In February, April was a guest writer on my site and now she is joining us again to share some book recommendations. If you happened to miss her original post, this is how it started …
I have spent the last 3 years trying to understand why my daughter, Alessandra, has speech and language delays. Click here to read more …
Throughout this time I read numerous books on the topic of speech development. One of which was Late Talking Children by Thomas Sowell (1997). This is an older book and did not provide any helpful speech tools but it was an amazing book of hope for me. It discusses how a lot of late talking children tend to have strong analytical abilities in the areas of math and computers. The author speculates that some bright children are late in talking because the demands of their analytical abilities, localized in the left half of the brain, are being met at the expense of the speech function.
I saw this in my daughter at a very early age. By age two she was finishing levels on the Mario Brothers video game (she has older brothers), yet when I gave her a doll at age 5 to play with, she started to cry and stated, “I don’t know what to do with it!” (Not those exact words, but the message she was giving me). Creative play is still not her thing, but I do see a future engineer in her.
Another book I found at the library was called It Takes Two to Talk by Jan Pepper (2004). I thought this was one of the best books for giving practical tools for promoting speech. When my daughter’s school offered an 8 week program for parents based on this book, I jumped at the opportunity to attend. We spend the most time with our children, which means we have the most opportunity for teaching moments. I incorporated a lot of these tools into our daily lives and after while I didn’t even notice I was doing them.
I’m sure people wonder why I repeat every statement Alessandra makes like a parrot. I also make a point of just working on one speech issue at a time. There is no rhyme or reason to what I choose to work on. I just randomly choose something that I notice keeps coming up and that I think Alessandra is ready to learn. For example, this week we have been working on “Can I have x please?” instead of “I want x.”
My daughter is rarely ever sick. Seriously! She doesn’t suffer from any allergies either, but she does have a limited diet. Extremely limited diet. When we introduced baby food at 6 months of age, she inspected it and pushed it away. We laughed. Well, we’re not laughing anymore. She is still eating the same finger foods that she started to eat as a baby. I first brought it up with her pediatrician when she was two. He looked at her height and weight and said I had nothing to worry about and dismissed my concerns.
One day I came across a book called What’s Eating Your Child? by Kelly Dorfman (2011). I LOVED this book. I think every parent should read this regardless of whether their child has any health problems. This is the first time I thought maybe the food (or lack of) was connected to Alessandra’s speech issues. I find this issue frustrating because so many people (doctors, even speech pathologists) don’t consider that there might be a connection.
Kelly Dorfman specializes in finding nutritional solutions to common childhood ailments such as anxiety, recurrent ear infections, stomach aches, picky eating, rashes, ADHD, etc. The main idea throughout What’s Eating Your Child? is that either something in the diet is bothering the child or something is missing in the diet. She uses case studies to explain how things work and does a great job explaining the science behind it so everyone can understand it.
The chapter that caught my attention was “The Child Who Couldn’t Speak In Sentences.” In this chapter about speech delays, the author discusses her Best Dyspraxia Program Ever. You can find a condensed version here: http://devdelay.org/newsletter/articles/pdf/372-the-best-dyspraxia-program-ever.pdf. The program includes fish oil (omega-3), vitamin E and phosphatidylcholine.
* Disclaimer: Dorfman’s dyspraxia program sites high doses of vitamin E . A child should be under a doctor’s supervision before adding any type of supplement.