Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Down Syndrome Center at Hope Haven

Spotlight on Speech and Language

Why say ‘goodbye’ to the prized pacifier?

Do you have a toddler that is still using a pacifier?  Does the thought of throwing all pacifiers away scare you, as a parent?  I know how you feel!  The thought of change and taking something away that soothes your child is stressful, overwhelming, and scary.  Many Speech Language Pathologists recommend using a pacifier to stimulate a suckle at birth but by the time your baby turns one it is time to say goodbye to the pacifier.  So why do many Speech Language Pathologists recommend not using a pacifier after your child turns one or if they don’t need to stimulate the suck reflex?  Pacifiers can create an open bite that can in return affect speech production and tongue retraction.  Sound distortions are then difficult, if not impossible, to fix because of structural problems.  Many children then need to be referred to an orthodontist/dentist to fix any structural issues before beginning speech therapy.  Using a pacifier for a prolonged period of time also causes problems with tongue retraction because many children place their tongue under the nipple and use their tongue to suck.  So say ‘goodbye’ to these treasured pacifiers before it is too late! 

-Meredith Heck


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