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Pediatric Speech Therapist

Understanding Your Child: Speech Intelligibility

 What is Speech Intelligibility?

Communication is crucial for children in early developmental stages. However, when communication is interrupted, children can start to fall behind the developmental curve. Parents often worry about their child not being understood by others. Speech intelligibility is the clarity of one’s speech to others or how much of someone’s speech is understood. Higher degrees of speech intelligibility are easier to understand than lower degrees of intelligibility.

Is Your Child on Track?

Dr. Peter Flipsen Jr. is a renowned speech-language pathologist who has taught at schools all over the country. Dr. Flipsen devised an easy formula to show how speech clarity typically develops in children. Dr. Flipsen suggests dividing the age of the child by four. For example, if your child is 2, then you divide 2 by 4 and get .5 or 50%. This means that, on average, someone meeting a two-year-old for the first time should understand around 50% of what the child is saying. Typically, parents will be able to understand more of their own child’s speech since they are around their child more often and therefore are more familiar with their child’s speech patterns.

Dr. Flipsen's formula for determining a child's speech intelligibility development

Factors That Affect Speech Intelligibility 

Many factors impact how well a child is understood. The most notable of these factors is the production of speech sound errors. A speech sound error is when a child says a sound the wrong way. For example, a common error is replacing “th” with “f” and saying “fink” instead of “think”. The number, type, and consistency of speech sound errors can affect how easily someone can understand what a child is trying to say. It is important to remember that 100% clear speech/well-understood speech does not necessarily mean there are no speech sound errors since some sounds develop at later ages. A child producing speech sound errors can still be understood when the errors are consistent enough so that people know the child’s speech patterns.

Some other factors that can be affecting your child’s speech development are:

  • Apraxia – when the brain has trouble sending the correct messages to the muscles of the mouth on how to move
  • Dysarthria – the mouth muscles are weak and cannot make the correct sounds
  • Developmental disorders and genetic syndromes – these are often noticed when a child is severely delayed in producing speech sounds and language
  • Brain injuries – these can cause a child to stop any progress they’ve made or forget things they’ve already learned about speech and language
  • Hearing loss – children experiencing hearing loss often have trouble developing higher frequency sounds such as “f”, “s”, and “th”. You may also notice a sudden decline in their speech intelligibility or an increase in speech sound errors.

Speech Therapy Can Help!

If your child does not meet Dr. Flipsen’s averages, they may benefit from skilled speech therapy services. Speech therapists can help to determine the source of the problem and then identify and correct the errors with interventions.

Speech therapists have exercises and activities they can utilize to help your child develop their speech skills, such as:

  • Play-based tasks that focus on producing sounds correctly and work on the child’s volume and enunciation.
  • Directed tasks at certain sound productions including visual models, descriptions, and assisting the child’s movement with touch. For example, if a child struggles to produce the sound “f”, a skilled speech therapist can verbally and physically cue them. A verbal cue would be a therapist saying “watch me, I’m putting my teeth on my bottom lip”. A physical cue would be holding cereal or a lollipop on the child’s lower lip to increase their awareness of touching the bottom lip.
  • Moving from single sounds to syllables, short words, phrases, and then finally to conversation

If you’ve ever thought your child’s speech could use some help, then making an appointment with a speech-language pathologist could be a great option! A speech therapist can target your child’s speech sound errors unique patterns and slow their rate of speech as needed. Speech therapy can help to improve your child’s overall intelligibility and communication skills and open more doors for them as they grow!

Schedule an appointment at one of our 12 locations throughout the Greenville, Anderson, Spartanburg, Belton, Boiling Springs, Fort Mill, Powdersville, Seneca and Simpsonville, SC areas.

 

Thanksgiving feast

5 Tips for Enjoying the Thanksgiving Feast

Thanksgiving feastAlthough the holidays are meant to be about family, connecting with people you care about and gratitude, the season often becomes much more about something else: food. Surviving the holiday season is no easy task! The primary focus on food around Thanksgiving can be challenging for many. Whether you stress eat or struggle to continue eating healthy when delicious foods emerge this time of year, Thanksgiving is tough! However, don’t panic and take time to enjoy the holiday. To help you survive the season, our Wellness Coordinators put together 5 tips for enjoying the Thanksgiving feast.

Something you can keep in mind: what you do on and following Thanksgiving Day will determine how quickly you recover.

Here are our 5 tips for enjoying the Thanksgiving feast:

1. Stop Being So Hard on Yourself

  • So, you ate a day and a half’s worth of calories in one sitting…? Half of America did the same! Whether it’s been five minutes since your Thanksgiving meal or it’s the day after, it is most important to get your mind right. You will not “undo” all the progress you have made up to this point in one day. Acknowledge it, accept it, and then move on. There’s enough stress already attached to the holidays, so don’t add ‘worrying about what you’re eating’ to the list. Start making better decisions immediately and remain positive!

2. Go for a Walk / Get Moving

  • Over the years, numerous studies have been published showing the benefits of walking and exercise; this data continues to remain true. Researchers have found that a post-meal walk, as short as 15 minutes, can help aid digestion and improve overall stabilization of blood sugar levels. So, get up and get moving with a family member – before OR after – your Thanksgiving meal!

3. Get Back on Track

  • The key to getting back on track is to do so immediately. This could be meeting up the next day with your trainer, hitting the gym with a friend, or going for a walk outside. It’s important to get right back into YOUR routine; no excuses! Put those calories to use. Physical activity is your secret weapon.

4. EAT

  • That’s right, EAT! One of the worst things people can do following a Thanksgiving binge is to NOT eat the next day. Your body still needs calories for energy and to function that day. Try eating smaller meals throughout the next few days. Be very mindful of what you eat. Eat your meals when you’re hungry, and continue to drink plenty of fluids. As always, choose foods that are healthy and full of nutrients, such as: whole-grains, quality proteins, colorful fruits and leafy greens.

5. Plan Ahead

  • ‘Fail to plan, plan to fail,’ as the old saying goes. There are many strategies to keep you from overeating: using a smaller plate, drinking water before and after your meal, eating a salad first, eating slowly, etc. Most importantly, however you go about your Thanksgiving meal, make sure you enjoy the foods you look forward to every year, while avoiding other foods you might pick at just because they’re there.
    What about next day leftovers? Keep tempting items out of sight or get them out of the house altogether. Try making a few meals for the day and stick to those. Plan, plan, plan!

Overall, remember to enjoy the holiday season. One bad meal won’t break a healthy lifestyle, just like one healthy meal won’t fix it. So, go ahead; dive into that turkey and stuffing… And, don’t forget to enjoy some desserts, too!

Your Health Is In Your Hands

Manage Your Back Pain

Let’s set the scene…you’re experiencing back pain that won’t go away. You’ve tried everything you can think of, from over the counter pain medication to a few stretches you found online. You’ve asked for recommendations from your Facebook friends. You finally decide to go to your doctor, who swiftly prescribes physical therapy to address your problem.

Choose the Right Physical Therapy Team For You

Did you know, as a patient, you have the right to choose your physical therapy provider? If you find yourself in a situation where you’re being referred to physical therapy, request Elite Integrated Therapy Centers!

Why Elite?

Since 2006, Elite Integrated Therapy Centers has been a privately owned and operated practice, with a mission to provide the most enjoyable physical therapy experience in the Upstate. Being an independent healthcare provider, we have the freedom to offer comprehensive, individualized care to our patients. We take time to listen to you, address the cause of your issues, and work alongside you to achieve your recovery goals!

Private practice has its challenges, but because of the loyalty and support of our surrounding communities, we’ve been able to continue to grow and improve our ability to serve you over the last 13 years. With 9 offices across the Upstate, we’ve got you covered!

DO YOU NEED PT NOW?

No problem! If you find yourself in need of our services, remember that you can be treated by one of our therapists for up to 30 days without a physician’s script. We are here for all your Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Wellness needs! Schedule an appointment at one of our 12 locations throughout the Greenville, Anderson, Spartanburg, Belton, Boiling Springs, Fort Mill, Powdersville, Seneca and Simpsonville, SC areas.

Cervicalgia – Causes & Treatments

Cervicalgia is a general term that is used to describe neck pain. The pain and discomfort that you can experience with cervicalgia may be caused by joint restrictions and muscular tightness, but there are also other causes. These include degenerative disc disease, whiplash, a herniated disc, pinched nerves, poor sleeping positions, and posture issues.

Symptoms associated with cervicalgia include persistent neck pain that can be accompanied by spasms in the neck muscles, impaired neck movement, headaches, dizziness, numbness, and nausea.

What Causes Cervicalgia?

As mentioned above, there are quite a few reasons for cervicalgia occurring. Some of the most common include:

  • Poor posture for extended periods of time with your neck at an awkward angle
  • Injuries that involve a sudden neck movement. This can happen from impact sports or a car accident (whiplash)
  • If you have a bone condition such as arthritis or osteoporosis
  • You suffer from a disease or a condition that affects the spine such as spinal infections or meningitis
  • Long-term stress that causes clenching of neck and shoulder muscles

Physical Therapy as A Treatment for Cervicalgia

Once the true cause of the cervicalgia has been found, physical therapy can help to relieve the symptoms and alleviate the cause of the pain. Research has shown that physical therapy is a better treatment than surgery or pain medication for relieving many cases of neck pain. In fact, it can often help people avoid the need for surgery or pain relievers altogether.

The goals of physical therapy for neck pain include:

  • Reducing pain and stiffness
  • Improving the range of motion
  • Improving posture
  • Strengthening the neck and its supporting musculature
  • Developing strategies to prevent neck pain from recurring

Schedule an Appointment to Relieve Your Neck Pain

If you are experiencing neck pain, schedule an appointment with a physical therapist at Elite Integrated Therapy Centers today. We have multiple locations throughout Greenville, Anderson, and Spartanburg, SC, and provide numerous physical therapy services.

Macronutrients: What, Why, and How?

Macronutrients are the latest craze in the fitness industry. Maybe you’ve been in the gym and have overheard a trainer talking to a client about ‘macros?’ You may have wondered: “What are those?” “Is this for me? “How do I get started?” Well, it’s much simpler than you might think. You’ll only need a food scale and some patience!

So, WHAT Actually Are Macronutrients?

It is widely known that people count calories to lose or gain weight. While that is a very valid tool in reaching health and wellness goals, tracking macronutrients can provide you with much more insight. Macronutrients, or macros for short, are everything we consume on a large scale when it comes to nutrition. This includes: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Understanding the macros your food consists of can help you pinpoint specific nutrients you may be consuming too much or too little. This can then aide you in setting and achieving your nutrition goals.

As a general rule of thumb:

  • Carbohydrates provide 4 calories per gram
  • Protein provides 4 calories per gram
  • Fat provides 9 calories per gram

WHY is it Important to Track My Macronutrients?

Everyone is different, and therefore, has different nutritional needs. By calculating your macros, you can see firsthand if you are eating a balanced diet for YOU personally. Tracking your macros, instead of calories, can also help ensure that you continue to eat correctly while achieving your goal of losing, maintaining, or gaining weight.

For example, 100 calories of an avocado (fat) are different from 100 calories of a delicious Krispy Kreme doughnut (carbohydrates). While both have the same number of calories, the 100 calories in an avocado are primarily fat, while the doughnut is made up of mostly carbohydrates. The avocado may also fulfill your entire daily requirement of fat, but the doughnut most likely will not. The avocado provides a much more dynamic amount of vitamins, minerals, and quality calories that your body will use, too, compared to the doughnut. However, when you’re looking at only the calories, they are equal!

Real Life: Calculating Macronutrients

Grab your food scale, and let’s take a look at Quaker oatmeal for a real life example! If you ate one cup of oatmeal and wanted to calculate your macros for that meal, you would first need to determine how many servings you ate. If the serving size is a half-cup, measured dry (40g), you would simply multiply every number on that label by two. So for eating one cup of oatmeal, your macros would be: 54g carbs, 10g protein, and 6g fat for the meal. Now do this for EACH of your meals (or every time you eat) throughout the day. At the end of the day, add up all your macronutrients to visually see your total for the day.

Quaker Oats Macronutrients Calculation ExamplQuaker Oats Nutrition Facts Macronutrients Calculation Example

Macros into Calories

You could also easily take this a step further to determine your overall calories for the day. For reference, scroll back up to the calories per gram of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Multiply each macronutrient total by the number of calories in each unit. That’s it! You now have your total macronutrients for the day, as well as your total calories.

So, if all you ate in a day was oatmeal (side note — we’re not suggesting this!), your total macronutrients for the day, as we calculated above, would be: 54g carbs, 10g protein, and 6g fat. To turn those into calories, take each macronutrient, multiply it by the relevant amount of calories per gram, and add up your totals:

  • Carbohydrates: 54g x 4 cal = 216 calories
  • Protein: 10g x 4 cal = 40 calories
  • Fat: 6g x 9 cal = 54 calories
  • 216 + 40 + 54 = 310 Total Calories

It’s that simple! To help speed up determining your macros in the future, write your meals down on a piece of paper or keep a “food log” for quick reference. Now, next time you eat oatmeal you won’t have to add up your macros!

HOW Do I Determine My Macros?

Your optimal macronutrient intake depends on several different factors including: gender, age, current weight, activity level, lifestyle, diet plan and goals. The college recruit who is trying to add lean muscle, while dropping weight, will be eating according to a different nutritional plan than a retiree now focusing on longevity.

So, where do you start??  Just buy a food scale (Amazon, Target, Walmart) and START! Food scales are relatively inexpensive and are well worth the investment. Before immediately changing your normal routine, eat your regular meals for 1-2 weeks while tracking your numbers. At first, this may seem like a lot of work: writing down meals, calculating numbers, and tracking EVERYTHING. However, the benefits are absolutely superior! Tracking your macros reveals so much. Are you eating too many or too few carbs, protein, or fat? Are your numbers fairly consistent or all over the place? Do you find yourself eating too much in the evenings or eating extremely unhealthy on the weekends? With a little dedication, you’ll be reading labels, learning which foods are high or low in your specific macro areas, and seeing results in no time!

Finally, it is essential to establish some baseline numbers that align with your lifestyle and goals. A good starting point is: 50% carbohydrates, 20% protein, and 30% fat. Do some research online; there are several “macro” calculators that can assist with establishing baseline numbers. MyPlate and MyFitnessPal are also two very useful apps to help track your macros. MyFitnessPal offers a large database of food and lists out the calories, carbs, fats, and proteins to save you calculation time, as well. Search for the food, brand, or restaurant on this page.

Let’s Get Started!

Tracking your macronutrients is important, whether you are on a specific diet or just want to eat well for your overall health. It teaches you if you’re eating too much or too little for your body and how to properly read nutrition labels. Educating yourself on WHAT you are putting into your body is a huge part of maintaining overall wellness. Once you’ve established how much you should eat, counting your macros might be exactly what you need to see the results you want. If you have further questions about macros or exercising, please reach out to us to set up a FREE consultation with one of our Wellness Coordinators!

Schedule an appointment at one of our 12 locations throughout the Greenville, Anderson, Spartanburg, Belton, Boiling Springs, Fort Mill, Powdersville, Seneca and Simpsonville, SC areas.