Friday Favs: 5/24/13

friday favs

If you’re new to Friday Favs, this is where I post all of my favorite finds for the week.  Here’s some great stuff from this past week.  Enjoy!

1) I recently posted about the use of sippy cups for babies and toddlers.  Read all about the pros and cons of sippy cups here! Continue reading


To Use a Sippy Cup or Not Use a Sippy Cup, That is the Question…

If you’re like many parents, you may confused about if/when to introduce a sippy cup to your baby.  Your Mom may have told you that sippy cups are bad for your baby, but your doctor says it’s OK.  Confused yet?  That’s OK.  That’s why I’m here to give you the good and the bad about sippy cups. Continue reading

Using Expanded Sentences to Promote Your Child’s Language Development

expanded sentences

A great way to help your child with their speech and language development is to use expanded sentences.  You can expand nearly any utterance made by you or your child.  The use of expanded sentences helps your child learn correct grammar and helps build their vocabulary. Continue reading

Typical Speech & Language Development: Birth to Age 5

As a parent, you may be wondering, how do I know if my child is developing appropriately?  Here’s a great guide to help you know if your child is meeting his speech and language developmental milestones.  You can also check out my post about Speech and Language Warning Signs for more information.

Birth to 1 Year

Birth to 3 Months

  • Is startled by loud noises
  • Recognizes parents’ voices
  • Often quiets and/or smiles when spoken to
  • Coos (soft vowel sounds) when happy
  • May begin to respond with cooing sounds when someone is talking to them
  • Uses different cries for different needs
  • Responds and prefers “parentese” (high pitched baby talk)

4 to 6 Months

  • Makes eye contact
  • Responds/looks in direction of sounds
  • Likes to listen to music
  • Responds to changes in the tone of parents’ voice
  • Begins babbling with some consonant sounds (b, p, m)
  • Laughs
  • Vocalizes when upset or excited
  • May begin to recognize name
  • May say “mama” and “dada”

7 to 12 Months

  • Enjoys simple, repetitive games, such as peek-a-boo and patty cake
  • Listens when spoken to
  • Shows parents toys he is interested in
  • Recognizes common words, such as cup, milk, more, book, etc.
  • Responds to simple requests, such as “Come here” and “Want more?”
  • Babbling includes more consonant sounds
  • Begins to alternate and/or combine consonant sounds when babbling (ie: dada mama, bibibaba)
  • Uses non-crying vocalizations to get attention
  • Begins to use gestures to communicate, such as
    • Waving
    • Holding up arms to indicate he wants to be picked up
    • Using baby sign language (if you have been teaching sign language)
    • Imitating hand actions, such as “Itsy Bitsy Spider”
  • Imitates different speech sounds
  • Has 1-2 words by first birthday, such as mama, dada, baby, hi, animal sounds, etc.

1 to 2 Years

  • Points to a few body parts when asked
  • Understands and follows simple commands/questions (“Roll the ball,” “Come here,” “Are you hungry?”)
  • Listens to and requests simple songs and rhymes
  • Points to simple pictures in books upon request (ie: animals, babies, toys, etc)
  • Says new words every month
  • Produces some two-word phrases/questions (“What’s that?” “Go bye-bye?” “More cookie.”)
  • Uses many different consonant combinations
  • Answers basic wh questions, such as “What does the cow say?” and “Where is your nose?”

2 to 3 Years

  • Understands basic concepts, such as go/stop, in/out, on/off, big/little, up/down
  • Follows basic 2-step directions (Go find your shoes and put them on)
  • Maintains a longer attention span for stories
  • Regularly uses 2 to 3-word phrases
  • Is able to express his wants and needs
  • Uses k, f, g, t, d, and n sounds
  • Speech is understood by most listeners most of the time
  • Answers simple questions (What is your name?  How old are you?)

3 to 4 Years

  • Hears and responds when you call from another room
  • Answers simple who, what, where, and why questions
  • Talks about activities at school or at a friend’s house
  • Speech is understood by most strangers at least 75% of the time
  • Many sentences contain 4 or more words
  • Talks easily without repeating words or syllables
  • Is able to maintain a short conversation with an adult
  • Follows 3-step directions

4 to 5 Years

  • Pays attention to short stories and can answer simple questions about them
  • Understands most of what is said at home and school
  • Uses long, detailed sentences
  • Tells a simple narrative and stays on topic
  • Communicates easily with other children and adults
  • Says most sounds correctly.  May still have trouble with r, l, s, z, th, ch, sh
  • Is able to rhyme
  • Produces grammatically correct sentences
  • Is able to name some numbers and letters

Until next time,

Aersta Acerson

A Utah Speech Therapist

Autism Awareness Month


In light of Autism Awareness Month, I decided to write a post dedicated to Autism!  The prevelance of Autism has SKYROCKETED in recent years, and SLP’s are finding more and more children with Autism on their caseloads.  Therefore, it’s important for parents to know the basics about Autism and the warning signs to look for.

What is Autism?

Autism is characterized by deficits in three main areas: social interactions, communication, and a tendency to engage in repetitive behaviors.  Challenges and characteristics of children with Autism are as varied as the children themselves.  As the saying goes, “If you know one child with Autism, you know one child with Autism!”  So, although all children with Autism show some deficit in each of the three areas, the type and severity of the deficits vary widely.

What Causes Autism?

Researches are still looking for the answer to that question; however, we do know a few things about the cause of Autism.  First, there is no one cause.  Causes of Autism vary almost as widely as the types of Autism.  However, researchers have been able to isolate rare gene mutations that may be related to Autism.  Those genes, matched with environmental triggers that occur during pregnancy and shortly after birth, may be the cause of Autism in many instances.

Warning Signs of Autism

Social Skills

  • Poor eye contact
  • Fails to respond to name
  • Resists cuddling
  • Fails to understand others’ feelings
  • Prefers to play alone and retreats into his own world


  • Delayed language and/or loses previously acquired language skills
  • Does not follow directions
  • Repeats sentences said to him, but does not understand sentences
  • Difficulty participating in conversation


  • Performs repetitive movements, such as rocking, kicking, flapping, and spinning
  • Is agitated when routines are not followed exactly
  • May be sensitive to textures, light, sound, or certain foods

According to to, your child should see a doctor if they have any of the following warning signs:

  • Doesn’t respond with a smile or happy expression by 6 months
  • Doesn’t mimic sounds or facial expressions by 6 months
  • Doesn’t babble or coo by 12 months
  • Doesn’t use gestures, such as pointing and waving, by 12 months
  • Doesn’t say single words by 16 months
  • Doesn’t say 2-word phrases by 24 months
  • Loses previously acquired language and/or social skills at any age

What Should I Do If I am Concerned About My Child?

If you are concerned about your child’s development, see a doctor.  DO NOT WAIT!  A diagnosis of Autism is a scarey thing, but your child will still have Autism even if they are left undiagnosed.  Ignoring a problem will not make it disappear.  If your child does have Autism, or any other developmental disorder, it is best to find out early and begin treatment.  The sooner a child is diagnosed, the earlier they can begin treatment, and the better off they will be as they grow and develop.  Autism is a life-long disorder, but early and consistent treatment can greatly improve your child’s quality of life.

Until next time,

Aersta Acerson

A Utah Speech Therapist


Please visit the following websites for more information.

Help! My Child Isn’t Producing ANY Sounds!

On occasion, an SLP will see a young child who has no interest in producing sounds.  Often, these child have other developmental disorders (ie: Down Syndrome, Autism, etc), but occasionally the child simply has difficulty with and no interest in talking.  So, as a parent, what do you do?  One trick I like to use is to start by teaching children to imitate different noises.  For example, with a child who refuses or shows no interest in imitating phonemes, I like to start by teaching them to imitate animal or machine (cars, airplanes, etc) sounds.  Most children are interested in either animals or machines, so they are motivated to learn the sounds.  Start by playing with the child.  Pick several different animals and begin by producing the sounds yourself.  DO NOT force or strongly encourage the child to produce the sounds.  The idea is to get them interested in the activity.  Eventually, the child will attempt to copy the sounds himself.  Once this happens, make a big deal out of it, and encourage the child to repeat the sound again.  Once the child has attempted a few sounds on his own, you can begin to encourage and/or request the child to produce more.  For instance, if you are playing with animals and the child has shown interest in a cow, you can say, “Look, this is a cow!  The cow says moo.  Can you say moo?”  Do not scold the child if they do not choose to respond initially.  Eventually, they will respond on their own.  And guess what?  Now you have a great /m/ sound coming from a child who previously refused to imitate sounds!  From there, you can encourage the child to attempt simple words that begin with /m/, such as mom, more, etc.

Until next time,

Aersta Acerson

A Utah Speech Therapist