Goodbye Pacifier


Did you know it is recommended to extinguish pacifier use by the age of 12 months?

Prolonged pacifier use can have a negative effect on dental malocclusion and distort speech. Studies have also shown it can increase the risk for ear infections.

Here are 10 creative ideas to help your child “give away” their pacifier:

1. Leave it for the Binky Fairy

Have your child place their pacifiers in a bag near their bed. The Binky Fairy may even leave a special treat in the morning in place of the pacifiers.

2. Give it away

“What worked for me was having my daughter give away her ‘baby things’ at certain holidays. For instance, she gave the Easter Bunny her bottles for her babies and Rudolph got the pacifier. It worked very well. Every time she brought it up, we’d remind her about who she gave her things to.”
– Anonymous via

3. Donate it

“We told our daughter that she needed to give her ‘binkies’ to the new babies being born. The next time we went to the doctor’s office we took all the pacifiers with us and left them with the doctor to ‘hand out to the new babies.’ It worked like a charm. She asked about it for one or two nights and then never asked again.”
– Caroline’s Mommy via

4. Read Books about it

Baby’s Binky Box, by Jennifer Ormond, illustrated by Curt Walstead

Binky, by Leslie Patricelli

Bye-Bye Binky, by Brigitte Weninger, illustrated by Yusuke Yonezu

Bye-Bye, Pacifier (a Muppet Babies book), by Louise Gikow

I Want My Pacifier, by Tony Ross

No More Pacifier, by Ricki Booker, illustrated by Selena Kassab

No More Pacifiers, by Melanie O’Brien, illustrated by Amanda Enright

Pacifiers Are Not Forever, by Elizabeth Verdick, illustrated by Marieka Heinlen

5. Build-A-Bear

Have your child bring their pacifiers on a trip to Build-A-Bear. Before stuffing the bear, place the pacifiers inside.

6. Have it float away on a balloon

Watch the “Up” inspired “Goodbye Pacifier” video here:


A Teacher’s Most Valuable Tool


It’s that time of year again…the start of a new school year!

What is the teacher’s most valuable tool? -The voice of course!

Did you know that teachers have the highest vocal demands of any other profession? According to Dr. Michael Pitman, 58% of teachers will develop a voice disorder in their lifetime, compared to 20% percent of people in the general population. In fact, with increasing class sizes and poor acoustic environments, voice issues among teachers has been increasing over the years. This has consequently led to temporary voice disorders as well as permanent voice disorders in the profession.

So what is the trick for teaching at a highly effective level without vocal strain?

• Keep the vocal cords hydrated by drinking six to eight glasses of water a day.

• Rest the voice when it’s not necessary to use it.

• Spread out the vocal demands throughout the day by using quiet work time or group assignments.

• Using non-vocal cues to gain students’ attention

• Steering clear of menthol, eucalyptus and mint lozenges — they might provide relief in the short term, but are actually damaging to the voice (Pitman, 2014).

Here at the Suffolk Center for Speech we have a highly trained team of professionals to educate and treat a variety of voice disorders and symptoms you may be experiencing.

Did you know?

The Suffolk Center for Speech now offers Stroboscopy. Stroboscopy is used as an evaluative measure for voice patients. The endoscopic view allows clinicians to observe the integrity of the vocal folds, as well as observe any laryngeal pathology such as vocal fold paralysis or vocal nodules. The objective features of Stroboscopy allow clinicians to measure the fundamental frequency (F0) of voice production, as well as observe the vocal folds during phonation. The movement of the velum can also be assessed using this device, and may be useful for patients with velopharyngeal insufficiency.

Playing with Food!


Children learn to try new foods items through their senses of smell, touch, and taste. Providing experiences often increases their acceptance to new foods items. Here are some tips to promote sensory feeding development in the home:

◦ Learn about new foods while eating or at a separate scheduled time

◦ Keep eating fun without any force

◦ Explore new food items while maintaining a “positive and supportive attitude”

◦ “Touch” new foods items
Paint with food items
Stamp with food items
String food items to make food jewelry

◦ “Smell” new foods items
Placing food items in a container and have your child guess the item through a hole in the top

◦ “Taste” new foods
Lick the item, hold a small bite on the tongue, and finally chew a small portion
Make teeth marks on food items

◦ Allow your child to spit out a new food items or wash down with water

◦ Have the child join in the cooking process. Here are some suggestions by age…
Age 3:
◦ Wash and strain fruits and vegetables
◦ stir ingredients in large, deep bowls
◦ use cookie and biscuit cutters
◦ tear lettuce
Age 4:
◦ open packages
◦ poor liquids
◦ squeeze citrus
◦ measure and spoon out cookies
◦ mashing potatoes, bananas, or other vegetables
◦ peel oranges or hard-boiled eggs
Ages 5-6:
◦ measure ingredients
◦ set the table
Ages 7-8:
◦ help plan the meal
◦ find ingredients in the pantry or spice rack
◦ knead dough
◦ crack and whisk eggs


Autism in Art

Debbie Rasiel, mother to a 23-year-old with autism, began a photography project inspired by two things she’s most familiar with: autism and art. Debbie spent two years traveling the world, taking pictures of children with autism spectrum. Debbie’s mission: “To offer those not familiar with autism an opportunity to see what autism looks like, a safe space where social mores would not prevent them from staring,” Debbie describes her experience as a discovery: “while living conditions, resources and treatment vary by region, autism presents the same.” The project titled “Picturing Autism,” was recently exhibited at the SOHO20 Chelsea Gallery in Manhattan.

“From the Upper West Side of Manhattan to Cuzco, Peru, Astoria, Queens to Jakarta, East Harlem to Akureyri, Iceland, Alpine New Jersey to Oaxaca, Mexico, Rasiel seeks to highlight the shared physical manifestations of autism against a backdrop of poignant individuality.”

Please view the original article here:
Please view the exhibition website here:
Debbie Rasiel’s Official Website


Employment for Individuals with Autism

Autism Speaks created an Employment Tool Kit to support the increasing employment rate among young adults and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This tool has recently been expanded to include three new resources. The first includes an employers guide to hiring employees with ASD, written by an employer experienced in hiring numerous adults with ASD. The second resource is a parent’s guide to employment for adults with ASD, written from the perspective of a parent including resources to find, maintain, and empower your child. The third resource is the Big Business Report, or the expanding roster of companies that have published diversity policies, including the ASD community. Companies include AMC theatres, CISCO, Ernst & Young LLP, The Home Depot, Microsoft, Outback Steakhouse, Target and more.

The Autism Speaks Employment Toolkit can be found here:

The Rising Need for College Programs with Autism

Forbes has discussed in a recent article, the rising need for college programs with autism. With children on the autism spectrum rising from 1 in 150 to 1 in 88 in the past ten years, colleges are beginning to acknowledge the need for these young individuals to receive a college degree. The article offers recommendations on what to look for when college hunting for their loved ones with autism, including…class size, number of students, easy-to-navigate campuses, and support offered. Colleges and universities have established programs for supportive services including academic and executive functioning tutoring, anxiety reduction instruction, and social skill workshops. The average program is quoted to run an additional $3,000 per semester (Forbes, 2014).

Schools highlighted in this article include:

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). “RIT is a co-op school, meaning that they require students to have real, paid work experience before they can graduate, and attracts about 20-30 students on the spectrum each year. The Spectrum Support Program specializes in job preparation and offers a 15-week program involving in-depth seminars on job interviews, networking, resume building, behavioral based interview questions and body language tips that bolster students’ confidence in the job search process. RIT caters to the more independent, high-functioning students. Students meet with the staff at most three hours per week—one-hour group meetings and two one-hour individual meetings. First year students pay up to $1,600 per term at RIT on top of tuition, and upperclassmen with less support can pay up to $1,400 (Forbes, 2014).

Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA “offers an entire residence hall devoted to the Asperger Initiative at Mercyhurst (AIM) program. It is a Living Learning Environment that houses twenty-five students on the spectrum and one graduate student mentor. They provide optional meal gatherings, coordinate Asperger support group meetings, and group outings to events on and off campus (Forbes, 2014).”

Rutgers University aims to “fully mainstream their students on the spectrum. Rutgers students can be placed in dorms anywhere on campus and take any classes. “We want them to function as Rutgers students because they came here to be Rutgers students,” says Pam Lubbers, coordinator of College Support Program for Students on the Autism Support Spectrum (CAPS) at the university.”

Nova Southeastern University, in Fort Lauderdale, FL, “will receive its first student this coming fall and offers a very individualized plan. Each student has a unique plan of support based on what they need assistance with, which always evolves over time. This school will offer 10-hour per week peer mentoring, monitored study hall two hours a day, five days per week, weekly psychoeducational group meetings, physical/occupational therapy sessions and have someone on call for needed support 24 hours/day. They also plan to have students complete volunteer or paid work experience before they graduate so they can gain experience in the interviewing process, resume writing, working under a supervisor and with co-workers while they have support. The cost for these services is $8,000 on top of tuition.”

You can view the Forbes article here:

What initially interested me in this article came from an experience I had at Adelphi University, where I received my Master’s Degree. While attending a lecture from the renowned Temple Grandin, the Adelphi Bridge’s Program was introduced to the audience. See below for a description:

Adelphi University The bridges to Adelphi program assists students with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Social Anxiety Disorders. “This program is designed to enhance college life for students with nonverbal learning disabilities by providing help with organizational skills, time management, independent living skills and social skills training. Using social learning and cognitive behavioral principles as theoretical foundations, Bridges to Adelphi is a multifaceted intervention program that includes coaching, learning strategies, behavioral modeling, and peer mentoring (Adelphi, 2014).”

More local programs include:

New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) NYIT offers the Vocational Independence Program (VIP) for students who have moderate to severe learning disabilities as well as functioning autism and spectrum disorders. “Students may enter either the Vocational concentration, or the Degree Prep concentration if qualified. The NYIT degree program places students on an associate or bachelor’s degree track. Students in both tracks are full-time students and live on the Central Islip campus in a residence hall staffed by VIP faculty and professionals. They participate in the full range of student life offerings, including social and recreational activities.
In addition to NYIT activities, VIP offers specialized trips and activities: from day trips to weekend outings to a week in Europe. Upon entering the program as freshmen, VIP students are assigned academic, social and career counselors, and financial advisors who meet with them weekly and on an “as needed” basis.
The Vocational Independence Program accepts a freshman class of approximately 45 students. It is recommended that students apply as early as possible as space is limited (NYIT, 2014).”

In the News – Jesse Saperstein Book Signing


Jesse Saperstein is an author, speaker, and autism advocate. Jesse himself was diagnosed with Asperger’s at the age of 14. I had the pleasure of meeting Jesse last Fall while interning at my local elementary school. Jesse held an open forum for employees, discussing topics of autism and bullying, as well as the struggles and triumphs of living with Asperger’s. He even took the time to mentor students with similar diagnoses’ who receive speech and language services at the school.

On Friday, September 19 from 7-9pm Jesse with be holding a free book signing for his newly released book “Getting a Life with Asperger’s: Lessons Learned on the Bumpy Road to Adulthood.” The book signing will take place at the Book Revue, 313 New York Avenue in Huntington, NY. In this inspiring book Jesse reveals what he has learned about getting along with others, managing emotions, succeeding in school and work, and building relationships.

Registration Required by September 1st by clicking the link below:

Save the Date
September 19, Friday
Book Revue
313 New York Avenue
Huntington, NY
Cost: FREE, registration required

Another great read written by Jesse: