"The child must know that he is a miracle, that since the beginning of the world there hasn't been, and until the end of the world there will not be, another child like him."
~ Pablo Casals
Feeding and Swallowing
SOS Approach to Feeding
This is a program developed by KayToomey, PhD, psychologist from Denver, CO that provides a multidisciplinary approach for children who struggle with food aversions. SOS stands for Sequential Oral Sensory and takes into account that eating involves our entire sensory system. This program looks at the child's ability to see food, smell it, touch it, hear it, and finally taste it before the expectation is placed before them to eat. Mealtime should not be a battle, nor should you acquire an additional hat of "short order cook" to make separate foods for your child. We work with families to make mealtime an enjoyable moment where the attention is on the food, not the child. If you question if your child is just a "picky eater" or a "problem feeder", we may be able to help you understand the messages your child is sending you.
Some children require a feeding tube to provide nutritional support. or if they are medically unable to eat by mouth. We can be of assistance to wean the feeding tubes and to make a transition off the tube and increase foods by mouth. A team approach is used with a GI physician and a nutritionist to make adjustments in your child's intake. Many questions surround the placement of a G-tube. Let us support you in that process.
Transitioning off baby foods & table foods
Making the transition from a bottle to baby foods and then to table foods can be a challenging ordeal for some infants and babies. This process can be impeded by medical conditions and leave parents worrying if their little one is getting enough to eat. Other times, sensory processing can limit intake, as well as a delay in the development of a baby's mouth. In the first few months of life, eating is lead by instinct. After that, eating is a learned behavior. If your baby is not able to transition between foods, there may be an underlying reason.
If your baby or child coughs and chokes easily on liquids, you may need to have them evaluated. A modified barium swallow study (MBSS) can be ordered to rule out swallowing disorders. Sometimes the muscles cannot coordinate the food or liquid and it enters the airway, resulting in what is called aspiration. This can lead to pneumonia. In therapy strategies can be taught and strengthening completed with the affected muscles so that this is alleviated.
The development of speech in young children is exciting and wonderful! The first sounds that a baby makes are special and we can't wait until a word is spoken. It is typical for babies to babble and experiment with sounds. If you do not hear this early chatter, listen closely for the sounds that your little one does make. Concerns about the clarity of speech come around the age of 2-3 as toddlers' vocabulary explodes. Some children find it difficult to express their ideas and wants and therefore display frustration in behavior as tantrums. Speech is a very precise and difficult process and a Speech-Language Pathologist can assist in determining if there is a delay or a disorder. There are a few speech disorders that may be diagnosed and the method of treatment makes all the difference to how a child progresses. Your child may be diagnosed with apraxia, phonological disorder, or articulation disorder. We are well equiped and trained to deal with each of these speech problems to help your child communicate.
Other areas that affect a child's speech is the development of the mouth, which includes the jaw, lips, and tongue. Each of these areas can be assessed to determine if there is a delay in the development thereby resulting in unintelligible speech.
The way your child uses her voice may lead to voice disorders. Following a full assessment, a consultation with an Otolaryngologist (Ear Nose Throat doctor, or ENT) to evaluate the vocal cords and determine why the voice has a changed quality may be necessary.
Language Disorders & Delays
The way a child communicates in infancy through the toddler years is very important. Eye gaze, cries, finger pointing, gestures, and body language are all things that are areas to watch early on. The sounds that the child makes and the patterns that are produced can be indicators if everything is on track. Some children have language disorders and delays as a result of prematurity, congenital disorders, or for no identifiable reason at all. Early intervention is always best so if you are questioning development, it may be good to have an assessment completed. We can assess babies just a few months old!
Some children are unable to communicate verbally and require some sort of augmentative communication devise. Use of picture schedules and communication charts are ways to assist with children who can decide what to work on next or to let them understand what is going to be worked on for the session.
We are able to assess for fluency, or stuttering, at any age level. Most 2-3 year old stuttering behaviors can be developmental and go away on their own however, an assessment can be helpful in knowing how to talk with your preschooler, what to look for, rule out a language delay, and follow in the child's language development for assistance early on.
Auditory Processing Disorders are addressed in our office. If you suspect your child has difficulty understanding what is said to him, we can evaluate a number of areas to help out. We look at memory, phonemic awareness, phonemic segmenting, listening, discrimination of words, and cognitive reorganization of thoughts. This type of disorder can greatly affect the way a child is able to learn and with intervention, your child can learn strategies to assist with the learning of new information.