“Communication is the key to human interaction” -Amanda Schaumburgh, SLP
Becoming a new parent is the journey of a lifetime. From hearing their first breath, to watching their first steps, there are many “firsts” that will fill you with a sense of awe and amazement. Of course, one of the most exciting moments in the lives of new parents is hearing that first word. Not only is it a sign of growth and development, it’s typically pretty adorable!
While parenting does come with many exciting moments, it comes with a few challenges as well. For example, what if that first word never comes, or maybe it comes later than expected? Despite the fact that children develop at different rates, certain linguistic events are expected to happen within a particular time frame. When a child’s ability to communicate seems delayed, new parents are prone to start experiencing significant worries. Although these fears are completely understandable, there is no need to panic. There are professionals out there who can help.
If your child experiencing a delay in his or her speaking abilities, it may be time to see a Speech Language Pathologist. If you are unfamiliar with the term, these are licensed professionals who deal with speech impediments. Through intensive coaching and therapy, a speech pathologist can figure out the underlying cause of a child's inability to meet their speech milestones. If you would like to learn more about delayed speech and important speech milestones, we have developed this article. Here, we will highlight some of the warning signs that your child may benefit from a little extra help.
Lack of Social Interaction
Most parents look forward to their child reaching new milestones, especially when that child is an infant. Because each day brings something new, even the smallest achievements seem miraculous. It is particularly fascinating to watch you new bundle of joy interact with friends and family. As your baby grows, here are some developments you have to look forward to:
1. From 0-3 months: you should notice that your baby responds with smiles and coo-ing.
2. From 7-12 months: you will hear your baby react with pointing and clapping.
3. From 7-24 months: you should notice your child gaining the ability to respond to your talking.
If your child has passed these benchmarks without noticeable development of the above mentioned skills, a speech therapist will be able to uncover the underlying cause. Remember, early detection is always beneficial. If you are unsure whether or not your child is experiencing a delay that might indicate a speech disability, take him or her in to be checked out by a professional.
Inability to Understand Your Child
Studies have shown that between 18 and 24 months, parents should be able to understand what their children are trying to convey to them. Note: this does not mean your child will have a perfect vocabulary by age 2; we cannot stress that enough. Your child is expected, and even encouraged to make mistakes in syntax and diction. By making mistakes, your child is learning which structures are correct.
English is a difficult language, but, as linguist Noam Chomsky asserts, we are all born with a universal grammar. Simply stated, a universal grammar is the innate ability to learn language. By age two, if your child has not yet found his or her voice, seeking a speech therapist is highly encouraged. Every child has the ability to speak a language effectively. With that being said, about 1 in 12 children has some sort of speech related disorder. The need for extra coaching is quite common, and will produce significant results.
Difficulties With Sound Production
Between the ages of two and three, you should see significant developments in your child’s speaking abilities. Around this time, you may also start to notice that your child has difficulties producing certain sounds. Before you start to worry, remember that some sounds are more difficult to make than others.
For example, if your child has a hard time with trilling (rolling) their “r’s,” this is to be expected. On the other hand, if your child is experiencing difficulties with the bilabials, i.e the sounds P,B,K,G etc., it may be time to start seeking the help of a speech pathologist. To find out whether your child’s ability to produce correct sounds is further behind than average, check out some research on child language acquisition.
If you feel that your child is struggling to keep up, or has yet to reach the milestones that we have mentioned. Check out the Speech Pathologist at Oakville Wellness. Their SLP will work with your child on a wide range of needs and ensure that he or she leaves confident in their abilities to succeed.
Relaxation is an important part of human life. Everyone loves to take breaks and recuperate from time to time, and relaxation is shown to reduce stress and have several health benefits. Approximately 77% of adults regularly experience physical symptoms as a result of stress. These symptoms can include headaches, insomnia, chest pain, and more, and they can lead to serious conditions like cardiovascular diseases and mental health problems. Making time for relaxation can help manage this stress and prevent it from manifesting physically. Techniques like meditation, breathing exercises, and rest help produce a relaxation response in the body which can decrease stress and stress-related conditions.
However, as helpful as relaxation can be, the age-old adage “too much of a good thing is a bad thing” applies to relaxation as well. When people achieve relaxation in the wrong ways or over-prioritize it in their lives, there can be unhealthy consequences just as dangerous as having too much stress. Here are some signs that your relaxation techniques might be more problematic than they are beneficial:
You Achieve Relaxation in Harmful Ways
There are both positive and negative ways to achieve relaxation. If you use negative ways to reach a state of relaxation, you are going to increase your stress levels and cause more damage than good. Abusing drugs, alcohol, or other substances might feel helpful in the moment, but these coping mechanisms are unhealthy and can have significant health risks. Addiction to drugs and alcohol can cause physical and emotional problems that can lead to severe bodily damage and even death. You should avoid using substances to try and reduce stress.
Other negative ways people use to try and manage stress include unhealthy or excessive habits. Overeating and binge-eating can be disastrous for your health, which will lead to increased stress and health problems like obesity and heart-disease. Seek help if your stress-managing eating habits have become out of control. Over using entertainment and binge-watching television has been linked with depression and loneliness. While it might be helpful to set aside time to watch television, play video games, or use other electronics to take a break, when you spend hours upon hours doing these activities, you put your health at risk. Poor coping habits like impulsive purchasing can devastate people financially and mentally, and it can also ruin marriages and other relationships. Make sure to avoid these habits when you are trying to deal with the stressors in your life.
Emotionally or physically cheating on a significant other is a surefire way to poison a relationship. Destroying your health and the relationships you have with people you care about is never a good way to manage the problems you are facing in life. If you are participating in any of these activities in order to feel relaxed, your relaxation is harmful, not helpful.
You Over-Prioritize Relaxation
While relaxation can have wonderful benefits for people who make time for it regularly, it can be problematic for people who dedicate too much time to it. If you are relaxing when you should be working or you are slacking off instead of taking care of your responsibilities, you are relaxing in a harmful way. Like anything else in life, relaxation needs to be balanced among your other duties. If you are sleeping or participating in other stress-relief activities when it is time to for you to go to work or take care of your children, then you are not achieving a healthy balance. In fact, sleeping too much can ruin your sleep schedule and cause insomnia. Carve out time for relaxation, but make sure that you have time to take care of your other duties as well. Make sure to relax in moderation.
You Use Relaxation to Avoid Conflict
If you are in a partnership or friendship where there are unhealthy problems that need to be handled, you should not seek relaxation in order to escape or cope with the conflict in those relationships. Do not be so relaxed that you are afraid to confront someone. Avoid using relaxation as a form of escapism in order to prevent yourself from having potentially hard conversations with others. Practice good communication and address issues in your relationships when necessary. Communication is a healthy way to begin to address conflict, and everyone involved will be better for it.
Your Relaxation Promotes Isolation
While it is definitely important to carve out time for yourself and have alone time, be wary if your relaxation techniques only involve isolation. It is important to be around others and to communicate to your friends and family when you are feeling overly-stressed or you are having a difficult time coping with problems in your life. Actively avoiding others is not a beneficial way to relax and it can cause you to feel lonely and depressed.
For more information or for help finding positive relaxation and coping techniques, visit Oakville Wellness Center.
No one likes doing chores, but they have to be done. On a typical day, around 85% of women and 67% of men spend time doing work around the house. This time is often met with frustration and annoyance. Like many other responsibilities you have to take care of in your life, chore time can be more tolerable if you actively work toward addressing and improving the issues that make them unpleasant. With a few changes to your housework routine, you can turn a stressful experience into one that is bearable and that does not interfere with your happiness. If you dread completing chores around the house, here are some tips to help make chore time less stressful:
Make a List
Compile a list of all of the work that you need to get done. This will help prevent you from forgetting anything that you need to do, and it will give you a sense of accomplishment each time you can cross an item off of the list. People are more likely to accomplish tasks that they write down. Take some time each week and write down the chores you need to finish each day. When you make a list, it is easier to divide chores between multiple people, so it can make completing chores easier if you have family members or roommates.
Spread Out Your Chore Time
Instead of doing your housework all at one time, try breaking your chores up into manageable segments. Look at your chore list and choose a couple items to get done in the morning and a couple for the evening. By splitting your chores up, you will avoid feeling overwhelmed by trying to complete an unmanageable amount of work all at once or in a limited amount of time.
Time management methods like the Pomodoro Technique encourage people to use timers to split their work into intervals with breaks in between. Try timing yourself so that you can work on chores for a set period of time and take a break for few minutes in between working. You might find that you will have more energy for your work and that work might feel like less of a burden when you have time to rest or do an activity you enjoy in between chores.
If you see something in your house that needs to be cleaned that you can take care of in five minutes or less, do it right away. You will be surprised by how much less housework you will have to manage if you are putting items away or wiping counters down a little bit at a time. Whenever you find little gaps of time throughout the day, spend a quick five or ten minutes taking care of some work around your home and decluttering. If you clean regularly, you will minimize the amount of work that you will have to do.
Divide Your Chores
If you are completing the brunt share of the household responsibilities, you will feel overwhelmed and stressed when it is time for you to take care of your house. Divide your chore list between you and the other members of your household. Create a chore chart or a chore wheel to make sure that chores are divided up evenly and fairly, or assign each person a specific area of the house to be responsible for cleaning. Splitting your chores between multiple people will make chore time less stressful.
If you live with other people, it is important that you communicate with them about shared household responsibilities. Set clear expectations about which person needs to take care of which duty, and make sure that there are rules and boundaries in place to ensure these responsibilities are completed. Save yourself a lot of stress and trouble by making sure everyone understands their role when it comes to chores around the house.
Offering incentives for completing housework is a great way to motivate others (or yourself) to finish your chores. Reward yourself with a break, a snack, or something else you enjoy every time you cross a task off of your chore list. Offering praise or other incentives can also be beneficial for young children who have assigned housework.
Avoid Making Clutter
Set up designated places around your house for your shoes, keys, mail, and any other potential clutter. If you are holding something that will only take a couple minutes to put away, go ahead and take care of it right away when you are finished using it. This will help you avoid making a mess that you will have to clean up later. When you cook, clean as you go. The less clutter you leave around, the easier it will be for you during your chore time. Keep yourself from having a stressful chore time by preventing and eliminating messes.
For tips on how to communicate with others and manage stress, visit Oakville Wellness Center.
On July 24, actress and singer, Demi Lovato was hospitalized after an alleged drug overdose. Lovato, who recently celebrated six years of sobriety this past spring, has been vocal with her fans about her struggles with cocaine and alcohol addiction and her time spent in rehab. This past June, she released a single, “Sober” where she apologized to listeners for relapsing on her sobriety, leading many to worry that she was abusing drugs and at a high-risk for an overdose. Almost a week after the incident, Lovato remains hospitalized, and it is unclear how this incident will influence her health physically, mentally, and emotionally. News of Lovato’s overdose has been difficult on her family, friends, and her fans, many of whom have reached out to show their support for the singer.
When a person struggles with addiction, overdose, and recovery, it has a major impact on everyone who is close to that person. If your loved one has suffered from or been hospitalized due to an overdose, it is more important than ever for you to be there for them as they recover. Here are some thoughts to keep in mind as you help your loved one navigate this tumultuous time physically and emotionally:
Provide an Emotional Support System
Surviving an overdose is traumatic, and a survivor will need to return to a strong emotional support system. When a person survives an overdose, they are going to have to manage a lot of tough emotions. They might feel angry or betrayed because they were not able to prevent the incident from occurring or because they feel like they can no longer trust the friends or dealer who supplied them with the drug. Many people who go through this experience feel afraid that it will happen again, or they might be fearful of how the people in their life will react. If the overdose was a suicide attempt, individuals who survived might feel a sense of shame or failure because the attempt was unsuccessful. They might also have an increased desire to kill themselves. Remember that your loved one went through a traumatic experience and is wrestling with the emotional aftermath, and keep that in mind when you are trying to communicate and support him or her. Be patient and speak without judgment or criticism. It will involve the help of professionals and a solid emotional support system to help them cope during this difficult time, but you can help by trying to understand his or her feelings and practicing positive communication.
Address Underlying Issues
Many times people overdose because they take too much or an unknown strand of a drug. These individuals might do this because they are desperate for drug-provided relief or they are actively trying to commit suicide. It is important to remember that when a person survives an overdose, the reason why they abused drugs in the first place has not automatically been fixed by their harrowing experience. The underlying anxiety, stress, or depression that led them to this incident is still alive and well, and they will need help from professionals to address these issues and learn how to practice safe coping strategies. It is crucial for you to understand that the individual is likely struggling with pre-existing issues on top of the new ones that will arise as a result of surviving an overdose. Provide support and encouragement to your loved one as they communicate with therapists and work through the problems that contributed to their overdose.
Seek Counseling and Practice Self-Care
When someone overdoses, it is painful for everyone involved in that person’s life. Make sure that you do not neglect taking care of yourself while you help your loved one. If at all possible, try to decrease your responsibilities during this time. Avoid taking on too much work while you are trying to handle your own emotions surrounding the event. Seek help from a therapist or a licensed professional if you are having a difficult time coping with this tragedy. If you are close to someone who overdoses, you might notice their wide array of emotions can be directed toward you. It might be beneficial for you to speak with a therapist if you find it hard to deal with their emotions or behavior.
Know Risk Factors
Know the factors that contribute to overdose and put strategies in place to help prevent a repeat overdose from occurring. Repeat overdoses are extremely dangerous and can cause long-term damage to internal organs, brain damage, and death. Individuals are at a higher-risk of repeat overdoses if they are struggling with depression, have chronic illnesses that influence their nervous system, or if they have been diagnosed with a mental illness. Watch for warning signs like increased impulsivity, dramatic changes in mood or sleeping habits, and personality changes. It is essential that you and other members of the individual’s emotional support system are aware of these factors and encourage the individual to seek counseling as soon as possible after an overdose. Get in touch with the other positive influences and people who care about the survivor in order to make sure your loved one is getting the support and care that they need.
For more information about addiction, or for help finding a therapist for you or your loved one who is struggling with recovery, visit Oakville Wellness Center.