It's May! Which just happens to be Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM), so to help spread the word throughout this month, I will be addressing some of the most common questions I receive from parents. Today, in our first installment, I'm answering questions many parents have about their child's articulation...
1. What sounds should my child be able to say?
** Adapted from Sanders J. Speech Hearing Dis., 1972; Smit, et al J. Speech Hearing Dis. 1990 and the Nebraska-Iowa Articulation Norms Project
2. I can't really tell what sounds my child is able to say... it's seems so inconsistent.
3. Is it really a big deal if my child still makes a few mistakes when they speak?
Do you have any other questions about your child's speech? Comment below... it might turn up in a future post this month! #BHSM
There's only one reason that every SLP who works with children makes frequent trips to Target (well, other than scouting out those end-aisle clearance displays with Starbucks in hand, that is)... The Dollar Spot! Loaded with inexpensive seasonal goodness, the dollar spot is ripe with toys and activities just waiting to be turned into therapeutic tools to make our sessions fun for the little ones. Here are some of my recent favorites...
These are just a few of my more recent favorites. If you'd like to see videos of how I use these and more, head over to my Instagram and follow me. Until then... see you at Target! I can't wait to see what Spring themed items I can snag this week.
Back when I was in graduate school, I worked for an Audiologist and conducted more than my fair share of hearing screenings. Not only did I really enjoy it, but I learned an awful lot about hearing loss. Did you know that hearing loss is one of the most common birth disorders in the United States? According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, 1 in 1000 infants is born totally deaf and an additional 1-6 per 1,000 are born with less severe, but significant, hearing loss.
Why is this important?
In the first 3 years of life, a child's auditory pathways and language cortex are developing at a rapid pace. This neurological development happens in response to auditory (or visual) language. For families that are part of the deaf culture, parents begin signing from day one, so the baby is learning visual (sign) language.
But, it is estimated that 96% of children with hearing loss are actually born to hearing parents. So, it follows to reason that these children are at much greater risk for delays in speech and language skills, especially if their hearing loss goes undetected. For example, even a child with a mild hearing loss may not hear "quiet" speech sounds such as /s/, /sh/, /f/, /t/ and /k/ and therefore would not include them in their speech. This can also affect their understanding and usage of vocabulary and grammar....
Think about how often these "quiet" sounds pop up in this sentence...
"Seven cats sat on the fence shaking their tails".
That's a lot of information missed if you aren't hearing those sounds.
Newborn Hearing Screenings
Thankfully, most babies born in hospitals in the U.S. are screened for hearing loss at birth using one of two tests:
Can babies pass a newborn hearing screening and still have hearing loss or develop hearing loss later?
Yes! It's important to remember that no screening is perfect and babies with mild hearing loss may even pass newborn hearing screenings. So, being aware of the signs of hearing loss as your child grows is crucial. It's also possible that hearing loss may develop later on in a child's life for a variety of reasons, including chronic ear infections (acute otitis media), excessive earwax, congenital malformations, or a genetic hearing loss.
Here are some signs of hearing loss to watch for in children:
If your child exhibits any of these symptoms, ask your pediatrician about a hearing screening. They can often be done quickly at your pediatrician's office, once a child enters school, or by an Audiologist by request or referral.
Early detection is crucial. Very often, depending on the type of loss (which is a post for another day), hearing loss can actually be corrected. But, even with a permanent hearing loss, research indicates that children who begin services early may be able to develop language (spoken and/or signed) on a par with their hearing peers. So, don't delay if you suspect your child may have hearing loss!
Click here or here to find an Audiologist near you.