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Pediatric Speech, Language and Feeding Intervention Programs at LIU Post
Accepting New Clients

Low-cost programs help develop socialization skills and encourage an exploration of food


Rita Langdon,Associate Provost and Director of Public Relations
LIU Post,
Long Island University

Brookville, N.Y. -- For families of young children who have speech, language or feeding challenges, social gatherings and mealtimes can be overwhelming. The Ladge Speech and Hearing Center at LIU Post (formerly the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University) offers low-cost, targeted pediatric intervention designed to help parents navigate a host of developmental delays.

Through small play groups, as well as individual therapy, parents, caregivers and children learn different techniques and life skills that help them to perform tasks that most of us take for granted.

The Chat Pack Language Play Group meets on Mondays from 9 to 10 a.m. and 12 to 1 p.m. Geared at children ages 18 months to four years old, the group utilizes Greenspan's Floortime, a model that is used in special-education classrooms and clinics around the world that encourages parents, teachers and therapists to get down on the floor with children; PROMPT Therapy, a speech-language treatment technique where a trained therapist physically manipulates a child's jaw, face and mouth to show the child how speech sounds are produced; and sign language therapies. These methods are fostered through music and art sessions as well as story and gym time. 

"The activities are designed to encourage children to use new words," said Dr. Joyce Rubenstein, director of the Ladge Speech and Hearing Center. "It's a nurturing environment where the child and caregiver can have fun together."

The Munchie Bunch Mealtime Play Group meets on Mondays from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and is designed to help finicky eaters, children with sensory and motor needs and children with food allergies expand their mealtime skills. Utilizing a Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) approach, which encourages children to interact with food in a playful, non-stressful way, kids and their caregivers engage in hands-on cooking, story time and art projects.

"These are children who are not thriving, children who won't go near most foods," said Dr. Rubenstein. "Their parents may encourage them, but physiologically or behaviorally they just can't. Some of these children eat only a handful of foods, have poor weight gain and/or have a real difficulty advancing to different textures."

The SOS approach works slowly to help children become comfortable with food, engaging in a hierarchy that first simply brings the food into the room and gradually has the child touching, playing and even making art projects. The hope is that eventually the child will eat it.

"The progress with the children is amazing!" Dr. Rubenstein said.

In both groups, the parent or caregiver attends with the child in order to ensure that the new behaviors are carried over outside of the group setting. Cristina Bernich, a licensed supervising speech-language pathologist with expertise in feeding facilitates both groups, which are also staffed by graduate students enrolled in LIU Post's speech-language pathology master's degree program. 

The programs are held at the J.M. Ladge Speech and Hearing Center on Long Island University's Post campus at 720 Northern Boulevard (Route 25A) in Brookville. The cost is $265 per semester-long program. Individual evaluation and therapy is also available for children with speech, language or feeding concerns. For more information, call Ladge Speech and Hearing Center at (516) 299-2437.

Posted 01/10/2012

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