Friday, July 8, 2011

Have Some Fun

The last couple of posts have been all about language and telling stories; and hopefully, also showing some fun.  So I want to spend a little bit of time talking about sounds and words - how easy they are and how easy they aren't.

I've mentioned how little ones pick up so much from mom and dad just by listening; they also pick up so much from their surroundings. Listening comes first when it comes to child and their surroundings, and answering to surroundings and those in that surrounding is what comes next.  As a child; development in so many areas are happening simultaneously.  What happens if one of those areas is compromised?  What happens if one of those areas does not develop correctly.  Easily put, well, it doesn't develop correctly - duh?  or another area of development takes over to compensate what is missing.

Okay, it happened - what can we do about it?  We continue to stimulate our children in all experiences and heighten, or increase, activities for the area that got left behind.  There are exercises, we as speech-language pathologists, do with children that help get particular sounds out that did not quite develop correctly or at all.  Those sounds interfere with the production of syllables, hence the production of words.  Let's take for example, the letter 't'  and its sound, or non-sound. 'T' is called a voiceless sound - the true production of 't' is the push of air given off the tip of the palette behind the teeth with the tongue.  Hmmm, but I'm not into explaining the physiology of it - I am into the fun part of it.  I am not into drill and kill or exercise after exercise.  Let's make it worth some fun and put it into language.  Let's go back to that letter and its sound - well. . . oh - I know!

During the ritual of brushing teeth, we are going to have some fun.  My son loved the taste of toothpaste, so I would always put just a tad on the tip of his brush and tell him I was going to put it somewhere on his teeth - he had to go and find it.  The catch??? No mirror and no fingers, he had to find it with his tongue.  So there goes the toothbrush with the toothpaste up right behind the top row of teeth on his palate.  What does his tongue do - goes right up to the the top, trying to brush off the paste.
And if you really want to have some fun - when you touch the tip of the palate with the toothbrush - you will tickle it a little by brushing off the paste.  The child giggles and the tongue immediately goes up to feel.  All the while - you are talking about the 'top' of the child's mouth 'touching' it with some 'toothpaste' with the 'toothbrush' up at the 'tippy-top' - get it off!  What fun!!  Lots of 't' words - and guess what?  They are listening to you and feeling the placement with their tongue.  Not only have you used words that begin with that letter 't' but lots of words with 't' sounds at the beginning, middle, and end of words. Whew!  Did I do that on purpose?  You bet, but what good parent doesn't sabotage some experiences with their children! 

Another couple of examples to think about with that particular sound:  cupcakes with candles you blow out by pushing that air out with the correct tongue placement; dancing on your 'tippy-toes' or playing in the 'teepee' with 'trucks' and 'trains' on the 'track's; or tsk! tsk! tsk! look at that! what do I see?
Go ahead - go have some fun!

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