Do you ever wonder what happens inside your mouth when you speak or swallow? While we all take for granted that we have the ability to speak (and swallow) A LOT of work happens behind the curtain. Our mouth (aka oral cavity) is where the sounds we hear are fine tuned using numerous muscles and other anatomy of the oral and nasal cavities. For kiddos sometimes these muscles and articulators simply do not want to cooperate which is usually why adults are unable to understand them or why they have difficulty efficiently chewing and swallowing their food. Speech-language pathologists evaluate the functioning of the mechanisms needed to produce intelligible (clear) speech sounds and ensure safe chewing/swallowing. They also are highly trained to provide treatment when these mechanisms are not efficient. Check out this video to see what our mouth looks like while we speak, sing, playing instruments, and swallow!
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is combined array (a.k.a. spectrum) of disorders which were formally diagnosed separately as Autism, Asperger's Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder, not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS).
People with ASD may have difficulty in the areas of social skills, communication, self-care, sensory integration, fine/gross motor skills, and behavior. These difficulties can range from mild to severe A person on the spectrum might be non-verbal and unresponsive to their name or speak eloquently and possess an extensive vocabulary and early literacy. Knowing the signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is the first step to early identification.
Some of the most noticeable symptoms of ASD, according to the CDC are:
Narrative language skills are vital to a person’s ability to not only have successful social relationships but also impact academic work (e.g., written language). Narrative skills are the ability to use language to tell a story. These skills begin to develop at the young age of 2 years! As a child’s narrative language skills develop they will begin to follow rules of storytelling (e.g., sequencing events, including characters, having an event/dialogue/solution, and an ending). Narratives may be fiction or non-fiction.
What should your child be doing? Check out this chart of narrative development.
The term “stutter” is terribly outdated and oftentimes negatively viewed, rather I like the term “disfluent speech.” It is important to remember that we all have moments of disfluent speech, that doesn’t necessarily mean we all need speech-language therapy to address it. The line that we draw to determine if therapy is recommended is the impact the disfluent moment have on one’s life, the severity/ frequency/duration of disfluent moments, and the accompanying tension with the disfluent moments.
Some of the most common types of disfluent speech include:
Pragmatic language; also known as social skills, is the ability to understand and adequately maneuver daily interactions with other people. This includes what we say (and don’t say), how we say it, and body language that accompanies our words.
Here are some examples of pragmatic language skills:
Sometimes people with pragmatic language impairments gravitate towards very young children or only adults. Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder typically have difficulty with pragmatic language skills; however, it is important to remember a person may have pragmatic language difficulties and not be on the Autism Spectrum.
If you want to learn more about pragmatic language skills or suspect your child has difficulty with pragmatic language talk to your pediatrician or contact us to see if we can help!
Sometimes I get the questions “why isn’t she talking yet” or “will he ever talk?” In these moments it’s important to explain the communication pyramid. The skills at the bottom of the pyramid (purple and blue) must be acquired before the skills at the top can be. This is why we have to address play skills and receptive language before we can expect them to use sentences or master a conversation.
Meet the newest addition to my therapy room… WATER BEADS! They are squishy, bouncy, and great for playful learning. There are so many ways to use water beads in order to develop speech and language. I created a sensory bin with my water beads and I wanted to share my ideas with you!
1. Place your child’s favorite toys in the sensory bin to target requesting, spatial concepts, following directions, identifying, answering questions, and labeling. “Can you find the cow? Where does a cow live? What does a cow say? Can you put the cow at the bottom?”
2. It is so easy to target articulation goals with a sensory bin. Place laminated flashcards inside and have children say the word using their “good sounds” when they find it. This is much more fun than sitting at a table and doing boring homework. :-)
3. Let your child explore! Teach verbs (digging, pouring, mixing), adjectives (slimy, bouncy, squishy, wet), colors, and sizes. Use kitchen utensils for pretend play. Get creative and have fun!
I purchased a package of water beads on Amazon, a container from Dollar Tree, and used flashcards and toys we have around the clinic. This is an inexpensive project that can make targeting speech and language goals more fun and engaging. I hope you enjoy the water beads as much as I do!
Meagan Milligan, B.S., SLP-A
It’s no secret to my families that I am not a fan of sippy cups. I get that they are a matter of convenience, but there are reasons why we should just skip over the sippy and head straight to open and straw cups. Let’s check out the pros and cons from a speech-language pathologist’s (and oral cavity) perspective.
Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) is a motor speech disorder. CAS is a relatively uncommon disorder (1-2 children per 1,000= 0.1-0.2%) and one of the lesser known disorders treated by Speech-Language Pathologists. There are some identified causes of CAS (e.g., stroke, trauma, chromosomal abnormalities) but we are not truly sure of all of the causes.
While playing with playdoh can give optimal time to address receptive language, expressive language, pragmatic language, sensory, fine motor, gross motor, and handwriting development not all kiddos are able to safely play with it. Sometimes kiddos eat the playdoh or they are gluten sensitivity. Well, we have the solution! Follow the recipe below for some EDIBLE GLUTEN FREE PLAYDOH!
Edible Gluten Free Playdoh Recipe
-Baby rice cereal
-Cornstarch(or gluten-free cornflour if you are in the UK or Australia)
-Unsweetened Applesauce (you can substitute water if you don't have applesauce)
-Food coloring (optional)
It's never too early to start tracking your baby's development. Although all children develop at different rates, there are development milestones widely accepted as a good benchmark for determining if your child is developing within generally accepted time frames.
Our Clinic Director, Amy Grant, has taken the most credible and accepted lists and compiled our own checklists for parents to download for ages 6 months to 5 years old.
If you are concerned about your child's development, early intervention is the key to getting them on track to developing their essential life skills for life. We offer free consultations - contact us today if you are concerned or uncertain if your child might benefit from Speech-Language or Occupational Therapy. We are here to help.
Download Therapy Center of Buda's Developmental Checklists to track your child's progress at home.
Amy Grant is a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist, Certified Autism Specialist and Clinic Director of Therapy Center of Buda.
Family Corner Blog
Learn parenting tips, access credible resources on disabilities and find out how to bring therapy techniques home with you to make parenting a little bit easier. Legal Disclaimer