Toddler Pig “Aha!” Speech Moment

Did my title catch your attention? Hope so 🙂 So, I had a major-really-should’ve-already-known-this-one “aha!” moment a couple of days ago. If you’ve read my bio, you already know that I am a mother. What you don’t know is that I have 2 daughters; my youngest is 18 months old and her big sister will be 5 soon. A parent can’t help but mentally compare when one child started walking versus the other or how much one talked at a certain age versus the other (or maybe that’s just speech-language therapy mommas! I’ll never know any different, so…) I have took note that my oldest was saying much more and putting 2-word utterances together more often when she was 18 months old as compared to my youngest. As a speech-language pathologist and/or a person who has received a lot of parenting advice, I know not to hand my children something every time they point or grunt and I read to them frequently, expand on their utterances, engage in conversation with them, yada yada yada. Point is, my youngest is not talking as much as my oldest did at that age and as far as I know, I’m rearing my youngest the same as I did my oldest when she was that age. Now before anyone gets their undies in a wad ;), I don’t believe in comparing siblings to each other constantly and I appreciate individuality; as a mother and a speech-language pathologist, I can’t help but be concerned because maybe I just like to worry about things…

First, a quick background concerning my youngest. She absolutely LOVES to be read to. LOVES it, CRAVES it, ADORES it. Especially, books that involve animals. Naturally, when I point to an animal that she is frequently (we’re talking the same animal book 10 different times a day on a daily basis some weeks) exposed to through books, I would expect her to spontaneously tell me what that animal’s name is or at least repeat the word after me without much coaxing. Nope. Hasn’t been happening. She’ll tell me what sound the animal makes if I ask, but will not name the animal (pig, horse, cow, etc.) Well, being blessed to live on a farm, we have access to pigs, cows, sheep, goats, and chickens. A couple of days ago, the girls and me took a walk (aaaaahh, lovely summer break) and ended up at the barn where the pigs live. “Piiiiiiiig!,” shouted my 18 month old with a wonderful emphasis on the vowel. She said this one her own. We walked silently up to the barn and neither me or my almost 5 year old spoke a word for my youngest to mimic. “Gasp!” was my first response and then, “Momma! Momma! She said pig!,” shouted my almost 5 year old.

My “aha!” moment: multiple facets of exposure, people. That’s what the kids need. Your kids, my kids, all kids. As a speech-language pathologist, I already knew that. kenya moore obvi GIF

BUT, I was not tapping into ALL the areas as a mother. Some children are visual and/or auditory learners, like my first one. I would tell her something, show her a picture, she had it. Some need to actually experience it in the flesh. An oinking, odiferous, walking thing for my little one to make the connection with and/or be motivated to utter it’s name. For my biological children, I can work with this. I can make it happen by exposing them to a wide span of speaking and language learning opportunities. My children that I do speech therapy with at my paid job? No, unless school rules have changed, I’m not allowed to bring a pig-in-it’s-unaltered form to my therapy room for my students who have limited receptive or expressive language, but other than just showing them pictures, toys, and videos, I could also I could also bring objects in that feel like a bristly pig’s hair for them to touch while they listen to me read about a pig, or play with the toy pig, or while they are watching a video about pigs (I’m thinking a really old, stiff paintbrush with really short bristles. Not perfect, but a start….) We talk about many more things than pigs while I am at work with my therapy students, but ya’ll get what I’m saying…

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