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The University of Chicago Medicine - Comer Children's Hospital

Communication

In the beginning, your child may not be able to talk. The air that leaves your child's lungs goes out the trach and not through the vocal cords. This also means you will be unable to hear your child cry. However, in a short time, your child will be able to make noises and speak around his or her trach.

Some children learn to speak by covering the trach tube periodically with a finger or chin so air passes the trach and reaches the vocal chords to produce sound. A speaking valve--also known as a Passy Muir valve--may be used with a physician’s approval. Once approved, a speech therapist will help with the use of the speaking valve.

Another option is for you and your child to learn sign language. Consult your child's physician or speech therapist. You should also supply older children with pencil and paper, horns, or bells to ease communication strain.

To help develop language skills, it is important to read stories, sing songs, point out names of objects in the environment, play music, and watch television with your child.