• Rachel Brehm

Updated: Jan 13, 2020

2019 was a big year for us at Orange County Speech Services! We grew, our clients grew, our contracts with insurance companies expanded. The theme all around last year was growth, and for that we are so grateful. The work done in our clinic is rarely easy, but when we work together as a team, we see growth. We see movement. We see change.

We see new foods eaten, new words spoken for the first time, haircuts being tolerated, shoes being tied independently, bikes being ridden for the first time, new friendships formed, first steps taken, new goals being met, and many clients graduating and moving on. Don’t get me wrong, we also see things like tears being shed, tantrums and fits, struggles, complications, and even failures and setbacks. The journey is not always simple or linear, and we often find ourselves adapting to each child’s needs to find what works best for them, and thinking outside of the box to find new ways to meet goals and make change...but the effort from everyone involved gives us such a beautiful and important result: growth.

Not only has there been growth within our client’s lives, but growth within our therapist’s lives too! All of the work we do in our clinic would not be possible without our amazing team. Our lovely therapists are very good at what they do, and they work so hard for these kiddos. Miss Dana and Miss Emily had their babies, Miss Alex got married, Miss Natalie got Engaged, we welcomed new therapists onto our team, and we eagerly await the birth of our 2020 baby by Miss Nicole. The growth within our team is incredible! In addition to personal growth, our therapists continue to grow professionally by attending staff developments, trainings, and specialized workshops.

We are always learning, and always growing.

Our clinic, where all the magic happens, has grown too. We built four new rooms to accommodate our growing client list. We secured new contracts with Greater Newport Physicians, Regional Center Infant Development Program, Tricare, and Blue Shield PPO...which means more children have access to our care. More children have the opportunity for growth and change. More children have the chance to make life-changing goals, and then meet them, and exceed them.

We are in awe of all of the growth we have seen this year. From our clients and their families, from our therapists and staff, from our ever expanding clinic. This team we have created to help children is working together in a way that we never imagined. The collaboration, determination, and partnership between everyone who walks through our door has created a space for success, change, and growth - and that alone is reason to celebrate.

Thank you for being a part of this year, and this journey. Thank you for being part of what makes us grow.

Happy New Year, from all of us at Orange County Speech Services.

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  • Rachel Brehm

This year, some of our therapists at Orange County Speech Services attended and participated in “Family Autism Night” at Pretend City Children’s Museum. What a wonderful time we all had! We sang songs with the children, talked with parents about the significance of music in language development, met new families, and answered questions about pediatric therapy services.

Family Autism Night is a free autism resource for families in Orange County. This event (which takes place on the last Monday of each month) is a great opportunity for families with children of all ages to have fun in an autism friendly environment. This event is fun and beneficial for both children and their parents. It provides a supportive environment for children to play and explore while connecting parents with resources, specialists, encouragement, and new ideas.

We had such a great time partnering with Pretend City at this event, and we were so happy to connect with new families and provide a space for people to come for support.

To join in at the next Family Night, click here.

We hope to see you there soon!

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  • Rachel Brehm

A recent article published by UC Davis Health confirms a theory that so many medical professionals, special needs advocates, and pediatric healthcare specialists firmly stand behind: early intervention works. At Orange County Speech Services, we see the value and impact of early intervention nearly every day as we work side by side with our clients. With hard work and early intervention, we see physical goals being achieved as our physical therapists work with children. With practice, and early intervention, our occupational therapists see difficult fine motor skills become more fluid and natural, food aversions become more tolerable and enjoyable, and sensory issues become more manageable and less noticeable. With repetition and early intervention, our speech therapists see confidence grow, speech issues improve, reading difficulties dissipate, and language skills grow and flourish. With practice, play, and structure, we see the benefits of early intervention as children become more comfortable with their peers. More proficient in age appropriate social skills. More successful in their daily lives.

Because of early intervention, we see change. 

The work is not always simple, and there are many setbacks and obstacles along the way, but the path is clear. Working diligently, and promptly following a diagnosis, has so many obvious advantages.

In their recent findings, UC Davis Health explains breakthrough research regarding children with autism and the immense improvement gained through early intervention. UC Davis Professor Sally Rogers, a professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the MIND Institute, found that children with autism (as young as 18 months) can vastly improve their language, cognition and social skills with an early intervention. 

In 1981, Roger created a development approach to autism (the Early Start Denver Model) improving long-term outcomes for very young children. The ESDM has since become a method used throughout the US and across the world.

The new study, which replicated an ESDM study in 2010, found that children receiving intensive ESDM in their homes for an average of 15 hours per week made significantly greater language gains than did children in the community interventions, and this was true for both children with more severe delays and those with less. Rogers emphasized that replication studies are rare and costly but critical to validate novel scientific findings.

“The idea that little children with autism who are getting good treatment can make this much IQ and language gain means we should expect this from quality early-intervention experiences,” Rogers said. “These findings should raise families’ hopes a whole lot.”

A bit different from the traditional behavioral methods used with children with autism, the ESDM combines developmental and behavioral approaches used in everyday routines. It utilizes moment-to-moment interactions that children have with their peers and parents - narrowing in on the child’s unique interests and favorite activities to make sure the social interactions are interesting and fun.

The idea is that the learning opportunities are already there. They exist in classrooms, on playgrounds, and in every day social interactions.

What this means is that the developmental path and learning capacity of young children with autism is more plastic than we realized, and the hard work and time devoted to early intervention is important. 

So, parents, teachers, early childhood specialists, and healthcare professionals - please remember: huge gains in language, IQ, cognition, and social skills can be made. A child does not need to remain stuck or confined by the delays and obstacles created by Autism. 

Act early, and act fast. 

Early intervention works, and the therapists at Orange County Speech Services are here to help.

www.ocspeechservices.com (714) 916-0641

Orange County Speech Services is in the final stages of becoming a vendor for Regional Center of Orange County's Infant Development Program. We are excited to work with RCOC to provide families with the necessary support and resources needed in the early stages of development. Stay tuned!

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