Fruits vs. Veggies: Where do I start?

It seems like everyone has an opinion on what you should be feeding your child- extended family members included. Some say starting with fruit will develop a lifelong preference for sweet things. Don’t kids need vegetables to thrive? Absolutely! But guess what- that’s not all they need. The important building blocks of vegetables such as vitamins, minerals and fiber can all be found in fruit as well. So don’t sleep on introducing a wide variety of foods to your little one. The key here is introducing a wide variety of foods consistently. Don’t stop at fruit! Don’t stop at vegetables! Seat your little one at the table with you, involve them in the conversation and model the joy of eating.

Here are some tips to starting solids:

  1. Begin with single-ingredient, easily digestible foods. Solids are a whole new world for your little one’s body (and belly!).
  2. Offer small, age-appropriate portions and watch how your little enjoys- or is surprised by- new flavors.
  3. Be patient, as it may take several attempts before a child develops a taste for a new food. In many instances, they have no baseline for comparison. All flavors are a brand new experience! It can take 17-25 trials of flavor before a preference is developed. Be persistent.
  4. Introduce one new food at a time and wait a few days before introducing another to monitor for any adverse reactions or allergies.
  5. Continue to breastfeed or provide formula as your baby’s primary source of nutrition, as solids are meant to complement milk feedings during the first year of life.

Transitioning your child to solid foods is an exciting next step in their feeding journey. We are with you every step of the way.

What is Augmentative and Alternative Communication?

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) refers to a set of strategies, tools, and techniques designed to support individuals with communication difficulties in expressing themselves effectively. AAC is used when speech or natural language is insufficient or unavailable due to various reasons, such as developmental disorders, neurological conditions, physical disabilities, or injuries. AAC systems provide a means for individuals to communicate, participate in social interactions, and engage in daily activities.

Some common forms of AAC include:

  • Picture Communication Systems: These involve using pictures or symbols to represent words, ideas, and actions. Individuals can point to or select the appropriate pictures to convey their messages.
  • Communication Boards: These are typically physical boards or charts with a grid of symbols or words that an individual can point to or touch to communicate.
  • Voice-Output Devices (Speech Generators): These electronic devices or apps allow users to select symbols or words, and the device generates speech output to convey the message.

In addition to these communication tools, there are various access methods for all types of communicators including switch use and eye gaze methods. Everyone has the right to communicate their wants and needs, thoughts and ideas. It may take a little exploration, but there is a communicative tool for all communicative needs.

What is a Speech-Language Pathologist?

Assisting with Communication

In simple terms, a speech-language pathologist is like a communication expert. Their primary goal is to help people who have difficulty speaking, understanding language, or making their wants, needs and opinions known. They work with both children and adults, focusing on improving communication skills, whether it involves speaking, listening, using sign language, or other communication devices.

Aiding with Feeding Challenges

SLPs are an essential resource for individuals, especially children, who experience feeding and swallowing difficulties. These issues can manifest as trouble with chewing, swallowing, or managing food safely. When a person has trouble with these basic functions, it not only affects their nutrition but also poses potential safety risks during mealtimes. SLPs evaluate these concerns and provide targeted therapies to help improve a person’s ability to eat and drink more comfortably and safely. SLPs also work to increase the variety of foods a person consumes and assists with creating positive mealtimes.

Nurturing Literacy Skills

Another crucial aspect of an SLP’s work involves nurturing literacy skills. Literacy encompasses the ability to read and write, which are fundamental skills in education and life. Children who struggle with reading, writing, and spelling may seek the help of an SLP. These specialists provide tailored instruction and strategies to help improve these skills. Furthermore, SLPs can identify and address any underlying language issues that may hinder a child’s ability to comprehend and effectively use written language.

In a nutshell, an SLP is a communication expert who assists with talking, understanding, eating, and reading and writing. Their dedicated efforts make it easier for individuals to communicate with others, enjoy their meals, and become more proficient at reading and writing.

3 Tips for Introducing New Foods to your Toddler

Incorporating new foods into a toddler’s diet can be a delicate process. Toddlers love to assert control over their environment however they can. One thing they can consistently control is what goes into their bodies. It’s important for caregivers to remember that they are responsible for providing the food. It’s up to their little one to decide what they will eat. Here are three effective strategies to partner with your child in expanding their preferences:

  1. Gradual Introduction: Start by gradually introducing new foods alongside familiar ones. Don’t give into being a short order cook! Serve a small portion of what the family is eating alongside preferred foods for the child. It’s up to them to interact with the food.
  2. Positive Role Modeling: Children often mimic the eating habits of those around them, so set a positive example. Enjoy the new food yourself, and let your toddler see you eating it with enthusiasm. Describe the taste and texture in a positive way, and avoid negative comments about the food. Your child may be more willing to try it if they see you enjoying it.
  3. Make It Fun and Creative: Turn mealtimes into an adventure by making new foods visually appealing and interactive. Let them choose their own plates and utensils. Involving your toddler in the preparation process, such as washing vegetables or arranging them on the plate, can make the experience more engaging and pique their curiosity.

Remember that it’s an ongoing process to explore new foods with a little one. Be patient and avoid any putting any pressure on the child to eat. Offer new foods alongside familiar favorites and help them to trust their intuition for what they want to eat. It’s essential to maintain a positive and stress-free mealtime environment to cultivate a more adventurous palate.

Let’s work together to create the ideal mealtime experience for your family!