My Child Chews on Their Shirt

Many children chew on various things such as clothing, toys, and other household items. Blog-Chew-Main-PortraitThis can be a way of your child exploring his environment, fulfilling a sensory need, or it is being used as a calming strategy. Chewing on items is very common in children with autism as well as some typically developing children. Shirts are most often the item that gets chewed on because it is always available and easily accessible.

Below are a few tips on how to properly address children who chew:

  • Replace the shirt with a chewing toy. These items will allow your child to get that oral input of chewing without destroying their clothing. Chewing toys come in many forms such as tubes, necklaces, bracelets and shapes, and they are widely available on many therapeutic websites. Make sure this chewing toy is always accessible, and if you see your child begin to chew on his shirt, immediately give him the chewing item, or better yet have your child wear the chewing item so it is easily accessible.
  • If the chewing is something your child does when he is nervous, begin to explore other calming techniques in an attempt to replace the chewing with something more socially appropriate.
  • Reinforce your child during times when he is not chewing on his shirt.
  • Taking chewing breaks throughout the day. Engage your child in very fun and reinforcing activities, but let them know the chewing item needs to be put aside while they engage in the activity. Activities can include swinging, going to the park, playing a game on a tablet, singing songs, or whatever activity is really reinforcing to your child.
  • Engage your child in various oral exercises such as singing, blowing bubbles, making different sounds with their mouth, etc. Be creative and make these exercises fun and enjoyable.
  • If it seems like your child is in pain while he is chewing on items, it is important to seek the opinion of a medical professional to rule out any medical or dental issues.

If the chewing does not decrease over time or begins to worsen, there are a variety of therapists that are able to help with this behavior. These therapists can include Board Certified Behavior Analysts, Speech Therapists, Occupational Therapists, or Social Workers. Once the function of the behavior is determined, your child could begin one of the above therapies to assist in decreasing the behavior.

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-An-Applied-Behavior-Analyst

Speech and Language Games to Play on Spring Break

Spring Break – the weather is (hopefully) bright and sunny, flowers are beginning to Speech and Language Gamesbloom, and the kids are out of school. What better way to spend this week off than to take a vacation with the whole family. Not only can a Spring Break vacation be a wonderful way to recharge, it can be a great time to grow your child’s speech and language skills, all while playing games.

Many different types of games can help children with language development while also entertaining everyone in the family. These games can be played anytime and easily incorporated into any Spring Break vacation!

Speech and Language Games:

  • Car games: road trips can be a great way to spend quality time with our families. Playing word games on these long road trips can foster close relationships and increase phonological awareness (the knowledge of sounds and their rules in language).
    • With younger children, look at road signs for words beginning with A, B, C, and so on, to encourage letter identification skills. Whoever finds the most wins!
    • For older children, take it one step further and play Name-Place-Job. For example, if someone sees a sign for Baltimore (letter B), he or she has to come up with a name and job to go with it: “I’m Beth from Baltimore, and I’m a beekeeper.” Not only does this game involve more advanced skills (like alliteration), it encourages creativity and vocabulary growth.
  • Board games: board games are fun and educational for the whole family, and many of them are language-based – perfect for facilitating language growth.
    • Elementary-aged children can play Apples to Apples or Apples to Apples, Jr., both of which encourage vocabulary development and word-association networks.
    • Children in middle school can play Taboo, a game where the speaker describes a word to his or her team without saying “taboo” words. Taboo incorporates higher-level, more abstract language skills, such as idioms, multiple-meaning words, and comparing and contrasting.

Spring Break is the perfect time to enjoy some quality family time and focus on language skills.

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

Pronunciation Library

There are 44 phonemes (or speech sounds) in the English language. These speech soundsBlogPronunciationLibrary-Main-Landscape can be broken into the two broad categories of consonants and vowels. When a consonant is produced, the air flow is cut off partially or completely. When a vowel is produced, the air flow is unobstructed. In order to make this wide array of sounds, our articulators do a lot of work! Our articulators include our lips, teeth, alveolar ridge (the ridge on the roof of your mouth behind your front teeth), hard palate (the roof of your mouth), soft palate (the back portion of the roof of your mouth), jaw, vocal folds, and last but not least, our tongue. Each speech sound is made by placing these articulators in different positions, pushing through air, and turning our voice on or off.

Each sound has an age range at which it is typically emerging and mastered by. While producing these sounds comes naturally to some children, many children struggle to make certain speech sounds, and describing to a child how to make these sounds with muscles they cannot see can be even trickier! Below is a pronunciation chart of 24 early, middle, and later developing speech sounds and a description of how to make each sound:

PHONEME DESCRIPTION OF PLACEMENT OF THE ARTICULATORS
Early 8 Emerging pronunciation development between ages 1-3, consistent production around 3 y/o
/p/ Press your lips tightly together and push air up into your mouth, feeling the air build up behind your lips. Let the air push your lips apart creating a “pop.”
/b/ Press your lips tightly together and push air up into your mouth, feeling the air build up behind your lips. Turn your voice on and let the air push your lips apart.
/m/ Lightly press your lips together, turn your voice on, and let air flow through your nose, just like you are humming.
/n/ Open your mouth slightly and press the tip of your tongue right behind your front teeth. Turn your voice on and let air flow through your nose like you are humming.
“y” Lightly touch the back of your tongue to the roof of your mouth and pull the corners of your lips back. Turn your voice on and then move your bottom jaw down, pulling your tongue away from the roof of your mouth.
/w/ Round your lips and pull them close together in a tight circle. Then, raise the back of your tongue so it touches the roof of your mouth. Turn your voice on and then pull your jaw down and relax your lips.
/h/ Let your mouth rest slightly open. Quickly push breath through your throat.
/d/ Lift the tip of your tongue and place it right behind your top front teeth. Push your tongue, turn your voice on, and let your tongue drop slightly as you let the air burst through.

 

Middle 8 Emerging pronunciation development between ages 3-6.5, consistent production around 5.5 y/o
/t/ Lift the tip of your tongue and place it right behind your top front teeth. Push your tongue and let your tongue drop slightly as you let the air burst through your tongue.
“ng” Lift the back of your tongue to touch the roof of your mouth and turn your voice on, letting the air flow through your nose. Keep your voice on as you pull your tongue down away from the roof of your mouth.
/k/ Bring the back of your tongue up to touch the roof of your mouth while keeping the tip of your tongue down. Push your tongue up and then let a puff of air out between your tongue and the roof of your mouth as you pull your tongue slightly down.
/g/ Bring the back of your tongue up to touch the roof of your mouth while keeping the tip of your tongue down. Turn your voice on as you push your tongue up and then let a puff of air out as you pull your tongue slightly down.
/f/ Place your upper teeth on your bottom lip and push air through.
/v/ Place your upper teeth on your bottom lip and turn your voice on as you push air through your teeth and lip.
“ch” Touch the front of your tongue to the ridge behind your top front teeth and push your lips out (slightly rounding them). Let the sides of your tongue touch your upper back teeth to trap the air. Push a puff of air over your tongue as you let the tip of your tongue fall slightly.
“j” Touch the front of your tongue to the ridge behind your top front teeth and round your lips. Let the sides of your tongue touch your teeth to trap the air. Turn your voice on as you push a puff of air over your tongue as you let the tip of your tongue fall slightly.

 

Late 8 Emerging pronunciation development between ages 5-7.5, consistent production around 7 y/o
“sh” Touch the sides of your tongue to your upper back teeth, tilt the tip of your tongue down, and push your lips out (slightly rounding them). Push air over your tongue and through your front teeth.
“zh” (as in ‘treasure’) Touch the sides of your tongue to your upper back teeth, tilt the tip of your tongue down, and push your lips out (slightly rounding them). Turn your voice on as you push air over your tongue and through your front teeth.
/s/ Put your teeth together, slightly part your lips, lift the sides of your tongue to touch the insides of your top teeth, and bring the tip of your tongue down. Push air down the middle of your tongue and out through your teeth.
/z/ Put your teeth together, slightly part your lips, lift the sides of your tongue to touch the insides of your top teeth, and bring the tip of your tongue down. Turn your voice on as you push air down the middle of your tongue and out through your teeth.
Voiceless “th” Place your tongue between your top and bottom teeth and push air through.
Voiced “th” Place your tongue between your top and bottom teeth and turn your voice on as you push air through.
/r/ Pull the back of your tongue back and up. Press the sides of your tongue to the insides of your upper back teeth and slightly curl your tongue tip up. Turn your voice on and let the air flow through your mouth and over your tongue.
/l/ Lift the tip of your tongue and place it behind your top front teeth. Turn your voice on and let the air flow through your mouth as you let your tongue drop down.

If your child is continuing to struggle with one or many sounds past the age at which the sound is typically mastered by, a speech-language pathologist can help!

[1] Johnson, C., & Horton, J. (2009). Webber Jumbo Artic Drill Book Add-on (Vol. 2). Greenville, South Carolina: Super Duper Publications.

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

When to Be Concerned About Your Child’s Articulation of the L Sound

“I Wove You!” For young children, substitutions of the /l/ sound are common, but when should ‘wove’ become ‘love’? Blog/l/-Articulation-Main-Portrait

The /l/ sound is characterized as one of the ‘late eight’ sounds or, the later developing sounds in English-speaking children. Research has shown that 90% of children master the /l/ sound by 6;0. (Data from Templin, 1957; Wellman et al., 1931). (Sanders, 1972)

So…What Does This Mean for My Child?

In young children, these articulatory errors are developmentally appropriate and often resolve on their own. However, if you are noticing the persistence of these errors around 5 or 6 years of age, a speech and language evaluation might be an appropriate next step. An evaluation could be warranted sooner if there are other accompanying speech errors, or if you are concerned about your child’s overall ability to be understood.

How to Make the /l/ Sound:

This sound can be taught as “the singing sound”. The /l/ sound is made with the tongue elevated to touch the alveolar ridge or, the bumps on the hard palate behind the front teeth. Have your child watch your mouth as you say ‘la-la-la’, then, let her have a try.

Having your child practice in front of a mirror can be a particularly useful tool as well, giving her the opportunity to trouble-shoot her productions. Talk about the bumps on the roof of the mouth behind the front teeth as being the ‘magic spot’ where we want our tongue tip. If your child is comfortable with it, use a tongue depressor to touch the alveolar ridge if tongue placement is particularly difficult.

One of the most common errors associated with production of /l/ is called gliding, where /l/ is substituted with a glide sound (/w/ or /j/). If your child is substituting a /w/ for an /l/, it’s important to discuss relaxing the lips (or even having them in a slight smile) to avoid lip rounding.

Feel free to make this fun and interactive! Use a play dough head and make a tongue out of dough to demonstrate tongue tip elevation. Find what makes this interesting and salient to your child!

Shape the sound from one the child already has!

-Have your child prolong an ‘ahhhh’ sound and have her slowly elevate her tongue tip to the alveolar ridge.

-If your child is able to produce a /t/ or /d/, talk about having your tongue tip in the same spot for /l/ as for these sounds. Alternate between saying /ti/-/li/, /ti/-/li/.

Once your child is able to produce /l/ in isolation and in syllable shapes, begin targeting this sound in various positions in words (i.e., initial, medial, and final).

*It is worth noting that /l/ has two different placements depending on its position in a word. Light /l/ occurs at the beginning of a syllable (e.g., leaf), and dark /l/ occurs at the end of a syllable (e.g., milk).

Suggestions for Activities:

The /l/ sound is everywhere! Feel free to be creative.

Here are some activities to try out:

-Build a Lego tower and formulate two-word phrases (e.g, red Lego, blue Lego) as you build.

-Point out objects in your environment with /l/, or play I spy.

-Read a book with your child and have her produce some of the words with /l/.

The following books are heavily loaded with /l/ sounds:

Llama Llama Red Pajama, by Anna Dewdney

Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, by Eileen Christelow

Lyle, Lyle Crocodile, by Bernard Waber

The Luckiest Leprechaun, by Justine Korman

It Looked Like Spilt Milk, by Charles G. Shaw

Should you have concerns about your child’s articulation, consult with a licensed speech-language pathologist.

[1] Sanders, E. (1972). “When Are Speech Sounds Learned?”. Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, 37, 55-63.

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

dyslexia signs and symptoms

Famous People with Dyslexia

Imagine that you are a second grader, leaving the neuropsychologist’s office. BlogGraphics-FamousPeopleDyslexiaMain-LandscapeYou’ve completed diagnostic testing to evaluate the way that you think, read and write. You had to complete odd tasks, feeling nervous and increasingly tired. To top it all off, the neuropsychologist explained to your mom that you show characteristics of something called “dyslexia.” You could tell your mom was upset and maybe even a little sad. You leave feeling even more nervous, thinking “Is something wrong with me?

At the time of a dyslexia diagnosis, your child might feel embarrassed and isolated. Imagine the feeling of hope they might experience when finding out that some of the most successful people they read about in books or see daily on the television also have dyslexia.

Historical Figures:

  • Thomas Edison
  • Henry Ford
  • Scott Fitzgerald
  • Pablo Picasso

Entrepreneurs:

  • Ingvar Kamprad, Founder of IKEA
  • Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Enterprises
  • John T. Chambers, CEO, Cisco Systems
  • Charles Schwab, Founder of Charles Schwab Corporation

Entertainment Celebrities:

  • Billy Bob Thornton, writer, director and actor
  • Whoopi Goldberg, Academy Award winning actress
  • Keira Knightly, actress
  • Jay Leno, TV entertainer
  • Henry Winkler, actor and writer

See the website for the International Dyslexia Association for more “Success Stories” in the areas of science, research, politics, and law.

The diagnosis of dyslexia bears no reference to an individual’s intelligence. In fact, some scientists believe that people with dyslexia often are innovative thinkers due to different “hard-wiring” of the brain. As you can see from the above list of leading entertainers and business people in the United States, the diagnosis of dyslexia does not define or limit a child’s success in their career or life.

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

The Benefits of Bilingualism

There are definitive advantages for children who are learning two languages simultaneously. Though parents may question whether or not they should teach their child to be bilingual, research has proven that bilingual children develop language skills in the same manner as peers who are learning one language.

Parents should begin using both languages from the start and continue to give their child opportunities tobilingual hear and communicate in both languages throughout their daily routines. Bilingual children typically have a dominant language; that is, one that they know better and use more proficiently. Learning two languages simultaneously does NOT hinder speech and language development. If a child truly has a language disorder, this will be evident in both languages. Additionally, bilingualism may confuse grammatical rules or use words from both languages in the same sentence, and this should not be concerning.

According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, research has demonstrated a variety of benefits to being bilingual including:

  • Being able to learn new words easily
  • Playing rhyming games with words like “cat” and “hat”
  • Breaking down words by sounds, such as C-A-T for cat
  • Being able to use information in new ways
  • Putting words into categories
  • Coming up with solutions to problems
  • Developing good listening skills
  • Connecting with others

Language learning follows patterns. Developing sounds in the first language may further support how a child learns and uses their second language. ASHA also reports that currently 1 in 5 individuals over the age of 5 speak a language other than English at home. Subsequently, simultaneously language learning is becoming more common and is expected to increase over time.

Meet-With-A-Speech-Pathologist

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!

What to Expect in a Pediatric Speech and Language Evaluation

The purpose of a speech and language evaluation is to determine your child’s strengths and challenges related to a variety of areas and conclude if therapy would be beneficial in further developing skills and aiding his/her ability to communicate effectively with SLPmainothers. Parents may request an evaluation if they have concerns, or children may be referred by a pediatrician, teacher, or after a developmental screening. While it may vary across settings, the following is a general outline of what you can expect from a formal speech and language evaluation.

  • Background and Developmental Information: Upon beginning the process, most facilities will request information regarding your child’s early developmental history. This will include things such as birth history, age milestones were met, and significant medical history. If your child has previously participated in therapy or related developmental/educational evaluations, providing copies of these reports to your therapist will be extremely beneficial in helping develop the whole picture of your child. In some settings, the therapist will obtain information from your child’s teacher regarding challenges specifically related to classroom learning and peer relationships.
  • Caregiver Interview: An essential portion of the evaluation will be information provided by the child’s family. The therapist will guide a discussion regarding your major concerns, what you would like to achieve by participating in the evaluation, and goals you might have for your child. The therapist may ask for specific examples of times you’ve noticed these challenges, thoughts about your child’s awareness toward the issue, and other questions to develop an overall understanding of how your child is communicating. Depending on the age of the child, he/she may participate in the interview portion to share feelings and thoughts on the area of difficulty, and what he/she would like to accomplish. Based on the background information provided and the caregiver interview, the therapist will choose assessment tool(s) to evaluate the area(s) of concern.
  • Assessment and Observation of the Child: Initially the therapist will spend time talking and/or playing with your child to develop rapport and make observations based on how he/she interacts and communicates in an unstructured setting. Then, your child will participate in assessments that may include:
    • Oral motor assessment to observe the structures of the face and mouth at rest and while speaking, as well as oral musculature and motor planning of oral movements.
    • Standardized assessment of the area(s) of concern (not an exhaustive list)
      • Expressive (what he/she produces) language and/or Receptive (what he/she understands) language
      • Speech production and fluency of speech
      • Pragmatic or social language
      • Feeding and Swallowing
      • Reading/Writing skills
  • Evaluation Report: The therapist will then compile all of the information gathered from the family, observations, and assessments and summarize it in a formal report. It will include a description of each area of assessment and its findings. Based on the results, the therapist will determine if therapy is necessary and if so, develop a plan for treatment. Specific goals to target the areas of need and a time frame for doing so will be included in the report.

Meet-With-A-Speech-Pathologist
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!

speech therapy: a career

A Student’s Guide: How to Become a Speech-Language Pathologist

As defined by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) a speech-language pathologist (SLP) works “to prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication, and swallowing disorders in children and adults.” The career of an SLP is very wide-ranging, yet overwhelmingly rewarding, as a person can work in a variety of different work settings and with varying populations of clients. For example, a SLP could work in clinics, schools, hospitals, or nursing homes, targeting skills in receptive, expressive, and pragmatic language, cognition, articulation and phonology, fluency, voice, feeding and swallowing.

The following are key points in the pathway of becoming a speech-language pathologist, starting at the undergraduate level to the Certificate of Clinical Competence.

  1. Bachelor’s Degree: A completed bachelor’s degree is necessary in order to be accepted into anSpeech Therapy: A Career accredited speech-language pathology master’s program. A student can complete their bachelor’s degree in any area, although majors in communication sciences and disorders or a related field would be ideal. It is smart to check the pre-requisites of graduate programs to ensure all necessary coursework is completed.
  1. Master’s Degree: It is required to obtain a master’s degree from an accredited Speech Language and Hearing Science master’s program. There are over 300 graduate programs that have been accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA). Use EdFind, ASHA’s online directory of undergraduate and graduate programs for speech-language pathology and audiology, to search for the graduate program that best fits you.

Typically, graduate programs take two years to complete. However, depending on the program and a student’s undergraduate degree, a graduate program could span the course of 3 years. It is also an option for a student to continue past their master’s degree and obtain a doctoral degree.

  1. Supervised Clinical Experience: Along with educational requirements, there are clinical hours that must be met before graduation from a master’s program. It is required that students complete 400 hours of supervised clinical experience (25 hours of clinical observation and 375 hours of direct client treatment).
  1. Clinical Fellowship (CF): Once a student has obtained their graduate degree, it is now time for them to enter into their clinical fellowship, which is meant to be a transition period between being a student to an independent therapy provider. During this time the clinical fellow has the support and supervision of their Clinical Fellowship Mentor. To find a CF position, search for job positions accepting CF-SLPs. A CF can be completed in 36 weeks if working full-time (35 hours per week). Part-time work can also be used to complete a CF, as long as the CF-SLP works more than 5 hours per week.
  1. Praxis Exam: The Praxis Exam is a requirement in order to receive your ASHA Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology. It is also necessary to be able to obtain a state professional licensure and state teacher credential. Typically, the Praxis Exam is taken during the last semester of your graduate program or shortly after graduation.
  1. Certificate of Clinical Competence: Once the previous requirements (as noted above) have been met, an individual can obtain a Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC). The credentials of CCC-SLP represent that individual has met certain academic and clinical skills to be competent in independently providing speech and language services.
  1. State License: Additionally, each state has varying licensure requirements. Majority of states require a state license in order to provide therapy. These requirements can be checked at ASHA.

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!

 

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.

New Call-to-action

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!

Stay Motivated in Therapy

How to Keep a Child Motivated in Therapy

Motivation is a state that energizes, directs and sustains behavior and a key component to success in therapy.

The following are some strategies to help motivate clients in therapy:

Make learning fun. Making learning fun for a child increases his or her drive to participate in treatment tasks and, ultimately, to reach treatment goals. You can bring the fun factor in a variety of ways, including: make learning into a game, create hands on activities to target goals, and incorporate technology. Knowing a child’s individual interests and needs is crucial when determining how to makeHow to Keep Your Child Motivated In Therapy learning fun. High interest activities are more likely to increase engagement and effort; however, the activities you use must be driven toward a particular goal and meet the level of support required by the child to learn whatever skill you are targeting.

Use cooperation. Cooperation is working together to accomplish a shared goal. Research on learning shows that cooperation promotes student motivation, problem solving skills, higher-processing skills, self-esteem, and positive teacher-student relationships. Therefore, activities completed in small groups of children – or as a client-therapist team – most effectively foster motivation. So, engage in the same activity as your client and brainstorm, create, and collaborate on projects as an equal contributor.

Give praise. Praising hard work and perseverance, even if the child’s goal has not been met, increases his or her motivation to continue putting in work and effort to achieve goals. For more tips on how to praise effectively, see 5 Tips to Praise Your Child the Right Way.

Give feedback. Feedback is necessary to learning and has been shown to motivate learning. While positive feedback helps increase learner effort, as it draws attention to what the learner is doing correctly and fosters a positive association with the learning process. Therefore, initial feedback should draw attention to what your client is doing right or well – point out effective learning behaviors. After that, corrective feedback should focus on ineffective strategies that a student is using and error patterns (rather than specific errors). Choose one type of error to correct rather than all errors and be sure to provide examples and models.

Educate parents and keep them involved. Tell parents how to reinforce skills at home through practice and praise. Consistency across environments, paired with encouragement during the learning process, motivates the child to practice and apply skills outside of treatment.

Make learning applicable to everyday life. Choosing activities that are applicable to the child helps not only provides them with more opportunities to practice a particular skill, it helps him/her understand why he/she is learning it. This increases motivation by making a direct connection between treatment and real life. If a child does not understand why he/she is learning something, he/she will not be motivated to pursue the intended lesson.

Communicate specific treatment goals. Communicate one or two goals that the child is working toward so he/she understand what he is working toward. Create a visual representation of the child’s progress (e.g., check off short term goals leading to the end goal, make a graph to show accuracy of responses across sessions to track progress over time). It is motivating for a child to understand what she is working toward, the steps needed to get there, and to see the progress that results from practice.

New Call-to-action


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!