Thursday, September 11, 2008

update on Bubba

if you personally know bubba, then you know that he is a bright kid whose speech isn't very clear. one of bubba's cutest but also most frustrating traits is his lack of words. he loves to 'talk' using sounds and gestures, but very few actual words. or he tries his hardest to use words, but good luck understanding them! well i took him to be evaluated by a speech pathologist today. while i don't think he has any sort of disability, he does have some sort of speech impediment. i wanted to get him evaluated, and work on correcting it before preschool/kindergarten. that may seem a long ways off, but he'll be 3 in march, and technically he can start preschool this coming spring!

so here is our very long winded evaluation. this is the long version, but i thought alot of what I learned today was very beneficial. i had no clue that some of the things we do naturally as parents (like giving our kids sippy cups) can actual effect their speech!

first off, I have to say that bubba does not have any sensory or learning disorders, his hearing was perfect, and he is not Autistic!

developmentally he was showing/understanding tasks and commands up to the 3.5 year old level! she would ask him to put the ball in a cup and bring it to her--he could do. she would point to a picture of a boy and girl both wearing hats, and ask him to "Point to her/his hat", seeing if he understood the pronoun. He did. when she asked him ''which dog in the picture is above/below/on the table" he knew. she told him ''the teddy bear is thirsty, can you give him a drink?" and he took the cup and pretended to give the bear a drink.

Then she would point to an object and ask him what it was and he would have to answer. while he doesn't say the word clearly, he does understand and know what it is. for example, he pointed to a bunch of balloons and said '' baa uns", then he pointed to a single balloon and said "bew-baaun....urple baa-un.....well-whoa baa-un" (blue, purple and yellow). She was very impressed! while he can't say all of his colors, he can differentiate. he also understands two and three part commands (ie, "go sit down, take your shoes off and put them on the chair") and he knew all the animals she pointed out, he just identified them by the sound they make instead of their name.

overall, after listening to him speak and watching him eat/drink, she realized 2 things:

1) He has a slightly high palette, mixed with a short tongue. Its harder for him to make certain sounds to form words. he has troubles saying sounds that require him to pucker his mouth like the ''-ka'' sound. (cookie, cracker) and even words like 'what' and 'why' where your mouth/cheeks pucker. he isn't tongue tied and having a high pallette isn't really a problem, it'll just take him a little bit to learn how to move his mouth.

(A high palette could be why he got so damn impatient trying to breastfeed and eventually gave up. He couldn't draw enough of the nipple/aerola into his mouth to get a good latch. )

the good news is, this can be easily solved by doing ''excercises'' to teach his mouth to pucker. like drinking from a straw. he (and most kids) can do this but they have a tendency to place the straw on their tongue and then they suck/swallow similar to how you do from a bottle or sippy cup, rather than simply puckering their lips and sucking from the end of the straw. she gave us some straws that have a funny animal/shape less than 1/2 inch from the top; this forces the child to use their lips and pucker instead of laying it flat and sucking.

she said that high palettes can be caused from prolong sucking. usually its seen by kids who suck their thumbs or fingers, kids who constantly carry around/suck on a sippy cup, or kiddos who are on the bottle well into toddlerhood, have high palettes. bubba doesn't/didn't do any of these things but its still common. we can help fix it by giving him open cups at dinner time instead of sippys. this teaches him how to move his tongue to swallow, and naturally you kinda pucker your mouth shut. she also recommended giving him sippy cups with straws, and cutting them shorter if you notice that he's laying the straw on his tongue instead of sucking from the end. Sippy cups with spouts are good for kids transitioning from bottles to cups, but once they "get it", move on to cups without spouts.

2) He doesn't really mimic. (which we already knew). she would say ''cookie'' and he'd just look at her, she would repeat it and he watched her lips move, but he doesn't try to mimic. pooks does, but bubba *usually* doesn't.

she thinks he'll grow out of it, but in the mean time we need to try to force him to talk. by offering him choices (like "do you want milk or juice?") instead of questions that can be answer with yes or no. (do you want milk?) We also need to use parallel talking. Basically, being his narrator by telling him what he's doing. IE- "You're pushing your train on the floor." "You just dropped the red ball in the bucket" "You opened the door." instead of saying/asking ''are you having fun playing with your train?"

All said and done, she'd like to work with him once a week for a while. technically, he doesn't HAVE to have therapy at all, but by doing it now we are nipping it in the bud. both things he could grow out of on his own, but she said its easier to do it now before he sets it up as a habit or becomes more easily frustrated by us not understanding him.

I'm all for it. he had a lot of fun, and I learned alot. its helpful because now I can do the same things with pooks to help assure that he doesn't run into the same problems.

so that is my VERY long update ;)


  1. I found all of it very interesting and I promise that I will work very hard when he comes to visit. Although I must confess I will miss the way he uses sounds:)

  2. Sounds like she gave you lots of helpful information. He's a smart boy, so I bet that he'll catch on quickly.

  3. Wow! That is amazing! Again, you are a great mom and I'm glad you took him to meet with the lady!


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