Monthly Archives: December 2010

Help! My Child Drools!!

As parents there are certain behaviours that are acceptable and even expected when our children are young infants, but that are cause for concern if they continue as our children become toddlers and preschoolers.  Drooling is one such behaviour.  A drooling infant is  very common and is something we expect our children to grow out of.  BUT, what if s/he doesn’t stop drooling? When does drooling become a problem?  Are there ways to reduce drooling in our children?

Most professionals agree that drooling is acceptable up to 2 years of age or when teething is coming to an end.  After this age, we do not expect to see children drool excessively or uncontrollably as saliva production slows down.  Saliva is necessary for various functions, including speech and eating; however, excessive saliva production and drooling can have negative effects in a variety of areas.

Parents can work with their child at home to reduce the amount of drooling.  The following tips may be beneficial (depending on the cause of the drooling):

  • Take away the pacifier or limit pacifier use to nap time and bed time
  • Encourage your child to use a sippy cup or drink from a straw instead of using a bottle
  • Teach your child about the difference between a “wet” face and “dry” face
    • Use a mirror to help him/her understand what you are talking about
  • If drooling is excessive, have your child wear a sweat band on his/her wrist so that s/he can be in control of cleaning up drool
  • Provide positive feedback to your child when s/he is controlling drooling

Written by: Carolyn Davidson, speech-language pathologist, The Speech Therapy Centres of Canada Ltd.

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Just Give Him the Toy!

 

Many children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) have what the medical model calls “repetitive or restricted interests.” Although these interests, fascinations, or rituals may seem “strange” to us, they offer the child sensory stimulation and relief. Allowing your child to engage with his or her special interest, whether that is magazines or bottle tops, provides them with a sense of calmness.  For example, sitting in solitude is their oxygen, it helps block out negative thoughts, eases their anxiety from the day and provides a sense of predictability that they need.

Often parents believe that by giving their child this special interest (book, stamps, train) they are “giving in” to them and losing control. Instead, we should shift our mindset to thinking that this interest gives us something to work with- a motivator.

The following are some ideas for incorporating special interests into day to day activities (using the example of trains):

  • Take out all the trains  you have at home and make it a counting activity,
  • Have your child sort through a pile or trains, finding the ones that are the same or different,
  • Draw pictures of trains, commenting on what you see (E.g. “I spy…”),
  • Make a mystery bag of trains where your child has to reach in the bag and describe what he/she feels and when he/she takes it out describes what he/she sees,
  • Use the trains to work on goals such as prepositions. Hide the trains between, on top, beside, inside and under  furniture and walk around the house together giving clues where the trains are hidden (E.g., under the desk, between the books),
  • Create a schedule to outline what he/she will be doing that day and cut and paste trains on the schedule to make it more visually appealing, and
  • Read a book together with characters that are trains or other modes of transportation he/she enjoys.

These are only a few ideas using trains; however these examples could be applied to many different interests. Be creative and have fun! Use your child’s strengths to motivate, facilitate and engage them in activities!

 This blog was inspired from a lecture given by Temple Grandin at the Geneva Conference for Autism, November 2010.

Written by: Ashleigh Wishen, Speech-Language Pathologist, The Speech Therapy Centres of Canada Ltd.