Kathy's Cove - Ask The Expert

'Ask The Expert' Instagram Q&A Session with AMAZING SPEECH THERAPY

Over the March School Holidays, we held our inaugural 'Ask The Expert' Instagram Questions and Answer session in partnership with Ms. Brenda Boh, Senior Speech Therapist, from AMAZING SPEECH THERAPY.

Kathy's Cove Instagram Q&A Session

 

Brenda is a fully registered Speech-Language Therapist under the Allied Health Professions Council in Singapore. She graduated from the National University of Singapore with a Masters in Speech and Language Pathology. She started her Speech Therapy journey in Singapore General Hospital in 2015. Brenda also believes in empowering caregivers by educating and providing info-counselling to facilitate rehabilitation and recovery of speech, language and swallowing impairments.

If you've missed our Instagram Q&A, here are some the questions asked by our followers, these answers can also be found on our Instagram highlights!

 

1) Is it normal for a 20month old to leave out certain parts of a word? "Tuck" instead of "truck".

Yes, it is common for children under the age of 4 to make this "pronunciation" error known as cluster reduction.This happens when they reduce 2 or 3 consonants/sounds into 1 consonant/sound. As children develop their speech sounds and learn to speak like adults, their brain tries to simplify words into predictable speech error patterns known as phonological processes. So at 20 months old, there are some common phonological processes present which affect how clear their words can be. Based on Bowen (2011), by the time a child turns 3 years old, his/her speech should be at least 75% clear to the parents. 

 

2) Is it a concern if 18mo is only saying about 10-15 words? What can be done to help?

Between 18 to 24 months, a child's expressive vocabulary should be about 50 to 200 words. To encourage your child to talk more, observe what he/she is interested in and model language in an animated voice! Create opportunities for your child to use sounds and words to let you know what he/she wants instead of anticipating their needs/wants. For example, if your child looks or points at a car, model "car!" "big car! drive car!" in a fun voice! Children need to hear words hundreds of times before they learn to use them. If you are concerned, it would be best to check in with a speech and language therapist for an assessment instead of the "wait and see approach". It is never too early to learn how to stimulate language development for your child. 

 

3) How to encourage 13mo to speak when he just wants to run around and play all day?

Play with him! Follow his lead - observe what he is interested in and show an interest. Join in his play and give him language models. For example, if he loves to play with balls, take turns to kick/throw/roll the ball to each other. At the same time, provide the relevant language for him as you play such as "Kick ball! Wow! Throw to Mommy! Roll ball!"

 

4) How do I know whether my child is being shy, or he may be a stutterer or have a speech impediment?

If your child is happy to talk at home with familiar people and his speech is clear, but tends to be very quiet and unwilling to open up in unfamiliar environments, he may be shy.

If your child is starting to talk in sentences and often repeats certain sounds or words as he speaks such as "Wwwwwater" or " I I I I I want to play", or gets "stuck" midway through his sentence, he may have disfluent speech or a stutter. 

If your child is 3 years and above and you are not able to understand at least 50% of his words, he may have a speech sound delay or disorder.

It also depends on the age of your child. If you are worried, you could check in with a speech and language therapist for an assessment.

 

5) My child is 28 months and can only speak a few words. Should I be worried if he doesn’t speak?

Between 18 to 24 months, a child's expressive vocabulary should be about 

50 to 100 words. By 24 months, a child should be starting to string 2 words together such as " Mama go", "Papa up"! if your child says less than 50 words and often has difficulty telling you what he wants resulting in tantrums, it is advisable to have a speech and language assessment for your child instead of the "wait and see" approach. Never too early to learn tips and strategies to stimulate language development for your child!

 

6) Will the pacifier delay my child (2.5yo) from speaking? It is hard to wean him but I’m worried it will affect his speech.

Research has shown that prolonged use of a pacifier beyond the age of 1 can impact a child's teeth development, which will affect how clear his speech may be. In addition, if he is using the pacifier throughout the day, it will definitely limit opportunities for him to imitate or use words. You can try to fade off the use of the pacifier slowly for example, only offer the pacifier if he is tired. 

 

7) Is it true that boys speak slower than girls? My boy is 3 yo and can only speak 2-3 words each time. Unable to form sentences.

Around 3 years of age, children (both boys and girls) should start to form short sentences with 2-3 words for example: "I want bubbles",  "Papa go home" " Mama eat rice" and express his intentions. If he is only speaking single words each time, and not forming short sentences, it will be best to consult a speech and language therapist for an assessment.  

 

8) How can I help my child speak more?

Observe your child's interest and play with them! Talk a lot about things that interest them and point/show them as you provide the words. Use animated voice and make it fun! For example, if your child is interested in animals, you can say  " The black cow is going to sleep! Cow goes mooo mooo. Let's put the cow in the barn. Uhoh! The cat is on the roof!"

During play time, after you talk, pause and give your child a chance to respond. If your child points, you could respond " Oh! That's the mouse in the hay! Do you want the mouse?" If your child is starting to use words, repeat and add on to your child's response e.g. if he says "Cat", you can say "big cat" 

When you show interest in them, play with them one to one and respond to them, it motivates them to communicate with you, developing their language skills

Reading introduces your child to a wide variety of words! As you read, point to the pictures in the book to let your child associate the word they are hearing to the picture. You could also link what's happening in the book to his life, for example "This boy loves to look at buses. We sat on a bus today! Did you enjoy the bus ride?"

 

9) My 3yo occasionally stammers. Like the word porridge, he may say po po ridge. How can I help?

Firstly, do not constantly comment on his stammer and make him self aware about his speech. Between 2 to 6 years of age, some children may go through short periods of stammering that lasts less than 6 months. If you observed that your child's stammer lasted more than 6 months, it would be best to seek professional advice. There is a well known treatment approach for stuttering for children below the age of 6 years old - It is best to speak to a speech and language therapist to learn about this approach as it involves parental training.

 

10) Any recommendations for learning materials or toys to help in speech and communication?

It is not necessary to have an overwhelming number of materials and toys to help speech and language development. Simple toys such as bubbles, balloons, cars and animals can help language development if you use the right techniques and strategies. Open ended toys such as doll house, kitchen set, barn house,  encourage pretend play, which helps a child to learn the world around them, and this creates a lot of learning opportunities for the use of different words in different contexts e.g. nouns, verbs. adjectives, adverbs etc 

 

11) Will speech delay affect my child’s learning in mainstream school. 

There are many factors that can impact a child's learning in mainstream school such as cognitive skills, learning ability, adaptability, language development etc. However, if your child has a language delay/disorder and has difficulty following verbal instructions, or has is unable to express himself effectively in sentences, this will affect his ability to learn in mainstream school. 

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If you've benefited from this 'Ask This Expert!' Session, do feel free to share it with your friends and family, and follow us on our Kathy's Cove Instagram and Facebook to be the first to know of these events!