Please welcome guest blogger BRENDA C. SMITH, Speech and Presentation Coach of VOICE POWER TRAINING, Hanover, ON!!

How to Add Vocal Impact as a Business Woman

Women tend not to brag about their accomplishments, whether they are executive leaders in charge of large corporations, or business women starting out. Training your voice skills will add impact to your presence, build confidence, realize goals, and boost recognition.  There are three key vocal elements that business women need to complete as part of their professional development package:  voice projection, appropriate pitch level, and emphatic delivery.

How often have you been told that you have a quiet or a soft tone, which may be very pleasing; but, it may also convey a weakness of your business wisdom or power?  Have you tried to speak louder only to end up with a sore throat or rising pitch and stress levels? Professional training in voice projection can make a difference to your presence. When you need to be heard at the back of the room or simply draw attention to the importance of your message, voice projection tools are your best friend.

Projecting the voice properly using diaphragmatic breathing techniques, similar to how actors train, will allow you to possess all the nuances and dynamism that you want to convey, without shouting or having a sore throat. The essence of projection is that you are using more air to support your speech, and can direct or aim your vocal sound farther away. With practice and focus you can easily control the projected volume to meet any situation. A bonus factor is that this control will provide a “Plan B” to stop or manage any nervousness while speaking. Learning to use your breath is the foundation to your image and presence.

The second key element is controlling your vocal pitch level to exude confidence and attract listeners. Your pitch level will rise when your muscles, particularly around your throat and shoulders are tense.   A nasal pitch caused by too much resonance in the nasal chamber can be an annoying sound for most listeners. The reaction you want is for your listener to follow through with your speech message; you do not want them to rush out of the room because of an irritating nasal sound.  Again, through vocal exercises, you can discover your individual optimal pitch level, correct any speech distortions, and learn how to present a pleasing but persuasive voice.

Finally, women business entrepreneurs need to be aware of using their voice as a means to connect their story to convince a customer of its value. Negotiation of contracts, advocacy for non-profits, or sale of products occur because of your efficient voice power practice. This is a skill that can easily be learned by rehearsing and speaking a variety of literary and business materials. You learn to apply voice techniques working with these pieces to produce emphasis at critical points. This method includes developing pauses and changing pace with appropriate inflection to entice the listener to be attentive, involved, and moved by your speech.

For the business mom or the executive woman, knowing how to use your voice effectively will add recognition to yourself, and help you achieve a speech delivered with impact.

Stay tuned for upcoming phots and an update on our move!!!

Mission accomplished! Our clinic has officially relocated! Our new clinic space at 137 George St W, Unit 302 is exactly what we needed! We are still centrally located and are still offering a satellite office in Hanover! Call us for details!

We are also sharing our new, accessible, confidential and welcoming clinic with Stefanie vanbGeem, who operates the Durham Learning Centre! Congratulations Stef on your new business!

Stay tuned for photos and further updates!


Please join us in CONGRATULATING Maureen Barclay and Denise Cantlon for graduating from Grant MacEwan University as Speech Language Pathology-Assistants!

All of your hard work has paid off! Their excellent clinical skills, now enhanced with their diplomas, continue to provide individualized speech therapy, both in the clinic and the community, based on your child’s needs and goals!  Well done ladies!!!

COMING SOON! WeeHands Instruction!!


Looking for sign language support for children 0-6 years of age? Cheryl has recently become a licensed WeeHands Instructor!! Check out the WeeHands website at:

This means Cheryl will soon be ready to offer WeeHands classes at local sites for your babies, toddlers and preschoolers!  Chcck  out their site for classes available and watch for further local class offerings in your area!!!

‘Let’s Learn’ about Kindergarten Registration


Looking for sign language support for children 0-6 years of age? Cheryl has recently become a licensed WeeHands Instructor!! Check out the WeeHands website at:

This means Cheryl will soon be ready to offer WeeHands classes at local sites for your babies, toddlers and preschoolers!  Chcck  out their site for classes available and watch for further local class offerings in your area!!!



Hope you had a GREAT summer! It will SOON be that time of year when we are thinking about or have registered our 3 and 4 year olds for  Kindergarten next year! What an exciting and yet scary time! Some parents are asking:

  • Am I ready to send my child out into the big worlod of ‘school’?
  • How will I know what my child can expect?
  • What will their school day be like?
  • Will they go everyday, or every other day?
  • How can I/should I let my school/teacher koow about health or development concerns I have?
  • Will they be ready for that first day?

If you are asking yourself these questions, you are not alone and your questions are certainly appropriate! One way to address your questions and concerns is to attend your local ‘Let’s Learn’ Clinic in your community. You can find the shcedule at;’s_Learn_Schedule_2012.pdf


In addition, the Blue Water District School Bard has some great links that can help you get ready for your visit to Let’s Learn.

School starts so early for our little ones so it is important to be prepared! One way to be prepared, is to have your child’s speech and language skills screened, when you attend your Let’s Learn Clinic. You can certainly be asking the speech pathologist and school staff about th development of your child’s sound repertoire and about the development of their language skills.

Do they have any sounds missing for their age?

Are they stringing enough meaningful words together for their age?

If your child is already receiving speech and langauge services through public health or from a private practioner, it is important to mention these concerns to the staff at the Let’s Learn Clinic. Unfortunately, if your child is a candidate for speech and language services, they are not eligible to receive  school services until they enter Senior Kindergarten. In this case, it is important to have your child screened by Public Health Speech and Language Services or by a private speech and language therapist, so they can receive intervention as soon as possible-it is never too early to refer your child!The early the better also rings true in avoiding any existing waiting lists. A screening may reveal your child is on track for Kindergarten entry, making it that much easier to feel confident about that first day of school!

Please refer to our pages ‘Referrals” and ‘Resources’ to help you determine whether or not a screening for your child is necessary. Don’t hesitate to call the office to discuss your concerns and whether or not a referral or screening may be necessary.

Unsure how to access our services? Refer to our ‘Referrals’ page for information about fees and benefits you may have for speech and language assessment and therapy.

Don’t forget to have fun! Language stimulation for your child and scho0ol readiness can come from things you do everyday at home! During meal times, dressing and bath time, use and play with language to rhyme, sing songs and play with sounds and words-the more fun it is, the easier and more enjoyable it is to learn! Refer to our ‘Resources’ page for milsetones for speech and language development!

Good luck on the first day of school and with the first progress report!

Co–treatment: what are the benefits?

Check out the link to tihs great article about the benefits of OT and SLP providing treatment together!

“Treating together: Helping children reach their potential.

From our most recent column Speech Matters in The Hanover Post, June 2012.

 Speech is a very complicated process involving several systems working together. Articulating words begins with formulating them in our minds and then having the brain tell us which muscles are required to articulate them.

When we speak, we use other senses as well. These include our ears for listening, our eyes for looking at our communicative partner, and our sense of touch (as well as our awareness of what is happening with our muscles and joints).

Speech sound development begins at birth and usually follows predictable patterns and stages. Through play and interaction with adults, peers, and their environment, children develop and eventually master their speech skills along with their fine and gross motor skills.

The complicated nature of speech and motor development may require additional support if development is delayed in any of these areas. A speech language pathologist (S-LP) will often request the help of an occupational therapist (OT), and/or a physical therapist (PT). When appropriate, an interdisciplinary or comprehensive approach is the most beneficial in advancing the child in all areas of development.

Below is a brief description of how each of these three professionals can help your child develop and work towards becoming independent.

A Speech-Language Pathologist (S-LP) assesses and treats communication disorders involving articulation, voice, and language. Sometimes treatment involves the use of specialized technology called augmentative and alternative communication. An SLP will also help with swallowing disorders. (For more information visit:

“Occupational therapists believe that occupations describe who you are and how you feel about yourself. A child, for example, might have occupations as a student, a playmate, a dancer and a table-setter.” ( )

OTs are concerned with both physical and social/emotional factors. They can help your child with fine motor skills such as printing, hand-eye coordination, daily self-care activities, attention span, interacting with environment, regulating emotions, social skills and play.

“As primary health care professionals, physiotherapists combine in-depth knowledge of how the body works with specialized hands-on clinical skills to assess, diagnose and treat symptoms of illness, injury or disability.

With your independence in mind … physiotherapists prescribe personalized therapeutic exercises, and provide essential education about the body, what keeps it from moving well, how to restore mobility and independence, and how to avoid or prevent bodily harm.” ( )

PTs can help your child with gross motor skills, body awareness, coordination, balance, muscle strength, and endurance.

By communicating goals with each other and “treating together”, these professionals can make therapy sessions more meaningful. For example, an OT or PT can incorporate the S-LPs goals. A child working on a specific sound or language concept in speech therapy can also target these in fine and gross motor therapy activities.

Other specialized professionals may also enhance the development of your child. These may include a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist, a certified music therapist, and/or a behaviour therapist.

Our rural area presents unique challenges. Luckily, all of the above professionals exist in our area, whether in private practice or as part of publicly funded health care services. Interdisciplinary teams from larger treatment centers may also offer services locally, through outreach programs. Families often choose to access services privately, in addition to community services, so their child is able to get the frequency of service they may need.

Whatever your child’s needs, early assessment is crucial so therapy may begin and your child may be on his/her way to living an independent, happy and fulfilling life!






Welcome to blueballoon health care services!

We are thrilled to have blueballoon health care services on site! Alison Hendricks, Occupational Therapist (OT) has been joining us for monthly clinic days! Her visits have enabled our clients to access OT services locally and quickly! Alison specializes in sequencing, fine and oral motor, sensory processing, self-help, socialization, visual-motor and environmental adaptations.

Your child might need OT assessment and/or therapy if they are experiencing difficulties with daily tasks including:

  • Printing/colouring, grasp and release, hand-eye coordination
  • Social/play skills
  • Daily activities (bathing, eating, dressing)
  • Concentration, attention span
  • Interacting with their environment (sound, touch, movement)
  • Regulating emotions and/or sleeping

We are excited to have Alison’s expertise on site and welcome any questions you may have about these services, or the coordination of speech/language and OT services! Please join us in welcoming her!

Long time no post!

Calling all NEW REFERRALS! As school draws to a close, summer is a great time to refer your child for a boost in speech and language, before they transition to the next grade! Better refer soon though as summer goes so quickly and our new referral spots have been filling up quickly! TO MAKE A REFERRAL, CALL THE OFFICE @ 519-506-talk

It’s been awhile! We have been very busy though with May Month activities! Thank you to the Early Years Center-Hanover site, Pam and Heather,  for hosting our May Month FREE speech and hearing screenings! We always feel welcome in your center!

And thank you to Mandy and Melanie from Auditory Health Care-Walkerton for supporting the hearing screenings! Although May Month is drawing to a close, it is never too early or too late to refer a person you may know who may have speech and/or hearing difficulties!

We have also been busy learning about social media; check out our web page and twitter, as well as our facebook page for recent updates! Like us on facebook so we can continue to bring you more directed resourcs through a dedicated page!

Thank you to the Saugeen Business Development Corp for hosting ’10 Steps to Community Action’; we have been learning a lot more about how to better communicate with people in our work and personal relationships!

ALERT! Although our street is closed to regular traffic, local traffic is allowed to access the office and park in our parking lot! Don’t be afraid, the contructions workers have been very kind and helpful! Any questions about access or parking, please call the ofice before your appointment!

Finally! Blabberer turned Blogger!

My Journey Into Technology and Social Media

My first taste of the computer world came more than 30 years ago-yikes! First in the form of the now archaic typewriter, then, our first computer, a Commodore 64! It did not quite measure up to the neighbours Atari system, as far as gaming was concerned, but it was a computer none-the-less! To type words was a glorious satisfaction for me! I began keeping a favorite word list, when I was quite young! And the printer! Well, it was a monster of a thing, but what you typed, magically came out on the paper (as long as it didn’t get jammed!).

I never did take typing at school; instead, I engaged in the arts; drama, band, french. When word processing became the format for written homework, a new computer was soon in order. And everything got saved on a hard disk and a hard copy printed on the newer, fancier printer. My love of words and language was further stimulated by the fact that not only could you type and print the letters wit a pen or pencil, but that you could type, and print it, with several fonts on a computer! The rate that these tools have become obselete is mind boggling!

Currently, my own children, age 6 and 8, have never known a classroom without a computer! My daughter handed a project in this week, with mulitple fonts, printed in pink! And I did not teach her those things! I hope I have fostered her love of reading and language though; and perhaps I have as she said to me the other day, ‘hey mom, isn’t extraordinary a cool word?’ Huh.

Ok, I get it, I need to keep up with the times, both personally, and professionally. And why not? My late grandmother was using email and photography programs up until she passed away at age 83; what excuses do I have? Especially, since communication is my profession!

Well, I’m treading deeper into  the realm of technology and social media! Email is essential for our family, as my children can communicate with their aunts, uncles, cousins and especially grandparents, both locally and out west. This has been a great way for my children to deepen their special ties with family we rarely see, but with whom we communicate often, using email and Skype! It is truly invaluable to see  who you are talking to thanks to video calling.

So, I am hoping to transfer these valuable formats of communication from my personal life to my professional life! Email has become essential at work. Ater establishing and learning how to manage a website (this is definetly an ongoing process), I decided it was time to learn about blogging, which for now I will call ‘blabbering’ until I get the hang of it!  Afterall, it is what I do!

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