Archive for October, 2011

October 24th, 2011

Stuttering Awareness Day-October 22

Better late than never!  Did you know…….

  • More than 68 million people world wide stutter
  • 4 times as many males than females stutter
  • Stuttering can be treated
  • Famous people who have had this difficulty include;  Marilyn Monroe, James Earl Jones, Carly Simon, Winston Churchill, King George VI of England.

These facts and much more information is on the website of the Stuttering Foundation of America.  They can be found at:

Stuttering is a communication disorder where sounds and words are repeated, for example;  “I wwwwent to the the store”.  Sometimes no words come out.  There may be some unusual behaviours such as facial movements associated with the effort to speak.  I recommend the movie The King’s Speech to get an idea of what it’s like to stutter, but keep in mind-not all people who stutter sound the same.

Parents are sometimes worried when their child repeats sounds or words.  Many young children between the ages of 3 and 5 will display this behaviour for a period of time but the majority recover by late childhood.  This is referred to as normal nonfluency.  It’s important to find out if it’s stuttering or normal nonfluency.  Early intervention is important so find a speech-language pathologist if you have any concerns about stuttering.


October 5th, 2011

Linking Language and Literacy

The development of speech and language skills is closely linked to the development of reading and writing.  Good communication  is one of the best predictors of success in school. Most children start talking at about age 1 and they start becoming interested in books even before that. The road to reading starts at a very young age.  Many 2 year olds  get excited when they see the McDonald’s logo.   They have already learned that letters have meaning.

Some parents think you have to wait until a child is 2 years or more before introducing books, but even babies can look at books with simple photos.  They learn to turn the pages and pat the pictures.  It’s a good idea to use board books, though because they also like to chew the pages!  This is an excellent website with information about the development of literacy starting with simple skills.

Books are a good way to help speech, language and literacy skills. There are many ways to help a child develop language skills while looking at a book.  Here are some of the tips I try to pass along:

  • Choose a book at the child’s level.  For example;  for a child 2  and under use a board book with simple photographs-one or two to a page.
  • Make books part of your daily routine even if it’s only for 5 minutes.
  • Don’t just read the story.  Look at the pictures and talk about them.
  • Ask some questions like “What is that?” or “What is she doing?”.  Describe the objects, people and actions.  For example;  “He looks mad”.  Wait for your child to take a turn.
  • The goal isn’t for your child to learn to read at an early age.  Flashcards for 1 year olds isn’t recommended.  As an aside I know someone who spent a lot of time with word flashcards with her toddler and I’m pretty sure she’s not a rocket scientist now that she’s in her twentiesno smarter or happier than her peers.
  • By enjoying and looking at books with your child you will set the scene for life long learning.
  • Visit the library-you don’t have to spend a lot of money on books.
  • Read to your older child too.  Don’t stop just because they can read too.
  • Don’t be snobbish about it-if your older child loves reading comics, encourage it. It’s all good practice.
  • When my teens didn’t want to go to the library, I continued to bring books home for them.
  • Most important-have fun and show that you love reading.