A word on speech. “She’ll grow out of it…won’t she?”

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.

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What’s Up Doc? Talk with a G.P.

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.

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HELP! I think I’m a helicopter parent!

A little birdie once used the term ‘helicopter mum’ to describe a parenting style and the term stuck with me.  It was a term that picked away at my deepest insecurities; this was not how I wanted to be nor be described by others. 

Helicopter parent (n):  A primary caregiver who hovers (both literally and figuratively) over their offspring to the detriment of the child’s learning and independence.

  The term ‘helicopter parent’ has strong negative connotations with many associated terms springing to mind:  anxiousness, kids wrapped in cotton wool, control freaks, learnt helplessness, worry warts, and the list goes on.  It seems that the general consensus is that ‘helicopter parenting’ is not the way we should parent but the jury is out on the right way.

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Help! My child sounds like ‘Tweety’…

Remember the much loved Looney Tunes character, Tweety? “I twat I taw a puddy tat!”  was his or her catch phrase and was full of speech errors (a recurring theme in many Looney Tunes characters). A little birdie once asked me…. “When does it stop being all b’s and d’s?”  She was referring to her then two and half year old son’s speech and his speech pattern reminded me of Tweety.  So is this normal?

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Little Sponges

This morning my two year old daughter demanded “Beet-bic (Weet-bix)! Beet-bic here!” as she tapped on her highchair tray.  Before I could respond with my usual line “Be patient please.  Your Weetbix is coming.”  She yelled “Patient…patient!” nodding furiously in the hope this new word would make her Weetbix come faster.  Shocked at such sophisticated language use (and quietly beaming with pride), I placed the Weetbix in front of my little genius.  Well OK, genius?  Slight exaggeration but she is certainly a little sponge soaking up every word she hears!

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Tripping in the car with kids?

‘I spy with my little eye’ another parent resorting to screen time to avoid the overplayed car games or backseat arguments between siblings on long car trips.  Guilty! As a child, I remember playing “punch buggy” which involved hitting your sibling when you spotted a VW, this was before devices of course. This generations’ version of ‘punch buggy’ is known as ‘Spotto’ and involves counting yellow cars (with no punching involved).   While many car games like ‘Spotto’, ‘Punch buggy’ or ‘I spy’ are observation games, these car trips are also an opportune time for your children to practice their vocabulary and word finding skills.  So when you have the energy these holidays, here are three easy and fun word games to play with your little people in the car that will build their vocabulary skills (plus you can rest assured that you will be setting your child up for literacy and life!)
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