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OTS 131: The Correlation Between Speech and Sensory Challenges

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Welcome to the show notes for Episode 131 of the OT Schoolhouse Podcast.

Curious to explore the world of Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) and Sensory Processing Disorder(SPD)?

Join us on this episode where Kate Nealon, PhD, CCC-SLP, BC-CLS, and Zahava L. Friedman, PhD, OT, BCBA, delve into the fascinating interplay and coexistence of CAS and SPD. Gain insights into the significance of interdisciplinary collaboration between OTPs and SLPs in supporting children.

Tune in now to broaden your understanding of CAS and SPD!

Listen now to learn the following objectives:

  • Learners will identify the key components of the sensory processing cycle and how breakdowns at different stages can contribute to Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

  • Learners will identify the challenges in diagnosing children with mild to moderate Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) and Specific Language Impairment (SLD)

  • The importance of early intervention and seeking support from a collaborative team of professionals when working with children with speech and sensory impairments.

Guests Bio

Dr. Kate Nealon is a licensed Speech-Language pathologist and Board-certified child language specialist. She is currently an assistant professor at Montclair State University, where her research focuses on the interaction of language and motor processes across the lifespan and the implementation of research into clinical practice.

Zahava L Friedman has trained countless occupational therapy students in her role as a fieldwork educator for OT and COTA programs throughout New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. She has presented at many statewide and national conferences, such as AOTA, NJEA, in a variety of public/private school-based settings, and for special education non-profit organizations. She has worked as a pediatric occupational therapy clinician in both public and private school-based settings since 2007. Zahava also worked for the New York City Early Intervention system from 2008-2017, servicing children ages 0-3 in their homes. In 2014, Zahava completed courses and a practicum to achieve the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) credential. In this capacity as OT and BCBA, she uses both sensory and behavioral frameworks in her practice. Zahava's research interests include interprofessional collaboration in schools, synergies between OT and ABA, and the creation of rigorous, engaging student learning experiences.


“That is so key that we collaborate and build that rapport with other professionals.”

-Jayson Davies, MA, OTR/L

“We think of sensory processing as being a pure sensory framework, but there's the processing part that speaks to the adaptive response.”

-Zahava L. Friedman, PhD, OT, BCBA

Childhood Apraxia speech is a relatively new diagnosis."

-Kate Nealon, PhD, CCC-SLP, BC-CLS

“You receive information through a variety of your senses. You want to make sense of it. You figure out what it means, and then you know what to do with it. Right? So sometimes in that cycle, depending on where the breakdown is, that's when you start to see an individual meeting criteria versus not meeting criteria.”

-Zahava L. Friedman, PhD, OT, BCBA

“The gross motor challenges that we see, the sensory processing challenges that we see, are all potentially impacting that child's ability to participate in treatment.”

-Kate Nealon, PhD, CCC-SLP, BC-CLS


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