Two weeks ago we shared ways in which Speech and Language Pathologists (SLP) treat children with a variety of Speech, Language and Swallowing/Feeding difficulties. In that article we focused on birth to 6 months. This week’s article will cover your child’s development from 6-12 months of age. It should be noted that no two children develop the same set of skills at the same time and therefore the information presented below should only be used as a guideline. If you have concerns regarding your child’s Speech, Language or Feeding/Swallowing development, you should contact your physician to determine if your child should be evaluated by a Speech and Language Pathologist.

This week’s article will cover your child’s development from 6-12 Months

 

Pre-Speech Development

• Changes pitch of voice resulting in babbles that sound like questions
• Using a variety of mixed vowels and consonants when babbling

 

Pragmatics / Social Language Development
• Responds to “no”
• Responds to name and pats image of self in mirror
• Points to learn new vocabulary
• Tries to “talk” to listener
• Coos and squeals for attention
• Laughs when playing with objects
• Tries to communicate by actions and gestures
• Smiles at self in mirror
• Plays pat-a-cake and peek-a-boo games
• Copies simple actions of others
• Shouts to attract attention

 

Listening

• Responds to sound when a source is not visible
• Responds physically to music
• Stops an activity when name is called
• Recognizes words for common items
• Listens with increased interest to new words
• Begins to respond to simple requests such as “sit here”

 

Feeding

6-9 Months

• Upper lip moves to clean food off of spoon
• Stronger closure of sides of lips
• Tongue begins to move food to sides of mouth
• Increased tongue control and movements–up-down and forward-backward when sucking
• Munching pattern continues, with some diagonal jaw movement when “chewing”
• Poor jaw control for solids, does not know how wide or narrow to open mouth
• Drinks from a cup held by an adult, with some loss of liquid
• Reaches for a spoon when presented, bangs a spoon
• Prefers parent to feed them over other people
• Begins to learn pincer grasp to feed self soft items
What to Feed: Digestive and motor skills have reached a level where new types of food can be introduced
• Stage 2 pureed/strained foods
• Continue breastmilk or formula
• Begin soft foods that quickly dissolve/are easy to chew
• Cup is introduced
When beginning more textured solid foods:
• Introduce some mashed table foods
• Begin offering soft breads, cereals or starches, such as potatoes
• Offer soft, cooked, mashed vegetables one at a time
• Offer soft fruits, one at a time.
• Again, use single ingredients foods, not mixed foods, until allergies are ruled out

9-12 Months

• Lip movement increases- moves lips to clean food, lips are open while “chewing”
• Stronger lip closure with liquids, less leakage
• More controlled biting motions, learning how wide they need to open mouth for different foods
• Chewing improves-munching movements start to turn into rotary/rotating jaw movements
• Tongue has more control and is more stable, tongue moves separately from jaw
• Tongue moves food from center to sides of mouth and back, less “pocketing” of food in cheeks
• More self-feeding with finger foods
• Likes to play with food, just wants to hold spoon, not necessarily feed him/herself
• Imitates stirring with a spoon
• Better cup drinking skills
Tip: You can take the valve out of a sippy cup first to teach that there is liquid in there, otherwise the child may just mouth the spout and not drink
What to feed:
• Eats lumpy, mashed food
• Stage 3 baby foods (more texture, small chunks)
• Ground, junior or finely chopped table foods
• Will take longer to eat/keep food in mouth longer as things become more difficult to manage
• Continue with breast milk/formula
• Give solid foods after breastmilk or formula as these remain the primary form of nutrition until age 1

 

If you have concerns regarding your child’s Speech, Language or Feeding/Swallowing development, you should contact your physician to determine if your child should be evaluated by a Speech and Language Pathologist (SLP). If you have questions you can reach an SLP at North Country Hospital, Rehabilitation Department by calling 334-3260.

Submitted by: Kate Bailey, MS, CCC-SLP and Crystal O’Keefe, MA, CCC-SLP, Speech-Language Pathologists at North Country Hospital, who combined have over 23 years of experience.