“They’re still young - let’s just wait and see.” Coming from a pediatrician, this phrase holds a lot of power over parents worried about their child’s speech and language skills. The parents may have expressed a concern that their two-year-old hasn't started talking yet, is only saying a few words, or is very hard to understand. When the pediatrician brushes it off as not a big deal, the natural response from parents is to trust someone they consider an expert.
Infant sign language really does deliver on its promise of improved communication. This is particularly appealing for new parents, given that there’s a well-recognized gap between what babies and toddlers want to say and what they are able to say. Sign language can help ease frustration between ages 8 months and 2 years — when children begin to know what they want, need, and feel but don't always have the oral motor verbal skills to express themselves. Basic sign language can help babies better express themselves as early as 8 or 9 months and it can mean decreased frustration (for both caregiver and child), promote earlier language skills and enhanced bonding with those who sign.
Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.
To get young children talking, we often motivate them by showing that “using your words” can get you what you want. A simple way to achieve this is through “People Play”. People Play describes “songs, games and activities in which the fun happens when the child interacts with another person” (The Hanen Program, More Than Words). So grab a blanket or a couch cushion and enjoy some of these great ways to play and interact that will also motivate your child to request more fun! The one-word language suggestions can always be lengthened into phrases or sentences depending on your child’s expressive language level.
Imagine: A child comes home from cheering for their favorite team at a high school game, and their voice sounds raspy. The next day when they wake up, their voice is gone completely and they can barely speak at all. Sound familiar? Maybe a similar occurrence has happened to you, except it was when you woke up with a bad head cold. This is something we commonly hear people refer to as “losing my voice.” What people think of as “losing their voice” can range from a hoarse, raspy voice to no voice at all. Have you ever wondered what exactly happens to our body to cause this to happen?
Everyday activities can be opportunities to expand learning – particularly for speech and language. Here are seven easy, familiar options you can do at home with your child that offer speech and language cues. Encourage the child to repeat words or anticipate the next word or sentence. For example, after we put on our socks, what comes next? Shoes.
Selective mutism is a complex childhood anxiety disorder characterized by a child’s lack of verbal communication in select social environments, such as school. Children with selective mutism possess the ability to speak, but are selective of the settings in which they choose to speak. They will often speak in environments where they feel safe, relaxed, and calm with familiar people such as parents or siblings, but will choose not to speak in environments where they are less comfortable. A common misconception is that selective mutism is a form of autism. Children with selective mutism may demonstrate lack of appropriate social language use that mimics those on the autism spectrum, but selective mutism is not indicative of autism.
A cleft is any opening in a normally closed structure. A cleft lip is an opening in the lip, typically the upper lip. These clefts are more commonly unilateral (on one side of the lip) as compared to bilateral (on both sides of the lip). Unilateral clefts occur more frequently on the left side of the mouth. A cleft palate is an opening on the roof of the mouth. Clefts can be found in the hard palate (towards the front of the mouth), soft palate (more towards the back of the mouth) or both.
Parents often wonder what they can do to help their child improve their speech and language skills. Many families seek additional private speech therapy to supplement school-based treatment.
While added speech therapy may be an advantage, it depends on the unique needs of your child. School-based speech therapy and private speech therapy differ in many ways. Before determining if your child would benefit from additional speech and language therapy, it is essential to know the difference between the two.