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the eric update - day 486: how big is odin?! or creating communication opportunities.

some might recall that odin scored on the low side of "normal" for communication skills during his recent developmental assessment when compared to age adjusted peers. and while nobody is saying that he's delayed in his speech skills, we were encouraged to keep a closer account of how he's progressing and most importantly to actively attempt to increase the number and complexity of our "communication opportunities" during the day.

one simple suggestion was that we more frequently play the "so big" game where we emphatically ask "how big is odin?! and pause before answering with our hands raised above our hands, "Sooooooooo big!"

he's a quick study and it only took a repition or two before he was exitedly raising his hands in response to our question. he's not interested in verbally responding yet, but the hope is that will change with time.

another interesting suggestion was to more frequently offer odin two choices to get him to think beyond "yes" and "no". so at meals, instead of asking "do you want water?" as we hand him the cup of water, we should offer up two glasses and ask him "do you want the water or the milk?"

a visitor on the website left a comment recommending the hanen center as a useful resource for books that seek to "coach parents on how to create the maximum number of communicative opportunities for their babies" which looks quite helpful.

of course, we're always interested in other suggestions!

because we've already heard from parents who think we're making much ado about nothing ( in the best possible way, really ), i should reiterate that we're not overly concerned about odin's communication skills at this point, but since over fifty percent of infants born at 23-28 weeks need some sort of help with speech by the time they reach school age, we think it's not a bad idea to err on the side of caution earlier rather than later.

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11/02/2005 09:15:00 PM 3 comments


carters mom: "Ahh, is it a preemie thing or a BOY thing?? "

indeed! that is the question :-) as you said, we're not too concerned at this point, but it can't hurt to look for more "communication opportunities". regardless, even his developmental specialist said it's entirely possible that he might be the "strong silent type" just like carter. and, truth be told, his pops :-)

By Blogger e3, at 10:56 PM  

It's great that you're paying attention to this issue now. Best case scenario, in a couple of months when Odin is blabbering away, you look back at this time and say, "What were we worrying about?" For now, it's great to put the effort in while he's young and he has the greatest plasticity. A couple of TIPS:
Teach Odin conversational skills like turn taking by getting him to take turns with vocalizations and gestures. If he says something, say something back. Then wait for him to take a turn.
Imitate Odin. Say the same sounds he says. Make the same gestures he makes. See if you can get him to imitate you.
Point things out. Fill his world with words that have all kinds of sounds and intonations. Label things.
Set the stage... Teach Odin verbal routines (like So Big) and then leave out a word or gesture and get him to make a sound.
Consider supplementing his communicative repertoire with Baby Signs. More is a common sign that many babies enjoy using. By using signs, he will learn about communication- I do something, then something happens (and it's the same thing every time). This is what you want him to learn at this point.
Another thing to consider using is pictures. Take pictures of things that Odin likes (like juice, apples, etc.) Print, laminate, and put a magnet on the back. Keep these on the refrigerator. When he wants something, get him to bring you the picture. If pictures are too astract, try using the actual objects. If he wants juice, he has to give you his cup. If he wants an apple, he must give you a wooden apple.
Hope you find these helpful!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:26 PM  

Anonymous: "Hope you find these helpful!"

wow - thanks! they all look like great suggestions - especially using magnets on the fridge. he has a couple of games already on the refrigerator so i think putting magnets for stuff on he wants could work out great.

By Blogger e3, at 1:03 PM  

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this site chronicles the continuing adventures of my son, odin, who was unexpectedly born on the fourth of july at 25 weeks gestation, weighing 1 pound 7 ounces.

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