Category: blog

Headphone Use Linked to Hearing Loss in Children

A recent study found that children who listen to audio via headphones have a significantly higher risk of noise-induced hearing loss compared to children who do not. As children begin to use technology more frequently (e.g. games on phones, tablets, video games, etc.), they may want to use headphones in order to play independently. However, it was found that children who use headphones were twice as likely to have hearing loss compared to children who did not use headphones at all, noting the significance of noise exposure at a young age. The study indicated that limiting the amount of time using headphones and lowering the volume may only eliminate the risk marginally. Noise-related hearing loss presents itself as muffled sounds […]

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Early ear infections and speech and language development

Ear infections are one of the most common illnesses in young children. Otitis media (OME) is the term for inflammation and fluid build-up within the middle ear. The accumulation of fluid causes the bones in the middle ear to not function properly and conduct sound effectively. Research indicates that OME poses disadvantages on hearing sensitivity and speech perception in children (Cai and McPherson, 2017). Speech sounds that are most affected by mild hearing loss are those high frequency sounds S, F, or SH. For more moderate hearing loss, a child may not be able to hear additional speech sounds or word-endings. It is important to identify and treat ear infections in young children to reduce these lapses in hearing sensitivity. […]

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Communication Development and Screen Time

Technology is a part of our everyday lives. It is important to set boundaries and limits to children’s screen time so that their communication skills do not fall behind. In a poll of Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologist, the biggest concerns with children’s frequent screen time use include fewer opportunities for social interactions, delays in social development, delays in speech and/or language skills, and academic challenges. These concerns are present because children have fewer opportunities to hear language modeled by parents/peers and to practice their language, articulation, and social skills. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has established screen time guidelines to help parents balance technology and real-world experiences. They recommend no screen time (video chatting excluded) for the first […]

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Oral Language and Narrative Development

  As early as 2 and 3 years old, typically developing children begin producing narratives about what they see and do in their everyday life. As development continues, these narratives begin to include stories about the past, present, and future. Narrative language abilities are a foundational skill to higher level language such as analyzing, retelling, summarizing, and explaining written text. A deficit in narrative language production can affect a child’s academic performance and social skill abilities. It is important that children utilize story grammar elements when developing narrative language skills, which act as a “cognitive map” to support the comprehension and production of narratives. Many kids who struggle to produce or comprehend narratives greatly benefit from visual supports (pictures, illustrations […]

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Making Speech and Language Homework Fun

It can be difficult to get your child to practice their speech homework at home. There are some ways to make their homework a little more fun and motivating. You can turn their homework into a search and find game. Make binoculars out of a paper towel roll and have your child search for their speech sounds or vocabulary words. When they spot one of their words, they have to tell you what they found. This game can be used with any speech and language homework your child has. This is just one way to make practicing speech and language at home a little more fun. Leis, Kelly. Let’s Go on a Word Safari. The ASHA Leader, July 2018, Vol. […]

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Tongue Thrust – What is it?

Tongue thrust also referred to as a “reverse swallow” is a common orofacial myofunctional disorder. It is a pattern where the tongue protrudes between the teeth while eating, speaking, or at rest. Causes There are many possible causes of tongue thrust including: Oral habits – thumb/finger sucking, extended pacifier use, etc. Respiratory issues – enlarged tonsils/adenoids, allergies, mouth breathing, etc. Premature loss of baby teeth which allows the tongue to move forward into the spaces created by missing teeth Difficulty with tongue coordination Heredity Effects of Tongue Thrust Over time, a tongue thrust can affect your child’s speech and the alignment of their teeth. When the tongue continually presses against the teeth, it can push the teeth out of alignment requiring […]

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Keeping Your Voice Healthy

Voice is so important to our ability to communicate and express ourselves. Many people don’t realize that there are behaviors that can help or hurt normal vocal functioning. The National Institute of Health provide a list of helpful vocal hygiene tips to prevent voice problems: o   Drink water: The vocal folds move best when the body is well-hydrated, o   Limit caffeine: Caffeine is drying to the entire body. Cutting back on these drinks can help keep your vocal folds hydrated. o   Don’t overuse your voice:Doing a lot of talking, especially in noisy situations (sporting events, restaurants, bars, parties, social gatherings, industrial settings) can be tiring for your vocal folds. Give yourself voice breaks or moments when you don’t use your […]

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Communicative Gestures Used as a Predictor for Later Language

A variety of gestures have been shown to be a predictor for later language development in children with autism, children with Down Syndrome, and typically developing children. Gestures are described as actions produced with the intent to communicate and are usually expressed using the fingers, hands, arms, and facial features. Early use of gestures has been linked to increased language production, language comprehension, and object naming. A child’s joint attention skills, such as giving or showing objects may also predict later language skills. Lack of joint attention behaviors between the ages of 2 and 3 years old may be an indication of developmental deficits. The frequency of gesture use as a form of intentional communication is an important factor when […]

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Phonological Awareness Activities Increase Literacy Skills

Research has shown that children given phonological awareness instruction in their first year of school have increased literacy skills. This was shown to be true for children with and without language disorders. After 10 weeks of phonological awareness instruction, these 5-year old children demonstrated greater gains in phonological awareness, reading, and spelling tasks compared to 5-year-olds that only received phonics-based literacy instruction. This study found that only 6% of the children who received phonological awareness instruction continued to demonstrate decoding difficulties. In contrast, 26% of the children who received phonics-based literacy instruction continued to have difficulty decoding following the 10 weeks of instruction. This research highlights the importance of understanding the sounds associated with letters and words for reading success. […]

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Reading Comprehension: Questions and Strategies

Do SLPs work on reading comprehension? Yes, SLPs are responsible for oral language (comprehension and expression) and literacy (reading, writing, and spelling). We can offer relevant skills for reading comprehension because we have knowledge of language subsystems (syntax, semantics, morphology, pragmatics) and development. SLPs understand how oral language skills transfer to reading. What is reading comprehension? Reading comprehension is a complex and active process where the reader applies meaning to what they read. What skills are involved in reading comprehension? Attention/memory Decoding Fluency Background/world knowledge Word/vocabulary knowledge What strategies can help develop reading comprehension abilities? There are many evidenced-based strategies that can support children with reading comprehension difficulties. The type of text (narrative or expository) can influence which type of […]

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