the author’s perspective.

During this course, Reed highlighted the fact that many children present with difficulty with expository language, in particular.  Expository discourse is found in elementary textbooks, beginning in the third grade.  It is also around this time that we see a switch from reading in class or to a parent to independent study. Children are not only asked to read and comprehend this challenging discourse, but they are often asked to use higher-level thinking skills to respond by summarizing, paraphrasing, and making inferences about what they have read.

Reed stated that children who are not solid in their foundational language skills (i.e. vocabulary, decoding, spelling) will quickly fall further and further behind their peers.  As parents, educators, and SLPs, we must take an active role in preparing children for this “switch” by instilling a love for reading and helping them to build a strong foundation (i.e. alphabet knowledge, phonological awareness, reading comprehension). It is important that parents remain engaged in their child’s academic development.  Parents can support literacy development by asking school-age children to read aloud to a parent once in a while, asking questions and/or for an explanation of printed material in the child’s own words, and asking the child to make predictions and/or hypotheses about the text.

Hearing Loss Association Meeting

Join the Hearing Loss Association of Bellevue on Saturday, January 12th at 1pm in welcoming Erin Ross, M.S. and Perry Anderson as they discuss Vocational Rehabilitation. The two work at the Bellevue Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) which provides services to individuals who want to work but need assistance due to a physical, sensory, cognitive or mental disability. DVR counselors works with each individual one-on-one to design a customized, step-by-step plan to achieve the desired job goal.

Meetings take place at Lake Sammamish Foursquare Church (14434 NE 8th St. Bellevue).

Living With a Sound You Can’t Turn Off

Earlier this month the New York Times published a story by Jane Brody about living with tinnitus. We loved the real life account of what it is like to live with constant sounds in your head, along with the current treatment approaches and research studies taking place. We are proud to use some of the approaches discussed in the article in our own Tinnitus program here at ESHC. Read the entire article below!

“Shortly after my 70th birthday, a high-pitched hum began in my left ear. I noticed it only during quiet times but soon realized that it never went away.

An ear, nose and throat specialist (otolaryngologist) examined my ears and took a thorough medical history that included questions about noise exposure and drugs I take. An audiologist checked my hearing.

Diagnosis: tinnitus, with a mild hearing loss in the upper range that closely matched the pitch of the hum. Continue Reading

Holiday Giving

Over the past month our staff and patients have been hard at work helping to collect monetary donations along with food, clothing to present to our annual holiday family. We are proud to announce that with all of your help we were able to donate six large bags of food and clothing along with $2000 to the family we have followed for over 20 years.

When the clinic first started working with the family a loving and hopeful mother and father adopted seven children, all with special needs. The family has grown up and the children are now adults, all still living under the same roof. Throughout the years the family has faced many challenges including disabilities, depression, poverty, scholastic and financial difficulties. The family was incredibly excited for the food donations as they are currently finding it difficult to put food on the table for all whom live in the house.

We feel fortunate to be able to assist this family in making their holiday’s a bit more joyful. Wishing you all a happy and healthy new year!

Happy New Year!

All of us here at ESHC wish you a very happy start to the New Year! We have accomplished a lot in 2012, in great part to our wonderful staff, therapists, doctors and patients. We look forward to working with you all in 2013.

Our office will be closed New Years day to allow our staff time to celebrate with friends and family. Here’s to a happy and healthy 2013!

Understanding Your Audiogram

Our doctors are here to share their knowledge on the audiogram, a graph used to illustrate how you hear during a hearing evaluation. Across the top of an audiogram are the frequencies, or pitches, of sounds, from low sounds to high and down the side are measures of intensity, or loudness, of sounds, from soft sounds to loud.  Each frequency (pitch) is tested at different intensities (loudness) to determine where your baseline hearing falls. When there are no problems with hearing you will see a straight line drawn across the “0″ axes, showing that you can hear all frequencies at the lowest level expected by humans. As hearing begins to fail, you need to increase the loudness of frequencies in order to hear them. This is indicated on an audiogram by data points at higher intensitities.

The audiogram shown below is a great depiction of where certain sounds fall on the audiogram, most importantly is the portion in the middle called the “Speech Banana.”  This is a depiction of where the sounds in speech fall in terms of pitch and loudness. It is our goal to have people hear above the speech banana with or without amplification. In the speech banana, you can find the sounds a, u, i, sh, s, m, better known as the Ling Six Sounds.  These sounds span the length of the Speech Banana.  When a listener responds to a Ling Six Sound Check, we can be reasonably sure that he has access to all of the sounds of speech.

If you have any questions on your hearing or audiogram feel free to contact us and we’ll help you to better understand the results of your most recent test.

Autism Friendly Theater

Another Christmas has come and gone, but there was one story this holiday season that gave us that holiday feel good feeling! The Old Globe Theatre in San Diego created a special rendition of  “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!,” geared toward people with autism and their families.

The performance, one of the first of its kind on the west coast, featured modified sound, lighting and other effects in deference to sensory sensitivities. But for many of the families who attended (over 470 people to be exact), the most welcome aspect was just being in a community of people who understood their challenges and wouldn’t bat an eye at behavior that might be deemed disruptive at a typical performance.

“We love theater, and we haven’t ever been able to let him be a part of that with us,” said Cyndi Sapper of her 20-year-old son, Stevenson, after the show. “And this was just amazing. It was so relaxing, really.”

Sapper’s husband, Steve, appreciated that Stevenson was “able to be himself, and enjoy himself, and laugh if he wanted to, and bounce if he wanted to.”

“As a family, there are so many things we can’t do,” said his mom, Patricia Morris Buckley. “We can’t do parades, we can’t do big malls. So to be able to share a holiday tradition like this is, for our whole family, such an amazing experience. It makes me cry to think of all the families that don’t get to do anything with their kids.”

Read the entire article on the wonderful cast and directors that put the show together here. We hope to see more theater supporting performances like this – what a wonderful way to allow families to feel support and comfort during the holidays!

Merry Christmas!

Our office will be closed Monday and Tuesday to allow our staff time to spend with their loved ones this holiday season. We wish you and yours a happy, healthy and memorable Christmas!

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