Saturday, March 22, 2014

Speech sounds are improving, Andy's been drinking from a cup

Over the past few weeks, we have slowly been hearing Andy babble more and more. It used to be extremely rare for me to catch Andy babbling. His choice sounds are ma-ma-ma, or ba-ba-ba. For the
last year, the only babbling we would hear Andy doing was usually in the bath tub. Andy's speech therapist told me that being immersed in water is very stimulating for kids, and this is why we see the vocalization kick up when they are in the tub.

Still it was rare, I would even try to catch him on video babbling and couldn't get it. By the time I put my phone on the video setting and hit record, he would already be done babbling. Recently, I've decided for the tenth time to revisit trying to have Andy drink from an open cup. I filled a dixie cup to the top with water and put it to his lips. He actually cupped his lips this time and got a sip.

We celebrated and told him what a big boy he is. This motivated him to want another turn. Lately, every day, I've been trying to offer him a cup to drink from at least once a day. Andy's current preference for drinking is a cup with a straw in it. He will not lift the cup. I offer him drinks when I think he's thirsty, or if he eye gazes at the cup. Sometimes he will overreach for the straw cup and knock it over, and I take this for him wanting a sip.

According to a feeding (oral-motor) therapy presentation I read by Renee Roy Hill,SLP, it is important to offer kids different methods of drinking liquids. Different facial muscles are used for drinking from a straw, and drinking from a cup. The muscles of the tongue have to be used differently as well with different drinking methods, and this is important in children learning to develop different speech sounds.

I even learned from this presentation that choosing the right cup can be important. I noticed that Andy only likes to drink from paper cups right now. He doesn't care for the feeling of glass or plastic cups. Hill also suggests that having your child start out with drinking thicker liquids at first is better. She notes that thickened liquids are easier for patients to control, when learning a new muscle skill. You can then move to thinner liquids as their skill level increases. I noticed that the chocolate whole milk you can buy in stores is quite thick, so I am going to use that, plus maybe some smoothie mixes.

The last few weeks have been exciting for us, because Andy is now babbling at all times, and it is not just limited to the bath tub. He wakes up saying "ba-ba-ba", as if he is so excited to get all these new sounds out. He babbles more in the car, and around others. It seemed before that if you interrupted his babbling to even say,"good job talking", then he would stop doing it for the day. Somehow though, he is becoming less shy about it, and even babbling when I have him in public.

I really do feel that us offering Andy the cup to drink, has been helping with him wanting to babble more often, and his ability to babble. However, Hill notes that feeding therapy should not be the only thing used when working on speech production. She stresses that oral-motor therapy/feeding therapy should be used together with other speech therapies to continue to gain speech production from the patient. Andy continues to receive speech therapy twice a week at school, along with my feeding efforts at home. We seem to be seeing results!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your thicker liquids comment, I'll try that.