Posts Tagged 'siblings'

Myth busting: Speech delay in siblings

Brothers

Myth: Younger siblings can have a speech and language delay because the older sibling(s) will interpret or speak for the younger child, possibly resulting in a need for speech-language therapy.

Truth: Parents often attribute a speech and language delay to a child being a younger sibling. However research shows that birth order isn’t a risk factor for speech and language delays; having an older sibling who speaks for a younger sibling doesn’t cause a delay in speech and language skills. Although if a child has a delay, it is more likely others will talk for him/her.

While being a second (or third, fourth, etc.) sibling does not cause a speech and language delay, it can impact early language skills. Several research studies found:

  • First-born children reach the 50-word milestone earlier than later-born children. Later-born children quickly catch up, so there are no lasting differences in vocabulary.
  • First-born children have more advanced vocabulary and grammar skills, while later-born children have more advanced conversational skills.
  • Second-born children are more advanced with use of personal pronouns (e.g., he, she, them, they).

Birth order contributes to different language learning environments. First-born children may benefit from more one-one-one attention, while later-born children may benefit from hearing and participating in conversations between parents and other siblings. Neither of these environments are detrimental to speech and language development and there are no lasting developmental differences between first-born and later-born siblings.

Rather than compare first- and later-born children, it is important to focus on whether an individual child’s speech and language milestones are being met. Important milestones can be found here:

Ideas for stimulating speech and language skills can be found here.

If you have questions about your child’s language development, talk to your pediatrician or contact a speech-language pathologist.

– Amanda Vallance, M.A., CCC-SLP, Speech and Language Pathologist, Children’s Speech and Language Pathology Department, Beaumont Health

 References:

  • Berglund, E., Eriksson, M., Westerlund, M. (2005). Communicative skills in relation to gender, birth order, childcare and socioeconomic status in 18-month-old children. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 46, 6, 485–491.
  • Reilly, S. (2007). Predicting language at 2 years of age: a prospective community study. Pediatrics, 120, 6, e1441-9.

 

When a sibling has cancer

Father and daughter holding hands

Cropped image. Spirit-Fire, CC License.

The word cancer invokes a plethora of emotions and questions. The impact is wide and affects the family, friends and community of the person diagnosed. Cancer can be a difficult diagnosis to manage and treat. However, there are advances made in medicine daily and the prognosis and survival rates are improving. This can be encouraging news for parents with children who have cancer, but what about the siblings?

Children who have a sister or brother with cancer experience a range of feelings and how these feelings are expressed is going to depend largely on their age and developmental level. Younger siblings may have more tantrums as they witness the changes in the family dynamics, whereas older children and teens may experience anxiety and depression as they begin to grapple with the awareness of their own mortality. Below are some helpful tips to consider.

Share information

Tell the siblings about the diagnosis and changes that will likely take place. Even younger children can sense that things are different and will fill in the missing pieces with wrong information, which could increase their anxiety. Use age-appropriate language and allow siblings to help when they can. Allowing siblings to help and keeping them informed can decrease feelings of jealousy, anger and attention-seeking behaviors.

Consistency is key

When a sister or brother has cancer, things can seem consistently chaotic for the entire family. It is important for the siblings to continue with their school and extracurricular activities as much as possible. Routines help children feel safe and secure. Sometimes other family members or friends may help with caretaking responsibilities, such as picking up from school or making dinner. Letting your children know about these changes and who they can expect when will help.

Make time

It is important for siblings to have individual time with their parents, especially if other family members are caring for them. Try to carve out time to spend with your healthy children; engage in a fun activity and inquire about their day. This will be a stress reliever for all and it teaches children how to cope and have fun in the face of adversity. Encourage your healthy children to talk about their feelings or worries, and feel free to share your own thoughts and feelings. This can help you stay connected with your healthy children and gives them a safe outlet to express themselves. Validate their feelings, even negative ones, and show unconditional love.

When to get help

Sometimes you can do the best that you can but it isn’t enough. Either healthy siblings or the whole family needs help coping with all of the changes. If you notice prolonged uncharacteristic behavior or changes in mood such as poor grades, disinterest in favorite activities or ange,r feel free to reach out to the clinical psychologist within the Oncology Department of your nearest children’s hospital.

– Carnigee Truesdale-Howard, PsyD, ABPP, Pediatric Psychologist with Beaumont Children’s Hospital Divisions of Hematology/Oncology & Gastroenterology

Sibling Rivalry Caught On Video

If you have more than one child, chances are you have seen sibling rivalry in action. Sibling Rivalry is jealous and competitive behavior and fighting between brothers and sisters. This behavior usually begins right after the birth of the second child and usually continues throughout childhood. Sibling rivalry can be very frustrating and stressful to parents. Depending on the ages of the children you may see sibling rivalry manifest in different ways. Continue reading ‘Sibling Rivalry Caught On Video’


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