Does my kid really need speech therapy?

As Jase has grown older, he has developed what I call a word stutter. It isn’t so much the repeating of letters such as “W-w-we are g-g-going to the s-s-store,” but a repeating of words often like he is searching for what the next word should be. “Ms. Ramirez, well, she, she, she called on me and um, I, I, I wasn’t sure….what to say.”

This word stuttering comes out when he is very excited as if his mind can’t decide what to say first. Sometimes he gets so frustrated he doesn’t want to finish what he is saying. Or perhaps he is embarrassed by it.

Now, I call it word stuttering, but the school speech therapist who evaluated him said it isn’t a stutter. She called it a word finding issue.

Jase’s first-grade teacher sent him to see the school speech therapist because she was concerned about him repeating words and sometimes mixing up words. But that speech therapist ruled that he didn’t have a problem what interfered with his learning.

Fast forward to last spring when his third-grade teacher also recommended he be evaluated by the school speech therapist. (Not the same one as before.) She had all sorts of things to say about Jase’s speech.

First, she mentioned a slight tremor in his voice as if his voice was shaky (like when you are cold.) She said it could be nothing, but if we were concerned, we could have an Ear-Nose-and-Throat (ENT) specialist check it out.  She made a note of several other issues with his voice such as pitch, slight hoarseness and poor breath support.

Second, she noticed a small lisp when he said his Ss and Zs.

And last, she noticed what she referred to as the word finding problem but when she further tested him on it, he passed their test, which basically means it doesn’t prohibit his education.

But the school did decide the lisp was a greater concern and affected his learning. They set up a plan for him to attend speech therapy twice a week this year.  At the initial parent meeting where they go over their plan, again the speech therapist mentioned taking him to an ENT.

So I discussed it with his pediatrician at his appointment in July. She saw no harm in sending him to an ENT and recommended one. The ENT, on the other hand, looked at me like I was crazy for bringing him in. In his opinion, his hoarseness was so minor and the other issues pretty much inconsequential that he didn’t know why we brought him in. He shared with me his views on speech therapists who seem to focus on minute details that don’t really affect Jase or his learning.

Of course since I don’t hear this shakiness and don’t think he sounds hoarse, I was inclined to agree with the doctor. I also think the breathlessness quality she hears is due to him rushing in his speech because he is nervous about speaking in front of others.

The ENT seemed against speech therapy in such a minor case and certainly didn’t want to subject Jase to having a tube down his nose, so they could look at his voice box. I agreed to do nothing and left feeling slightly silly for bringing him in.

It made me wonder if he really is in need of speech therapy. I can’t believe they have him listed as special educational needs based on a slight lisp that I don’t see as interfering with his education. But we are still letting him go to speech therapy this year. After all, the speech therapist originally did say this should be corrected within the school year. But I also hate that he is missing learning with his class to fix this small problem.



Today’s Featured Author – Terry Ibele

Today, I welcome Terry Ibele to my blog. He is working on his debut young-adult, fantasy novel, The Moon King, which will come out in 2016.


Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Terry Ibele and I’m an avid reader of fantasy and science fiction. I picked up writing a few years ago and I’ve since sold a few pieces of flash fiction and short stories. I plan to kick off my writing career with the release of my young adult fantasy novel, The Moon King.

What or who inspired you to start writing?

I sort of fell into writing by accident. I’ve always been a storyteller, just not a writer. In high-school (over 10 years ago now), I thought I found my calling when I picked up the art of stop motion animation. I amassed quite a cult following in the world of stop motion, and so planned out a film project that ended up being over my head. I quickly gave up my project, but wrote down the plot for my project in a few sentences. Over the years I kept adding to it until 3 years ago I decided to write it into a novel. Since then, I’ve been writing nearly every day. Short stories, flash fiction, poetry, and of course my novel.

How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?

All of it! I have quite the quirky personality, with a fantastical imagination, and so try to incorporate it into everything I write. I enjoy writing exceedingly dull or overly exaggerated characters, nothing in between.

Do you write full-time? If so, what is your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?

When I started writing, I was a Market Analyst for the largest vitamin company in Canada. I recently switched up my career and now I’m in Digital Marketing with a small software company. It’s tough to find time to write, but I make time for it. I write mostly during the evenings and weekends, and sometimes I wake up an hour before work to write. It’s all about persistence and finding internal motivation.

What fuels you as an author to continue to write?

I have so many stories in my head that are all trying to escape that I can’t not write! If I go too long without writing, I get pretty anxious. I don’t know what to do with myself.

Please tell us about your upcoming release.

The Moon King has not been released yet. I plan on a 2016 release, but that depends still on a number of factors. The story is of a boy named, Lome, who learns that he was adopted. On his journey to find out who he is, he discovers that his mother’s pendant can stop time. It turns out he’s not the only one who knows of this and suddenly his peaceful, innocent world changes. He becomes mixed up in quite a number of events and realizes that he has the power to change everything. There are also quite a few fantastical elements including an ancient civilization on the moon, an immortal king, and a spreading decay that makes anyone it touches go insane.

What kind of research did you do for this book?

I’ve researched a lot of things: From how fast and far a horse can run in a day. How long one can be knocked out without permanent brain damage. How to properly hold a bow and arrow. Which herbs will heal a cut. My book isn’t based on any real history, so my research mostly revolves around the correct use of things.

Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them?

My favourite character is named, Sir Osmiwise Akin Seenoi the Seventh, Representative and Councilman of the Guild of Trades. He’s a ridiculously fat man who’s a big cry baby. I like him the most because he’s so fun to write. Everyone else that’s read my book has found the main character’s goat, Momma E, their favourite. Some of my author friends are even writing a goat version of Momma E into their novels as tribute, which I think is a bit funny. I’d love it if Momma E became a reoccurring character in novels everywhere.

Is there a specific place in the house (or out of the house) that you like to write?

I write at my desk, in my living room, in my Toronto apartment. My favourite time to write is at night with the lights off. I don’t like any distractions.

Do you have a specific snack that you have with you when you write?

My favourite snack to eat while writing is an empty stomach. When I write, the whole world around me fades away and I focus on nothing but writing for hours on end. I’ll suddenly “wake up” and realize that I’ve just spent half the day furiously typing away without even having breakfast or lunch.

What book are you reading right now?

I’m reading quite a few actually. Some on the subway. Some at home. Some at work. These are the ones I’m currently working on: Maximum Achievement by Brian Tracy, Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross and Marylou Tyler, Decisive by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, and Jackal’s Gambit by C. A. Ardon. I never have less than one book going at a time! I just finished some Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams.

Book Blurb

Twenty Stories cover artGreat for new or young authors looking for motivation to ramp up their writing and get their creative juices flowing. This compilation of twenty free-writes comes with a challenge to write yourself for twenty days to get you out of your writing rut.

It’s simple – just follow three easy steps to completely refresh your writing mind-set (well, one step is the real challenge!). Plus, you’ll read twenty thought-provoking, funny, and downright bizarre short stories!

Twenty Days of Writing is a wonderful light read, perfect while waiting in transit, sipping tea, or hang gliding off a mountain.

Fun note: The cover art of Twenty Days of Writing is a picture of all my novel drafts.

About the Author

TerryTerry Ibele is from Ontario, Canada where he lives off a steady diet of frolicking in the woods, being stuck in transit, and pizza. He loves writing brisk, quirky stories and is currently working on a fantasy novel.

You can follow Terry on Twitter or check out his blog.

You can purchase Twenty Days of Writing on Amazon (Canada) and Amazon (US).

Creating a fantasy novel recap – part 2

As I begin working on my next novel – and I have taken off WAY TOO MUCH TIME since my last novel – I thought I would take the time to recount some of my posts on writing a fantasy novel. For some of the basics of fantasy writing, check out my first fantasy recap from 2013.

Since then, I have written numerous other posts to help you build your fantasy world. If you missed any of these, or just want to re-read them, click on the “read more” link to see the original post.

Realistic Food in your Fantasy Novel

campfireOne way to pull your reader out of your fantasy world is to write something so strange or unbelievable that they pause to wonder how that can be. And one place that typically happens in a fantasy novel is when food is mentioned.

Yes, this is another world and food choices and eating habits may be different there. But everyone is familiar with food so you should at least have the food choices make sense. Writers of fantasy novels too often ask us to believe that a roadside meal is cooked in the time it takes to water the horses or set up camp or that fresh fruit is available at all times – even the winter. (Read More…)

How fast can your hero travel? 

Two weeks ago, I wrote about food in the fantasy novel. Today I want to discuss travel. If this is modern-day fantasy that takes place on Earth, then this discussion will probably not pertain to you. I am mainly thinking about those of us who have created a world where modern conveniences such as cars and planes don’t exist. Your hero or heroine is walking, riding a horse or riding in a wagon or carriage. Once again, you need to do your research and make the distance traveled in one day or even a month believable. (Read More…)

Know your weapons and armor 

swordI have written numerous times about creating realism in your fantasy novel – the most recent about food and travel. Armor and weapons are certainly ones you need to write about with some accuracy, or you will have your reader saying, “what?” You need to research your weapon so you know it well enough to write competently about it.

Now I am not going to go into every type of weapon or armor but list a few guidelines. This is by no means a comprehensive list but one to get you thinking about the weapons you write about. (Read More…)

Creating stories and myths within your fantasy novel

“And as for this book,” said Hermione, “The Tales of Beedle the Bard…I’ve never even heard of them!”

“You’ve never heard of The Tales of Beedle the Bard?” said Ron incredulously. “You’re kidding right?…All the old kids’ stories are supposed to be Beedles’, aren’t they? ‘The Fountain of Fair Fortune’…’The Wizard and the Hopping Pot’…’Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump’…”

Just as Harry and Hermione are mystified by these titles, Ron is equally mystified by the stories (‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ and ‘Cinderella’) his friends grew up hearing. (Read More…)

12 questions to help you develop Gods/religion in your fantasy novel

ritualWhen I wrote my The Elemental trilogy, I decided right off that I didn’t want to deal with religion. So there is no mention of gods, and there is no church in my story, and it works fine.  However, in many fantasy novels, religion is an integral part of the plot.

Adding religion to your novel can be a source of tension between characters. A war can be because of religious differences. The reason your protagonist or antagonist does something can be based in their religious beliefs. Even prophecies can come from religious writings. (Read More…)

Gods and magic in the fantasy novel

Last week, I wrote about incorporating gods and religion into the fantasy novel. Since many works of fantasy also include magic, I wanted to address magic and gods.

As I have said before, all magic needs established rules to be believable. How do the gods play into these rules? Are they the ones who established them? Are their powers also limited to these rules? (Read More…)

Fantasy without Cliche 

Fantasy stories are often filled with clichéd ideas – the farm boy who saves the world, the girl destined to become the ruler, and so many more that I could fill up my whole post with overused plot or characters from fantasy stories.

The hard thing is when you think of fantasy – you typically think of fantasy characters such as fairies, goblins, dwarves and elves. All these are overused. (Read More…)

These seven posts – along with the original nine from the first recap – can help you create your fantasy world and begin writing your fantasy novel. As I work on my latest fantasy novel, I will look for other topics that can help fantasy writers build their realistic fantasy world.