Monday, May 11, 2015

Mom Monday-Speech Info for Mommy!

I could not wait to write this post for today!  May is Better Speech and Hearing Month.  If you didn't know, don't feel bad.  I think only speech pathologists and audiologists are the only ones who know.  This is the perfect time to promote awareness to parents and caregivers about speech milestones for little ones.  I deal with parents everyday that assume because their child is only 18 months old it is no big deal that they are not talking.  Wrong!!  Did you know that a child between 18 months and 2 years should be using at least 50 words???!!  They are also starting to string together 1-2 word phrases and questions. That same sweet little tot should also be following 1 step directions and pointing to body parts.

This post is not meant to bash parents in any way.  After all, I am a mom too.  I have a little guy that needs some fine tuning on a couple of sounds.  But some parents need that "Come to Jesus" moment to realize their kiddo might need some help.  Many parents sweep speech concerns under the rug.  They fear the unknown.  They fear that someone will find a MINOR imperfection with their child...because after all, every child is PERFECT in mama's eyes.  When mama and daddy are ready, it's important that they understand their child is still perfect.  We all have flaws that make us perfect...PERFECTLY US.  It's the job of a really great speech pathologist to come in and make parents realize this.  Once they understand, parents and speech therapists can work together to improve the child's speech and language.

Now, if you read closely you will know notice I said "speech and language."  You may be thinking those two things are the same.  To speech therapists, they are not.

Speech:  Verbal communication that is made up of articulation (the way we produce sounds in words), voicing (the use of our vocal cords), and fluency (the intonation and rhythm of our speech).

Language: How we formulate and understand spoken language.  Language comes in two forms-expressive (the way we use language) and receptive (the way we understand language).  We need to know and understand the building blocks of language-syntax (grammar and sentence formulation). semantics (ie-vocabulary and how it is used) and pragmatics (the social aspect of communicating).  If any one of the building blocks is flawed, it makes it harder to understand what is being said to you.  It is also makes it harder for you to communicate.

I am adding a link to North Shore Pediatric Therapy for a great handout.  It has milestones broken down into age ranges.  It explains "red flags" to look for as well.  This handout is not meant to diagnose your child in anyway.  The best method to find out if your child has a speech or language disorder is to have a full speech and language evaluation completed by a licensed speech language pathologist.

If you know a speech therapist, be sure to give them a pat on the back.

Hugs y'all!

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