If you are a parent or a parent to-be, you have undoubtedly been part of a conversation or two revolving around the pacifier. Carrie, a fellow SLP, mama, and blogger, shares her experience of how parenthood changed her views on this sometimes controversial soother. I personally had babies that only took paci’s for a short while…and then refused them! So I love hearing the perspectives of other SLP Mommies~Katie
Back in the early days of my career, I had a love/hate relationship with pacifiers – leaning strongly to the hate side. Working in early intervention, the majority (strikethrough) a lot of the children on my caseload had, at one point in their short lives, used a “binky.” Many times I felt as though my job would be so much easier if parents would just take that silly thing away. I often felt as though I was fighting an uphill battle. The “Love” was strictly from a job-security standpoint.
You see, I operated from a very strong oral-motor standpoint (and from a very high horse). Children need to develop their mouth muscles to coordinate articulation. Without proper strength, coordination, and endurance of articulators, there is no way speech can properly develop. Persistent and habitual use of pacifiers, binkies, dummies, whatever you call them, impede proper development of oral motor abilities. The majority of sounds in English require tongue tip elevation. Sucking on a pacifier typically depresses the tongue tip and exercises the BACK of the tongue. Quite useful for development of /k/, /g/, and /ng/, but not so much for all of the other sounds. Blah, blah, blah.
I would see children using pacifiers at the supermarket, at Wal-Mart, at the park and I would silently judge their parents. If they only knew the damage they were causing…Do they even realize the kind of orthodontic bills that are inevitably in their future?…Don’t they know the sucking reflex (more…)