Karina Hopper has worked as special needs support assistant and is currently studying for a creative writing diploma. Here she answers some questions about her new book, Mouth and Tongue Let’s Have Some Fun!

How did this book come about?

I chose to write this book for personal reasons because two of my children had delayed speech and I found it frustrating that there wasn’t a book of this kind available. I wanted something that was fun and child-friendly; that held their attention and made them concentrate; and something that I could pick up and use on a daily basis.

How did you come up with the exercises in the book, and the idea for ‘Timmy Tongue’?

I was advised to use mouth and tongue exercises by speech therapists. When I came up with the idea for the book I thought it would be a good idea to give the tongue a character, ideally to make it more appealing to young children. I thought Timmy Tongue had a great ring to it, and would encourage children to engage with the exercises.

How can these exercises aid speech development?

If done regularly, these exercises strengthen the tongue and facial muscles. My children had certain sound delays and these exercises – especially the tongue movements – helped a lot, making the tongue more flexible.

Who should read this book?

This book is for anyone working with children with delayed speech, including speech therapists and teachers, but especially for parents. As a parent of children who had speech delay, I would have found this book an invaluable resource and many parents I’ve spoken to have said the same. The real appeal is that it is a fun book that children will enjoy, making these exercises an exciting thing to do every day which I think is important.

How did you use these exercises with your own children? What was their favourite?

I would usually do the exercises for about 5 minutes a day with my children, repeating each exercise 2 or 3 times. All of the exercises are fun to do but I think the favourite is Timmy Tongue trying to tickle your nose. We have great fun trying to touch our noses with our tongues!

Copyright © Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2010

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