Monday, 23 July 2012

Babble, babble, babble

Yesterday, I had a phone call from a friend who has a son just a few days younger than my 9-month-old.  She's a Speech-Language Pathologist as well and she was getting worried that her baby wasn't yet babbling with consonants (eg. bababa, mamama).  The P, B, and M sounds tend to be the earliest sounds that babies say because they are relatively easy to say (baby just has to put his lips together and vocalize).  All babies develop at their own rate, but we still expect them to achieve milestones at a certain time.  Even at such a young age, identifying issues can help avoid a delay or allow access to support early to reduce the effects of a delay. 

My friend's baby was quite vocal - making lots of vowel sounds and gurgles - but he wasn't doing much movement with his lips yet.  This can be an indication of some trouble with oral motor movements to produce speech.  We discussed the possibility of oral motor issues but her son didn't have any other indicators of this - he wasn't a messy eater and he could imitate blowing raspberries and do other oral movements easily.  My friend decided that she and her family would continue to give her son good models of babbling and encourage all his verbal attempts with the hope that he would start to catch on to babbling soon in order to move on to the next stage of language development - real words!


Friday, 20 July 2012

Wogurt and Woga

I'm so used to my 3-year-old using a "w" sound instead of a "y" sound that the other day when she said "Mom can I play with your yoga mat" she took me by surprise and I asked her to repeat herself.  She said again "Mom can I play with your woga mat".  Just like that, the y sound disappeared...or did it.  Speech sound development isn't all or nothing.  It's quite normal for children to begin producing a sound right some of the time...this is a sign that they're learning how to say it.  It's also  normal for a child to use a sound correctly on some words (eg. my daughter's always said "yes" perfectly) and to make errors on other words (eg. asking me for "wogurt" instead of "yogurt"). 

When you see correct sounds popping up in your child's speech where errors used to be made, consider it a good sign that they're on the way to mastering that sound.


Tricks of the trade

A friend of mine is expecting her first baby in September.  With this in mind, I've set aside my copy of "What to expect the first year" which I received from the good people at  As a Speech-Language Pathologist, I often get questions from friends and acquaintances about stuttering, speech errors and late-talkers.  I'm happy to share my knowledge with others, answer questions and give advice...if I'm asked.

My friend, the dietitian, is also happy to share her knowledge, answer questions and give advice when asked...and boy have I asked!  Here are some of the important tidbits I've learned from her:

1. My 3-year-old daughter is very tiny and I've now got a recipe for high-fat pudding as well as loads of suggestions for increasing calorie content in the foods we feed her (without adding extra calories to our own).  We've also looked at how much she's drinking between meals and how frequently her meals and snacks are (meals should be 4 hours apart and snacks should be offered 2 hours before a meal). 

2. My 9 month old has been slow to get onto eating food (particularly meat and vegetables).  My husband and I had planned to go away for an adults-only weekend in one month.  I had hoped to wean my son directly to homo milk (he refuses formula, but will drink homo milk), but after discussing it with my friend, we decided he's not getting enough iron to be drinking solely homo milk.  I've now got loads of suggestions for increasing iron in his diet but my husband and I made a decision in our sons best interest and rescheduled our trip for a later date.

3.  Did you know that children may need to be exposed to a food up to 30 times before they'll actually eat it!!!  My friend reminded me to continue offering foods to my son even though he rejects them.  He may eventually surprise me and start eating them.

I'm so happy to have a dietitian on hand to give me suggestions and reassure me occasionally.  I'm also very excited for the arrival of her little bundle and glad that we can pass some of our baby things her way.


Tuesday, 19 June 2012

My favorite preschool game

I love watching children learn basic concepts.  This week, my daughter has been learning the concept of 'in front/behind'.  As she walks behind me down the stairs, she says "Mom, you're ahind me" and I reply "No silly goose, I'm in front of you and you're behind me!"  No doubt that by  next week she'll have this one mastered.

Starting in September my daughter's off to preschool so last week we pulled out my favorite preschool game from my stash of work activities (which are stored in my basement while I'm home on maternity leave).  My copy of Cariboo Cranium is a little worse for wear.  The key is broken so instead we must use a golf tee and the cards are bent and wrinkled, but its as much fun as ever.  This game has it all.  Brightly colored bouncy balls, treasure and the built-in opportunity to teach shapes, counting, numbers, letter identification and colors.  This has been our go-to gift for every 3-year-old birthday party we've gone to this year and my daughter is no exception.  She turns 3 in July and she'll get the modern version of this game, Cariboo Island.  Give it a try with your preschooler!


Friday, 8 June 2012

What to Expect...

I always seem to have a "What to Expect" book sitting on my bedside table as reference (whether I'm pregnant or surviving babies first year). I'm anxiously awaiting a copy of "What to Expect the Second Year" from the good people at  It'll take me awhile to read it and tell you about it, but in the meantime, check out their website, which has oodles of great information, including a section on toddler language development which was refreshingly practical and accurate! 


Thursday, 17 May 2012

The floppy baby?

I recently added a blog called "Speech Buddies" to my resources list and wanted to share this interesting article about hypotonia, which is a fancy word for low muscle tone.
Low muscle tone effects development in a variety of ways and the earlier it's identified and treated, the better the outcome.  I've definitely seen kiddos with low tone in my practice and I often suspect that muscle tone may be an issue when I see a child whose mouth is constantly open and there's lots of drool happening.  A child who appears like this doesn't necessarily have low tone, but its a reason to look into it.



Monday, 14 May 2012

Funny errors along the way!

My daughter will be 3 in July and she's very chatty!  It's been so entertaining to watch her learn language and see the funny mistakes she's made along the way.  A few days ago we were walking to the playground and she said "mom will you carry me, I'm getting a little busy", I was puzzled for a moment before I realized she was telling me she was tired.  I gave her the right word and we continued on.  Yesterday we were out walking again and this time she told my husband that she was "getting a little busy" once I explained what she meant, he told her that she was actually getting a little tired - she agreed that she was a little tired (not busy).  Most toddlers learn language so effortlessly that the mistakes are here today and gone tomorrow, it really is amazing to watch as their little brains learn.  I'm sure when I take my daughter out for a walk again this week, she'll ask me to carry her because she's tired...perhaps what I should really be thinking about is investing in a double stroller so that I'm not pushing a stroller and carrying a toddler!