The Communication Corner: Growing Speech and Language at the Grocery Store

As parents, we go from one mundane task to another. Wash the dishes. Take out the trash. Mop the floor. It is easy to let teachable speech and language moments pass us by. With that in mind, I would like to challenge you to add a little spice to your daily tasks and turn them into teachable memories with your child.

A simple trip to the grocery store can be the perfect backdrop for expanding your child’s language skills.

Making a list and checking it twice
Making a grocery list with your child can increase your child’s vocabulary as your child names items that you need to buy. Exercise your child’s memory by asking her to remember items that you finished recently. Start by naming categories. “What vegetables do we need to buy?” “What cold things do we need to buy?” “What meats do we need to buy?”

 
How much is this going to cost?
For school-aged children, have them estimate how much each item will cost. Have them total the amount. It will be fun to see just how close they were to their guesstimate. You can also work in a nice speech about how hard you work for the money to purchase each and every item.

Fun on aisle one!
Turn your grocery store trip into a mini-scavenger hunt by having your child help you find a portion of the items using the aisle headings. This will help grow their critical thinking and problem solving skills.

How do you spell…
Take a stroll through the produce department and challenge your child to spell a few items. “How do you spell onion?” Praise your child’s attempt whether correct or incorrect.

I spy with my little eye…
Play “I Spy” by describing a fruit or vegetable in the produce department. “I spy with my little eye, something yellow, long, mushy and grows in bunches on trees.” This will exercise your child’s attention span, auditory comprehension, and vocabulary skills. Let your child take a crack at describing a mystery item. As always, praise your child attempt whether correct or incorrect.

Which foods start with the letter…
Have your child point out different foods that start with a specific sound or letter. This will increase your child’s awareness of print and words in the world around them.

With a little imagination, you will turn a simple trip to the grocery store into a lifelong memory that they will cherish. Chances are they will probably pass it on to their children and create a generational family tradition.

-Pamela Rowe, MA, CCC-SLP

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The Communication Corner: Breastfeeding Problems? You are not alone!

As a new mother (and a mother of 2 boys, ages 10 and 12), I remember the endless daydreams of holding my baby girl before she was born. I couldn’t wait to hold her, bond with her, and once again, have the blessing of breastfeeding. My previous two experiences were blissful. Sure, I had the rough first few weeks as my mind, body, and emotions were transitioning from life-giving to nutrient-giving.  All in all, at age 25 and 27, I felt I had a wonderful, easy-going breastfeeding experience. My milk supply was never lacking and latching on was never an issue.

Then a new experience presented itself. Breastfeeding issues… low milk supply, baby losing weight, latching problems, sore nipples..all after a c-section!

As a Speech-Language Pathologist specializing in Oral Motor Therapy which can help treat these Infant Feeding problems, I should have been prepared, but I wasn’t. It was very difficult to have my dream time meet real life problems and make some hard decisions.

Many breastfeeding mothers face the same problems. Everything from Sucking Problems, Latching Problems, Nipple Pain, Low Milk Supply, Plugged Ducts and Engorgement has been experienced by many mothers. It is very important to connect to a La Leche League or a “Breastfeeding Mentor” that can help you through the first few months of breastfeeding. Support is a powerful thing. Also, it is very important to stay connected to your Lactation Consultants at your hospital or birthing center/ home birthing center. Keep their business card handy. If your child is displaying low muscle tone or uncoordinated suck/swallow patterns, your Lactation Consultant or Pediatrician may refer you to a Speech Language Pathologist that specializes in Infant Feeding Issues…not only with breastfeeding issues, but also with bottle feeding issues.  The Speech-Language Pathologist will work gently with the baby’s oral musculature and oral posturing in order to promote a better latch and suck/swallow pattern to meet hydration and nutrition needs.

One thing that I have learned through my current breastfeeding experience is that the decision to breastfeed or bottle feed is not what defines you as a mother. It should not carry a level of guilt with it. That being said, if you do decide to breastfeed, remember that there is support for you. Be sure to have your support system in place before you deliver your bundle of joy!

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The Communication Corner: Celebrating Better Speech and Hearing Month…Community Style

Read Aloud Pizza Party 

On May 15, 2013, Pamela Rowe, MA, CCC-SLP, LLC brought the Better Speech and Hearing Celebration to the Community by hosting a Free Community Pizza Party at Northwest Community Church in Orlando, FL. This energetic, exciting event also kicked off the Read Aloud 15 Minutes National Campaign in the Greater Orlando area. In addition to enjoying free pizza, families learned about why and how they should read to their children from Birth to age 8 every day for a minimum of 15 minutes.

“We were pleased to bring this national campaign to Central Florida during Better Speech and Hearing Month. Our Speech-Language Pathologists work with many families in the Community that need encouragement and support in this area. This event offered live demonstrations from experts that showed parents how to read to their children in order to pave the way for success in school and beyond,” explains Pamela Rowe, MA, CCC-SLP, Clinical Director of Pamela Rowe, Speech Therapy.

As a Read Aloud 15 Minutes Community Partner, Pamela Rowe, MA, CCC-SLP, LLC distributed free books to children of all ages. Families enjoyed free hearing, speech and language, and reading screenings.  The local library was also in attendance offering information about their summer programs and registering children for their very own library card.  DJs from the Community-Centered radio station, 94.5 FM, offered their support by continuously running PSAs and interviews prior to the event.  They added to the festive mood by playing music at the event and giving away many prizes.

Kim Stewart, MA, CCC-SLP recalls her experience with the event. “A little child recently cried with joy when I gave his first book to him. It is very exciting to be a part of the Read Aloud for 15 Minutes campaign. Children are born ready to learn, and as a speech-language pathologist, I believe that we have a responsibility to the community we serve to help educate both parents and kids not only about the benefits of shared reading, but the joy and love of reading as well.”

 

For more information about the Read Aloud 15 Minutes Program or how to become a Community Partner with the Read Aloud 15 Minutes Program, visit:www.readaloud.org

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