Unbabbled Podcast from The Parish School

Unbabbled: A podcast brought to you by The Parish School

Navigating the world of special education, communication delays and learning differences can be a challenge. Tune in twice a month to hear Stephanie Landis and Meredith Krimmel, two speech-language pathologists at The Parish School, interview guests from parents to industry professionals with the goal of providing guidance, insight and hope to those touched by children who are differently wired. Each episode will cover a different topic related to education or child development. Whether you’re the parent or caregiver of a neurodiverse child who has autism, a speech-language delay or a learning disability, or you’re an educator who works with special needs children, this podcast is for you.

Latest Episodes

Season 4



Season 3

Official Trailer

Contact Unbabbled

Do you have topics you'd like discussed or questions for our hosts? Contact us at unbabbled@parishschool.org.

Episode #10: Conscious Parenting with Mr. Chazz

In this episode, we chat with Mr. Chazz, a parent and teacher coach, about positive behavior approaches at home and in the classroom. He is an early childhood educator, educational specialist, and parenting coach. In the episode Mr Chazz discusses his three-step approach of see, guide, trust by walking us through each stop. He also touches on the importance of understanding our own parenting self-judgements and background to best support our children and students. This episode is bursting with insightful information and simple actions you can take now to parent more consciously.  

Episode #9: Disability Book Week with Mary Mecham 

In this episode, we sit down with Mary Mecham, Director of Disability Book Week to learn about this year’s inaugural event. Mary is an avid reader, advocate, and mother of two girls with rare genetic disorders. She has teamed up with Parish School Teacher Caralou Smith to start Disability Book Week as part of their capstone project with Texas Partners in Policymaking, a leadership training program designed to empower adults with developmental disabilities and family members to become effective advocates for policy change. Mary says that she was inspired by her own daughters to search for books that had main characters with disabilities. During her search, she started to meet authors with disabilities who felt inspired to write about their own struggles in their published literary works. Mary got so excited about their journeys that she knew she needed to share all these incredible books and authors with the world!   

Episode #8: Understanding Specialty School Admissions with Bonnie Jones and Meredith Krimmel

A substantial part of finding the right school for your child is going through the seemingly daunting admissions process! In this episode we chat with the director of admissions from Gateway Academy, Bonnie Jones, MS, CCC-SLP and The Parish School’s director of admissions and Unbabbled co-cost, Meredith Krimmel, MS, CCC-SLP. Throughout the episode Bonnie and Meredith walk us through what the typical admissions process is like for a specialty school including how to start the process, what paperwork parents may need to provide, and how they walk families through insuring that their program is the best fit. They also share common reasons why parents choose a specialty school over other options.  

Episode #7: Finding the Right School for Your Child with Houston School Options 

Our guests today, Dee Dee Halpin and Julie Blumberg run Houston School Options where they help families find the most effective school program for their children. Over the years, Dee Dee and Julie have helped guide numerous families - both new to the city and Houston natives - through the school choice process. During our conversation they discuss their process to find the right match and give tips to parents who are looking, such as what to look for when visiting schools and how you’ll know what the right choice is for you. They also remind us that the “best school” is the one that is the right fit for your child. And that sometimes, the right decision now is not a forever decision. While Dee Dee and Julie work with families in Houston, their tips on how to find the right school will work for all families, regardless of location. 

Episode #6: Preparing for the Dentist with Dr. Steven Hogan

In this episode we chat with pediatric dentist Dr. Steven Hogan about the unique challenges and treatment for a neurodiverse population, including children with sensory processing difficulties, anxiety, communication difficulties, and a wide range of medical diagnoses. Dr. Hogan discusses things parents can do to prepare children for the dentist, tips for at the dentist, strategies he personally uses in treatment, and advice for brushing at home. Dr. Hogan’s goal is to make the trip to the dentist a positive experience to support lifelong dental health. 

Episode #5: Taking the Stress Out of Feeding Your Kids with Kacie Barnes

In this episode we speak with registered dietician Kacie Barnes about pediatric nutrition. Kacie is the owner of Mama Knows Nutrition, where she helps parents of babies, toddlers, and preschoolers find solutions to nourish their families without stress, guilt, or chaos. Throughout the episode, Kacie shares tips for introducing new foods, discusses typical variations in children’s diets and the nutritional needs of kids all with her signature humor and judgment free style.

Episode #4: IEPs, ARDS, Oh My! Navigating the Public School Special Education System with Huyen Cao

Throughout the episode Huyen Cao, MA, CCC-SLP discusses how to ask for an evaluation, who can get services, what services are available and what to expect during a meeting. Huyen also explains many of the common public-school specific acronyms.  We also dive into the lesser-known details such as the legal timeline schools must follow, the difference between an IEP and a 504, and if the public-school gives diagnoses to students. Huyen also reminds us that even if your child is enrolled in a private school, they have the legal right to be tested by the public school system.

Episode #3: Emotional Intelligence and Sensory Regulation with Alyssa Blask Campbell

Throughout the episode, Alyssa Blask Campbell discusses the connection between sensory regulation and emotional development and how as adults, our ability to connect with and guide our children is directly impacted by our level of sensory regulation. Alyssa also touches on the science behind co-regulation, provides tips to support children who struggle with anxiety and gives a few “say this” instead of “that” examples. 

Episode #2: Supporting Siblings of Neurodiverse Kids Part 2 with Lynn McLean, LCSW-S

This episode continues our discussion on supporting siblings with input from a mental health professional. Our guest, Lynn McLean, LCSW-S, RPT-S, gives advice on how to talk to children about struggles one child may have and gives ideas for supporting families as they navigate family dynamics and emotions. During our conversation Lynn not only gives specific strategies and tips, but also encourages parents and caregivers to hold space for big emotions and lean into hard conversations even when they make us uncomfortable. She also shares a bit of her experience as a parent who has navigated this herself.

Episode #1: Supporting Siblings of Neurodiverse Kids: A Parent Perspective with Katie Higgins

During the episode Katie discusses her son’s journey to a diagnosis, the dynamic between her twins and their brother, the steps she’s taken as a mom to support her children - like setting up special mother-daughter time for the girls - and how they navigate the emotions and changing relationships that come with having a neurodiverse sibling. Throughout the episode, Katie’s honesty, love for her children, and authenticity shines. Her story will leave caregivers feeling both seen and hopeful. Katie Higgins is a mother of three and co-owner of Vintage Hope Boutique in Richmond, Texas. She has twin daughters and a son who has been diagnosed with epilepsy and autism.

Episode #11: At-Home Toddler Activities with Beth from Days with Grey

Beth, a teacher turned stay-at-home mom turned business owner, discusses how starting the day with engaging learning activities can set parents up for a day of playing and teaching children new skills, all while giving parents a few minutes to relax and enjoy their coffee. Throughout the episode, Beth gives ideas of how to bring these simple activities into your daily routine, explains her philosophy on teaching through play, and shares her favorite activities to do with her boys.

Episode #10: At-Home Support for Children with ADHD Featuring Dr. Kimberly Harrison

Do you ever wonder why your child with ADHD has trouble getting started on chores or homework? Have you noticed that they get off track when following seemingly simple instructions? Or does preparing to leave your house in the morning often feel chaotic? Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Kimberly Harrison discusses why individuals with ADHD operate differently and how parents can best support them. Additionally, she provides advice on how to help get things done more efficiently, so everyone can start enjoying more peace and harmony in the home. 

Bonus Episode: Being an Informed SLP with Meredith Harold

This special episode was recorded in February 2020 at the Texas Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s (TSHA) Annual Convention in Houston, and is being released in conjunction with the 2021 Virtual TSHA Convention. In this episode, we speak with Meredith Poore Harold, PhD, CCC-SLP, about the importance of evidence-based practice, barriers clinicians face in implementing evidence-based practice, and how her business, The Informed SLP is helping clinicians to put research into practice.

Episode #9: At-Home Sensory-Based Play Activities with Julie Friedman

Mompreneur Julie Friedman joins us this episode to discuss her journey to bringing sensory-based play into her home. Julie is the owner and founder of Young, Wild & Friedman, a Houston-based company that ships sensory play kits worldwide. She shares her inspiration for starting her business and gives a first-hand account of how sensory-based play has positively impacted her daughter’s development. She shares similar stories from other families. We also discuss simple steps parents can take to bring sensory-based play into their own homes.

Episode #8: At-Home Activities That Support Your Child’s Social-Emotional Development with Amanda Armbruster

Licensed professional counselor, Amanda Armbruster, provides advice for supporting children’s social and emotional development at home. Hear meaningful tips to help children through everyday challenges, including how to navigate big emotions in public places, how to deal with low impulse control, what to do when you feel your child “knows better,” and ways parents can model self-regulation behaviors. While Amanda gives many useful strategies, her greatest message is that all kids are good kids. When challenging behaviors pop-up, children have merely gotten off track or are struggling with something difficult for them. 

Episode #7: At-Home Activities That Support Your Elementary Student's Learning with Jordan Boyce

Reading specialist, Jordan Boyce, shares practical, easy and fun ideas that parents can do at home to support their elementary-aged child’s (ages 5-9) learning. Throughout the episode, Jordan provides hands-on, engaging activities to support a child’s developing reading and math skills using materials most families already have on-hand, like Legos, Magnatiles and dixie cups. She also provides book recommendations for early readers that hold children’s attention while still easily read independently.  

Episode #6: At-Home Activities That Support Your Tween's Learning with Wendy Garza, MEd

Elementary teacher Wendy Garza, MEd, provides a variety of simple, engaging and practical activities parents can do at home with their tween (kids ages 9-12) to support their academic learning. Wendy gives tips on using children’s interests to drive fun inquiry-based learning projects, provides methods for engaging children when practicing reading, and discusses the benefits of getting your child into the kitchen!

Episode #5: Mental Health and Medication with Dr. Alain Katic

Dr. Alain Katic of Houston Clinical Trials joins us to answer parents' and professionals' questions about mental health and medication. He discusses how to tell if a medication is working, how long it takes to see changes, and provides information on side effects parents may see with certain medications.

Episode #4: Tips to Survive and Thrive During the Holidays

The holidays are here, and Meredith and Stephanie are discussing several tried and true tips to help parents prepare for the challenges the season may bring. These tips are provided with children who have language and social challenges in mind, but they’re excellent for trying with all children as well.

Episode #3: Social-Emotional Learning: Practical Activities Parents Can Implement at Home

Elizabeth Sautter provides practical strategies parents can use to build their child’s executive functioning skills, and help them to manage emotions and navigate social situations. Elizabeth also provides resources that parents can use to support their children’s goals at home. Throughout the episode, she doesn’t just focus on children, Elizabeth frequently stresses the importance of self-care for adults and gives realistic ideas beyond just bubble baths!

Episode #2: Long-Term Financial Planning for Families of a Child with Special Needs

Financial planners Bryan Smith and Tinja Anderson teach us the basics of planning for your family’s unique financial needs. They provide clarity on complex issues like Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security benefits, different types of trusts families with special needs may use, and what to keep in mind when planning for the future. They also share the types of services they provide to families to give holistic support now and through the next 20, 40 or 60 years.

Episode #1: Dyslexia Diagnosis and Intervention

Reading specialists Alison Edwards and Meagan Rosales discuss dyslexia, including the red flags to look for, when and how to get a diagnosis, ideas parents can implement at home and best practices for intervention. We also debunk some of the most common dyslexia myths.

Bonus Episode: Help Your Child Adjust to Frequent Changes in Social Norms

Meredith and Stephanie discuss ways to support your child through the ever-changing social norms during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a focus on front-loading situations, looking for clues in new situations, and problem solving when new changes occur.

Episode #14: Dynamic Testing for Social Communication Disorders Using the CAPs with Dr. Adriana Lavi

We speak with Dr. Adriana Lavi about her new video-based pragmatic language assessment, the Clinical Assessment of Pragmatics (CAPs). She discusses her clinical background, what led her to develop the assessment tool, and why this assessment can be more accurate in detecting pragmatic language disorders. This interview can help parents and educators understand why their child may have scored well on other language assessments, yet they struggle with reading these ever-important social cues in real situations.


Episode #13: Bilingualism and Language Development with Jacquilyn Carcamo

Raising a child in a bilingual household? Hear from bilingual speech-language pathologist, Jacquilyn Carcamo, as she discusses language development and the many common misconceptions held by families, educators and even therapists in supporting children learning to speak more than one language. She provides guidance in determining whether a bilingual child is struggling with a language disorder or if their difficulties are due to learning a second language. In addition to her clinical expertise, Jacqui touches on her personal experience growing up in a bilingual family.

Episode #12: Childhood Apraxia of Speech with Jennie Bjorem

Being told that your child has childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) can be shocking and confusing. Since this speech/sound disorder is so rare—occurring in 1-2 children per 1,000—many doctors, educators, professionals and even speech-language pathologists have minimal understanding of it. In this episode, we speak with speech-language pathologist and childhood apraxia of speech expert, Jennie Bjorem about the characteristics, diagnosis and treatment of apraxia. She also provides tips on where parents can find a speech pathologist with CAS experience and other reliable resources.

Episode #11: Speech Sound Disorders with Jessica Carter

This episode, we discuss speech sound disorders with speech-language pathologist, Jessica Carter. Jessica defines what phonological processing disorders and articulation disorders are and explains how they differ from childhood apraxia of speech. We then discuss common warning signs that parents and educators can look for, as well as therapy recommendations for each diagnosis. She also lets us know what parents can expect when they go in for an assessment.

Episode #10: At-Home Sensory Play

Pediatric Occupational Therapist, Sibi Samuel joins us this episode to discuss sensory-based activities and their power to help regulate emotions. Additionally, she provides simple methods for incorporating these activities at home.

Episode #9: Making Everyday Activities Language-Rich

With so many of us home doing what seems like more cooking and cleaning than ever before, we’re looking at how to turn these everyday activities into language-rich activities for our children. Additionally, we discuss ways to build early academic skills into our everyday lives.

Episode #8: Keeping Children Active with Loose Parts Play

Jill Wood, MLIS, explains what loose parts play is, how to implement it in your home, and the importance of play in a child’s day. 

Episode #7: Supporting Children's Social-Emotional Health with Lily Yoder

We speak with Lily Yoder, a Licensed Professional Counselor and Registered Play Therapist about how to talk to children about COVID-19, as well as how parents can support their children's mental and social-emotional health through this time.

Episode #6: Engaging Children in Learning at Home

The second of our 2-part series on coronavirus resources, we look at ways to encourage and continue learning at home during a school closure or extended break.

Episode #5: Keeping Your Family Healthy and Safe

In response to the recent concerns around the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19, we speak with Dr. Rob Crowe about how it differs from other viruses, and ways to keep your family healthy and safe.

Episode #4: Stuttering and Other Fluency Disorders with Dr. Kia Johnson

Dr. Kia Johnson discusses childhood fluency disorders, including stuttering and cluttering. Dr. Johnson explains the differences between typical disfluencies and stuttering behaviors, provides examples of stuttering behaviors, and indications that a child may be stuttering. She also talks about the importance of receiving an evaluation and therapy from a speech-language pathologist with a high level of familiarity with fluency disorders.

Episode #3: Explaining Learning Disabilities with Libby Hall

Veteran educator, Libby Hall, discusses the basics of learning disabilities, helping us to understand what a learning disability is. She lists the different types of LD diagnoses and provides common warning signs that parents and educators can look for. Additionally, she gives advice on what parents can do if they have concerns and offers at-home activities to promote early learning.

Episode #2: Benefits of Raising Assistance Dogs in the Classroom with Heather Hillary

Heather Hillery, a speech-language pathologist and elementary educator at The Parish School, discusses how she integrates canine assistance and companion dogs into her special education classroom. 


Episode #1: Autism Spectrum Disorder 101 with Dr. Cathy Guttentag

While the prevalence of autism has increased over the past decade, it’s still a confusing, overwhelming and unfamiliar diagnosis for many families. In this episode, we speak with Cathy Guttentag, PhD, to learn what ASD is, common misconceptions, and the red flags for identification. Additionally, Cathy shares resources for parents, including where to obtain an evaluation, what to expect during the evaluation process, and which services/therapies are often recommended for children on the autism spectrum. 


Episode #17: Navigating the Holidays

In this episode, our hosts Meredith and Stephanie discuss a number of tried and tested tips to help parents prepare for the challenges the holiday season may bring. While these tips were provided with children who have language and social challenges in mind, they are still excellent for trying with all children.

Episode #16: High-Risk Behavior in Children and Teens with Dr. Crystal Collier

Crystal Collier, PhD, LPC-S discusses risky behaviors in children and teenagers. She gives concrete, practical tips on how to talk with children about these difficult topics in a simple and easily understood manner, and explains how bringing up these subjects up at an early age can reduce the chance of engaging in these high-risk behaviors down the line.

Episode #15: Jordan Shapiro Revisits Children and The Digital Sandbox (Live)

Jordan Shaprio, PhD, gives his presentation: “The Digital Sandbox: What Grown-Ups Need to Know About the New Childhood,” and opens it up to questions from the audience. 

Episode #14: Wait and See? The Importance of Early Intervention with Anne Powers

Anne Powers, a speech-language pathologist and Director of Early Childhood at The Parish School discusses the importance of early intervention, touching on the importance of receiving services early, what age range is considered early intervention, and how parents can get an evaluation and find services.

Episode #13: A Parent's Perspective with Justin Keller

Justin Keller joins us to discuss how having a child with developmental delays shifted his perspective – both as a parent and on his life in general.

Episode #12: Navigating the Digital Age of Childhood with Jordan Shapiro

Jordan Shapiro, PhD, an educational pioneer, college professor and father of two chats with us about his unique perspective on navigating the new digital world of childhood.

Episode #11: More than Mozart: Music Therapy with Karina Hall

Karina Hall, Board-Certified Music Therapist at The Parish School, explains what music therapy is, who could benefit from it and ways music therapy can be used to support children in reaching their fine motor, social-emotional and communication goals.

Episode #10: The Parish Way

The Parish School’s director of arts and sciences, Terri Garth discusses the history of The Parish School, provides background on the school’s founder and delves into the educational philosophy, therapeutic approach, and underlining beliefs that make up “The Parish Way.”

Episode #9: Back-to-School Tips for Children

Hosts Stephanie and Meredith discuss tips to help families make the transition from summer to school smooth and positive for the whole family.

Episode #8: Talking to Your Pediatrician 101 with Dr. Marshall Lerman

Pediatrician Dr. Marshall Lerman, MD discusses tips for finding a pediatrician that fits your family and bringing up concerns with your doctor, while empowering you to become a strong advocate for your children. 

Episode #7: Basics of Mental Health in Children with Lily Yoder

Lily Yoder, Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Registered Play Therapist (RPT), joins us to discuss the basics of mental health in young children and the overlap between communication disorders, learning differences and mental health disorders.

Episode #6: Nuggets & Fries: Discussing Picky Eating with Jennifer Woody

Occupational Therapist, Jennifer Woody, discusses picky eating and provides some much needed clarification on what is "typical" for young children.

Episode #5: Understanding Childhood Apraxia of Speech, with expert Nancy Kaufman

Childhood Apraxia of Speech expert Nancy Kaufman explains the unique disorder while discussing her treatment approach and steps parents can take toward diagnosis and treatment.

Episode #4: Beyond Academics: Social-Emotional Learning with Renee Attaway

Nationally-recognized speaker on Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking® methodology and founder of the Social Learning program at The Parish School, Renee Attaway, discusses social-emotional learning, and its far-reaching impact on a child’s development.

Episode #3: How Adventure Playgrounds Shape Development, with playworkers Ali Wood and Jill Wood

Playworkers Ali Wood and Jill Wood talk about adventure playgrounds and the importance of free-play and risk-taking in a child’s development.

Episode #2: Project/Inquiry-Based Learning, with educator Jessica Brock

Elementary educator Jessica Brock explains project/inquiry-based learning and discusses how it is an engaging and effective teaching method for children who learn differently.

Episode #1: How Creativity Can Empower Children Who Learn Differently, with Dr. Ron Beghetto

Professor, author and creativity expert Dr. Ron Beghetto shares his advice on how parents and educators can help children utilize their strengths and develop confidence by allowing space for creativity within structured learning experiences.

Unbabbled: The Official Trailer


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