Helping Children with Speech by Guest Grandma, Grandma Lori

Hi! My name is Grandma Lori. I have been a grandma for 11 months and I love it; it’s the best job ever! Luckily, my paying job makes it possible to be home as Grandma all day every Friday. I look forward to Friday’s with my grandson, Mason. During the rest of the week, I work at a local elementary school as a Speech Language Pathologist.

I have worked for over 26 years helping and teaching children with their speech. I love applying my background and knowledge as a speech pathologist to grandparenting. I love reading books with Mason. I have taught many parents over the years how to “read” with their children. You can read to your grandchild from the very beginning. When “reading” to your infant do not read word for word. Instead, talk about the book, make the sounds of animals or cars in the story, be energetic and use funny voices, and help the child point to the pictures as you talk about them. As your grandchild gets older I recommend you follow their lead. If they are talking about something in the book discuss it with them, talk about the pictures. This is an appropriate language development activity.

In addition to reading with Mason, I started teaching him to drink from a cup at six months old. At nine and ten months he was doing really well. My daughter-in-law teaches at a special needs preschool and is totally on board with teaching Mason to drink from an “open cup.” I have found that infants who use a sippy cup may have issues with their speech from the suck and pushing of their tongue creating an interdental lisp. This can be a hard habit to break. From a professional standpoint, I suggest being done with bottles at 12 months and pacifiers at 18 months and avoiding the sippy cup all together.

Here are a few things to watch for as your grandchildren are learning to speak:

  • Correct Development Level
  • Uncoordinated Suck, Swallow, Breath when nursing
  • The tone in their tongue; low tone such as letting the tongue hang out with mouth breathing may be a concern as the child gets older.
  • A high tolerance for pain and difficulties with processing sensory input
  • Eye-gaze
  • Meeting milestones
    • One year – trying to say words
    • 18 months – 50 words
    • Two years – putting words together

If you are concerned about your grandchild’s development this may be a difficult conversation with your own child, their parent. However, if it’s possible to share your concerns I highly recommend it. You may want to suggest having them visit with their family pediatrician or your local health department. Early intervention can make a huge difference!

Kids Who Count

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