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Words of the day

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The Alveolar ridge is the hard, bony, bumpy ridge between the top of the upper teeth and the hard palate. When an SLP is working on alveolar sounds with a client, they are referring to a class of sounds made when the tongue touches or is close to this part of the mouth. Alveolar consonants include /n, t, d, s, z, ch, l, r/.

ADLs, or Activities of Daily Living, are the things a child does every day like get dressed, brush their teeth, play with toys and more. Occupational therapists focus on ways to make ADLs easier for their patients so they can live more independently.

Pragmatics are the way we use language in a social way. This includes responding and reacting, inferencing, reading non-verbal cues and how to speak to a variety of audiences (e.g. how you communicate with a friend is different than with a teacher.)

Self-regulation is a buzz word we hear often these days, but it’s super important in child development. It sounds like self-control, right? It’s similar, but not quite the same. Self-control is a social skill that mainly requires limiting impulses. Self-regulation is more about having the ability to monitor and manage emotions and behaviors when faced with challenges or stress.

Intelligibility is a term we use in speech therapy to refer to how clearly a child speaks and how much of their speech can be understood. Many times the parents can understand the child, but others cannot. When an SLP evaluates a child’s speech they look at many areas: sound production, phonological processes, voice, resonance, fluency and their overall intelligibility.

Hypotonia also called low tone or floppy muscle syndrome, is when a child has poor muscle tone. It can present at any age depending on the cause but is normally diagnosed at birth or in infancy. Some signs can be A “rag doll” feeling when held, limbs that extend beyond a normal limit, problems with feeding and failure to reach gross motor milestones.

Dysarthria is a motor speech disorder caused by weak muscles in the face, lips, tongue and throat. These weakened muscles could be the result of brain damage from birth or an injury or illness. Speech language pathologists can help children with dysarthria to make their muscles stronger, use more breath to speak, slow down speech and other techniques.

Torticollis or wryneck is a twisting of the neck to one side seen in babies or very small children. Most torticollis is congenital (present at birth), but some cases are acquired (occurring later in infancy or childhood.) Once torticollis is diagnosed, a pediatric physical therapist will work with you on a stretching regime. An early diagnosis can speed recovery.

Joint attention is a term used in child development to mean when your child and another person share focus on the same object of interest. For example, while on a walk, you may initiate joint attention by identifying and pointing to a fire truck. It is a milestone that is extremely important in developing social skills and language that usually starts presenting around nine months and is well established around 18 months.

Routines-based interventions (RBI) integrate interventions into natural activities. For a young child this could be working on transitions at school, participating in circle time, getting dressed at home or requesting a snack. When developmental interventions are embedded into regular routines and activities, skills learned are functional and meaningful. RBI is for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and older children with developmental disabilities.

In-toeing, or pigeon toe, is when a child walks with their feet turned inward. Out-toeing is when feet point outward. It’s very common for toddlers to have a not-so-perfect gait when they start walking. Most of the time kids outgrown in-toeing and out-toeing by the age of three. If your child doesn’t seem to outgrow it, or they complain of pain or the condition gets worse, not better, over time, it might be time for an evaluation.

Language expansions are a tool we use in speech therapy to extend language. We repeat a child’s words and then add one to two core vocab words. Your child might say, “Dog!” and you could say, “I see dog!” or “Look! It’s a dog!” Modeling with expansion can be helpful to get your child combining more words.

Introducing solids to your baby
Wondering when you should introduce solids to your baby? And when to get help? Check out this great guide from our founder, Kelli Attangan.

Baby sign language FAQ
Sign language has so many benefits like decreasing frustration and improving communication and vocabulary. Learn more with our FAQs.

Sensory processing disorder
Find out what SPD is and our top tips for parents and caregivers to help kids with sensory processing issues.

Bilingualism myths busted
Learn why learning two (or three, or four) languages is great for everyone and any ability.

“Just in Time” resources for families of children who are deaf or hard of hearing
The National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management has rounded up an exhaustive list of resources

Wrightslaw
An incredibly informative website that provides free access to articles, cases, resources and training on special education law and advocacy for children with disabilities.

Speech and language resources
So many speech resources like blogs and other websites that you couldn’t get through in a lifetime!

Occupational therapy resources
A wonderful site for therapists, teachers and parents to learn creative ways to work on developmental skills.