Recognizing and Preventing Concussions

Sports Illustrated and Time magazine has highlighted the dangers of concussions. With “Concussion”, the large screen movie featuring Will Smith set to premiere, the discussion is more prevalent than ever before.

A concussion is damage to the brain that results from the brain moving inside the skull. Contrary to popular belief, one does not need to obtain a direct hit to the head in order to suffer a concussion; any action that jolts the body may cause one. Approximately 4 million sports and recreational related concussions occur annually by 5-18 year olds.

Symptoms of concussions include: dizziness, fatigue, impaired memory and concentration, anxiety and sensitivity to noise. These symptoms can last one day to ten days. However, it is possible to feel residuals for months.



Recognize– understand the symptoms so that you can identify them in in yourself, children, or fellow athletes.

Report– Tell a coach, parent, doctor, trainer, etc. even if you’re unsure if you’re feeling concussion symptoms.

Rest– Do not drive, participate in physical activity, or use electronics.

Failure to identify a concussion can lead to long-term forgetfulness, difficulty focusing and concentrating, slipping grades, and even behavioral changes.

Heads Up! Take preventative measures!


Visit the CDC site to learn how you can prevent concussions à


Lisamarie Ricigliano M.S. CF-SLP, TSSLD


Tips and Tools For Parents of Children With Feeding Aversions

Often times, feeding aversions arise from negative experiences; these negative experiences may be the result of pain, sensory, or motor complications. Therefore, it is important to approach meal time in a way that does not create additional defensive behaviors.

All foods should be introduced gradually, in a way that makes the individual feel safe. Building trust during meal-time may be a slow-process, but it is not to be rushed.

Meal-time can be safe and fun! A game like Candy Land can be used to introduce feeding steps to a child. When a child picks a card, they attempt to complete the task associated with the color they chose. (See below for an example)


Blue– Smell

Orange– Kiss

Yellow– Take a break

Red– Lick

Purple– Touch

Green– You Choose

Don’t have Candy Land? Need something more portable? No problem! This concept may be used with many games or home-made cards that have colors, numbers, or symbols that can be assigned a “feeding step”.

As a child becomes more comfortable with a food, add additional steps such as, “bite” and “chew”.

SLP-TIP: Be sure to take turns! Participating in the “food-fun” will take the focus off of the child and show that the target food is safe and enjoyable.

Lisamarie Ricigliano M.S., CF-SLP, TSSLD


According to the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, stuttering is a speech disorder that involves frequent disturbances in the typical flow of speech. Individuals who stutter know what they would like to say, but have difficulty verbally expressing it.


Treatment is approached by a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist who aims to improve verbal communication. Techniques are referred to as “behavioral” in that they address skills or behaviors to limit dysfluencies. For example, speaking in a slower rate with less tension. However, therapy goes far beyond the treatment room. At home, loved ones can minimize dysfluencies by promoting fluency in the following ways:


  • Limit interruptions- Allow an individual to complete their thought, no matter how many dysfluent episodes may occur. While (we) may feel that assisting the individual who is having a difficult time is the right thing to do, it may actually exacerbates their emotions.
  • Schedule- Arrange a schedule that allows ample time between activities in order to limit rushing in the home. Rushing tends to create feelings of anxiety and an increased urgency to speak in a fast rate.
  • Limit Competition- Designate a time of the day where each family member takes turns speaking. This will give everyone an opportunity to speak and also provide the individual who is dysfluent an opportunity to utilize strategies in a familiar environment.
  • Talk About Emotions- Human emotion such as fear, excitement, or frustrations can result in dyslfuencies. Be sure to show the individual who stutters that you’re aware of their emotions and why they’re feeling that way. This will limit communicating while feeling these emotions.

Some stuttering resources are:

The Stuttering Foundation

National Stuttering Foundation

Lisamarie Ricigliano, M.S., CF-SLP, TSSLD