April showers bring May flowers…. May the 4th be with you…. It’s gonna be may (cue the backstreet boys)… Bombarded with all these catchy mantras and slogans, one of the most vital movements of May might have slipped between the cracks. May is designated Better Hearing and Speech month. What does this mean? Well, while we’d hope for you to show your SLP’s some extra love, what we hope for even more is that you’ll join the nation-wide “Identify the Signs” campaign led by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Y9i8b0f9ew&feature=youtu.be )This push to educate caregivers about signs of communication disorders is warranted due to the following poll results:
While it is important to know the signs across the lifespan, it is especially important to know the signs of a potential communication disorder in infancy and in toddlers. This is because intervention services earlier in life can change a child’s developmental path and improve outcomes for children, families, and communities.
Let’s cut to the chase: what are the signs of a communication disorder in your baby or toddler? There are 3 aspects of communication to be aware of – language, speech, and hearing. Speech is the ability to produce speech sounds using the mouth, lips, and tongue. A child may say sounds the wrong way, repeat sounds and words, or be otherwise difficult to understand. Language is the ability to use and put words together—and to understand others’ words. A child may have trouble understanding questions, following directions, or naming objects. Hearing includes the abilities to perceive, locate, and discriminate sounds. This chart provided by ASHA displays the warning sings to be aware of in your infant or toddler:
If you are concerned about any of the listed signs, you may want to consult the Speech Language Pathologists at Team 4 Kids Pediatric Therapy Center. Checking on your baby’s or toddler’s communication milestones is as easy as coming in for a free 15 minute screen at the current Surprise location or at the soon to be opened Peoria location. After participating in this screen, we will let you know if a full evaluation should be considered or if communication development overall is judged as appropriate, we will provide you with suggestions of communication strategies to implement at home
The American Speech-Language-Hearing association and Read Aloud 15 Minutes provide free toolkits with detailed communication milestones that should be observed as well as tips to support that development for the ages of birth to 5 years old. https://identifythesigns.org/communicating-with-baby-toolkit/
Janae Christensen M.S., CCC-SLP