Encouraging Speech in Your Child With Down Syndrome or Autism
We’ve been trying to increase Noah’s awareness and control of his mouth, lips and tongue, and it’s been a real challenge to get him to move that tongue around. The hope is that awareness will support our efforts to evoke speech in our little guy with Down syndrome.
Remember those candy packets you emptied in your mouth as a kid, and as they dissolved they would pop and sizzle like bacon in a frying pan? Remember swishing them around in your mouth to get them popping? Remember opening your mouth and sticking out your tongue to intensify the effect?
Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
One trip to the grocery store later and we have:
Noah, oh Noah? Open wide. 1/4 teaspoon full in the mouth. Eyes getting big. Eyes looking all around searching for the source of the strange noises and sensations Noah is feeling in his mouth.
Mom: Pop, pop, pop.
Noah: Pop, pop, pop. Giggle giggle.
Mom: Now, stick out your tongue.
(Another 1/4 tsp on the tongue)
Mom and Noah: Pop, pop, pop. Giggle, giggle.
Folks, I think we’re on to something. The look on Noah’s face when he was trying to figure out what was going on inside his mouth was priceless. I can safely say he has never concentrated so intently on what his mouth was doing as he did today for this activity. Good stuff.
I suggest starting with a very small amount and ending the activity while your child is still enthusiastic. As our kids are at the very least sensory sensitive, this can be an intense activity for them especially because it is so unfamiliar. I mean, what can even come close to Pop Rocks, right?
What unconventional (or conventional) ideas have evoked verbal responses from your child? Share your tips – we need them!