I often wonder what it is that triggers parents to make the decision to bring their child to a speech pathologist. So many parents are under the impression with talking, that it is better to ‘wait and see’ if they catch up or let them develop ‘at their own pace’. I wonder if this ‘wait and see’ approach would apply if the child was not walking at 2 years of age or was not toilet trained by 4?
As speech pathologists we know that the best thing to do if you are concerned about your child’s speech or language skills is to ‘address it today and not to delay’. In fact, the timing of visiting a speech pathologist is actually crucial.
Research shows that from birth to 5 years, children learn language through back-and-forth interactions with their parents. The less a child speaks or the less intelligible they are, the less these interactions occur. Check out the full article written by the Hanen Organisation about ‘Why it is important to start early’.
However, I am as guilty as the next parent at putting my head in the sand and hoping things will just work out. So for argument’s sake, I have put together the top 3 reasons ‘for’ and ‘against’ taking your child to see a speech language pathologist.
We are halfway into our Book Week 2019 celebrations and today’s feature is BIG – featuring 3 books across 3 age groups: 0-3 years, 3-5 years and 5-8 years. Keep reading to see what we like about these books through our speech pathology lens and our top reading tip for each book! Let’s do this!
1. It’s not scribble to me by Kate Ritchie (0-3 years)
CBCA Book of the Year: Early Childhood Notable, Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year: 0-3 years Shortlisted
This book will engage little ones, whether they are artistic or not! Many parents and children alike will recognise aspects of this book in their own lives – from the parent who is frustrated at their child for drawing on the wall, to the child who is excited to draw, paint, colour all over the walls! The rhyme and rhythem of the language is highly appropriate for this age group while the pictures and words togeher allow opportunities for predictions and inferences. Each page is features a ‘child-drawn’ picture – sure to spark conversations during and long after reading and even inspire your child to draw their own unicorn or frog. You could easily share this book with older children and use language to compare and contrast how their drawing is same and/or different to the one in the book.
READING TIPS: Pause to give your child a chance to ‘predict’ what the bear has drawn e.g. “It’s only a _____” (point as you pause), or “The black is a ____”.
2. Duck! by Meg McKinlay (3-5 years)
CBCA Book of the Year: Early Childhood Notable, Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year: 3-5 years Shortlisted
Duck runs around the farm shouting “DUCK!”, trying to warn them of something falling out of the sky, only to have the other animals exasperately explain why they are nothing like a duck. As speech pathologists, we love the descriptive language (“you have funny webbed feet and I have these fine cloven hooves”) and the moral of the story – to be a good communicator, you have use specific language! Nathaniel Eckstrom’s illustrations are captivating and changes in text type (bold, size, italics, font) encourage 3-5 year olds to explore print and understand how it affects how the story is read.
READING TIP: Make comments about how different character’s perspectives about the events, helping your child’s theory of mind to develop. For example, “Duck is beginning to feel frustrated because he feels the other animals are not listening to him but Sheep can’t understand why Duck would think to call him a ‘duck’.”
3. Under the Southern Cross by Frané Lessac (5-8 years)
CBCA Eve Pownall Award: Notable,Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year: 5-8 years Shortlisted
The older sister to Frané Lessac’s “A is for Australia”, this stunningly illustrated book represents all the beautiful elements of our diverse Australian cultural, geographical and social contexts. Educating this age group of readers through a larger-font introductory sentence of the location (e.g. “In Brisbane, the Ferris wheel spins up to the stars, for a sweeping view of the city – under the Southern Cross.”) and then drawing readers in deeper with facts that are embedded into the illustrations. The descriptive language creates a sense of wonder and excitement, sure to prompt many young ones to ask further questions, express that they have seen it before or make comparisons to where they live.
READING TIP: Encourage your child to compare and contrast their own town/city to the ones described in the book. For example, “In Brisbane, we have a bridge too, called the Queen Victoria Bridge, just like how Sydney has the Sydney Harbour Bridge however, we do not have the Sydney Opera House.”
We hope you enjoyed reading about these three celebrated books and taking on a new reading tip!
Our very own book boxes provide speech pathologist-approved books and play activities designed by us to encourage strong communication skills in your child.
Our Book Week 2019 special is running now – check out the SHOP page!
If you are looking for something to entertain the kids over the Easter break, our Bear Hug book box (for 3+ year olds) will certainly take the sting out of some long days! An added bonus of our book boxes is that #winning feeling you get knowing you are doing something really positive for your child’s communication and literacy development. We at Little Birdie Books are so much more than books in a box and this blog post will give you a little peek inside one of our best book boxes yet…’Bear Hug’!
Welcome to another edition of the “What’s Up Doc?” Q & A series! In celebration of this month’s book box theme, The Doctor’s Kit, we have had the pleasure of interviewing a variety of professionals in the medical field. This week we will hear from Dr Ian Black, General Practitioner.
My house has been swallowed by a toy-nado! Like many new parents, I am again eating my words from a past life. I swore I would not spoil my children with ‘stuff’ nor let every space in my house be ravaged by a toy-nado of plastic, but I have failed miserably. It is well established that play is vital for children’s emotional, social and cognitive growth and “Toys are the tools of play”. So tonight’s blog will attempt to address the following: What are the best kind of toys to buy and how do you get the ‘biggest bang for your buck’ when it comes to toys?