Not all children pick up words at the same speed or age. Some develop vocabulary and communication faster than others. Those who are slower to pick up words may also have chewing or swallowing challenges.
Talking and eating use the same muscle groups and the tongue, lips, jaw and teeth have to be coordinated.
Speech Language Pathologists along with Occupational Therapists who are feeding specialists recommend the following “tools” and this is why: because these “tools” help in developing good muscle tone and good hygiene for all children, and help the child who is receiving speech and language therapy.
- Use a baby cup with a straw: Drinking from a straw requires muscle work. The lips must be pursed and closed around the straw and the tongue stays back behind the teeth. Appropriate cups with straws can be given to babies as young as 9 months old.
- Use chewy tubes: This allows the baby to practice chewing and biting
- Use blow toys and bubbles: This encourages lip strengthening
- Use books: Read out loud. This will help your child to form words more clearly, pause at the right places for greater communication clarity, regulate their voice volume, notice grammar, and tell a coherent story.
- Use digital Apps: Smart phones and ipad apps make great “tools” but make sure a speech-language pathologist assists you and your child navigate the apps. Don’t let your child play on them unguided. Assist your child through the learning apps together, so they can be put to good use.