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Recently, Steve McDermott asked his daughter to record him reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Scroll past the video to read more about Steve, the story and how it helps clients at the Achievement Centers for Children! Enjoy the story!

Steve McDermott

Steve currently works with 22 clients (aged 2 to 28) via tele-health and he took some time to answer our questions. We hope this interview gives you an idea of the thought, preparation, strategy and experience our therapists employ and the results they can achieve.  Steve, who recently celebrated 28 years in speech therapy; and 15 years at the Achievement Centers for Children; is just one of the reasons we are so proud of our staff at the Achievement Centers for Children.

Why did you choose Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

Many Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle books have fun, mostly repeating text. In “Brown Bear,” the animal subjects change on each page but the rest of the text stays the same.  Because of this, over time, children can learn, and own, the story for themselves.  ALL children love knowing a book so well they can help tell it. They love knowing which animal comes next and who will be “seen!”

Children also enjoy making each animal’s sound.  Eric Carle’s animal illustrations are bright and bold and really spark a child’s curiosity and hold their attention. The book also helps with learning colors and sequencing from beginning to end… What’s coming next? What came just before?

Where did you get the idea to create removable characters?

It’s called an adapted book, which is often used with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to give them greater visual support when being read to. Auditory processing and comprehension are often difficult for children with ASD, and visual learning tends to be a relative strength.

Adapted books provide a nice visual association to the subject on each page and, of course, ALL children enjoy taking them off and putting them back on while being read to. For our clients with no, or minimal, verbal skills; being able to help tell a story with the pull-off icons can be very powerful.

How does this exercise help the client?

Many children with ASD have some degree of dyspraxia of speech (difficulty planning and coordinating movement of the muscles used to produce correct speech sounds or words). These types of attention-holding, repetitive story books (which are read in a “sing-song” way) can help stimulate attempts at speaking.

Beginning speech attempts are often worked on using animal sounds, so imitating the animals in the book can also help with early speech attempts.

What improvements have your clients made through speech therapy?

I have seen many children go from not being able to speak, or say more than a handful of words (when, at their age, they should have a vocabulary of more than 50 words) to eventually become children who are able to put words together in sentences and/or learn to use an alternative method to communicate.

Children can have a great amount of frustration because of difficulty with communicating their wants and needs.  Learning to use a communication method dramatically reduces frustration, meltdowns and tantrums.

I have worked with many children with significant articulation of speech issues go from poor intelligibility of speech to much improved intelligibility, allowing them to be understood by others and to grow in self-confidence.


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