Thursday, July 29, 2010

Baton Rouge Business Report

There was an article about me in the Baton Rouge Business Report this month so I thought I would share. The picture is a little goofy, but fun. We are hard at work on our IPhone App and I am very excited about our progress. We hope to have it finished within a few weeks so I will post the release on my blog.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Using Silence to Listen

The most precious things in speech are the pauses
~Sir Ralph Richardson

I share this quote today to remind us to remember the pauses when having a conversation. This is especially important when talking with a child or an adult with speech difficulty. So many times we "self-talk" in an attempt to fill in the space when communicating with someone with a speech impairment but, more often than not, that pause is what they need to take their turn in the conversation. The silence may be just the opportunity they are waiting for in terms of attempting to speak. It is also important to remember that their turn is not limited to words - watch for facial movements, gestures, and body language and acknowledge the meaning within the exchange. Something as simple as an eye gaze towards a photograph or picture can speak volumes if we respect the pauses and take time to listen.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


In Brooklyn, New York, Chush is a school that caters to learning disabled children. Some children remain in Chush for their entire school career, while others can be mainstreamed into conventional schools. At a Chush fund-raising dinner, the father of a Chush child delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended.

After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he cried out, "Where is the perfection in my son, Shay? Everything God does is done with perfection. But my child cannot understand things as other children do. My child cannot remember facts and figures as other children do. Where is God's perfection?

The audience was shocked by the question, pained by the father's anguish and stilled by the piercing query. "I believe," the father answered, "that when God brings a child like this into the world, the perfection that he seeks is in the way people react to this child."

He then told the following story about his son Shay: One afternoon, Shay and his father walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, "Do you think they will let me play?" Shay's father knew that his son was not at all athletic and that most boys would not want him on their team. But Shay's father understood that if his son was chosen to play it would give him a comfortable sense of belonging.

Shay's father approached one of the boys in the field and asked if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance from his teammates. Getting none, he took matters into his own hands and said, "We are losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him up to bat in the ninth inning."

Shay's father was ecstatic as Shay smiled broadly. Shay was told to put on a glove and go out to play short center field. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again and now with two outs and the bases loaded with the potential winning run on base, Shay was scheduled to be up. Would the team actually let Shay bat at this juncture and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat.

Everyone knew that it was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, let alone hit with it. However as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher moved a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay should at least be able to make contact. The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. One of Shay's teammates came up to Shay and together they held the bat and faced the pitcher waiting for the next pitch. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly toward Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay and his teammate swung at the ball and together they hit a slow ground ball to the pitcher.

The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could easily have thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have ended the game. Instead, the pitcher took the ball and threw it on a high arc to right field, far beyond reach of the first baseman. Everyone started yelling, "Shay, run to first. Run to first." Never in his life had Shay run to first. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled. By the time he reached first base, the right fielder had the ball.

He could have thrown the ball to the second baseman to tag out Shay, who was still running. But the right fielder understood what the pitcher's intentions were, so he threw the ball high and far over the third baseman's head. Everyone yelled, "Run to second, run to second." Shay ran towards second base as the runners ahead of him deliriously circled the bases towards home.

As Shay reached second base, the opposing short-stop ran to him, turned him in the direction of third base and shouted, "Run to third." As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams ran behind him screaming, "Shay run home." Shay ran home, stepped on home plate and all 18 boys lifted him on their shoulders and made him the hero, as he had just hit a "grand slam" and won the game for his team.

That day," said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, "those 18 boys reached their level of God's perfection."

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Dr. Toy Award

Say-N-Play Selected as a Winner of

“Dr. Toy’s Best Children’s Vacation Products of 2010”

Baton Rouge company gains national recognition for innovation, creativity

Baton Rouge, LA (June 2, 2010) – Dr. Toy has named Baton Rouge Advance Games’ speech articulation game Say-N-Play as one of the best children’s vacation products.

“Say-N-Play is honored to be among the 2010 Dr. Toy award winning products,” said creator and Baton Rouge speech-language pathologist, Holly Strange, MS, CCC/SLP. “Say-N-Play is a fun educational computer game that kids can use over the summer to improve their speech.”

Research shows that children need to practice proper speech daily but rarely do parents have the time to oversee therapy drills. Say-N-Play allows children to work independently, speaking through a headset microphone to interact with the video game.

Strange originally conceived that idea for Say-N-Play as a way to provide children with speech difficulty an engaging alternative to traditional speech therapy drill activities. The game has, however, turned out to be an excellent product for all children between the ages of four and nine as a means of reinforcing proper sound and word pronunciation. It also offers the additional benefit of reading skill development as all words are presented in the written as well as the pictorial format.

The architect behind Dr. Toy is Stevanne Aerbach, Ph.D., a respected and noted authority on child development, who created the Best Children’s Vacation Products award program as a service to consumers who desire to purchase safe, affordable, educationally-oriented, and stimulating toys and play products for children for vacation time at home or on the road. Auerbach believes parents need more help to get a head start locating new, diversified products that children will enjoy as they increase learning skills and expand creativity.

Aerbach said the winning products range from low to high tech for hours of constructive, educational and stimulating fun. The products will help children not only do better in school, but also will provide more constructive activities while traveling or at vacation destinations.

“Children learn best through play and these Best Products encourage children to maximize their potential and make the most of Smart Play,” said Aerbach.

Say-N-Play ( is a computer game that was designed to provide children a fun and motivating way to practice proper speech pronunciation. Featuring EduSpeak voice recognition technology developed by SRI, International, Say-N-Play offers a visually engaging twist to traditional speech articulation drills.

The graphics in Say-N-Play are vivid, full of color, fun, and child-appropriate. Say-N-Play features colorful characters and various games to choose from. One of these games is a racing match where the player must pronounce words correctly in order to move ahead and win the race. For every word the player says correctly, he or she is rewarded with an entertaining animation. Multiple levels and a progress report application allow the player, parents, teacher and/or speech therapist to monitor the child’s success.

Advance Games: Advance Games was founded in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in February of 2008 for the purpose of developing educational and therapeutic games that are both fun and interactive for children. Say-N-Play was developed as a joint effort between Advance Games and Yatec, L.L.C. (, another Baton Rouge video game development company. Currently, two of Yatec’s games, Enchanted Gardens and I.Q.: Identity Quest, are being distributed through various game websites and have been successful in the casual game market.

For general and/or ordering information, visit, or contact:

Advance Games, LLC

9541 Brookline Avenue Suite D

Baton Rouge, LA 70809

(225) 274-0353

Friday, May 28, 2010


Ode to Special Moms

Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice, a few by social 
pressures and a couple by habit.

This year, nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of handicapped children.
 Did you ever wonder how mothers of handicapped children are chosen?

Somehow I visualize God hovering over Earth selecting his instruments for 
propagation with great care and deliberation. As he observes, he instructs
 his angels to make notes in a giant ledger.

"Armstrong, Beth, son, patron saint, Matthew. Forrest, Marjorie, daughter, 
patron saint, Cecilia.

"Rudledge, Carrie, twins, patron saint, give her Gerard. He's used to 

Finally, he passes a name to an angel and smiles, "Give her a handicapped 

The angel is curious. "Why this one, God? She's so happy."

"Exactly," says God. "Could I give a handicapped child to a mother who does 
not know laughter? That would be cruel."

"But has she patience?" asks the angel.

"I don't want her to have too much patience or she will drown in a sea of 
self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wear off, she'll 
handle it.

"I watched her today. She has that feeling of self and independence that is 
so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I'm going to give 
her has his own world. She has to make it live in her world, and that's not 
going to be easy."

"But, Lord, I don't think she even believes in you."

God smiles. "No matter. I can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just 
enough selfishness."

The angel gasps, "Selfishness? Is that a virtue?"

God nods. "If she can't separate herself from the child occasionally, 
she'll never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child
 less than perfect. She doesn't realize it yet, but she is to be envied. 
She will never take for granted a 'spoken word.' She will never consider a 
'step' ordinary. When her child says 'Momma' for the first time, she will 
be present at a miracle and know it! When she describes a tree or a sunset 
to her blind child, she will see it as few people ever see my creations.

"I will permit her to see clearly the things I see . . . ignorance, 
cruelty, prejudice . . . and allow her to rise above them. She will never 
be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life, 
because she is doing my work as surely as she is here by my side."

"And what about her patron saint?" asks the angel, pen poised midair.

God smiles. "A mirror will suffice."

- Erma Bombeck, May, 1980

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Heaven's Very Special Child

A meeting was held quite far from earth

It's time again for another birth

Said the angel to the Lord above

This special child will need much love

His progress may be very slow

Accomplishments he may not show

And he'll require extra care
from the folks he meets down there

He may not run or laugh or play

His thoughts may seem quite far away

In many ways he won't adapt

And he'll be known as handicapped

So let's be careful where he's sent

We want his life to be content

Please Lord, find the parents who
Will do a special job for you

They'll not realize right away
The leading role they're asked to play

But with this child sent from above

Comes stronger faith and richer love

And soon they'll know the privileges given
In caring for their gift from heaven

Their precious charge, so meek and mild

- Author Unknown