Author: Margaret Morris MS CCC SLP

Top 3 Ways to Encourage Language Development in Babies and Young Children

Top 3 Ways to Encourage Language Development in Babies and Young Children May is National Speech-Language-Hearing Month and here are the top 3 things you can do to support and develop your young child’s speech and language skills: TALK Narrate what you are doing and what your child is doing. Use short sentences and keep language simple, but don’t use “baby talk”. You can engage your child with infant directed speech (parentese): try different pitches and tones of voice and be animated. Call objects by their correct names and do not mispronounce words. For examples of parentese, see the video below: How to Talk to With Your Baby When your child starts to talk, expand what they say by adding

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Spring Activities for Language Development

  As the weather is getting nicer, you can use nature and outdoor activities to help build your child’s language skills. Take a walk around your neighborhood and talk about what you and your child see, hear, smell and touch. This can help develop their vocabulary and ability to describe things. You can use NOUNS like grass, flower, sky, cloud, tree, branch, and trunk and ADJECTIVES like soft, sticky, rough, smooth, noisy, sweet and stinky. If you have a yard, include your child in some simple gardening activities. Get some shovels, a bucket or a watering can and talk about ACTIONS as you dig, dump, pull, plant, bury, pour, etc. You can reinforce BASIC CONCEPTS like full, empty, more and

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The Impact of Exposure to Noise on Children’s Hearing

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is warning parents to pay more attention to noise in their everyday activities. Not only can environmental noise, such as traffic noise, or a television playing in the background, affect learning, sleep, and quality of life, chronic noise exposure can harm hearing in infants, children and teens. Common sources of indoor noise include appliances, infant sleep (white noise) machines, video games, toys, and televisions. Personal listening devices are being used more frequently, even by young children. The concern is not only with the volume of the noise, but also how long and how often children are exposed to noise. Children are more susceptible to harm because their hearing system is still developing. Additionally, the

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What to Expect in Communication and Feeding: New Milestones Charts

To help educate parents, caregivers, and related professionals about the development of speech, language, hearing, feeding and swallowing skills, the American Speech Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) has recently updated its developmental milestones for hearing, speech, and language (birth to 5) and added a new resource on feeding and swallowing milestones (birth to 3). The communication (hearing, speech, language) milestones show the ages by which at least 75% of American English–speaking children have developed communication skills. Each milestone is supported by research and includes a reference list. The feeding and swallowing milestones checklist (which is also available in Spanish) reports the ages by which at least 75% of children worldwide have mastered the skills. They are based on international research

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TEACHING YOUR BABY TO TALK: START WITH IMITATION!

Imitation is when someone mimics or copies actions, sounds, facial expressions or words. Before they start to really speak, babies will copy what they see and hear. Imitation is a stepping stone that leads to first words. When used appropriately, imitation will help children associate specific actions or tasks with words. To help your child learn imitation skills, try the following: -get face to face with your baby so you can direct their attention to your mouth/face -you can put an interesting toy by your face to help keep their attention -when you have your baby’s attention, make gestures or sounds and wait to see if they copy -be playful and animated, so your baby really pays attention to you

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Time to “hit the books” with your baby!

The benefits of reading to toddlers (over 12 months of age) is well known, but the benefits of reading to infants (birth to 12 months old) is less established. A recent research study conducted at Marshall University’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine showed that infants in families that reported always reading at least seven books per week scored higher on language testing at 9 months of age than infants in families that reported reading less than seven books weekly. The researchers suggest that committing to reading one book each day is an achievable goal for new families to try. They stress the importance of finding ways to educate parents on the impact regular reading can have on their infant’s

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May was Better Hearing and Speech Month! Let’s keep the information flowing!

Every May, organizations all over the country join the American Speech-Hearing Association (ASHA) to promote Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM). BHSM’s purpose is to help increase awareness of communication disorders and available treatment options. ● Nearly 1 in 12 (7.7 percent) U.S. children ages 3-17 has had a disorder related to voice, speech, language, or swallowing in the past 12 months. ● The prevalence of voice, speech, language, or swallowing disorders is highest among children ages 3-6 (11.0 percent), compared to children ages 7-10 (9.3 percent), and children ages 11-17 (4.9 percent).1 ● By the first grade, roughly 5% of children have noticeable speech disorders.2 ● More than 3 million Americans stutter.2 ● 6–8 million Americans have some form

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Debunking Common Misconceptions about Speech and Language Delays

Significant speech and language delays are directly related to developmental or medical issues. Sometimes people make assumptions about speech and language development or think that other factors are the reason for the delays: -Individual developmental variation: While there is variability in acquisition of speech and language milestones, don’t assume that delays in talking are the result of normal developmental differences between children. Research indicates that approximately 40-50% of children who are late to talk (who have typical skills in other areas) do not catch up on their own. While some children learn and use new words faster than others do, if your child is not saying their first words by 15 months, or can say fewer than 50 words by

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The Power of Puppets with Children with Autism

A study by researchers at the Yale Child Study Center shows that puppets can attract and hold the visual attention of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) at rates which are similar to their typically developing peers. The findings suggest that puppets could be a tool to develop more engaging therapies that strengthen social engagement and facilitate learning for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The study, published in the Journal Autism Research in 2021, is the first to test anecdotal evidence that children with ASD, like most young children, pay attention to puppets. The researchers created the experiment in collaboration with Cheryl Henson, the daughter of puppeteer Jim Henson and president of the Jim Henson Foundation. Check out a

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Neurodiversity and Speech Therapy

    April celebrates what is now called Autism Acceptance Month. Autistic author, Elle Love, wrote that: “Creating awareness was the first step in our conversation about disability inclusion, however, acceptance enforces awareness and reflects how our society should celebrate the differences and abilities that neurodivergent people have.”   Neurodiversity refers to the range of differences in individual brain function and behavioral traits, regarded as part of normal variation in the human population. The term has popularly been used in the context of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), but also includes a range of neurological differences, such as Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), dyslexia and dyspraxia.   Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is associated with differences in communication, learning, and behavior. Some differences for

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