Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Raspberries and Speech Acquisition

"Does your child blow raspberries (spit bubbles)?" That's a question that keeps coming up Whitney's developmental surveys. I always wondered why teaching my kids to spit had any developmental relevance. Whitney has never learned this skill even though my son, Liam, is fast becoming a pro at it.

It turns out that spit bubbles are very important. They represent one of the the child's first efforts control air movement. It's the blowing part that's relevant and without it speech can't properly develop.

My wife and I have seen this at home. We've been working on "buh" and "mah" sounds. Whitney will mimic the mouth shape and lip positions for those sounds, but no actual sound comes out. That's partly because no air is moving. Blowing raspberries or blowing bubbles through a straw is one of the best ways to teach little ones to get that air moving.

So with the blessing of my daughter's new speech therapist and the help of my infant son, we're going to be honing our spit bubble skills. Should be a fun time! By the way, this marks the first of many times to come when my little son will be teaching his older sister a new skill. It figures that the life skill of spitting would be first!

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