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Tags: Speech, Hearing Aid, Audiology, Language, Hearing Aids, Communication, Hearing, reading, literacy, Hearing Loss Prevention, Teens, Support, Caregiving, Hearing Loss, Stuttering, Learning, Voice, toddler, talking, Autism
Teaching your infant Baby Sign Language can help improve his or her communication skills. This is particularly appealing for new parents, given that there’s a gap between what babies and toddlers want to say and what they can verbally express.
Children who have been identified with speech-language impairments have likely established nonstandard patterns of speaking or have deficits that will require extra attention and training to improve. The speech-language pathologist (SLP) working with you and your child should serve as a "coach" to provide you with activities or homework to reinforce newly established skills and to strengthen emerging skills. One or two sessions a week is not enough, and your involvement in carryover activities is crucial to your child's communication development. Talk with your SLP about activities and games you can use at home to help.
Experts recommend you read to your child as often as you can and that you strive to have at least one scheduled reading time each day. Choosing regular times to read (especially before naps and bedtime) is a way to help your child learn to sit with a book and relax. But you can read anytime your child seems in the mood.
If your toddler will let you, hold him or her in your lap when you read. It's a great spot for:
Children begin developing speech as an infant. By 6 months, babies coo and play with their voices by producing sounds such as "oo," "uh," "mm," "da," and "goo." Children learn speech by imitating the sounds they hear. Actions such talking about what you are doing during the day, singing songs and reading books expose your child to a variety of sounds that he or she will begin imitating.
It’s common for most children to make some mistakes as they learn to say new words. Different sounds are mastered at different ages. Consistent, correct sound production will vary from child to child. When mistakes continue past a certain age, that’s when it's considered a speech sound disorder. Speech sound disorders include problems with articulation (pronouncing sounds correctly) and phonological processes (errors with sound patterns).
Children learn to talk by listening to those around them. The first few years of life are a critical time for speech and language development. Children must be able to hear speech clearly in order to learn language. Fluctuating hearing loss due to repeated ear infections might mean the child doesn't hear consistently and may be missing out on critical speech information. Permanent hearing loss will also affect speech and language development, especially if it is not detected early. The earlier hearing loss is identified and treated, the more likely the child will develop speech and language skills on par with children who aren’t experiencing hearing issues.
Introducing your child to multiple languages at a young age is a personal decision that can be challenging for many families. Children who become fluent in one language are referred to as “monolingual,” and children who become fluent in two languages are referred to as “bilingual.” Speaking a language at home that is different than what your child may be exposed to at school and in the community can spark several questions such as “Will it be difficult for my child to learn another language?” “When should I start to teach my child two languages?” “How can I help my child learn a second language if I don’t know it myself?”
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.