How to Stay Safe This Halloween


Halloween is a fun filled holiday, giving children an opportunity to dress up, go to parties, walk around trick-or-treating, and collecting yummy treats.  Read below for some tips on how to keep your little pumpkins safe this year!

Walking Safely

  • Young children should always be accompanied by an adult. If a child is mature enough to trick-or-treat unaccompanied, make sure that they stay with a group and stick to familiar areas that are well lit.
  • Always cross the street at corners, using crosswalks and traffic signals.
  • Look left, right, and left again before crossing the street.
  • Teach children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of stopped cars. Wait for the driver to signal that he or she is allowing you to cross.
  • Be aware! Put your electronic devices down and your head up!
  • Encourage children to walk, not run from house to house, and especially when crossing a street.
  • Always walk on the sidewalk. If you are in an area without a sidewalk, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
  • Watch for cars that are backing up. Teach children that if they see white lights on in the back of a car that this means they are in reverse and may not see you.

Keep Costumes Creative, but Safe

  • Swords, knives, and other accessories should be soft, short, and flexible.
  • Fasten reflexive tape to costumes and bags to be better seen by drivers. If possible, wear light colors.  You can also carry a flashlight or glow sticks!
  • Try to choose non-toxic face paint instead of masks, which can obstruct children’s vision.
  • When selecting a costume, make sure it fits properly to avoid falls and trips.
  • Always test make-up on a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent skin or eye irritation.

Enjoy Your Treats

  • Examine all food items before your child consumes their treats. Only allow children to eat items that come in sealed wrappers, and watch for choking hazards.
  • Eating a good meal prior to trick-or-treating will discourage little ones from binging on sweets.
  • Try to ration treats for the days proceeding Halloween.
  • Consider giving out healthy food items or non-food treats such as coloring books, pencils, or Play Dough.

Hope you have a SPOOK-tacular Halloween!

Nicole Cohen MS CF-SLP


I Like to Move It Move It!

Movement has been proven to improve focus and concentration.  Motor breaks also help children regulate their energy levels.  Movement can be used before, during, and after speech, both as a reward and as a therapeutic tool.  Below are some ideas on how to get moving in and outside of the therapy room!

  1. Opt for the stairs instead of the elevator on your way to the speech office.

motor stairs

  1. Sit on an exercise ball.

motor ball

  1. Kids can help carry toys, games and materials from the closet to the speech room.

motor games

  1. Bounce on a mini trampoline or jump up and down.

motor trampoline

  1. Push the chair across the room or spin around.

motor chair

  1. Step stools are great for step-ups.

motor step stool

  1. Have a dance party!

motor dancing

Hope these tips help keep you moving and having fun!

Nicole Cohen MS CF SLP

Tips for Making it Stick


Tips for Making It Stick

Memory strategies are used to help remember things.  Some memory strategies are useful for how we learn new information, and some strategies are useful for recalling information we have already learned.  Here are some strategies to help learn new information and make it stick!

  1. Review and repeat- The more you repeat something, the more likely you are to remember it. Repetition also helps you to remember new information if it is reviewed along with information you already know.
  2. Say it, write it- Often times it helps to use a multi-sensory approach to learning (e.g. seeing, hearing, touching, doing). Different learners learn better in some modalities than others.  Visual learners may prefer writing something down, whereas auditory learners may prefer listening to something.  Often a combination of modalities works best because this gives your brain different ways to process and access the information.
  3. Personalize it- It is usually easier to remember information that relates to you. If a child can relate to something they already know or have experienced, he or she will be much more likely to remember it.
  4. Rhymes and songs- Rhythm, rhyme, and music are great tools to help improve memory. For example, children know that “In fourteen hundred ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue” because it rhymes and has rhythm.
  5. Tell a story- Using stories helps children create a picture in their minds, making it easier to remember later. Children can make up a story using the information that needs to be remembered. The sillier the story, the more likely the child is to remember it!
  6. Prediction- If a child is actively involved in learning, he or she is much more likely to remember what is being taught. Prediction allows children to play a more active role in learning.  Ask the child what he or she knows about the topic, what they think they will learn, and what they’d like to learn.
  7. Chunk it- Chunking is a very useful tool to remember information by breaking it up into related pieces. Telephone numbers are memorized in this manner, breaking the 10 digits up into groups of 3 or 4.
  8. Acronyms- Another memory tool is acronyms, which involve using the first letter from a group of words to make a new word. For example, the Great Lakes are Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior—HOMES.
  9. Acrostics- This strategy uses the first letter of words to make a saying, which is especially useful when trying to remember information in a specific order. For example, you can remember how to spell “rhythm” by using the acrostic “Rhythm helps your two hips move.”
  10. Reduce stress and brain overload, increase sleep- It can be much more difficult to remember information if you are stressed out, tired, or have overloaded your brain with information, which is why cramming for a test is not the best strategy. Children should leave plenty of time to study so that they can break information into parts and use the aforementioned strategies.  Study breaks are beneficial, to reduce the point of overloading their brain with information.  Finally, it is always beneficial to get plenty of sleep!

Have fun trying out these memory strategies and finding which work best for your learner!

Nicole Cohen MS CF-SLP

Instrumental Swallow Studies

feesHow do I know if I need an instrumental swallow study?

If you have difficulty swallowing food or liquid, a speech-language pathologist will evaluate your swallow using a variety of consistencies of foods and liquids.  The SLP will check how well you can move the muscles of your mouth and how you swallow. Sometimes the SLP needs more information about how you swallow, using instrumentation.  Instrumentation allows the SLP to gain more information about how the anatomical structures within the larynx (throat) are working so that specific aspects of functioning can be assessed.

What types of instrumentation are there?

There are two types of instrumentation used to assess swallowing.  Fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES) is the first choice method for assessing swallowing disorders.   Some benefits of this method are that it is easy to use, very well tolerated, allows bedside evaluation, and it is cost effective.  During a FEES, a flexible fiberoptic endoscope is introduced through the nose into the patient’s throat area so that he SLP can clearly view the structures of the larynx and pharynx.  Patients are then asked to perform a variety of tasks, including eating and drinking a variety of consistencies.  The most critical finding is aspiration, which is when food or liquid enters the airway instead of the esophagus.

Another type of instrumentation is called Videofluoroscopic Swallowing Study (also known as videofluoroscopy, modified barium swallow, or MBS).  This study is done in a hospital or radiology office.  The patient will sit or stand next to an x-ray machine.  Your SLP will give you different foods or drinks mixed with barium, which makes the food show up on the x-ray.

What are the benefits of FEES?

In addition to the benefits mentioned above, FEES offers the convenience of testing in an office rather than a radiology suite, in approximately 20 minutes with regular food and liquids.  It can be done in the office you normally attend therapy at Long Island Speech and Myofunctional Therapy.  Since there is absolutely no radiation involved, the studies are able to be sustained for longer time intervals, allowing the SLP to see if the patient’s swallowing is affected by fatigue.

Feel free to ask your Speech-Language Pathologist if instrumental testing is right for you!

Nicole Cohen MS CF-SLP

Some Fast Facts about Hearing Impairment and ASL

• More than 15 million people in the United States have a hearing loss of some degree.

• Nearly 2 million people in the United States are considered deaf.

• Approximately 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents.

• Sign language was created by deaf people to communicate with each other. It is their natural language.

• Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet founded the first school for deaf people in the United States in 1817 in Hartford, Connecticut.

• The only liberal arts college for deaf students in the world is Gallaudet College, located in Washington, D.C.

• The native language used by the deaf community in the United States is American Sign Language (ASL). ASL has its own unique word order and rules of grammar, different from those of English.

• Some signs are natural gestures, while others resemble the actual concept they represent.

• ASL is the 4th most commonly used language in the United States, after English, Spanish, and Italian.


Nicole Cohen MS CF-SLP

Targeting Emotions

It is often difficult for children to clearly express what they want to say, especially for children with language difficulties.  When emotions run high, frustration can build up, leading to maladaptive behaviors.  Below are some tips to help your child identify and express emotions.

  1. Start with a few simple words, such as “happy,” “sad,” and “angry,” and using them in real-life situations to describe how other people and the child, are feeling.
  2. Discuss whether people look happy, sad, or angry in photos. You can use an iPad app, search for images online, look at pictures in magazines, or even use family photos. See if your child can imitate various facial expressions.
  3. Identify emotions in characters in your child’s favorite books, movies, TV shows, and discuss how they can change throughout the story.

Hope this helps!

Nicole Cohen, MS CF-SLP