child(ish) Q&A: Speech Language Pathology

This spring, when we were planning this series, we wanted to get talking with a couple of our friends. We have mom friends and girlfriends, and we talk about our kids a lot. However, we don’t usually get to have professional conversations about their development. Enter our close friend Sarah, a licensed Speech Language Pathologist (SLP). Gotta love our super-accomplished Millennial Mom circle!

Before we start on our Course Notes series on the Auditory system, we gave her a few basic questions on speech that we were curious about.

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Interoception: Inner Workings

If your child is fidgeting in their seat, grouchy, or on edge, it’s easy to assume that they need a sensory fix to regulate themselves. However, if this happens on a regular basis, there could be more to it.

Interoception is our sense that handles the internal body sensations coming from our organs (including our skin). As our organs deliver signals to the brain (stomach growling, dry mouth, droopy eyes, etc), the brain gives meaning to these indicators (hunger, thirst, fatigue) and addresses them appropriately (eat, drink, sleep). These sensations and responses can vary from person to person.

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Motion Sickness and the Vestibular System

To get anywhere, we have to move; relying on forms of transportation to get us from point A to point B. However, it’s easier said than done when you’re a parent. Some kids don’t do well with movement outside of their control, including travel by car, boat, or even using the elevator. Thus, we get the ever-dreaded…motion sickness.

Motion sickness occurs when there’s conflicting information between what the eyes are seeing and what the body is experiencing. This can happen when we attempt to read a book while riding in a car, or experience turbulence while on a plane, or having “sea legs” after getting off a boat to name a few.

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More Than Meets the Eye: Visual Perception

We are visual beings.

How we assess our environment, learn new skills, or consume entertainment is primarily through our eyes. We rely on our visual system so heavily that many times we don’t need our additional senses (touch, taste, hear or smell our surroundings) to know what’s going on.

So, if our kids overlook important visual details (like putting on a matching pair of socks), or can’t recall what they saw (“Where did you put your backpack?”), or have trouble discriminating between numbers and letters, it can be very concerning to us as parents. About 75% of classroom activities rely on the visual system.

In our throwback post, we learned that visual perception is the total process responsible for receiving and interpreting what we see. It involves visual-receptive (how our eyes move and focus on an object) and visual-cognitive components (how we interpret visual information).

When your child’s visual processing is compromised, we’re quick to assume that they need glasses/contacts or other visual aids. Although that may be the case, other factors can play a role as to why they’re seeing things differently.

Food Wars Revisited: Picky Eating Strategies

We all seek autonomy, including toddlers.

Around 10 months of age, infants begin to realize that they have free will and can refuse parental requests and demands, and that includes food. Thus, we give you the rise of the picky eater.

Pick Your Eater

It’s worth noting that picky eating behavior is normal for toddlers since they are beginning to learn their likes/dislikes and how to advocate for themselves. These new eating habits can be stressful, especially if you’re worried that your child isn’t eating enough as they grow. Typically, a toddler can tolerate at least 20 different food items across the different food groups.

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