Feeding and Sensory Deficits

Children who present with sensory difficulties can have nutritional deficiencies. It is important to ensure your child is getting the proper nutrients necessary to stay healthy. There are two types of eaters, picky eaters and problem eaters. A child is considered a picky eater when he/she eats more than 30 different foods. They generally eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean meats etc. They’re selectivity regarding foods is usually behavioral rather than a sensory issue. A problem eater is a child who eats less than 20 foods. These children usually have either hyper-sensitivity or hypo-sensitivity. Children who are hyper-sensitive often gravitate towards bland foods, such as breads and pastas where as children with hyper-sensitivity tend to prefer foods that are stimulatory such as spicy or hot food.

If your child is a problem eater, the following techniques may help introduce new foods into your child’s repertoire:

  1. Use a food processor, to make soft foods such as creamy chicken.
  2. Let your child pick their own condiments, this will give the child some control as well as pair a preferred food with a new food.
  3. For those children who are color sensitive regarding food, try hiding nutrient filled food into their preferred color food. For example blending vegetables into brownies.

It is best not to pressure your child into trying new foods but encourage them to explore new foods at his/her own pace.






Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) is an eating disorder characterized by failure to meet nutritional needs. This can lead to the following, significant weight loss, significant nutritional deficiency, dependence on taking nutritional supplements, or the placement of a feeding tube and an interference with psychosocial functioning. Along with the aforementioned the following are listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder-Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as diagnostic criteria; the eating disturbance is not due to a lack of food in the child’s environment, the eating disturbance is not due to body image and the eating disturbance cannot be attributed to a co-occurring medical condition. A child with ARFID may experience anxiety around certain food items or texture, which can result in avoidance of those foods. These kids also can have illogical thoughts regarding food, for example “If I eat that I will choke”.

There are several types of treatments that can help a child with ARFID. Cognitive behavioral therapy paired with feeding therapy is a common course of treatment. Cognitive behavior therapy will address the underlying thought processes leading to the eating disturbance. Feeding/exposure therapy can help patients learn to tolerate the anxiety provoking foods.

Michelle Weiman MA CF-SLP






My Child Stutters

Tips at home to help my child who stutters

Stuttering —or childhood-onset fluency disorder — is a speech disorder that involves frequent and significant problems with typical fluency and flow of speech.


Tips in conjunction with receiving speech therapy:

Create an environment that facilitates fluency!

Speak at a slow rate at home – modeling a slow rate of speech for your child at home

Allow them to take their time speaking to you, as opposed to rushing their thoughts out

Try not to finish their sentences, as it can be discouraging

Avoid critical comments or corrections when they are experiencing disfluencies

Avoid interrupting them when speaking

If the child is very young, demonstrate simple vocabulary and slow pace when speaking

Increase positive feedback

Something that is extremely important to keep in mind when your child is experiencing disfluent speech is to be mindful of their overall emotions, attitudes and confidence. It is extremely important to stay encouraging, especially at home!

A helpful read for teens who stutter: “Stuttering is Cool- A Guide to Stuttering in a Fast-Talking World” by Daniele Rossi


Other forms of support:

Support groups for parents

Children’s support groups

Gradually accept treatment as opposed to dismissing







Dominique Micheletti MA CF SLP

Recourses: Dr. Dorothy Leone Presentation, Iona College 2017.

Dr. Michelle Veyvoda Presentation, Iona College 2017

Roseberry-McKibbin, C., & Hegde, M. (2016). An Advanced Review of Speech-Language Pathology. Austin, TX: Pro-ed.


Auditory Processing at Home!

Some carry-over task at home to target Auditory Processing Skills

In its very broadest sense, Auditory Processing Disorder  (APD) refers to how the central nervous system (CNS) uses auditory information. However, the CNS is vast and also is responsible for functions such as memory, attention, and language, among others. To avoid confusing APD with other disorders that can affect a person’s ability to attend, understand, and remember, it is important to emphasize that APD is an auditory deficit that is not the result of other higher-order cognitive, language, or related disorder.

(ASHA, 2017)


Activity 1:

3 word recall – verbally express three irrelevant words with absolutely NO correlation to one another at random, instruct your child to repeat back the same exact words you have expressed in the same chronological order. Working on these during the car ride to school, before bed, at the pool, etc. is a great way to continue carry over for APD skills with your child!



Here are some to get you started!

Mom, bear, pool

Man, fair, farm

Call, waffle, puppy

Sand, lamp, frog


To increase difficulty, begin using three words with similar sounds and rhymes!

Foam, comb, Rome

Lock, Land, Leak

Mom, Man, Mop


Activity 2:

Read a short story aloud to your child, at the end, ask the child basic WH questions to exercise recall skills, for example:

Who was the boy in the story?

Where did he go?

When did he go?

Why was he happy?




Dominique MIcheletti MA CF SLP


Recourses: Dr. Dorothy Leone Presentation, Iona College 2017.
Dr. Michelle Veyvoda Presentation, Iona College 2017
Roseberry-McKibbin, C., & Hegde, M. (2016). An Advanced Review of Speech-Language Pathology. Austin, TX: Pro-ed.

Social Stories


  • Developed by Carol Gray in 1990
  • THE GOAL – to share information, gentle coaching or description
  • “The goal of a social story is to share information using content, format, and a voice that is descriptive, meaningful, and physically, socially, and emotionally safe for the intended audience” (Gray, 2015)



This is a great exercise to use with a child who has difficulty with executive functioning and behavior issues. For example, a child with autism spectrum disorder may suffer from adapting to new situations, completing tasks, executive functioning of daily living etc., therefore, demonstrating emotional distress and frustration is often the result. Therefore, a social story is a perfect way to get help the child in a simplistic and friendly way!



This can also improve overall pragmatic language skills!

Using language for different purposes, such as

  • greeting (e.g., hello, goodbye)
  • informing (e.g., I’m going to get a cookie)
  • demanding (e.g., Give me a cookie)
  • promising (e.g., I’m going to get you a cookie)
  • requesting (e.g., I would like a cookie, please)

Changing language according to the needs of a listener or situation, such as

  • talking differently to a baby than to an adult
  • giving background information to an unfamiliar listener
  • speaking differently in a classroom than on a playground

Following rules for conversations and storytelling, such as

  • taking turns in conversation
  • introducing topics of conversation
  • staying on topic
  • rephrasing when misunderstood
  • how to use verbal and nonverbal signals
  • how close to stand to someone when speaking
  • how to use facial expressions and eye contact

(ASHA, 2017)



Here’s what to know:

STRUCTURE and CLARITY is crucial, keep as positive as possible!

Getting Dressed:

My name is Shelly.

When I get up in the morning, I have to get dressed.

I can dress myself.

When I get dressed, it makes mom and dad happy.

First, I can put on my socks, then my pants, then my shirt, then my shoes.

When I dress myself, I feel very happy.

I can show my mom and dad I dressed myself and they will be happy too!




Dominique MIcheletti MA CF SLP


Recourses: Dr. Dorothy Leone Presentation, Iona College 2017.

Dr. Michelle Veyvoda Presentation, Iona College 2017

Roseberry-McKibbin, C., & Hegde, M. (2016). An Advanced Review of Speech-Language Pathology. Austin, TX: Pro-ed.


Back to school language activity

An AT HOME language activity to get your child ready for school!

Language is made up of socially shared rules that include the following:
• What words mean (e.g., “star” can refer to a bright object in the night sky or a celebrity)
• How to make new words (e.g., friend, friendly, unfriendly)
• How to put words together (e.g., “Peg walked to the new store” rather than “Peg walk store new”)
• What word combinations are best in what situations (“Would you mind moving your foot?” could quickly change to “Get off my foot, please!” if the first request did not produce results)
When a person has trouble understanding others (receptive language), or sharing thoughts, ideas, and feelings completely (expressive language), then he or she has a language disorder.bottle
Get your child ready for going back to school with a fun game to get them excited for the upcoming year and to recap on the summer you spent together!

Materials: BEACH THEME – message in a bottle! Crumble each “WH” question (who, what, when, where, why) provided and dump into the bottle! Take turns taking questions from the bottle with your child to target their expressive and receptive language skills as well as recall skills from your past experiences this summer!
WH Questions:
Who will be your teacher?
When will you start school?
What will be your favorite subject?
Who are you excited to see?
What will you bring your first day?
How will you get there?
Why are you going to school?
Who else will go to school?
When will you come home?
Where will you eat your lunch?
What will you be excited to do?
What will you miss about summer?
What was your favorite thing you did this summer?
Who did you spend the most time with this summer?
Why are you excited to go back to school?
What will you wear the first day?
What do you need to write with at school?
Why do you need notebooks?
Why do you have desks?



Dominique Micheletti MA CF SLP

Practical Carryover Assignments

Turning everyday activities into speech and language opportunities is both functional and effective.

Activities of daily living present the most natural setting to learn/practice speech and language goals that will generalize outside the confines of a therapy room.



  • Practice speech sounds by taking turns thinking of as many words as you can that begin with target sounds.
  • Practice language by labeling items within certain categories.
  • Play 20 questions; have your kids guess an object based on clues.
  • Play “I Spy” with items outside the car that include target sounds.
  • Involve siblings/friends to encourage carryover during play/social situations.


Kid’s love making a mess! Let them use dry erase markers on mirrors or chalk on the driveway to practice their speech sounds and/or language goals. Turn simple arts and crafts supplies into an interactive and exciting way to practice.


  • Board games help with social communication via turn-taking, eye-contact, and non-literal language.
  • Game pieces may be labeled with words and sounds (i.e., Jenga).
  • Rules may be added to games (i.e., name x amount of words with target sound based on what number is rolled on the dice)
  • Some board games even double as speech-language activities: Scattergories (language/categories/phoneme awareness), UNO (counting and colors), Chutes and Ladders (/sh/ sound), etc.


  • This is as easy as turning off the lights and heading around the house with flashlights to discover as many words as possible with a target sound, or items that fit a certain criteria (may be modified to fit goals).
  • Photo/Speech/Vocab Flashcards may be printed and hid within a certain room or space; encourage kids to collect as many as possible.
    Make a map (following multi-step directions) and have kids work together to complete a puzzle with clues.
  • Play hide and seek with multi-syllabic word cards that are taped around the house.



Play Dough is an interactive sensory activity. It can be used to describe slow stretchy speech for children with fluency disorders. Children learn best through multiple modalities, especially hands on!


  • These two environments offer the opportunity to learn about spatial concepts, verbs, and adjectives! New places, people, and things can help expand your child’s lexical repertoire. Target words such as “under”, “above”, “big”, “small”, “fast”, “slow”, “push”, “swing”, “swim.”
  • Bury laminated objects or picture cards in the sand and/or dirt for kids to find. When they find the objects or speech cards have them say the word as they put it in their bucket.


Choose books that are interesting to your kids, as well as those full of target speech sounds and vocabulary! (See previous blog post about the importance of reading!)


  • When in doubt, grab your iPad, phone, or tablet and have fun practicing words, sentences, stories, category games, memory, etc.
  • There are endless options for enriching “therapy” apps on smart devices.
  • They range in price and difficulty level.
  • Some of my favorites include:
    • Articulation Station
    • My Play Home
    • Super Duper Publications Apps
    • Hear Builder Phonological Awareness/Auditory Memory

This is always fun for kids and perfect no matter where you are!

Ashley DiGregorio M.A. CF SLP TSSLD