Get Your Baby to Start Cruising

Cruising is an important gross motor milestone that occurs when a baby steps sideways Blog-Baby-Cruising-Main-Landscapewhile holding on to a safe and stable piece of furniture. Cruising facilitates core, hip and leg muscle development, standing balance, and is a crucial stepping stone (no pun intended!) to independent standing and walking.

This is a milestone that is typically reached around 10 months of age. Before your baby can cruise, he or she needs to be able to stand, accepting weight evenly through both legs, with 1 or 2 hands supported at a safe and stable piece of furniture, such as a couch or ottoman. Many babies are excited once they can start standing on their own at a piece of large furniture, although they often do not know how to move around.

Here are a few useful tips to help your baby learn how to cruise:

  1. Place toys a few steps away in either direction. If your child has the toy she is interested in playing with right in front of her while she is standing at the couch, there will be little motivation to move. However, if you place the toy just a few steps away, your baby will be highly motivated to try and get to the toy. Make sure you don’t place the toy too far away though, as that might encourage your child to crawl to the toy instead, or your child may lose motivation due to feeling that the toy is completely out of reach.
  1. Show your baby how to cruise. Since the cruising motion is most likely different from any other movements your child has performed, he may not know that he can step sideways or how to activate the muscles required to do so. When your baby has both hands supported on the stable piece of furniture, slowly and gently elevate the lead leg off the ground, move it a small distance to the side, and then bring the other leg to meet it.
  1. Practice! Learning new gross motor skills takes lots and lots of practice. Babies learn through trial and error, so the more that they work on a new skill the better at it they will become. Give your child frequent, supervised opportunities to practice cruising.

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview, Lake Bluff and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

Meet-With-A-Physical-Therapist

Should I Be Concerned With My Child’s Speech?

As a parent, everyone wants the best for their child. They want their child to grow and Blog-Speech-Concerns-Main-Landscapedevelop appropriately, and flourish socially and academically. One component to success is your child’s ability to effectively communicate their wants, needs, and ideas. Which begs the question, when should you be concerned with your child’s speech and language development? In a world where no child is the same, one thing is for certain: early intervention is better than late intervention, and late intervention is better than no intervention at all. Look for these red flags early in development.

  • Difficulty following directions
  • Difficulty answering questions
  • Difficulty understanding gestures and nonverbal cues
  • Difficulty engaging in conversation
  • Difficulty identifying age-appropriate vocabulary and concepts
  • Frustration when communicating

Expressive Language

More specifically, children should be babbling between 6 and 8 months, with their first words produced around the age of 12 months. By 18 months, your child should possess an expressive vocabulary (spoken words) of approximately 50 words. Two-word combinations are expected around 24 months, with an expressive vocabulary growing to about 300 words. By the time your child is 36 months old, expect 3-5 word combinations (or more!), with most adult language structures mastered around 60 months (5 years).

Receptive Language

Children should follow basic commands around 12 months (“Come here”), and use gestures to communicate along with a few real words. They should be demonstrating comprehension of common objects and animals, by following commands involving those items or identifying them in books (puppy, cup, shoes, etc.) around 18 months of age. Look for your child to answer questions, ask questions, and talk about their day around the age of 3 years.

Articulation

It is typical for a young child (1-2 years) to have some sound errors in their speech. However, by the age of 3, a child’s speech should be at least 75% intelligible to an unfamiliar listener, and more intelligible to familiar listeners. By age 3, a child should have the following sounds mastered: /b, d, h, m, n, p, f, g, k, t, w/. All speech sounds should be mastered by age 8.

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview, Lake Bluff and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

Meet-With-A-Speech-Pathologist

My Child Vomits When I Encourage New Foods

If this describes your child, then it’s important to contact your pediatricianBlogNewFoods-Main-Landscape to rule out any food allergies, swallowing dysfunction, or other medical conditions, as these can lead to gagging or vomiting and need to be addressed. If you know that your child is not experiencing any of these challenges, then it’s likely your child struggles with oral hypersensitivity affecting his ability to tolerate different textures and temperatures of foods. Oral sensory aversion can negatively impact a child’s diet. There are many signs of oral hypersensitivity, but one sign that is concerning for many parents is vomiting or gagging with new foods. This often occurs when a child’s sensory system is overloaded, and as a result, his body perceives the new food as noxious.

When your child is a problem feeder due to hypersensitivity, mealtime often causes stress and discomfort for both the parent and child.

Here are 5 tips to reduce stress and help your problem feeder to conquer sensory aversion with new foods.

  1. Set aside a specific time each day to work on introducing new foods.

Mealtime is stressful as it is, adding new foods in the mix when you have a problem feeder on your hands can not only escalate your frustration, but can overwhelm your child’s sensory system. Setting aside a separate time to work on feeding with your child will help to reduce the demand, establish a calm and safe environment, and provide the structure of a daily routine that will help support your child in being successful.

  1. Warm-up, provide regulating oral and tactile input prior to beginning.

Your child’s sensory system needs to be in an optimal state of functioning for him to be able to accept novel foods. Providing regulating input prior to beginning feeding time can help to reduce sensitivity and also warm his system up to prepare him. Some regulating oral activities include blowing through a straw or biting on a washcloth. Consider tactile activities as well, such as finger painting, playing with dry rice or beans, or playing with putty or clay.

  1. Set the stage—Reduce additional sensory stimuli to avoid over-stimulation.

Prepare your child’s environment in order to support his success. This includes turning off the television and the tablet and reducing other visual and auditory distractions. Introducing new foods provides a lot of sensory input. By reducing additional stimuli in the room, a parent can prevent over-stimulation and help a child to more successfully interact with the foods presented.

  1. It’s ok to play with your food!

When working with a problem feeder with oral hypersensitivity, it’s very important to allow a child to feel safe playing with his food. This means that he will need to learn to interact with new foods, whether this includes eating the food or not. Start slow, with tolerating the food on the plate, working up to touching the food, and eventually bringing the food to his mouth. Children often require several exposures to a new food before they will feel comfortable trying it.

  1. Praise and encouragement for all improvements, no matter how small.

Remember that the new food that is causing your child discomfort or distress is noxious to his sensory system. Trying and interacting with new foods is hard work, and any progress made deserves praise. Remain positive and provide positive reinforcement for each new interaction your child has with a food.

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview, Lake Bluff and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

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Zika Guidelines | What You Need To Know During The Outbreak

This Guest Blog Post was written by Dr. Kudus Akinde, MD FAAP of Glencoe Pediatrics.

Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a public health emergency (AAP News). There is strong suspicion that recent clusters of fetal microcephaly are occurring in babies of infected mothers in areas where Zika virus transmission appears to be common. The CDC & the AAP have become involved in issuing recommendations to health care providers and to the general public in the matter.

Zika is a mosquito-borne flavivirus with RNA as its genetic material. It is transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquitos. An estimated 80% of all people infected have no symptoms according to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) from Jan 22, 2016. The report goes on to explain that symptoms are usually mild with usually a few days of fever, rash, joint aching and pink eyes without mucus or pus buildup. No antiviral medicines exist to treat Zika virus. Treatment is supportive (acetaminophen, rest, oral fluids); avoid aspirin or ibuprofen in pregnant women.

So what’s the big deal about the Zika Virus? Infections happen all over the world. Right?

Well, it turns out that there are areas in the Caribbean, North and South America where children are being born with microcephaly (heads. therefore brains, that are abnormally small for their gestational age) or intracranial calcifications. This is a problem because these findings can be associated with a whole host of neurologic and developmental delays that can be lifelong in duration.

Since the outbreak is currently ongoing, it is difficult to make associations and good reliable information about infection during pregnancy is unavailable. As a matter of fact, pregnant women aren’t known to be more susceptible to infection with Zika virus than anybody else. It seems to infect people of all ages across the board. However, it can infect pregnant women in any trimester and if they are infected, the virus can be transmitted to the developing fetus in any trimester as well.

How To Prevent The Zika Virus?

All pregnant women should be screened for travel. If they haven’t traveled, they should strongly consider postponing travel to all endemic areas. If they do travel, they should practice strict mosquito avoidance. This includes:

  • Long-sleeved shirts and pants are preferred to the shorter varieties
  • EPA-approved insect repellants
  • Permethrin-infused clothing and other equipment
  • Using screens and air conditioning as much as possible

Pregnant women who have travelled to areas of ongoing Zika, dengue and chukungunya (similar flaviviruses with similar symptoms and also transmitted by Aedes mosquitos) infection should be tested according to CDC guidelines if they have symptoms consistent with Zika (fever, rash, pink eyes within 2 weeks of travel OR fetal microcephaly or intracranial calcifications after travel). Women wtihout symptoms and with normal fetal ultrasounds do not need to be tested according to current recommendations. If lab testing confirms Zika by Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR), then prenatal ultrasounds to diagnose and monitor problems are recommended as well as Meternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM) specialist (high-risk obstetrics) or an Infectious Diseases specialist with expertise in the care of pregnant women. An antibody test also exists but the decision for which test to order should be made with/by the treating provider.

What Testing Can Be Done For The Zika Virus?

RT-PCR can be done on amniotic fluid but there are limitations to the testing. Amniocentesis carries higher risk of complications early in pregnancy (at 14 weeks or less) so it should be done at a minimum 15 weeks gestation. For babies born with evidence of Zika, testing should be done on available tissues (umbilical cord and placenta). In cases of fetal loss, RT-PCR should be done on fetal tissues as well (cord and placenta). There are no commercial tests available for Zika virus infection. The CDC and state public health agencies are the ones who can help with testing. ​

A Summary of the Zika Virus:

  • Zika virus infection is suspected of an association with clusters of fetal microcephaly and intracranial calcifications in many countries in North and South America as well as the Caribbean Islands.
  • Most infected people don’t even know they’re infected (up to 80%).​​
  • Pregnant women are being cautioned not to travel to areas Zika virus transmission. Pregnant women should be asked about travel at their pre-natal visits. If they have traveled and felt no symptoms of illness, they do not need testing.
  • Testing should be done for Zika virus (also dengue and chukungunya) on symptomatic pregnant women who have travelled to endemic areas.
  • ​​If testing is positive for Zika, serial ultrasounds and very specialized care with MFM or Infectious Diseases specialist with focus on pregnancy should be obtained.
  • If a baby is born with evidence of Zika virus infection, testing of the umbilical cord and placenta by RT-PCR should be done.
  • ​​If fetal loss occurs in a symptomatic mother with known travel to an endemic area, RT-PCR should be done.

*Special thanks to the CDC, WHO, and AAP for their leadership in this emerging matter.

 


Dr. AkindeDr ​Kudus Akinde, MD FAAP is the practicing physician at Glencoe Pediatrics in beautiful Glencoe, IL. Glencoe Pediatrics provides services including: sick or urgent visits, minor scrapes & bumps, annual check-ups, school physicals, camp physicals, sports physicals, pre-surgical physicals and more.  Dr. Akinde graduated from University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1995. He attended the University of Illinois College of Medicine and obtained his MD in 2002. He completed his Pediatrics Residency at Rush University Medical Center in 2005.  He has practiced in various locales from small to large communities, urban, suburban and rural (including Rockford, Belvidere, Evergreen Park, Oak Lawn, Highland Park & Chicago, IL).  He has never met a kid he does not like.  His interests include newborn care, immunizations, nutrition, gastroenterology and adolescent issues.  He loves to spend time with his children when he is not at work.  He enjoys web browsing, bike riding, football, basketball, music and traveling among other things.

Feeding Development: The First Year

Feeding your baby the first year is a big task. Below is a guide to what your baby can eat during this important first year.

*Please note, this is just a guide. Consult your physician for specific feeding instructions for your baby.

Feeding Guide-The First Year:

At 0-6 months, your baby can eat the following foods:

  • Breast/Bottle (0-13 months)
  • Thin Baby Food Cereal (5 months)
  • When first trying baby food your child may spit the food out… THIS IS OK. Children must learn how to safely get food out before learning to eat.
  • Eating comes FIRST, then comes manners. Exploring and getting messy with food is part of the process of learning to eat.
  • Thin Baby Food Puree/Stage 1 Baby Food (6 months)

Read our infant feeding series: Starting Solids.

At 7-9 months, your baby can eat the following foods:

  • Thicker Baby Food Cereals AND Thicker Baby Food Smooth Purees/Stage 2 Baby Food (7 months)Feeding Development: The First Year
  • Soft Mashable Table Foods AND Table Food Smooth Purees (8 months)
  • Hard Munchables (8 months)
  • These are hard textured foods for exploring only- NOT CONSUMPTION.
    • Examples: carrot stick, lollipop, hard dried fruit sticks, celery sticks, bell pepper strips,
  • Once a child can move her tongue around the munchable, she can transition to textured table food.
  • Some children will stick objects in their mouths and will not need hard munchables.
  • Hard munchables will help your child practice moving hard solid foods in her mouth, learn awareness of the mouth and become more familiar and comfortable with teeth brushing.
  • If children do not put things in their mouth, it can delay teeth eruption.
  • Meltable Hard Solids (9 months)
  • Melts in the mouth with saliva only (without pressure applied).
    • Examples: Gerber puffs, biter biscuits, graham crackers.
  • DO NOT USE CHEERIOS- Cheerios will shatter in a child’s mouth instead of melting.

Read our infant feeding series: How to Transition Your Child From Purees to More Textured Foods.

At 10-12 months, your baby can eat the following foods:

  • Soft Cubes (10 months)
  • Soft exterior but maintains its shape, needs tongue/munching pressure to break it apart.
    • Examples: Bananas, avocado, Gerber toddler cubes,
  • Soft Mechanical- single texture (11 months)
  • Soft exterior but maintains its shape, needs munching/grinding pressure to break it apart.
  • These foods will help your child learn how to chew food by using a circular chewing pattern.
  • Children need to be able to move food from their tongue to their back teeth to chew textured food.
    • Examples: soft lunch meats, pasta, cooked eggs
  • Soft Mechanical –Mixed (cube + puree) (12 months)
  • More than one of the above textures
    • Examples: macaroni and cheese, fish sticks, French fries, spaghetti, chicken nuggets
  • Your baby cannot eat a mixed textured food unless she can chew each texture individually.
  • Hard Mechanicals
  • Harder textured exterior food that needs grinding/rotary chew (circular chewing pattern) to break apart. These foods tend to shatter in the mouth.
  • Examples: cheerios, saltines, fritos, steak, fruit leathers

Read our infant feeding series: When Your Baby is Turing One Year Old.

Tips to Remember!

  • Eating is the most difficult sensory task that children do!
  • It’s hard to be neat when you are learning to eat.

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NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview, Lake Bluff and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

reading to infants

The Importance of Reading To Infants

It is widely acknowledged that reading to preschool and school-aged kids is beneficial to their language development. However, is reading to infants just as important? The answer is yes! Reading to infants is important to their language and speech development. Not only does reading out loud to your infant benefit her brain development, but it also helps her learn vocabulary and the sounds of a language.

While you read to your infant, she will be taking in the sounds of her native language. Books with
reading-baby
rhyming words or repetitive phrases provide the most effective stimuli for infants to begin to parse out and recognize sounds in the language. As infants are read books, it also provides a perfect opportunity for them to learn vocabulary. As they hear the word “dog” and see a picture of a dog, they will begin to connect the picture and the word together. The more exposure infants have to books and pictures, the faster they will acquire vocabulary and make those connections. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. is a perfect book to read to infants as it includes repetitive phrases, bright colors and basic vocabulary.

Books for infants should also have certain physical characteristics. Books should be manipulative for the infant. Sturdy, cardboard books are great for babies to grab, turn and flip through. Bright colors and big pictures will also help the infant focus on the book and grab his or her attention. Reading with slow, exaggerated speech will also help infants easily parse the auditory stimuli, as well as keep infants entertained.

Other must-have books for reading to your infants include Goodnight Moon, The Hungry Caterpillar, 100 First Words and Baby Touch and Feel board books.

Click here for more on how to use books to encourage speech and language development in babies.

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

poop on potty

Help! My Child Won’t Poop on the Potty

You have started the process of potty training, and your child is starting to make progress with urinating in the toilet. Hooray! Now comes bowel training, which tends to be more challenging. Some children will begin to poop in the toilet after the first occurrence, while other children may take longer. It is very common for bowel training to take longer since it is something that does not happen as much as urination, and some children may associate pain or discomfort with the toilet.  Some common issues that arise during bowel training include the following: child not wanting to sit on the toilet, child only pooping in his diaper or pull-up, and holding in bowel movements. Below are some strategies that can be used to make this process easier.

Tips to Get Your Child to Poop on the Potty:

    • Try to figure out exactly why your child will not poop in the toilet. There are a number ofHelp! My Child Won't Poop on the Potty reasons why a child won’t poop in the potty such as being scared of the toilet, not liking the sound of the flushing, etc.
      • If you child does have some type of fear of the toilet, begin having them touch the toilet, then eventually sit on the toilet with his clothes on and the lid down, then eventually sit on the toilet with the lid up. You can do these activities 3-4 times a day for a few minutes at a time to start, then eventually increase the time spent near or on the toilet. Be sure to reinforce and praise your child after each positive experience with the toilet.
      • Provide a potty seat and/or a stool for him to place his feet on to help your child feel secure on the toilet. Some children have fears of falling in or falling off the toilet, so providing these items will allow your child to feel more stable on the toilet.
    • If you have a boy and he is standing to urinate, begin having him sit while he urinates, so he can get comfortable sitting on the toilet.
    • Begin tracking the time of day when your child has bowel movements, and look for trends. If you notice your child always has bowel movements around bedtime, then you can start having him sit on the toilet at that time of day.
    • If your child will only poop in a diaper or pull-up, you can allow him to wear these initially, but require him to to stay in the bathroom while he poops.
      • Once he is successful with this, you can then have them sit on the toilet with the pull-up on, then eventually phase the pull-up out.
    • Create a reward system. Have a sticker chart or some other type of visual reward system, so your child has motivation to poop in the toilet. Allow your child to help choose his reward.
      • In the beginning, reward your child the first few times he successfully poops in the potty. Then after 5-6 successful times, make the reward dependent on her pooping in the potty 3 days in a row, then a week in a row, etc.
    • Provide natural consequences for accidents (i.e., have your child assist with the clean-up). Never yell or punish your child if he has an accident.
    • Let you child read a book, hold his favorite toy, or listen to music while sitting on the toilet. If he is tense or upset, he will not be able to have a bowel movement.
      • If you suspect your child may have constipation or any other type of bowel issue, contact your pediatrician. Also contact your pediatrician if you suspect your child is holding in his bowel movements.
    • Once your child eventually poops in the toilet, make a huge deal about it and reward him with his favorite foods, toys, activities, etc. so he is more likely to go again in the future.
    • Remember to be patient, as some children take a little longer to start pooping in the toilet, but sooner or later they will be fully potty trained.


Potty Training 101: The Easy How-To Guide For Parents Download our free, 15-Page eBook

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

picky eater or problem feeder

What’s the Difference Between Picky Eaters and Problem Feeders?

Having a child that is a picky eater can mean different things. Sure, your child doesn’t like vegetables and it seemspicky eater or problem feeder
nearly impossible to get anything into their mouth besides chicken fingers and french fries. But, when should you begin to worry that this is a problem that you can’t handle all on your own? For the answer, we need to examine picky eaters vs problem feeders.

A picky eater is very selective about the foods that they will eat. This may be in regards to taste, texture, or appearance. Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Picky eating is not uncommon in childhood and may occur when a child begins to assert independence or when they begin to feed themselves.

A problem feeder may present like a picky eater, with some key differences. Read below for signs and characteristics of picky eaters vs. problem feeders. If your child shows signs of being a problem feeder, call in the professionals!

The Difference Between Picky Eaters and Problem Feeders:

Picky Eaters Problem Feeders
Accept more than 30 foods Accept fewer than 20 foods
Will regain foods lost due to frequent consumption Do not regain foods lost due to frequent consumption
Are able to tolerate new foods on plate and perhaps even taste them Become upset when new foods are presented (throwing, crying, pushing food away)
Eat at least one food from each food group Refuse entire groups of food textures
May be picky about varieties and brands Often demonstrate red flags for feeding disorders (excessive drooling, sensory processing difficulties, immature swallowing and/or oral motor skills, etc.)

 

If your child shows signs of being a problem feeder, seek the help of an occupational therapist or speech and language pathologist.


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NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

North Shore Pediatric Therapy (2011). Picky eating: when to be concerned and how you can help. [PowerPoint slides].

 

texture aversion

Tips for Tackling Oral Texture Aversion and Achieving a Peaceful Mealtime

Everyone needs food, so everyone loves eating, right? Wrong! As a parent, you may be all too familiar with sounds and phrases such as ‘Ick’, ‘No, not vegetables!’, and ‘I’m not eating that!’ These phrases may be uttered secondary to behavior issues, or perhaps because your child has an oral texture aversion. There are many terms regarding aversions floating around, and they are all slightly different. First; what is an oral aversion? An oral aversion is reluctance, avoidance, or fear of eating, drinking, or accepting sensation in or around the mouth. An oral texture aversion is specific to reluctance or fear associated with textures of food, while a texture aversion is a more general term that refers to reluctance or fear when touching food, different fabrics, arts and craft supplies, or substances like water.

Oral texture aversion can present itself in many different ways, including:

  • Acceptance of a small variety of textureTackling Oral Texture Aversion
  • Becoming upset when new foods are presented
  • Refusing entire groups of food textures
  • Long feeding times

Mealtime should be stress-free and enjoyable. In a family with a child that has oral texture aversion, this can be difficult to accomplish. The million dollar question is: How can you achieve a peaceful mealtime? Read the few tips below to help guide your mealtime.

Tips to Achieve a Peaceful Mealtime:

Eliminate distractions, grazing, and long mealtimes

Eat together as a family around the table, rather than around the TV! Additionally, keep meal time to 30 minutes or less. The longer a mealtime becomes, the less pleasant mealtime may be. Consume solids first and liquids last, since liquids are more filling. Discourage snacking and grazing throughout the day, because this can lead to decreased appetite at meal times.

Serve a variety of food consistencies and tastes

This ensures that your child has exposure to multiple tastes, textures, and temperatures of food. Involve your child in grocery shopping and in meal preparation. The more a child understands about food and is an active participant in making food and mealtime happenings, the less surprising a new food is likely to be.

Start an Exploration Plate

This may help decrease anxiety caused by unfamiliar or nonpreferred foods. The Exploration Plate can be a designated plate with the unfamiliar or nonpreferred food on it, which should be encouraged to be explored during meal time. Do this by talking about and describing the food, smelling it, touching it, or even trying a bite of it. However, do not place pressure on your child to do these things. Always model the behavior that you want your child to display.

Play with food

Mealtime should be a pleasurable experience, and playing with food will help achieve that. Smell, touch, lick, and bite foods to explore them. Don’t worry about making a mess!

If you are concerned that your child may have an oral texture aversion, consult an occupational therapist or a speech language pathologist today!


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NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

Language development in twins

Twin Talk: Speech and Language Development in Twins

Twins can be double the fun, double the trouble, or double the talk! Multiples can be an exciting challenge for parents who are working to give each child his or her own individual time. As difficult as that may be, twins also have a communicative partner from birth! Some parents report on “twin language,” or babbling between two babies, which seems like their own language. This babbling can be great for language development as the babies tend to mimic each other’s intonational patterns (or rise and fall of their voices). This can lead to longer “conversations” between babies, as well as bond the two babies as they are primarily communicating with each other.

Conversely, some research has shown that twin language may be an early phonologicalTwin Talk: Language Development in Twins disorder (or sound substitutions/deletions/insertions). Researchers have found that as sounds are developing inappropriately, this twin talk perpetuates these errors, as babies are “understood” by their siblings, so there is no real need to correct misarticulations.

Twins also tend to have an increased likelihood of later language emergence, primarily due to the higher percentage of premature babies. Both monozygotic and dizygotic twins may develop language behind their singleton peers, so it is important for parents to keep in mind their children’s adjusted age (should they be premature).

Red Flags for Speech Development in Twins:

  • Both babies missing milestones: keeping track of appropriate language development, taking into account the babies’ adjusted age, can help parents monitor their twins’ development.
  • One baby is developing more quickly: paying attention to each individuals’ progress when developing speech and language is so important. If parents notice that one child is significantly behind their other, intervention may be warranted.
  • Singleton red flags: Overall, the red flags for multiples are the same as for singletons, taking into account adjusted age, as necessary. Babies should acquire their first words around 1 year, and should be consistently learning new words until they reach “word spurt,” or rapid language growth around 18 months.

It is also important to note that monozygotic twins tend to have higher rates for speech and language disorders that dizygotic twins, so it is important that parents monitor speech, language and overall development and growth. As with all children, red flags and milestones are variable, and it is important to remember that some babies progress faster or slower than others. Should parents have concerns regarding speech-language development, it is important to check in with pediatricians or licensed speech-language pathologists!


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References:
Lewis, B.A., & Thompson, L.A. (1992). A study of developmental speech and language disorders in twins. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research. 35(5), 1086-1094.

Rice, M.L., Zubrick, S.R., Taylor, C.L., Gayan, K., & Contempo, D.E. (2014). Late language emergence in 24-month old twins: Heritable and increased risk for late language emergence in twins. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. 57(3), 917-928.

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!