In my previous entry, I discussed some of the measures I've taken to manage my three-year-old daughter's speech delay. Since then, instead of just pointing like she used to, she has started talking more and communicating what she wants. Like her brother, I believe her speech delay is more transient. Actually, the entire family was involved in encouraging her to speak. Her older sister and brother, in particular, because they spend a lot of time playing\u00a0together. I also ask her nursery caregivers about her interaction there, and they claim she has started talking to them and the other kids. Nonetheless, I am concerned since I sometimes have to guess what my daughter is stating because I am unable to make up the phrases she's saying. Her elder sister is the only one who can always translate what she says. \u00a0Then, one day, after paying close attention to her speech, I realised that it's not so much that she doesn't know what to say but that she can't pronounce just ONE Letter correctly! Observing My Daughter Pronouncing Words with the Letter 'L' My little girl is growing chattier. She was telling her dad about her mushroom soup in this photo. One thing is for sure, my daughter loves to sing. She would literally butcher the lyrics if she didn\u2019t know them as long as she gets the melody right. Anyway, she was saying something one day when it occurred to me that she has a problem saying the letter 'L'. I mean She can pronounce the letter 'L' on its own, but she can't seem to conjure up the sound when it's in a word. For example, Eyeball becomes 'eyeboy' Colour becomes 'coyour' Yellow becomes 'yeyyow' Every word with an 'L' becomes a 'Y', including her own name. Since then, I've been wondering what I can do to help her because it's only that one letter. At the same time, I'm trying to teach her more vocabulary in both English and Bahasa Malaysia. I found all kinds of suggestions and methods from experts and other mothers online, and one, in particular, piqued my interest: the Tongue Twister game. While looking for advice and information about how serious my daughter's speech problem is, I came across a condition called speech sound disorder. In case there are any parents out there who are concerned about their children's speech, I'd want to provide some details on this. I think it's helpful to be aware of facts like this so I can compare my child's symptoms and determine when it's time to seek professional help. So, What About Speech Sound Disorder? Image credit: Canva According to Child Mind Institute, speech sound disorder is a communication disorder in which children have trouble speaking clearly and making the necessary sounds to communicate. They may have difficulty controlling their voices or producing specific sounds. Some also have speech issues, such as stuttering or lisping. This should not be confused with a language disorder. Speech sound disorders solely affect the ability to produce sounds. A language issue affects how well a person uses and comprehends language in general. Children with speech sound disorders do not have difficulty understanding language. A child may exhibit the following specific symptoms of a speech sound disorder: \tTrouble moving the jaw, tongue, and lips \tStruggling to make specific speech sounds \tNot speaking as well as other children their age \tNot speaking clearly enough for others to understand \tSuddenly changing pitch or volume while talking \tHoarse, raspy, or nasal voice \tRunning out of air while speaking \tLisping or stuttering \tHaving a hard time chewing, blowing their nose, or otherwise using muscles in their face (Source: Child Mind Institute) Be sure to acquire a diagnosis and seek treatment if you notice any of the aforementioned signs in your children. This is significant because kids with speech sound disorders could find it awkward to play or talk to other kids. This could then occasionally lead to social anxiety or depression. Experimenting with Tongue Twister for Speech Therapy My daughter doesn't exhibit any of the symptoms, so I decided to give Tongue Twister a try. Remember how much fun it was to race your buddies to see who could say Tongue Twisters the fastest? The \u201cRed Lorry, Yellow Lorry\u201d is my personal favourite! Which is ideal for my daughter to practice saying words containing the letter 'L'. Of course, I won't be satisfied with just one Tongue Twister. There are so many that I've found online that I decided to make a primary list of what I've chosen for my daughter, which are as follows: Since this is still a new game for my little girl, I don't want to force it on her and bore her. So far, we've only played a couple of times. I'm thinking about creating a routine to play the game\u00a0every evening and getting her other siblings to join in as well. Aside from the ones shown above, I'll look for some other tongue twisters that the kids will enjoy. By the way, you should know that tongue twister is a great tool for anyone who wants to improve their articulation and perfect their pronunciation. The muscles you use to talk are stretched and strengthened by practising tongue twisters. With practice, better pronunciation and more lucid speech patterns develop. This is how Tongue Twister can help improve speaking abilities. Other Speech Therapy Strategies That Could Be Beneficial Every night, my daughter and I have a bedtime talk to encourage her speaking. Beside tongue twisters, I often ask my daughter to make the syllables of 'L' sound like le-le-le, la-la-la, and lo-lo-lo and I also use bedtime chat to encourage her to speak. Additionally, Reid Health has revealed several other methods that may help with children's speech issues: \tFocus on what the child can do rather than what he or she can\u2019t While it is vital to focus on advances in speaking, don't forget to celebrate other tiny accomplishments such as picking up toys, being polite, or using the restroom. And resist the temptation to tolerate bad behaviour simply because the child has a speech disorder. \tReduce background noise and distractions during learning sessions and at other times According to research, watching too much television can impede language development since parents do not talk to their children as much as they should. When children are spoken to, they learn to speak more effectively. \tAsk questions and listen carefully and patiently to the responses Interrupting the child and expecting him or her to 'just spit it out' can cause anxiety, which will exacerbate the situation. Allow him or her to figure things out on his or her own. However, don't become too attentive or the child will become agitated. Try not to add pressure by demanding perfection to the discourse. \tMake use of straws Drinking liquids or blowing air through them will help your child develop the muscle strength in the mouth required for clear speech. Make it a game by grabbing a ping-pong ball and seeing whether he or she can blow it through a goal you've set up or keep the ball at the end of the straw by sucking air through it. \tReading to your child regularly and having them read it back to you provide good reinforcement. Even if the kid is too young to read words, having them describe what they see in the book and recalling the context from hearing it will help them speak more clearly and with more confidence. Final Note: The most important thing to remember in this situation is to retain a clear mind and not become harsh with our children. When we are calm, our children will be as well, making it easier to resolve issues ;) For more insightful stories and fun recipes, stay tuned to Motherhood Story!