We are so excited about the month of May here at Hearing Health! May is that beautiful time of the year in Minnesota when the weather finally starts to get warmer and spring has finally truly sprung. On top of the wonderful weather, every year in May, the American Speech Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) hosts “Better Hearing and Speech Month”. For 2018, the theme is simple and powerful: “Communication for All”.
“Communication for All” is extremely impactful because it includes everyone, but this also makes it quite broad. To help us understand communication possibilities for all, the folks at ASHA have broken BHSM up into four subsections this year. We are so excited about all the subsections of this year’s Better Hearing and Speech Month theme, “Communication for All”. For this blog post, we have decided to focus on just the first two subsets – early identification of speech disorders in babies and young children, and hearing loss in school aged kids.
Week 1: Communication Milestones and Early Identification of Disorders
Week one of BHSM focuses on the youngest members of our population, our babies and young children. Although it is extremely imperative for parents of young children to understand the early warning signs of a speech or language impairment – a whopping 69% of parents do not know these signs according to a press release published by ASHA (https://www.multivu.com/players/English/8294051-asha-psa-communication-disorders-children/). Some of the earliest warning signs (for children birth to seven months) are: does not smile when interacting with others, and does not babble. For children seven to eighteen months of age the warning signs are: only makes a few sounds or gestures (like pointing), doesn’t understand what others are saying and says only a few words. For children who are eighteen months to three years the warning signs are: words that are not easily understood, not putting words together to make sentences and trouble playing with and talking to other children.
If you think your child or grandchild may be experiencing some of these early warning signs – bring them to their pediatrician immediately. The earlier a child receives intervention the better the results, the faster the process and the less expensive treatment is. You can also implement home techniques like talking and reading to your child often, using various words to describe what you or your child are doing and speaking in the language you are the most comfortable using. For more information, visit http://identifythsigns.org.
Week 2: Hearing Loss in School Aged Kids
In kids, meeting (or not meeting) reading or writing milestones can be an indication of a hearing loss. As the school year comes to the end, knowing the skills your child is expected to know at the end of his grade level can be very helpful for parents to identify possible concerns. Here are just some of the examples of desired end-of-year skills.
Kindergarten: Knows that words are made up of sounds, knows that some words have the same sounds in them line the /s/ in “sun” and “soup”, tells a story by looking at the pictures in a book, writes name and all upper and lowercase letters.
First Grade: Finds all the sounds in short words, blends sounds to make words, recognizes about 100 common words, makes up rhyming words and prints clearly.
Second Grade: Reads smoothly (does not need to sound out as many words), can retell a story in the correct order, predicts what will happen next in stories, finds and uses spelling patterns, writes stories that have a beginning, middle and end.
Third Grade: Uses what they know to understand material, asks and answers questions about longer books, uses clues from a story or pictures to understand meaning, edits and corrects written work, and corrects own spelling mistakes.
Fourth Grade: Uses words they know to guess the meaning of a new word (i.e. understanding the meaning of “frigid” using their knowledge of the word refrigerator, tells a shorter version of what they have read without excluding the main idea or important details, writes stories with many paragraphs on the same topic, edits writing for spelling and grammar mistakes.
Fifth Grade: Uses facts from newspapers, articles, and magazines to back up opinions, tells how character or plot develop, knows which parts of a text are the most important to read and uses many different types of sentences in different types of written materials (research reports, blogs, narratives, poetry etc.)
For the full list of school aged milestones visit: https://www.asha.org/uploadedImages/Watch-My-Literacy-Skills-Grow.jpg
How Hearing Health Can Help
If you think you or a special child in your life may be experiencing some of the early signs of a hearing loss or speech disorder, reach out to our friendly team. We look forward to helping you celebrate Better Hearing and Speech month by getting your hearing checked today!