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Infant Development Stages Discussion at Baby Talk

Infant Development Stages Discussion at Baby Talk

Rosanne Fortier News Correspondent

It is essential that parents are aware of their infant’s development stages and what screening is available for this in Vegreville.

That is why Tasha Homeniuk, Support Coordinator for ‘First Years’ program at the Vegreville and Area Parent Link Centre invited Alberta Health Services professionals, Deb Massey, Physical Therapist, Neila Nelsen, Occupational Therapist, and Candice van der Torre, Therapy Assistant for Early Hearing Detection Intervention (EHDI) to the Baby Talk program on January 8.

Each of these health care professionals gave a brief speech. van der Torre said their offices are at Vegreville Community Health Centre where parents can speak to public health nurses and other professionals on a regular basis.

The Alberta Health Services professionals who spoke during the session were from left to right: Deb Massey, Physical Therapist with Alberta Health Services (AHS) Candice van der Torre, Therapy Assistant for the Early Hearing Detection Intervention (EHDI), and Neila Nelsen, Occupational Therapist with AHS. 
(Rosanne Fortier/photo)

Van der Torre then spoke about the talking and listening stages of infants and said by three months, they like to see babies cooing, gurgling, and grunting. “By six months, we want the babies to start to make babbles. By one, we want them to babble in a variety of sounds and we expect them to say their first words around this age. The expectation for babies to say their first words is between nine and 15 months but the average age to do this is definitely around 12 months. We want to recognize that they are using the words consistently and in a different context but the words do not have to be pronounced correctly. By two years old, your child should be able to put two words together.”

She went on to say Alberta’s (EHDI) Program is located in the community health centre and encourages parents to have their baby’s hearing screened as soon as possible after leaving the hospital.

“Even though your baby may respond to sounds, they may not hear well enough to develop speech and language.” Screening is offered every Tuesday afternoon at the community health centre. Their services include screening babies for hearing loss by one month of age, diagnosing permanent hearing loss by three months of age, and ensuring access to intervention by six months of age. The screening is done by soft sounds being played in the baby’s ears and a computer measures how the baby is hearing sound.

Nelsen said her role is to help children perform their daily occupations; eating, sleeping, and playing. “We look at the textures of food, introducing solid foods, drinking, positioning of babies when they are eating, and increasing a variety of foods to introduce to babies and children. When I speak about these occupations, I talk about the three pillars which are relationship, routine, and their development stage. For sleeping, we look at pillars which include relationship, calming, smoothing, self-regulation, and routine. For playing, we look at how the babies are developing their motor skills and how they can reach, gasp, and manipulate the stuff. We also look at how they are using their vision, and their senses.”

Massey explained about what to look for developmentally when the babies are sleeping, crawling and starting to walk. “All of us are born with different types of skills and muscle tone. Some babies are stronger and faster when they hold themselves up or pull themselves up. Some babies will take more time to sit up. Even if your baby isn’t starting to walk at the typical age of eight months, it doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with them; it just might mean they are a bit slower and more cautious.”