One of the many cute things about toddlers is how they produce certain words. Many moms can share stories of adorable ways their children once pronounced a word. My own son, Jude, has a few words that my husband had me promise not to correct:
"teslex" for Tesla
"patteren" for pattern
"flipball" for football
While I won't go into all of the "speechy" explanations of these substitutions, in each example, articulation wasn't the problem, but many times it is. At stages in a child's development, it is okay/developmentally appropriate to say "twuck" instead of "truck". These age-appropriate errors can be quite charming as well. As children get older, these errors are no longer age-appropriate. What once was considered adorable, now becomes a speech movement that has not developed alongside other developmental milestones.
The important thing to note is that speech is movement. Just like other motor movements--walking, jumping, running--speech movements are learned patterns. When sounds are produced in error, children have to learn a new motor pattern. Learning a new motor pattern is much easier the earlier we can intervene.
Listed below are average ages of production of consonant sounds. We hope this is a resource to any parent questioning speech sounds.
Back to School
As summer is winding down, there are many emotions leading up to the first day of school--excitement, anxiety, anticipation, nervousness, worry. As parents, we want to prepare our children as much as possible and set them up for success. In preparation for back to school, we have a few ways to help.
I love a good list. My daughter quickly caught on to this and even one day as a toddler asked if I could make her a list. She knows that Mommy likes to organize things and that it brings me joy. Lists don't have to all look the same. For my own children, I make a variety of visual supports, including visual lists.
Why LISTS? When I heard myself giving the same verbal reminders each morning before school for my daughter Sloan the clinician in me cringed. I knew that there was a way to support both learning the sequence of the morning routine, while encouraging independence. I knew this would give us both a calmer morning leading up to school drop off, so I quickly made a visual list:
I knew that even with being a strong early reader, a visual list first thing in the morning was a smart choice to reduce the cognitive load. I did transition to a written list within the school year based on her level of reading. With the tasks in the list, I gave her some control over the order, which is what differentiates a list compared to a schedule. For every child and household, the tasks in a visual list may be a little different. A visual list can be hand-drawn, you can use google images, or use text based on your child.
How Was School Today?
When your child hops in your car or arrives home after school, often our first question is, "How was school today?". More often than not, the responses are lacking. For many children, this is an abstract question or recalling experiences that tie to this question can be hard. Breaking down this big question to more concrete prompts/questions gives children more opportunity to respond with more "complete" answers. It is important to point out that for some children, the moment that they get in the car or arrive home may not be the best time to debrief the day. A better time might be over a snack or once they have had "down" time after school. Below are some examples of questions for both preschool and elementary aged children. Choose a few questions to help facilitate conversations about school. When it comes to concrete questions specific to what kids are learning, it is much easier when paired with information from the teacher (e.g., If your child's class is working on patterns in math, ask "What objects did you use to make patterns with today?").
This is the phrase that I often use to explain how much social communication encompasses. I use the term social communication intentionally instead of social skills. I think social skills at times becomes limited to being able to say hi/bye, take turns, look at someone when directed, and maintain a topic for multiple exchanges. All of these skills are important, but social communication isn't just about a collection of learned skills. It's about not only what marker of communication is used, but in what context and for what purpose. To say it simply--it's not simple.
Social Communication Milestones with Ages
EXAMPLES OF COMMUNICATIVE INTENT
requesting an object
requesting an action
directing someone to look
initiate a conversation
maintain a conversation
secure someone's attention
direct someone's actions
terminate an action
terminate an interaction
EXAMPLES OF COMMUNICATIVE MEANS
push away gesture
When we look at the communicative intent, we can shape the means that is used (even unconventional). In that way, we are addressing the function instead of simply redirecting.
The simple answer is if you are concerned or have questions about your child’s language, contact a speech pathologist. We are experts in this area and are more than happy to help answer questions and resource you.
This article by The Hanen Centre gives good information defining what the term “late talker” refers to, as well as additional risk factors to be aware of.
At Holland, we are also able to do a language screening to determine if your child is on track or may need a full speech and language evaluation to provide further diagnostic information.
-I am married to my best friend who I've known since we were 9 years old. We are the lucky parents of two tenacious kids, Jude and Sloan, who keep us laughing and on our toes.
-If I wasn't afraid of heights, I would choose flying. Since I am, teleportation it is!
-My absolute favorite place to be is in the mountains of Colorado in the summer. The weather is magical and scenery is majestic. You can't beat the uniform of long sleeves and shorts!
-When I'm not working or brainstorming, I can balance between being a comfy homebody reading with coffee and spending intentional time with friends.
-I'm passionate about serving families who may be in a season that seems chaotic. My specialty is serving children with autism and social communication deficits.. To me, this means serving the family as a whole when needed. I love to bring understanding to children who may otherwise feel misunderstood. I have the joy of being able to see the anxiety level of parents reduce when both their children become more effective communicators and they become more equipped in understanding their child.
-My family means everything to me! I have the most supportive and loving husband and most precious dog in the entire world. I am also the youngest of 4 children who are my best friends and the 2 best parents a girl could ask for.
-If I had a super power I would choose teleportation. With my family living all over the country I would love nothing more than to be able to get to them in seconds-- and avoid the cost (and time) of air travel. :)
-I would love to be in the mountains in Colorado right this minute! We could be snow skiing, hiking, biking, or simply looking out at the mountains-- Winter or Summer there is no place I prefer to travel more!
-Outside of work, I love spending time with my husband and my dog. We spend a lot of time outdoors doing various activities, but we also love a good movie night!
-Professionally I am most passionate about watching my clients succeed. There is no greater feeling than watching my kids progress towards their goals and watch their family work alongside them to achieve those goals. I love working with children with various needs including those with hearing loss, or speech, language, and social goals. Every day I leave work with a smile on my face and I could not be more grateful!
-My husband is a fellow Red Raider and sports enthusiast who is also brilliant with numbers! We have a daughter who keeps us on our toes and we love watching her grow!
-Flying. Definitely flying.
-The beach. Actually the pool beside the beach! I like to hear the beach without messing with the sand part!
-I love being crafty, enjoying time with my family and reading.
-I am most passionate about helping families figure out how to navigate diagnoses and treatment. It can be a little scary and intimidating at first but I hope families feel supported and cared for when they are with us. When you see a child say his first words or hear a child make a sound he hasn't been able to make, it's the best feeling to know that you had a role to play in that. It's the why!
-I have been married for 10 years to my husband, Andrew. We have a 4 year old son, James who will start kindergarten in the fall. James LOVES legos and Andrew LOVES doing them with him. We live in Allen and have the sweetest 3-legged dog named Zoe.
-I would want to be able to teleport! This would save me A LOT of time which as a mother of a young child is the best gift of all!
-I would want to either be in Venice in a gondola on the Grand Canal or on a beach in Hawaii!
-I am happiest when I am with my family! We enjoy going to the park, the arboretum, the zoo, or anywhere outside!
-The area of speech pathology I am most passionate about is stuttering. I have had multiple clients who have been bullied and felt shameful about their speech. Being able to be a part of their journey of unlocking their voices is truly a gift. I have learned so much about the importance of patience and empathy from my clients who stutter. My favorite part of working with people who stutter is when they decide to no longer allow their stuttering to hold them back!
-I married my high school sweetheart, Bob, and I have 2 middle school boys and 1 high school girl. No pets, but maybe one day. My husband is allergic to just about everything, but I still believe in miracles :)
-If I could choose a superpower it would be to heal people.
-If I could be anywhere I would be laying on the beach, listening to the ocean. A beach vacation always brings me back home feeling refreshed and energized.
-I am happiest when I am with loved ones and friends, eating good food, that I didn't prepare.
-I am passionate about kids learning while having fun. Learning is fun and no matter how old you are we are all constantly learning so why not make it fun!? But let's be honest, some topics are definitely more interesting than others.
-I married my college sweetheart 39 years ago. We have two grown children who are married and we have 4 grandchildren that keep us busy.
-If I could only have one superpower it would be teleportation.
-I'd be in the mountains anytime of the year.
-I'm happiest having people at my house for dinner....family and/or friends.
-I like it when all my accounts are balanced. ;)
Jamie Cato is the founder of Holland Speech & Consulting and the mommy of two incredible kids, Sloan (5) and Jude (2), who unknowingly become the subject of many stories when it comes to the development of language, play, and emotional regulation.