Therapy Thoughts

Following Your Child’s Lead 

By McKenna Jackson, M.S., CCC/SLP


When we witness a child struggling with learning of any kind, our first inclination, as adults, is to step in and teach the child the correct way of doing things. We lead the child through instructing them in the proper way as we see it. When the task at hand is learning to talk, parents may talk for the child, finish the words for them, or use controlling language, like commands and questions, while correcting their speech.

However, it is essential that the child develop the confidence to take an active role and an eagerness to express themselves independently. Follow the child’s lead in observing their interests and level of communication. When your response is appropriate for these levels, learning to talk will come more naturally and comfortably for the child.

Steps to Take:

  • Wait, Observe, and Listen – In this way, the child’s communication methods may be observed. These may include pointing, eye gazing, gestures, grunts and crying.
  • Give Your Child a Chance – Instead of anticipating the child’s every need, allow them to have the time to express themselves. For instance, wait to serve juice until the child makes a request for it. When the doorbell rings, wait for the child to respond before answering the door.
  • Know What to Expect – After observing the child’s interests and desires along with their methods for expressing them, communication is achieved whether it be verbal, pointing, nodding, or using signs or picture boards. This is the starting level for communication — do not expect more or less. If you expect too much, you may never recognize the child’s current method of communication. If you expect too little, for instance a grunt instead of using a word the child has used before, the quality of the initiations will not improve.
  • Be at the Same Physical Level – Sit together on the sofa or on the floor where eye contact can be reached with no distractions. Verbal and non-verbal methods will be more recognizable. Your responses and facial expressions will work to encourage your child’s communication skills

Study, Practice, Teach

Rachel’s Reflections
“Study, Practice, and Teach”

By Rachel Betzen, M.A., CCC/SLP

i-believe-in-youThe philosophy of “Study, Practice, and Teach” comes from Jim Rohn, author of the book Living an Exceptional Life. This simple concept he described as an important part of a person’s spiritual nourishment. However, Rohn is also a businessperson, and he was very successful using this model for business development and growth.

Whatever is valuable to you, you must study, practice, and teach.”

The potentials for using Rohn’s philosophy within our clinic is tremendous. Doing so allows and inspires our therapists to further develop their clinical skills by encouraging them to develop skills well enough to teach them. Teaching a skill requires a higher level of understanding and the ability to manipulate information and adapt it to the student’s needs. Additionally, this is the perfect model for building the foundation of a mentorship program.

Relationships are very important, especially in a collaborative therapy setting like ours. Mentor relationships benefit all of us – the mentee, the mentor, and the whole clinic – as we set ourselves up to become an educational institution as well as a therapeutic one. Our therapists already know how to support each other, and know what to do when they need further help. Our staff is awesome and amazing, and their history of collaboration will make it much easier to step into the roles of mentor and mentee.

At our clinic, our success is measured by the lives we change.

This is true for all people involved in the therapy process at Dallas Reading and Language Services, including our students, their families, and our staff. The bottom line is, whoever comes to our clinic will have the opportunity to change themselves for the better – in all areas of their lives. Although this also includes our staff, the main focus for change is on the students. Change in the child can have a ripple effect. It can affect change in the family as incidences of communication breakdowns decrease. It can affect change in the classroom as the child better participates and experiences more academic success. It can change their social functioning as the child can better interact with and understand others.

It is my hope that we take Jim Rohn’s philosophy to heart in our workplace, as well as in other areas of our lives.

“Whatever is valuable to you, you must study, practice, and teach.”

Giving Tree

November 27, 2015

Editorial Contacts:
Stephen Betzen, Office Manager, (214) 646-1570,
Cliff Pearson, Communications Coordinator, (214) 646-1570,

Speech Clinic to Host Giving Tree for Promise House

Therapists to raise funds serving shelter for at-risk and homeless youth

Christmas Giving Tree(DALLAS, November 27, 2015)
–This December, the staff and clients of Dallas Reading and Language Services will join together to provide holiday support for Promise House, an emergency shelter for youth in crisis in Dallas, by hosting a Giving Tree in the speech and reading clinic’s waiting room.

From Dec. 1, 2015 until Dec. 19, 2015, visitors to the clinic will be able to take a paper ornament from the Giving Tree marked with $2, $5, $10, $20, $25, $50, $75, or $100. By making a cash or credit card donation in the amount listed on the ornament, the donor will receive a wooden ornament that he or she can decorate to replace the paper ornaments. Whoever donates $500 or more will receive the star at the top of the tree to decorate him or herself.

“Our hope is that these gifts will not only spread good cheer, but also help in making the holiday wishes come true for young people,” said Stephen Betzen, office manager of Dallas Reading and Language Services. “It truly is a rewarding experience for our staff – and most importantly for our kids – to decorate our clinic’s tree with ornaments knowing that our donations are helping to change the lives of other children for the better.”

Dallas Reading and Language Services expects that by the end of the holiday season, the Giving Tree will be filled with the hand-decorated wooden ornaments and all the paper ornaments will be replaced. All cash and credit card donations received will be sent to Promise House, to assist at-risk and homeless youth.

About Promise House

Promise House embraces homeless, runaway and at-risk youth, giving them needed support, encouragement and hope to live a better life. Our programs cover the vital needs of youth, including emergency shelter, transitional living, pregnant and parenting teen services, individual, group and family counseling, street outreach and educational intervention. Promise House is dedicated to providing the strength, stability and hope that youth need today to fulfill their promise for a healthy, productive and self-sufficient tomorrow. Since 1984, Promise House has had an open door 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to children, teens and families in crisis serving over 70,000 youth and families in North Texas.

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Dallas Reading and Language Services is a provider of speech-language therapy and reading services to the Dallas community, employing licensed Speech-Language Pathologists and SLP Assistants.

Thanksgiving Schedule

Dear Valued Clients,

thanksgivingAll our team at Dallas Reading and Language Services wish you and your family a joyous and happy Thanksgiving holiday season this year!

So that our team members may enjoy the holiday season with loved ones, please note that the Dallas Reading and Language Services clinic will be closed Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (November 26th, 27th, and 28th).

We will be back open Monday, November 30th, and will be available to do regularly scheduled visits as well as make-up visits. If your child is not already scheduled at least once that week, please let us know when you would like to come in for a make-up therapy session if possible.

Kind Regards,

Rachel Betzen, M.A.,  CCC/SLP

Christmas Schedule

Dear Valued Clients,

Christmas 2015

All of us at Dallas Reading and Language Services wish you loved ones a wonderful holiday season, Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

Please know that our clinic will be closed from Monday, December 21st until Friday, January 1st, so that our team members may spend the holidays with their families and friends.

We will be open again on Saturday, January 2, 2015. We will be available to do regularly scheduled visits as well as make-up visits beginning on that day.

If your child is not already scheduled at least once that week, please let us know when you would like to come in for a make-up therapy session if possible.

Kind Regards,

Rachel Betzen, M.A., CCC/SLP

Welcome Ryan!

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Please join us in welcoming aboard another addition to our team at Dallas Reading and Language Services. Ryan Jackson, M.S., CCC/SLP, will be joining our staff as a part-time Speech-Language Pathologist.

Ryan is employed full-time by the Allen Independent School District in Allen, Texas, but originally comes from Arkansas where he studied and previously worked as a speech-language pathologist in the public school systems and for private practice clinics such as ours.

Ryan currently provides speech-language therapy to students from preschool to 6th grade in the Allen public school system. He loves his work and is as passionate about helping children realize their full potential as we all are at Dallas Reading and Language Services. We are certain he will be a valuable addition to our team.

Ryan earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Communications Disorders in May 2011 from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Ark. He received his Master of Science degree in Communicative Disorders in May 2013 from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, Ark.

Ryan has years of experience in helping and treating children by providing speech and language therapy, conducting evaluations, developing Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), conducting ARD (Admission, Review, and Dismissal) Meetings and long-term monitoring of therapy.

We are looking forward to having Ryan on our team, and we are confident you will agree that he will is a wonderful addition to our staff!

Kind Regards,
Rachel Betzen, M.A., CCC/SLP
Dallas Reading and Language Services

Why Do I Freak Out About That?

Why Do I Freak Out About That?

By Cliff Pearson

Have you ever had a reaction to something that just seemed a little over the top? For example, have you ever just freaked out at something and then wondered later what made you act like that?

In neuroscience, the study of the brain, this kind of reaction is the result of tthe triggering of a biological response in an area of the brain called the amigdyla (uh-MIG-dill-uh). The reaction is known as “amigdyla hijacking,” a term coined by neuroscientist Daniel Goleman in his 1996 book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. It refers to emotional responses which are immediate and overwhelming, and out of measure with the actual stimulus because it has triggered a much more significant emotional threat.

As a communications professional for nearly two decades, and as one educated in communication theory, I can tell you with a certainty that there are people who quickly learn what words, phrases, and images will evoke these kinds of overwhelming emotional reactions in a person based on clues the person gives off, or based simply on the person’s demographics. Yes, as disgusting as it sounds, there are people who deliberately push people’s buttons to get them to do what they want — such as buy something, vote for someone, join a cause, etc.

Our founding therapist, Rachel Betzen, feels that learning to effectively recognize what words, phrases and images work as our “triggers” to these kinds of reactions can help us to overcome whatever social-emotional barriers exist in our lives, and which may interfere with our overall well-being.

In keeping with that, Dallas Reading and Language Services shares the following video link to introduce you to the concept of “amigdyla hijacking” and how you can work to overcome it.

For more information, please contact us via Facebook and we will be happy to respond:

Welcome Kate!

September 18, 2015

Dear Parents and Guardians,

kate hardinOur staff continues to grow by leaps and bounds! We are happy to announce that we’ve brought on board Kate Hardin, M.S., CFY/SLP, who will be joining our team of skilled therapists as a part-time Speech-Language Pathologist in her clinical fellowship year.

Kate is bilingual (Spanish and English) and is from the Dallas area. Her background in speech therapy includes previous work in private practice clinics such as ours, and in both public and charter schools. She has worked with children from pre-kindergarten through 8th grade, including children with disabilities. Most recently, Kate interned for EBS Healthcare as a Speech-Language Pathologist, and as a Speech-Language Pathologist Assistant with Communicaide Company.

Kate’s love for caring for children took her to Ecuador in the summer of 2014 with a speech therapy team from EBS United, to enhance her Spanish language skills and to help provide therapy to impoverished children.

Kate earned her Master of Science in Communications Disorders in May 2014 at the University of Texas at Dallas. She had previously earned a Bachelor of Science in Speech Pathology and Audiology at the University of Texas at Dallas in December 2012.

We are looking forward to having Kate on our team, and we are confident she will be a great addition to our continually growing staff of therapists!

Kind Regards,

Rachel Betzen, M.A., CCC/SLP
Dallas Reading and Language Services

Social-Emotional Challenges

Social-Emotional Challenges in Therapy


speech-therapy-649549By Rachel Betzen, M.A., CCC/SLP

As Dallas Reading and Language Services continues to grow our clinic, we will continue to experiment with practical ways to support children’s social and emotional wellbeing, in keeping with our whole child intervention approach to speech-language therapy.

Communication goes beyond merely the intent to express something to others. It helps us to understand ourselves, and to make changes to become the kind of person we want to be.

Developing social-emotional awareness of ourselves and others is a skill that opens doors to understanding and connection. This awareness allows us to recognize our triggers, and to have the chance to respond to them rather than react to them impulsively.

We are all developing these important skills across our entire lifespan.

The tools and ideas we use at Dallas Reading and Language Services are using come from the MindUp Curriculum, the Momentous Institute, the BePeace Connection Practice, and the Center for Nonviolent Communication. We are also beginning to add tools from Qigong.

When a child displays social-emotional barriers, here are some ideas on how parents, guardians, and teachers can work through them:

  • Ask the child to identify his or her feelings and needs, or gently guess some of the child’s possible feelings and needs (“I feel _____, _____, and _____.” “When I feel this way I need/value _____ and _____”).
  • Use active listening and repeat back what you think the child said (“I’m guessing you feel _____.” “You may need _____ or _____. Does that sound right?”)
  • Offer comfort and try to empathize with the child.
  • Share a small piece of your own vulnerability. Talk about your own weaknesses, struggles, and/or negative thoughts and beliefs with which you have dealt.
  • Listen for the child’s main barriers or causes of their anxieties.
  • Ask the child to identify how his or her body feels when they are in distress.
  • Help the child calm him or herself with slow rhythmic breathing.

More information on these issues and ideas may be found by contacting Dallas Reading and Language Services at 214-646-1570, or by visiting our website,