WHEN SHOULD I SEEK OUT A SPEECH THERAPIST?
- Speech Delays
- Developmental Delays
- Articulation Concerns
- Difficulty during mealtimes
- Difficulty with eating and swallowing
- Bottle-feeding and breastfeeding trouble
- If you believe your child might present with a tongue or lip tie
- Therapy Guidance following a Frenulectomy or Frenectomy tongue or lip procedure
WHAT ARE SPEECH DELAYS?
Speech delays, also known as alalia, refer to a delay in the development or use of speech mechanisms by young children. Speech delays can manifest in a child’s expression of language, a child’s understanding of language, or a child’s pronunciation of language.
WHAT ARE DEVELOPMENTAL DELAYS?
A developmental delay occurs when a child has not gained the appropriate developmental skills expected of him or her, compared to other children of the same age. These delays may occur in the areas of motor function, speech and language, cognition, and social skills.
Some examples of developmental delays are:
- Autism Spectrum Disorder,
- Cerebral Palsy,
- Down Syndrome,
- Genetic Disorders,
- Intellectual Disorders.
WHAT ARE ARTICULATION DISORDERS?
Articulation disorders occur when a child experiences difficulty producing specific sounds. Many times, articulation disorders can be masked by mumbling. However, parents often realize that they are having trouble understanding what their child is saying.
WHAT ARE SOME SIGNS OF DIFFICULTIES AT MEAL TIME?
- Picky eating
- Slow Eating, Grazing throughout the day
- Pocketing food in the cheeks like a chipmunk
- Difficulty transitioning to solid foods
- Trouble gaining weight
- Choking or Gagging on Food
- Spitting out food
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY INFANT IS HAVING TROUBLE WITH FEEDING AND SWALLOWING?
- Milk dribbling when drinking from a bottle
- Painful latch when nursing
- Colicky symptoms
- Difficulty with transition to solid food
- Poor weight gain
- Lots of spit up
WHAT IS A TONGUE TIE?
Tongue ties, also called Ankyloglossia, are a condition present in up to one-third of children at birth and restrict the tongue’s range of motion. Tongue ties occur when an unusually strong band of tissue tethers the tongue to the floor of the mouth, and this can interfere with breastfeeding, eating, swallowing and speaking in children.
WHAT IS A LIP TIE?
Lip ties occur when the tissue connecting the upper lip to the gums is too tight, too thick, or both, potentially causing issues with lip mobility.
TONGUE TIE VS. LIP TIE
- Notched tongue baby, or heart shaped tongue baby
- Difficulty sticking out tongue beyond teeth
- Difficulty lifting tongue or moving it from side to side
- Tongue tie in newborns and infants often cause breastfeeding issues
- Tongue tie in toddlers often causes issues with eating, swallowing, speaking, and brushing teeth
- Can be seen in adults if tongue tie did not cause childhood issues
- Usually found in newborns and infants
- Often causes breastfeeding issues
- Common signs of lip tie:
- Newborn won’t latch
- Baby experiencing gas or colic
- Slow or low weight gain
- Baby fatigued when nursing begins
- Can trap milk, causing dental decay
HOW TO TELL IF BABY IS TONGUE OR LIP TIED
Although tongue ties and lip ties can be difficult to directly and visually identify for parents, there are many common symptoms of the conditions. Some of the primary ones are:
- Difficulty breastfeeding
- Nipple pain breastfeeding
- Damage to breast due to breastfeeding issues
- Difficulty feeding
- Trouble with speech
- Trouble with sleep
- Mouth breathing
- Acid reflux
Often, many of these symptoms can present together and make basic life functions very challenging for the child and family.
HOW CAN A SPEECH THERAPIST HELP?
At Talk About Therapy we want you to know you are not alone.
WHEN SHOULD I SEEK HELP/EVALUATION?
If you are concerned:
- If you have noticed one or more of any the behaviors discussed, contact us for a consultation or evaluation. For more detailed red flags you can look for in your infant or child, please click here.
- If you suspect a tongue or lip tie may be interfering with your child’s eating or weight gain, we can refer you to expert providers of intervention procedures such as a Frenulectomy or Frenectomy tongue procedure. Our trusted experts can provide you with the information you need to decide if this route is best for your child.
- If you suspect a tongue or lip tie could be interfering with your child’s ability to clearly communicate, we can help you decide whether or not a Frenulectomy or Frenectomy tongue procedure would be beneficial. We can also provide speech therapy for kids or speech therapy for toddlers to teach your child exercises and speaking strategies to compensate for the difference in their lip or tongue.
WHAT IS EARLY INTERVENTION AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Why early intervention and identification are crucial for your child’s progress and development:
- Whenever a child shows signs of difficulty communicating, understanding, or being understood, research recommends that the earlier a child is evaluated and receives services the better. The younger the child, the easier it is for their brain to learn and adapt to the techniques taught in therapy. To learn about communication milestones to look for in your child, click here.
- Difficulties involving swallowing and feeding could affect your child’s nutrition. We recommend seeking help as soon as you are aware of any concerns.
WHAT IS PEDIATRIC OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY?
For children and youth, occupations are activities that enable them to learn and develop life skills (school activities), be creative and/or derive enjoyment (play), and thrive (self-care and care for others). Play is the media most often used in the Occupational therapist’s treatment of children. It is a child’s “job” or “occupation” to play to develop physical coordination, emotional maturity, social skills to interact with other children, and self-confidence to try new experiences and explore new environments. Recommended interventions are based on a thorough understanding of typical development and the impact of disability, illness, and impairment on the individual child’s development, play, learning, and overall occupational performance.
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CHILD NEEDS AN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY EVALUATION?
An occupational therapy evaluation may be beneficial if your child:
- Seeks sensory input (e.g. increased need for physical play, toe-walking, difficulty understanding physical boundaries with peers or adults)
- Avoids sensory input (e.g. covers ears, avoids clothing textures, distressed when hands or body gets messy)
- Demonstrates difficulty completing two-handed tasks or difficulty manipulating small toys
- Has messy handwriting or demonstrates difficulty holding a crayon or pencil
- Demonstrates a decreased attention span, increased impulsivity, or difficulty sitting still
- Falls down often or frequently bumps into objects
- Requires increased time to complete simple tasks
- Demonstrates difficulty transitioning, inflexible thinking, or decreased frustration tolerance.
WHAT ARE ACTIVITIES OF DAILY LIFE (ADL’S)?
Activities of daily living (ADL) are tasks that we do every day. ADLs are most often actions that we take for granted, like playing with toys, brushing teeth, and dressing independently. However, many children have difficulties completing these activities. Occupational therapists determine the core problems that make the tasks difficult for the child.
- Social Participation
- School Skills
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CHILD HAS A SENSORY PROCESSING DISORDER?
Some signs of sensory processing difficulties are:
- Overly sensitive or under reactive to sight, sounds, movement, or touch.
- Can’t get “enough” sensory input: moving, bouncing, squeezing, or mouthing.
- Difficulty with behavioral and/or emotional regulation. Easily overwhelmed (may result in overexcitement, meltdowns or shutting down.)
- Has poor muscle tone, fatigues easily, leans on people, or slumps in a chair. Uses an inappropriate amount of force when handling objects, coloring, writing, or interacting with siblings or pets
- Is clumsy, falls frequently, bumps into furniture or people, and has trouble judging position of body in relation to surrounding space.
- Has difficulty learning new motor tasks; experiences frustration when attempting to follow instructions or sequence steps for an activity.
- Avoids playground activities, physical education class, and/or sports
- Difficulty learning how to play or get along with other children
- Difficulty with everyday activities like eating, sleeping, brushing teeth or getting dressed
- Problems learning to color, cut, draw or write
- Difficulty transitioning from one activity or place to another
- Challenges in school, including attention, organizational perception and listening skills.
WHEN SHOULD I INTRODUCE UTENSILS TO MY CHILD?
Children should be presented with a spoon at 9-12 months to begin exploration during mealtimes and play.
WHEN SHOULD I BEGIN POTTY TRAINING MY CHILD?
Potty training can begin as early as 18 months. However, you should watch your child’s cues (such as verbal or non-verbal communication that their diaper is wet or soiled) and ability to stay dry during the day.
WHEN SHOULD MY CHILD BE ABLE TO WRITE THEIR OWN NAME?
By the time your child enters kindergarten, he/she should begin to copy his/her own name.
We can help!
If you are experiencing or observing one or more of any of these breastfeeding issues or feeding, swallowing, or communication difficulties in your child, please visit our services page to learn more about how our licensed experts can assist your child and family.