We help children of all ages. We are committed to offering services that are state of the art and data driven. Our areas of expertise are: Autism Spectrum Disorder, language comprehension and expression, Apraxia, speech articulation, social communication, and stuttering. A key component of our treatment philosophy and success is working closely with families and other professionals in the community.
We look forward to helping you and your child.
HOW WE DO IT
Our assessment process has a number of components. We begin with a detailed intake process where families can talk to a member of the team before an appointment is made. There is no cost or obligation. This first conversation can help families decide if an assessment is necessary and if we are the best place for that service to take place. We have an extensive list of resources; consequently, we can refer to other appropriate service providers if we don’t believe we are the best match.
If we together decide that an assessment is appropriate, an appointment is made. Prior to our meeting we send out a packet of information, including a questionnaire that we ask families to complete.
We generally use an informal assessment method, engaging the child in developmentally appropriate activities. We seek out, listen to, and carefully analyze the reports, observations, and insights of parents and professionals who interact regularly with a child. We compare each child’s abilities to developmental expectations. While we make comparisons to typical expectations, we respect the fact that children follow their own unique growth charts.
At the end of the assessment appointment we will summarize our findings and make recommendations, which may include treatment, monitoring, a follow-up appointment, or referral to another service provider.
Combining a number of sources of information from the assessment process, we are able to offer parents information on a child’s relative strengths and needs. We provide specific suggestions, strategies, and resources to aid in a child’s development. As a result of our assessment process we prepare a written report, outlining our findings and recommendations. These reports are sent to the parents and to referring professionals (especially pediatricians).
In addition to speech and language recommendations, we may suggest referrals to other agencies or specialists for other aspects of development.
We provide individual therapy for children who are delayed in acquiring the understanding and use of speech and language. We offer services for the full range of communication needs, helping children with mild speech pronunciation errors as well as those with more significant medical or developmental concerns.
We have expertise in working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Other areas of specialization are stuttering and oral-motor problems (e.g., tongue-thrust, low tone, dyspraxia, feeding, and swallowing difficulties).
Our treatment approaches are based on the latest research and are considered best-practice within our profession. We determine the optimal treatment based on each child’s individual needs. The course of therapy then becomes organic, changing as each child progresses and develops. We use a variety of methods and materials and seldom rely on packaged, commercially available programs.
Because we believe so strongly in prevention and early intervention, we seldom recommend a “wait and see” approach; we consider ourselves proactive. At the same time, we will not recommend therapy if we do not believe that it is warranted. Through a discussion and joint decision-making process we, together with families, decide what is best for each individual child.
Click here for a list of common questions, some guidelines and red flags.
Work with families
We have pioneered a number of strategies for working with young children within the context of their families. Our goal is to collaborate with parents, siblings, and other caregivers or family members in the treatment process. As a team, we identify specific needs and then develop a plan for the remediation of each child, considering the unique needs of each family.
We also provide family-based treatment, where we serve primarily as coaches and consultants to families. Generally these appointments occur less frequently, and families assume the primary role of change agents.
Foster positive relationships
We believe that communication and self esteem develop simultaneously as a result of a child’s successful interactions with others. Our approach with children depends upon mutual respect and trust. As a result of improved communication skills, positive relationships flourish.
We incorporate typical games, toys and materials into each session. Once we find activities that are fun and motivating for each child, we infuse our speech and language treatment strategies into those games. Children have fun and improve their communication skills simultaneously. Is there any better way to learn?
Emphasize Social Communication
We are acutely aware that communication doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It occurs in formal settings like school and informal ones like play dates or hang outs. For many children, the social aspect of communication (often referred to as pragmatics) is particularly challenging. The rules are not explicit and tend to change based on a number of factors (e.g., environment, number of individuals involved and their history with each other). So successful, supported practice is essential.
We are always working on social communication to help children learn those “hidden rules.” We form dyads or small groups as needed to incorporate these skills into collaborative activities. Some of the aspects we target are:
- balanced turn taking in conversations
- building friendships and peer relationships
- problem solving
- perspective taking
- flexible thinking
- understanding and using nonverbal aspects like body language and tone of voice
- conflict resolution
We work closely with other professionals, schools, and agencies in our community and coordinate our services carefully with theirs. In our role as leaders in Pasadena, we are knowledgeable about services and programs available throughout Southern California. With Dr. Briggs’ national reputation as an expert in child language, we have access to individuals and services throughout the US as well. We serve as a resource to families and professionals and make referrals as requested.
SOCIAL COMMUNICATION GROUPS
Margaret is now running some social communication groups. Some of the concepts targeted in these groups are: greetings, balanced turntaking, nonverbal aspects of communication, building friendships and peer relationships, self awareness and management, problem solving, perspective taking, flexible thinking, and conflict resolution.
Groups have a maximum of 5 participants and each member is carefully selected to both contribute to the group and benefit from their involvement. An evaluation of each child’s strengths and needs is made initially and individual goals are written that will be incorporated into weekly sessions.
As in all of our services, family participation is always encouraged. Margaret determines the composition of each group, writes the individualized goals, designs activities, and monitors each child’s progress. In designing this program, Margaret has pulled from many resources, especially Michelle Garcia-Winner’s Social Thinking curriculum.