The Connection Between Early Speech & Nutrition

A little while ago I blogged about dealing with my son's speech delay. Since then with speech therapy and lots of encouragement, my son has progressed by leaps and bounds. But still I wonder if there are other ways I can help him .

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Recently I was contacted to share an article on "Early Speech and Nutrition - Eating Smart Speaks Volumes" featuring recommendations Meghan Ryan, M.S. CCC-SLP, a NY-based speech-language pathologist. The article touches on the importance of nutrition in a child's development. While most parents understand how important it is that our children eat health and balanced meals, we all still can use reminders and a few tips.

Take a minute to read the article below in it's entirety and let me know in a comment if you agree, disagree or have your own thoughts about the connection between Speech and Food.

Early Speech and Nutrition- Eating Smart Speaks Volumes Says Expert

Westchester, NY (June 10, 2013) - Many studies support the notion that nutrition, genes, and environment are three major factors impacting cognitive development in children. Because there are many factors that impact learning, scientists cannot say, “If you eat this, you will be smarter.”

However, the role of good nutrition in child development including speech and learning is important. Nutrition during the early years of a child’s life is linked to performance in later years. Many research studies focus on the relationships between breakfast and learning in school-age children; other researchers identified the importance of nutrition at earlier ages.

According to Westchester County, NY-based speech-language pathologist, Meghan Ryan, M.S. CCC-SLP, what goes into a child’s body has a direct impact on their cognitive growth at all times in their development and parents need to carefully consider their children’s food choices at all time. “Babies, toddlers and children are constantly using their brains to process new information. However, when inadequate nutrition and environmental toxins are a part of the equation, many times these factors impact a child’s ability to learn and may impact speech as well,” says Ryan.

Neural pathways, the building block for brain development cannot be created when the brain is not being fed properly. According to Ryan, who consults with families through her speech therapy service, Smart Speech; many parents and caregivers are not aware of the impact that health, nutrition and environment have on their child’s brain development and, ultimately, his or her ability to learn language and attend to new concepts. “The brain needs to be healthy and well fed in order for children to master new skills regardless of their age,” advises Ryan.

Mary offers the following recommendations:
  • Limit the amount of fast foods including high fructose sodas, juices, and fried chips and snacks
  • Incorporate protein and lots of leafy greens like alfalfa, kale and spinach.
  • Omega-3 should be your child’s fiend: look for foods rich with this nutrient including fish and chia seeds.
  • Keep to the recommended daily amount of dairy. Overdoing it may lead to stomach ailments. Calcium is found in chicken and other foods. There is a misconception that it has all to come from dairy products says Ryan.
  • If you have a picky eater, consider viable supplements such as chewable multi-vitamins and DHA chewable vitamins as well advises Ryan

About Smart Speech SLP – Smart Speech is a home-based speech therapy service that is available throughout Westchester County, NY. Services include therapists come to the home and work with children in their natural environment. Created in 2006, several evidenced-based practices are used and all services are tailored specifically to meet the needs of individual students.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please visit

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