Thursday, December 11, 2014

How To Reduce or Stop Your Child from Drooling

Depending on your child’s age, drooling can be something that he or she is a temporary side effect and byproduct of teething.  If your child has already begun teething and isn’t able to stop from drooling, there are a few things you can do to help him or her exercise the oral muscles and gain control of this area.  While your child’s oral function may be underdeveloped, you can still use exercises to enhance and teach oral muscle function.
A Few Practical Tips
§  Take away the pacifier, or at least reduce the time during which your child is using it. Preferably only allow your child to use it before bed to help put him or her to sleep.  Pacifiers may have a poor effect on children’s speech and oral control.  However, you do not have to do away with pacifiers altogether; only use it when absolutely necessary to calm down an aggravated child.  When you use a pacifier, pair it with a blanket or pillow so it will be easier to wean them off of it later.
§  Stimulate your child’s oral muscles with an electric toothbrush. This is a popular technique to engage children with oral sensations.  Start slow by touching it to the child’s lips and cheeks when it is turned off.  Then move to the child’s tongue, gums and teeth. *Note: Do not do this when a child is teething, he or she will most likely not respond well to this.
§  Upgrade from the bottle to a sippy cup. Bottles have the same ill effects as a pacifier if used for too long.  Each step to a new cup further promotes different muscles used in the mouth.
§  After the sippy cup move on to using a straw. Most children who use straws often solve their drooling issue when this skill is mastered.
Activities to Strengthen the Oral Muscles
·        Allow your child to learn how to suck, chew and bite on different textures.
·        Straws and sippy cups can aid in teaching your child how to suck
·        Blow bubbles or feathers
·        Teaching him/her to use the mouth in different ways strengthens different oral muscle groups
·        Encourage playing with food by licking yogurt or applesauce from their lips or off of plates
·        Picking up cheerios with their mouth and other food play will help them shape their tongue and lips to not only keep the drool in their mouth, but articulate words as well.  
If these techniques have little or no effect on your child’s drooling problem, there may be other variables causing it.  If your child is a mouth breather, has restless sleep or chronic sinus congestion, he or she could be suffering from allergies to food or even respiratory problems.

Chicago Speech Therapy

What We Know About Young Children, TV and Medial Violence

Psychologists, educators, and other researchers have studied how TV affects young children. Here are some of the main points they emphasize:
  • Young children watch more television than any other age group.
    Between the ages of 2 and 3, most children develop a favorite television show and begin to acquire the habit of watching television. American children between the ages of 2 and 5 spend more time watching TV than any other age group! (Presumably, school and other activities cut down on viewing time for children in the 6 to 17-year-old category.) Among other things, heavy TV viewing can also mean heavy exposure to violence. Children's programming has consistently been found to have higher levels of violence than any other category of programming. And young children also frequently watch violent programming intended for adults.
  • Young children can't tell the difference between fantasy and reality.
    Your preschooler's rich imagination is a big part of his normal development, but that means it is usually hard for him to tell the difference between what's real and what's imaginary. Preschoolers cannot always understand that what they see on television is made up, especially when it looks so much like real life, so it's especially difficult for them to distinguish between television violence and real- life violence.
  • Young children are particularly susceptible to media violence.
    Because they lack the life experience to evaluate what they are watching, preschoolers are not critical viewers of the violence they see in television programs, movies, and videotapes. They simply accept the violent behavior they see as real and normal.
  • Young children learn by imitating what they see, so television can be a powerful teacher.
    Television can teach your child about violence and aggressive behavior, but perhaps in ways you have not considered before. For instance, because most 3 to 6-year-olds want to feel that they are strong and in control of their world, they often identify with TV characters who are powerful and effective. But what they see most often are superheroes and other characters who solve problems with violence, usually as a first resort, and then are rewarded for doing so. When young children watch TV or videos that present violence as successful, exciting, funny, pleasurable, and commonplace, it can be easy for them to accept the "TV way" as real and desirable.
  • Preschoolers need a variety of real experiences and real playtime in order to grow and develop.
    Your growing child needs a wide range of activities and experiences. She needs a mix of physical activity, lots of "hands-on" experience with the world, a chance to be with other children and caring adults, and quiet time by herself. And she needs lots of time to play! Imaginative play is the single most important way 3 to 6-year olds learn, grow, and work out their feelings, fears, and fantasies. The more your child watches TV, the less she develops her own ability to entertain herself, and the less time she spends on all the other important experiences she needs to grow and learn.
(Center for Media and Literacy, 2012)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Positive Parenting Tips

  • Have 1-5 rules that cover every situation (This will help in remembering.)

1. Follow directions the first time they are given.
2. Keep your hands, feet, and objects to yourself.
3. Be kind to others.
4. Make good choices.
5. Try your best.
  •       Be consistent (Follow through with rewards/consequences. When you say it, mean it.)
  •       Have boundaries (Structure/hierarchy—clear and identified expectations, roles, and ways of doing things within the family)
  •      Set consequences and/or rewards (Consequences-brief and immediate time-outs, take toy away, lose privileges... Attempt to take your emotion out of the consequence and remain calm. Rewards-praise, a treat, tickets/tokens, a trip to the park…) Have your child decide what consequence/reward they believe they should get. Have the reward/consequence be immediate. Choices have consequences and children must learn this.
  •       Defined roles (In our family... My job as a mom is to... Your job as a student/son/daughter is to…) Ex: design a sticker chart or use a white board to identify daily chores, happy/sad faces…
  •       Give position redirection (Distract your child by offering an alternative to his/her behavior)
  •       Attempt to ignore the unwanted behavior, attend to something different, and then provide attention when your child behaves appropriately
  •       Ignore the behavior (If not dangerous and minor)
  •       Be clear (Telling your child to be home before dark may be 8:00 to you and 8:30 to your child.)
  •       Provide signals (Ex: We are leaving in 3 min. You have five minutes before I expect you to be in bed. That includes going to the bathroom and brushing your teeth.) Set a timer or have child set a timer.
  •       Use “I” statements (When you’re talking while I’m talking, I have to stop what I’m doing, and it frustrates me. You can also add an emotion to it for younger children. When I’m on the phone and you’re trying to talk, it makes me sad that you aren’t being kind to mommy and her friend. –incorporate rules. Also use in the positive: I am so happy that you are following the directions. Look at my smile.) This will give your child a sense of responsibility, as well as identifying the behavior that you dislike while not to label your child as bad. Positive behavior where a child receives praise and attention is the behavior that will continue. That makes me feel…
  •       Provide reminders. (Ex: Where does your jacket go? Where do your shoes go after school?)
  •       Plan ahead and prevent negative behaviors (When your child is hungry, tired…)
  •       Give your child a choice that works for you (Ex: I want you to wear gloves because it’s cold out, and I don’t want you to get sick; do you want to wear your blue gloves or green gloves? I would like you to help with dishes, do you want to wash or dry them?) This empowers your child to make a decision. State the exact behavior you expect.
  •       Spend fun time alone with your child
  •      Talk positively to others about them in their presence
  •       Learn cognitive and developmental milestones
  •       Be a good model of behavior
  •      Take care of yourself. Give yourself praise; being a parent is challenging. You’re doing the best you can! 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Speech Sounds Development

From the time your child begins to babble the beginning of speech sounds occur. When an infant begins "talking" it's music to our ears! The most common sounds heard in early babbling are /b, m, “y”, w/. Around the age of 9 months your child should start repeating syllables like “mama” and “dada”. By 12 months, your child should produce 1-6 words. Then, by 18 months, your child should produce 15 words and uses the following consonants /t, d, n, h/. 

During the beginning years of speech, errors in speech include omissions/deletions and substitutions. At the age of 2 a child should be understood 50% of the time, 75% at the age of 3, and 100% at the age of 4. By Kindergarten no phonological processes (speech error patterns) should persist. 

There are 24 consonants in the English language. They are broken down into the BEGINNING 8, MIDDLE 8, and LATE 8. The sounds are as followed:

Beginning 8 (ages 1-3):
/m, b, “y”, n, w, d, p, h/
Middle 8 (ages 3-6 ½):
/t, k, g, “ng”, f, v, “ch”, “dg”/
Late 8 (5-7 ½):
/”sh”, s, z, r, l, “zh”, voiced and voiceless “th”/

All sounds should be mastered by the approximate age of seven, or by the first grade.

The following definition was taken from the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA). An articulation disorder is a problem with the production or making of sounds (e.g. substitutions, omissions). Not all substitutions or omissions are speech errors; they could be a result of a dialect or accent

Some common causes for speech sound disorders include: hearing loss, developmental delay, genetic disorders (e.g. Down syndrome), etc. Hearing loss could result from multiple ear infections when a child is young. There are many speech sound disorders that have no known cause. Some children spontaneously recover and with time, will produce speech sounds correcltly. Other children will need the help from a professional. The duration and frequency of services would be determined at the time of the evaluation.A

If you are concerned with your child’s speech intelligibility (percentage of time you can understand your child), consult your physician or a speech-language pathologist (SLP). A SLP would listen to your child and use informal or formal assessment meansures to record speech productions. An oral motor examination is also done to determine if the muscles of the face move correctly (e.g. muscle tone and strength, range of motion, speed and coordination).

What can we do as parents do to help? Emerge your child in games that includes sounds you are targeting. A parent can do this through stories, providing a model, getting down at their child’s eye level to watch their lips, mouth, and jaw movement. Parents can play a naming game (e.g. tell me three thngs that are red that have your speech sound). Have your child tell a joke, give a compliment, make a phone call, etc. using their good speech sounds. Always remember that 'play' is a child's 'work'!

(L. Twomey) Adapted from Shriberg’s Order of Speech-Sound Acquisition

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Touch Me, Baby!

A recent study demonstrated a correlation of touch between a caregiver and infant and their ability to learn new vocabulary. According to 'Touch Influences How Infants Learn Language',  in the July edition of the ASHA Leader, infants whose knees were touched, in occurrence with a spoken word, were able to respond to that word after 24 repetitions. Versus infants who were not touched, whom did not demonstrate any response to the word. As a mom, it's almost natural to always be touching your baby, tickling, them, playing with them while we talk to them. Encourage others whom you trust to interact with your baby the same way!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Reading Over the Summer!

Many parents know that it is good to read to their children, but many parents admit to not doing so on a daily basis, according to a new collaboration between several groups, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). It has been reported, less than 50% of parents are reading to their child every day.
Reading to a child is one of the most important things you can do for their overall development...
Books are important starting in infancy, as early as six months! Children’s early literacy development is critical along with the frequency of reading. Reading allows a child to understand more words and in return, say more words, creating vocabulary development spurts. The more a child talks, the larger his/her vocabulary is, therefore, the easier and more readily they become readers.
Additionally, reading allows a parent/caregiver to play and build relationships with his/her child. Reading creates and allows for quality time and provides comfort and contact. There is no wrong way to read. Sometimes "reading" is simply describing the pictures in a book without following the written words.
During infancy and toddlerhood, choose books with different textures (e.g. felt, board, plastic, etc.) and topics. Books should have only a few words on each page and colors should be distinct. At six months a child should begin attending to pictures. Around 12 months a child should be maintaining attention to pictures. By 15 months a child should begin identifying nouns and actions in pictures.
Reading and writing does not come naturally, therefore we need to read every day. Reading teaches language and the single best predictor of how well a child is going to do in school is how much they know before they get there.  Make it reinforcing. Call around to a few restaurants to see if they have a rewards program. Make it fun. Choose materials that the child loves. MAKE READING A ROUTINE!
Neuman, Susan. Research Shows Preventing Illiteracy Starts During Infancy.

Literacy Statistics:

§  80% of preschool and after-school programs serving low-income populations have no age-appropriate books for their children. (Neuman, Susan B., et al. Access for All: Closing the Book Gap for Children in Early Education. Newark, DE: International Reading Association, 2001, p. 3. )
§  Creating a steady stream of new, age-appropriate books has been shown to nearly triple interest in reading within months. Harris, Louis. An Assessment of the Impact of First Book’s Northeast Program. January 2003
§  An American kid drops out of high school every 26 seconds. The Forum for Youth Investment with the Ready by 21™ Partners. Getting the Most Out of Your Dropout Prevention Summit: Planning Guide. May 2008. Forum for Youth Investment and America’s Promise Alliance.
§  37 percent of children arrive at kindergarten without the skills necessary for lifetime learning. Landry, S. H. (2005). Effective Early Childhood Programs: Turning Knowledge Into Action. Houston, TX: University of Texas, Health Science Center at Houston.
§  Half of youths with a history of substance abuse have reading problems. National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities. (1998). Children with reading disability. Washington, D.C.: Robert Bock.Half of these children from low-income communities start first grade up to two years behind their peers. Brizius, J. A., & Foster S. A. (1993). Generation to Generation: Realizing the Promise of Family Literacy. High/Scope Press.
§  Children from low-income families are at greater risk for entering school unprepared. 
§  According to a national longitudinal analysis by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), economically disadvantaged children may know only one or two letters of the alphabet when entering kindergarten, while children in the middle class will know all 26. Lee, V. E. & Burkam, D. T. (2002). Inequality at the starting gate: Social background differences in achievement as children begin school. Washington, D.C.: Economic Policy Institute.
§  Across the nation just under half of children between birth and five years (47.8%) are read to every day by their parents or other family members. Russ S, Perez V, Garro
N, Klass P, Kuo AA, Gershun M, Halfon N, Zuckerman B. Reading Across the Nation: A Chartbook (2007): Reach Out and Read National Center, Boston, MA.
§  By the age of 2, children who are read to regularly display greater language comprehension, larger vocabularies, and higher cognitive skills than their peers. Raikes, H., Pan, B.A., Luze, G.J., Tamis-LeMonda, C.S.,Brooks-Gunn, J., Constantine,
J., Tarullo, L.B., Raikes, H.A., Rodriguez, E. (2006). “Mother-child bookreading in low-income families: Correlates and outcomes during the first three years of life.” Child Development, 77(4).

§  The Early Childhood Longitudinal Study found that in the spring of 2000, the children who were read to at least three times a week by a family member were almost twice as likely to score in the top 25% in reading compared to children who were read to less than 3 times a week. Denton, Kristen and Gerry West, Children’s Reading and Mathematics Achievement in Kindergarten and First Grade (PDF file), U.S. Department of Education, NCES, Washington,
DC, 2002.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Music: A Cure For All?

We've all heard how music therapy can do wonders for many populations including Autism, trauma, Alzheimer's, stuttering, pain management, etc.  How about for children with Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD)?

I remember reading, in an ancient text from graduate school (okay, that was only seven years ago, not THAT ancient), that nursery rhymes could be beneficial in auditory training due to the predictable and repetitive rhyme. However, it wasn't until last months issue of the ASHA Leader did I see an article on music therapy enhancing the performance in CAPD individuals.

In the article titled, "This Is Your Brain On Music", the interviewee, Dana Strait, discusses his success with shaping cognitive development in those with Auditory Processing Disorder. He suggests starting by learning a single-lined instrument to reduce motor complexity. For example, a guitar or the drums. He also states that age 7 is a critical age in which white mater develops, leading to implications on a good age to start playing an instrument or, "making music", as he refers to it.

Strait goes on to discuss that if the process of learning is enjoyable, the child will make greater gains. Music is one way to enjoy learning. Strait couldn't provide research on the benefit of musical electronic games including Rock Hero; but, he did say that they could be a viable first step.  What Strait could say is that there is a direct correlation between the time spent practicing music and the amount of neural/cognitive benefit.

If you or someone you know may be interested in music therapy as benefit for Central Auditory Processing Disorder, please visit