Speech and Communication Points

Last week Jeremy and I attended the Down Syndrome Association of Middle TN conference called “Fired Up”. We sat in on 2 seminars; Speech and Communication from Birth to Two, and one on Medical Updates. Here are some points I learned in the speech class:

  • Speech therapy can start as early as 8 months of age.
  • Start to teach baby sign language when the child can wave bye-bye.
  • First 2 signs to teach them are ‘more’ and ‘finished’, to give them a sense of empowerment.
  • Bring awareness to an object and make it pop out of the environment – more colorful, funnier, louder etc.
  • Use a swivel chair to work on sound localization. This helps them learn to hear something and know where it comes from.
  • Keep them attending to an object longer, and talk about the object.
  • Use bubbles for visual tracking. Help them learn to pop the bubbles.
  • Teach cause and effect by helping them switch the lights on and off.
  • You cannot do too much work on oral motor skills.
  • Begin using a pacing board (definition below) while they are in the one word stage.
  • DS children generally start speaking between 3 & 4 years of age.

I’ll post about what I learned in the Medical Updates seminar later… I’m tired and ready to get some much needed sleep!

A pacing board consists of a series of dots (either black dots or color coded dots related to intial, medial, and final sounds) placed across a cardboard sheet. Depending upon the age and need of the child, there may be as few as three or as many as 10 dots placed across the board. The professional uses the board to help the child identify and produce initial and final sounds of simple words, syllables from bi-syllable and trisyllable words, and later the production of different words from simple and complex sentences. For example, the child is taught to touch a dot each time he or she says a syllable in a multisyllabic word. The advantage of the pacing board is that it provides both a visual and a tactile cue. It also provides the child with structure and the necessary pacing for proper articulatory movements of sounds, syllables, and words in sentences.


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3 responses

  1. You’re going to be more of a child development expert than me in no time!!!

    May 2, 2009 at 7:15 pm

  2. Oh my! What a little cutie!!! I still haven’t met him yet, Erin. We should really plan a lunch or something soon!

    May 3, 2009 at 10:16 pm

  3. Kasey Giesbrecht

    Hi! Thanks for all that info! My daughter Paige (almost 10 Months old!) also has Down Syndrome and we have been working with our Infant Development Program (I call them “the Team”, which includes PT & ST currently). There is so much to learn! Right now we are working on transitioning Paige from sitting to lying down and feedings with the Speech Therapist. It must have been so great to go to a conference, I am unfortunaltey way up in the boonies in Northern Canada, but we have amazing resources up here. Anyhow, just wanted to say thanks for the tidbits!!

    May 4, 2009 at 2:28 am

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