Archive | October, 2016

What sounds and behaviours should we expect from our babies?

What sounds and behaviours should we expect from our babies?

Posted on 24 October 2016 by Kristrun

My 8 month-old son, Thomas, loves to squark. Sometimes he sounds like a bird, other times he resembles a baby dinosaur on the hunt for his next feed. We lovingly gave him the nickname “Thomosaurus Rex” and shamelessly plan to dress him as a baby Stegosaurus for Halloween. At times the squawking can be loud – so loud that he receives curious looks from passersby (“is that a baby boy or dinosaur?” I assume they are thinking). My husband notices these glances and kindly shushes our son, as it may not be a socially appropriate noise to make when out and about in Hong Kong where children are typically ‘seen but not heard’. As a Speech Therapist, I am usually crouching down to face him while squarking right back at him while pulling crazy faces (getting shushed by my husband at the same time).

Babies and toddlers who coo, gurgle, babble, squark, squeak or squeal are gr2eat in my opinion, and should be supported, praised and encouraged. Ok, maybe there is a time and place for some sounds children make (shouting in a library may not be ideal) but vocalising is communication, and communication is extremely important to live a happy, productive and healthy life.

So what sounds and behaviours should we expect from our babies? Cooing, crying, smiling and making eye contact are all expected between 0-3 months of age. Between 3-6 months you should start to see some pointing, blowing raspberries and laughing (and perhaps some shrieking and squealing). You should hear some babbling with sounds made with the lips (such as ‘b’ and ‘m’) in sequences like “baba” and “mabada” between 6-9 months. More sounds should be used between 9-12 months, such as d, m, n, h, w and t. First words are generally heard at around 12 months.

Parents and carers can do a lot to help babies learn to speak by interacting with them from birth onwards by making lots of eye contact, singing, talking to the baby (even if the baby is too young to respond), playing, and imitating sounds, gestures and actions that the baby makes. This shows the baby that their sounds and actions are meaningful, and encourages them to make more of them! It is never too early to read to a baby, making sure that you choose books that are simple and colourful. Read slowly with lots of expression and point to pictures while naming them. Don’t forget to respond to your baby when they try to communicate with you, even if the noises made sound prehistoric.

Hailing from Sydney, Australia, Stephanie Eber has been working as a Speech and Language Therapist for over 10 years. She is the Senior Speech Therapist at an international school in Hong Kong while running Beyond Words Speech Therapy, a consultancy practice which runs workshops for parents, carers, domestic helpers, educators and other therapists. Visit facebook.com/BeyondWordsHK to find out more about upcoming workshops.

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5 things to know about giving birth in Hong Kong – public private health care – published in Localiiz

5 things to know about giving birth in Hong Kong – public private health care – published in Localiiz

Posted on 16 October 2016 by Kristrun

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“There are several key things to consider when making the decision on where to give birth in Hong Kong; factors which may come into play might be your medical history, previous experience, cost and insurance, where you live, and how you would prefer your birth to be. However, before you can reach that decision, it’s helpful to understand that there are two systems available in Hong Kong – public and private – and there are significant differences between the two.

In short, the Government system offers comprehensive maternity care for high and low-risk mothers for a minimal cost, usually less than $500. This care includes antenatal checkups, the necessary tests and ultrasounds (as determined by the Health Authority), care during labour and delivery, and postnatal care for your and your baby. This system also provides access to district maternal health clinics, where you can have your antenatal and baby checkups, as well as the hospitals themselves. You will usually be assigned a hospital depending on where you live. The private system, on the other hand, offers the same care for any low and medium risk cases, but with a greater scope on how you deliver your baby and who will be present at the birth…..”

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