You're probably thinking, how could a speech therapist possibly use a sucker to help benefit their patient? Sure they taste great, but how beneficial could they really be?
There are a lot of kids that come into Circle Creek Therapy that have trouble pronouncing certain sounds. During a therapy session, our SLPs will teach our patients new ways to maneuver their mouth in order to make a certain sound. Our speech therapists call that kind of therapy “articulation”. As you can imagine, it is not always easy to do this. But luckily, we have some very creative staff.
For example, if a child is having a hard time pronouncing the sound “k” as in “kite”, that usually means that the child is saying “tite”. When children are making this mistake, they are pushing their tongue to the front of their mouth, instead of to the back. Since this position of your mouth is hard to show someone, an SLP can whip out a lollipop. They use the lollipop to push their tongue back, so that they can make the “k” sound. Our suckers taste delicious, and they are very helpful during our sessions. It’s a win for everyone!
SLPs can also use suckers during their sessions with patients who have difficulty swallowing. My grandfather had spine surgery and after the surgery, my grandfather’s epiglottis wasn't working. The epiglottis is the part in your throat that closes your windpipe when you swallow so that your food does not enter your airway. His stopped working because the doctor accidently hurt some nerves that controlled the opening & closing of his epiglottis. Because of this, he had to put a feeding tube through to his stomach. Otherwise, he couldn't get any nutrients.
But since he couldn’t chew anything, he became very frustrated and depressed. Later his epiglottis starting working, but in the meantime, Papa sucked on a lot of lollipops. He couldn’t eat, so therefore he couldn’t taste his favorite foods anymore. He wasn't allowed to swallow or chew on the sucker, but he could at least taste it. Without the help of Papa's speech therapist, we would have never thought of that idea! It made Papa's healing process much more bearable.
Interested to learn more about our speech therapists? Give us a call at 253.237.3405!