“We’re starting to get wonderful feedback from qualified speech pathologists about how they’re using our product to coach their little patrons onto different foods, we’re always delighted to hear of more creative applications for Mashblox to help kids and their parents. Our dear customer service specialist Cecille has been kind enough to share her journey with her son’s speech delay, and how she’s using Mashblox to make learning about more than food fun.
- Alix, Inventor, Founder, CEO”
Puppet Tactic: ‘We let them speak’
By Cecille De Guzman
Let me be upfront that I don’t have any qualifications in Speech Pathology or Speech Therapy. I am just a parent developing creative ways to support my three-year-old son to overcome his speech delay.
I’ve questioned myself many times --what can I do to help my son? Honestly, I felt envy to parents with less than 3-year-old child who can sing nursery rhymes and count 1,2,3 already. I’ve asked myself many questions. Where did I go wrong? What should I do to help my child?
I stopped blaming myself and searched for the answers. I seek professional help for my son because it is definitely the best answer. However, therapy sessions demand so much of my time as a working mum. Good news is, therapy sessions can be complemented with home activities which I found effective for me and my child. We still need to see his therapist on a weekly, or sometimes, a bi-monthly schedule for a speech therapy session.
I’ve taken heaps of tips and found myself reading a lot about effective home activities for kids with speech delay. I have joined closed groups for parents with speech delay children. I understand that it is one of the challenging journeys of being a parent, and I need to step up intuitively and creatively.
My son is fond of storybooks, kids magazines, and visual aids. We usually have a storytelling activity before bedtime or during weekends. This is an interesting activity because he points his finger at the picture and babbles syllables that are music to my ears. He can’t say a complete word, except ‘Papa’ and ‘Mama’. I know when he jumbles these syllables, he’s taking the first step to a milestone.
Thinking about an alternative way of storytelling, I picked up an empty Mashblox where he had gloriously eaten his tiny panda-head-shaped biscuits. I did ‘squeeze and release’ it on both sides to look like a mouth talking. The lid opening seems to look like it’s talking while I voice out the words.
Eureka! It felt so good to see the reaction on his face like he’s completely awe. Since then, when I teach him how to say a word, I do it with Mashblox as a puppet tactic. My son loves his Mashblox so much, and sometimes he grabs it curiously to do the babbling himself. As much as he loves it during mealtimes, he loves to have it on playful activities where he can learn new things.
Parents don’t run out with fun and cool ideas. I recently discovered such an amazing tactic to encourage my son to speak or react to what I’m telling him. I teach him how to say syllables, words, to sentences, but he’s such an observant learner so I end up doing most of the talking. It’s totally fine. Because they say ‘patience is a virtue’, I have no reason to quit on this process at all.
I’ve read something about a message directly spoken to a child helps develop his communication skills rather than just saying it indirectly. A puppet tactic is a fun way to encourage my son to speak and repeat what I say. It even worked to my 2-year-old niece, Jasmine who is fond of imitating the words spoken to her.
Let me share to you a video I created about how we do the puppet tactic, and how fun and engaging it can be.
I’m sure it’s fun to see a little tactile ‘blox’ seems-like talking, and the kids’ reaction to this could be different. My son tends to feed its lid opening with his favourite biscuit snack. Incredible how he shows such a good gesture of sharing his food. It may or may not let your child speak at first try but be persistent enough to keep them entertained and engaged in a fun activity. For parents with older kids, it can lead to an ideal conversation about what they eat out of Mashblox. Try asking them how they go about using it, or maybe suggesting cool fruity snack while they play.
I see boundless benefits for my child as he grows with his Mashblox.
On a recent SourceKids Disability Expo held in Melbourne, I gladly shared my quote below. More than promoting healthy eating habits at an early age and leading the way to independent self-feeding, Mashblox has proven it’s worth as a clever invention by its founder, inventor, and CEO Alix O’Hara.
“Wonderful discovery! Mashblox is very helpful in supporting lip and tongue coordination development! We use a ‘puppet tactic’ to help with his speech delay therapy”
I felt so delighted to share this wonderful discovery to parents like me with a speech delay child. Mashblox has proven its genuine purpose in terms of healthy eating, hygienic and independent feeding. Moreover, it can be used as an improvised puppet tactic to help surpass the speech delay stage.
With Mashblox, aside from helping children to self-feed-- We let them speak.