Communication Matters

Are Speech Disorders Inherited?

Megan Ahlman, M.A. CCC-SLP | Posted on December 12, 2018

Evidence exists linking genetic factors to a variety of speech and language difficulties. Recent studies of molecular genetics and neuroimaging are cross-disciplinary, combining forces between speech-language pathologists, physicians, and scientists. Researchers have already identified over 400 genes linked to hearing loss, and ongoing studies investigate genetic links to stuttering, voice disorders, and language disorders.

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Tags: talking, Language, Communication, Speech, Stuttering

Benefits of Lullabies for Babies

Dr. Laura Brady | Posted on December 12, 2018

Music is hard wired in our brains at an early age. The ability to process music appears in specialized areas of the brain during the first few months after birth. It socially connects, communicates, coordinates and instigates neurological and physical movement, stimulates pleasure senses and hormones, alters perception, and shapes personal identities. 

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Tags: Hearing, Language, Communication

How to Prepare for an Upcoming Speech-Language Evaluation

Megan Ahlman, M.A. CCC-SLP | Posted on December 12, 2018

A speech and language evaluation is a normal avenue to pursue when parents or caregivers suspect difficulty with communication. Anticipation of a speech and language evaluation can bring on feelings of stress if you aren’t sure what to expect, and meeting a new health-care professional in an unfamiliar office space can be overwhelming.

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Tags: talking, Voice, toddler, Teens, Language, Communication, Speech

Great Apps to Practice Speech Sounds with Your Tween

Learning and practicing how to correctly produce their “r” or “s” sound is certainly NOT what 8-12-year-olds want to be doing! Most would prefer to be playing video games or riding their bike.  One way to make speech therapy and at-home practice a little easier is to use an app. These apps could be on the parent’s phone, the tween’s phone, or a family iPad.

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Tags: talking, Voice, Learning, Teens, Language, Communication, Speech, Stuttering

Why I Chose to Learn American Sign Language

Caring.  Compassionate.  Funny.  Loves God.  Can’t wait until Fall when Starbucks comes out with their signature Pumpkin Spice Latte with coconut milk. This person I’m describing is my sister, and she is deaf. She endured a terrible sickness at the age of 1 that took away her hearing, but not her spirit. My family and I wanted to know her – her thoughts, her needs, her dreams and goals. We needed to be able to communicate effectively with her. In order to achieve this, my parents decided that we would all learn American Sign Language (ASL).  Many people assume learning a new language to communicate with a deaf person will be difficult – if not impossible. However, it is very possible to learn American Sign Language. Regardless of your age, if you are willing to learn, you will discover that your loved one holds all kinds of amazing ideas and plans for adventure. You and your loved one will thrive!  Here are some tips to make learning American Sign Language more successful:

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Tags: Learning, American Sign Language, ASL, Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Support, Language, Communication

12 Tips for Communicating with a Deaf Person

Casey Ring, Learning Center Manager | Posted on November 11, 2018
  1. Use a normal speaking pattern. Over-enunciating makes it hard for a Deaf person to read your lips.
  2. Write it down if necessary. Some people are better at reading lips than others
  3. Look directly at the person you are communicating with. If you look away, a Deaf person may miss what you are saying.
  4. Speak in a normal tone of voice. Since a Deaf person cannot hear you, raising your voice doesn’t help.
  5. Try to find your own way to communicate. Although you can’t talk to one another, there are many other ways for you to communicate. You can use a pen and paper or even text to have a conversation.
  6. Don’t be afraid to ask a Deaf person to repeat themselves. The goal is clear communication and understanding. Asking to repeat something has better results and less frustration – for both parties.
  7. Be patient and inclusive. Imagine you are trying to understand a conversation that you want to be involved in, but are unable due to the conversation’s speed, number of people talking at the same time, and/or not being able to share your ideas with the group. By allowing enough time and considering the communication needs of everyone in the group, you ensure that everyone can participate fully.
  8. In a group conversation, take turns speaking. A Deaf person can only look at one individual at a time.
  9. Be clear and concise. Saying “I’m fine” can have many different meanings with subtle differences. For example “I’m fine” can mean
    • I feel well
    • I feel the same way I always feel
    • I’m way too busy to know how I feel
    • Don’t bother me
    • Did you want to know about my emotional or physical well-being?
    • You don’t care how I feel or would have stopped walking to listen
  10. Use body language and gestures. Deaf and hard of hearing people who use sign language are accustomed to using their hands and face to communicate. Gesturing and using clear facial expressions when speaking to a person with hearing challenges can help them understand what you’re saying. “Miming” is also acceptable if it helps to get a certain point across, but remember that mime is not the same as sign language.
  11. Accept that awkward moments happen. Even if you follow all of the above tips while speaking to a Deaf or hard of hearing person, they’ll probably still misunderstand you at some point. Don’t feel bad or stop. Just repeat yourself and continue the conversation. If they’re having trouble understanding a certain word or phrase, try using a different word, rephrasing what you said, or typing it on your phone.
  12. Resist the urge to give up when misunderstandings happen. A little effort on your part can make a big difference to someone, and chances are that you’ll benefit from the experience, too.

 Want to learn American Sign Language? Click here.

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Tags: American Sign Language, ASL, Hard of Hearing, Deaf, Language, Communication

Teaching Your Toddler How to Talk Effectively

Carol Theil, CCC-SLP | Posted on November 11, 2018

Children learn how to talk by imitating others. They mimic what they hear, so it’s important for you to practice speaking with your child every day. Some words to focus on include nouns, verbs, adjectives and prepositions, which can be applied to daily activities. For example, if you are blowing bubbles with your child, you can emphasize: 

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Tags: Learning, Language, Communication, Speech, toddler, talking

How to Build Joint Attention Skills in Young Children with Autism

Chana Feinstein, M.A., CCC-SLP | Posted on November 11, 2018

Joint attention is the ability to shift your attention between an object or event and your communication partner. For example, if a little girl notices an ice cream truck coming down the street, she may look at it, then turn to her father with a hopeful smile before turning back to stare at the ice cream truck. Or, a little boy may be spinning an empty water bottle on the floor, enjoying the movement and shifting colors as the bottle spins. He may look up at his mother and point to the bottle, sharing his enjoyment with her.

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Tags: talking, Learning, Language, Communication, Autism

Common Communication Difficulties of Stroke Survivors

Jonathan Plessner, CCC-SLP | Posted on September 09, 2018

Suffering from a stroke can be a scary and challenging experience, causing brain damage that may lead to communication difficulties with language, speech, voice, cognition and even swallowing.

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Tags: Voice, Stroke, Language, Communication, Speech

Benefits of Accent Modification in the Work Place

  • Do you miss out on career advancement opportunities because of your accent?
  • Do people often ask you to repeat yourself?
  • Do you avoid speaking in English because you are afraid to make mistakes?
  • Do you struggle to communicate at parties or social events?

Regardless of your native language, an accent can make it harder for others to understand you and cause frustration. An accent modification program can reduce communication breakdowns, enhancing both your clarity and confidence.

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Tags: Language, Communication, Speech