Friday, 22 July 2011

Pronoun Progress

Until very recently, my daughter made the adorable error of saying "hold you" when she wanted us to hold her.  She just had not yet mastered correct pronoun use.  We both thought this was incredibly cute, but that did not stop the Speech-Language Pathologist in me from repeating "hold me?" each and every time she said it.  Just a few short weeks after noticing this error, we are now noticing that, more often than not, she now says "hold me" when she wants a cuddle.

Pronouns-errors are a common mistakes for preschool children to make - I often hear things like "him want a cookie" or "her is tall" - but most preschoolers easily learn the correct way to use pronouns.  Parents can help children along in this learning simply by being good models.  If you already know that your child makes mistakes, take the opportunity to emphasize your correct use.  For example, say things like "Look at that little boy, he's eating ice cream!", and when you hear your child make mistakes, simply repeat or clarify their statement.  For example, if you hear "him want a cookie too", clarify by saying "He wants a cookie too?".  Enough of these quick and easy models and your typically developing child should learn to use their pronouns correctly without much trouble at all.


Wednesday, 13 July 2011

The dreaded lisp!

The lisp is one problem that Speech-Language Pathologists have trouble agreeing on and the following is my take on lisps: 

I would be very surprised if you haven't noticed that your toddler used to, or currently does stick his tongue out of his mouth when saying the S sound.  My daughter certainly does!  Infants have a different swallow pattern than the rest of us do.  To accomodate the different feeding style (suck and swallow) an infants tongue pushes forward when he swallows, instead of moving back.  Thoughts are that a lisp in the toddler years is a remnant of the forward tongue motion of a baby's swallow.  Most toddler's grow out of a lisp without any trouble; however, there is the odd child who has a hard time getting rid of this pattern.  I go by the rule of thumb that if a child hasn't started to say a nice S sound by age 4 or 4 1/2, they're headed towards a very difficult habit to break.  I tend to offer therapy around age 4 with the hopes that a child won't enter school still talking with that pesky lisp. 

Where does the controversy come in?  On one  hand some therapists feel that a lisp at any age is not typical and will offer therapy at a younger age than I typically do, on the other hand, some therapists work with too many children to bother treating a sound that doesn't look right, but doesn't affect how clearly a child speaks. 

As children get older and more aware, lisping can affect self-esteem because of teasing and the social stigma associated with having a lisp.  For this reason, I hope that all children who want help have the opportunity to get help.