The Impact of Speech on Social and Emotional Development

Expert Corner Speech Disorders Speech Therapist Speech Therapy for Kids Uncategorized

From birth, children’s developmental capacities are constantly growing and maturing. Speech provides all of us with imperative tools for learning and interacting with others. Uncovering speech issues early on in children can be beneficial for future emotional development.  For some parents it may be difficult to decipher emotional signs, as opposed to physical signs correlated with speech or language complications.  I spoke with child and adolescent psychotherapist, Irena Kenny about the importance of speech in a child’s everyday life, as well as emotional and social obstacles, which might arise if a child is struggling with self expression.  

 

Q: How important are speech, language and communication skills for a child’s social and emotional development?

A: Speech and language are vital for the development of emotional and social skills in children. Communication is one of the most important developmental tasks, which takes place during early childhood development. It is then, children begin to form their initial understanding of the world. Difficulty in the realm of language and communication during childhood can hinder a child’s ability to confidently express their ideas and observations of the world around them. Some younger children, who do not have a well developed fund of language have all of these ideas and observations of the world in their minds, but feel unable to make themselves understood to others. Older children who suffer from speech issues such as poor annunciation, stuttering, and other unclear speech patterns may isolate themselves, withdraw from peers, and avoid situations such as speaking out loud, or minimize verbal interactions with others. A few symptoms of difficulty to express one’s thoughts clearly at earlier stages of development are low frustration tolerance, emotional outbursts, and excessive shyness. However, there are also children whose speech might appear less advanced than that of their peers, but they seem unbothered and confident.

Q: How do speech and language challenges affect academic progress?

A: Speech or some forms of linguistic expression are important for academic success; this is because, reading, writing and verbal apprehensions are essential elements of the entire learning process. When a child begins school they start to observe their surroundings and socialize predominantly with kids their own age. At this point they begin to notice a difference in their own speech compared to their classmates. For children with speech issues, it may seem majority of their peers have the ability to express themselves in a more articulate, more easily understood fashion. This realization of sounding different can have an emotional effect, ultimately leading to lower confidence, potentially causing lower class performance. But again, while some children become overly frustrated, others may not have any awareness of their speech issue. However, for some of the more self- conscious kids, rejection and teasing by peers may cause all energy to be expended on dealing with the social aspect of functioning and little energy is left to be put toward academic growth . For others, the need to avoid dealing with uncomfortable interpersonal situations can lead to isolation and possibly focusing heavily on the academic growth whilst inadvertently neglecting the social growth and development.

Q: When should speech and language enrichment take priority over other enrichment activities?

A:  If you ever feel that either speech or language (either receptive or expressive) seem to negatively affect your child’s ability to fully enjoy and participate in daily life, you should consider contacting a specialist. If a child is constantly struggling, due to speech related issues and does not seem to be making any progress, it is important to intervene and find the appropriate help best suited for you and your child. As a parent, I feel it is important to remember there is a range within each and every age group, and anxiously comparing your child to those of your peers does not always provide a clear cut sign of an issue. If you are uncertain or concerned, speak to your child’s teacher or pediatricians, who are qualified to advise you about what is and isn’t developmentally appropriate and together you can explore your concerns. If necessary they will help with making a referral to a Speech Therapist/Speech Language Pathologist, who will be able to determine the exact nature of your child’s speech related issue.

Q: What steps should be taken to find the right SLP?

A: It is a joint effort when looking for a Speech Language Pathologist best suited for parent and child. Speaking with your child’s pediatrician for an initial evaluation may help determine whether there is an overall need for therapy. Your physician will be able to provide names of SLP’s they have worked with before. Another helpful tip is to speak to friends, family members, or parenting networks, such as Park Slope Parents about recommendations for clinicians who may have previously helped their child. Ultimately, you want to find an SLP who is knowledgeable, plus able to work comfortably and safely with your child in order to promote the mastery and fine tuning of new and existing speech and language tools.

Guest post by Samantha Cardinali

Bilingual Households and Speech Delays in Children

Bilingual Households and Speech Delays in Children

Language Development Parents' Corner Speech delay

Does growing up in a bilingual household create speech delays in children? The answer in the short term appears to be yes. Over the long term, however, children from bilingual homes tend to bounce back and may even derive special advantages from growing up in a household where both English and another language are spoken.

Tips For Raising a Bilingual Child

The key to raising a bilingual child is early exposure. The first few years of a child’s life represent the most rapid period in the growth of language pathways for speech development. Researchers say that a child’s brain in this critical period are like giant file cabinets that store up huge libraries of phonetic knowledge.

Scientists at Cornell University describe the acquisition of language as one of the greatest feats in human development. Their research indicates that an initial deficit in word learning or vocabulary was followed by “a fast pace of development,” ultimately reaching the same rate as children raised in monolingual homes. While many teachers and parents may be concerned that raising a child in a multilingual or bilingual household could be confusing, the scientific evidence indicates that bilingual children do not suffer from “language confusion, language delay or cognitive deficit.”

The Advantages of Raising a Bilingual Child

The cognitive advantages that your child will reap from bilingualism or multilingualism will likely aid his or her academic achievements later in life. In fact, far from causing problems in a child’s intellectual development, bilingual or multilingual kids enjoy special advantages over their monolingual peers, including easier access to other languages and cultures in ways that their peers often do not share. Moreover, exposure from birth to more than one language may yield the best results in achieving native-like proficiency.

Perhaps best of all, the children of bilingual or multilingual parents do not need to be “taught” a second language in order to get it right. Language learning is a complex process that children work through on a step-by-step basis, according to the sounds that they hear from their parents and overhear in other settings. So while exposure from birth to different languages is essential, moms and dads do not need to drill their children if they are developing normally. They can simply allow their kids to “discover” other languages on their own.

At the same time, however, parents can take concrete steps to facilitate multilanguage development that will enrich understanding and mastery, including:

  • Surrounding the child with conversations and social groups that utilize more than one language.
  • Exposing children to different languages through multilingual play groups.
  • Reading to and telling your child stories in different languages.

Another tip for parents raising the bilingual or multilingual child is for each parent to stick to his or her native tongue. This is known as the OPOL — “one parent, one language” — strategy for nurturing multilingual speech development. It’s based on the idea that kids will have an easier time if moms and dads consistently speak their own native tongues.

Of course, parents with children who have diagnosed language difficulties have special concerns regarding the effects of bilingualism. But research shows that, even among kids with language development challenges, it is possible for them to achieve bilingualism. According to one researcher, the evidence “suggests that…these children can acquire functional competence in two languages at the same time, within the limits of their impairment. Therefore, children with specific language impairment living in families where knowing two, or more, languages are useful and important, should be given every opportunity to acquire two languages.”

Parents who are unsure or have doubts should make sure that their children’s hearing has been tested; they should also consult an expert and remember that language development is a complex process that takes time and that some children will simply develop these skills at different rates.

Early Intervention Services – The Who, What, Where, Why and How

Early Intervention Services – The Who, What, Where, Why and How

Speech delay State Resources

Some of the most rewarding and fun cases I have had the pleasure of being a part of have been with the youngest of children that speech pathologists serve—infants and toddlers, from birth to age 3. From one session to the next, I have witnessed profound changes in a child’s speech and language functioning, as well as in that child’s family’s sense of empowerment as they address the often formidable challenge of educating a child with developmental delays. Luckily, there is a government-sponsored program set up to help and it is called the Early Intervention (EI) program. Often, gathering information, directed, valuable information, is the first step to get your child the support he or she needs. This blog post is dedicated to providing some background to this vital program and to empower parents to access the services their child would deserve.

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Late Talker vs. Speech Delay in Toddlers

Late Talker vs. Speech Delay in Toddlers

Language Development Speech Disorders Speech Therapist

Worried about your toddler’s development in speech and language? Don’t hit the panic button yet! There’s a chance your child could just be a late talker. A late talker is a toddler between the ages of 18 to 30 months, who is developing normal play, social, thinking and motor skills, but who is limited in spoken vocabulary for their age. Most late talkers have difficulty with expressive language. Expressive language is used by toddlers when they are communicating their wants and needs. For examply, asking for “milk” is a way that toddlers use expressive language to communicate their desire for a particular drink.

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Effect of Stroke on Speech and Language

Effect of Stroke on Speech and Language

News Speech and Hearing Disorders Speech Disorders
Effect of Stroke on Speech and Language

Effect of Stroke on Speech and Language. Image courtesy of www.ndtv.com

Whether or not you are a country music fan, you may have heard recently that grammy-winning country singer Randy Travis has been left unable to speak or sing due to a stroke he suffered last year. After his stroke in July 2013, he was able to restore much of his motor functions with physical therapy, but has not regained his speech. According to the National Stroke Association, stroke, or cerebrovascular accident (CVA) usually affects one side of the brain. Movement and sensation for one side of the body is controlled by the opposite side of the brain. What does this mean? If a stroke affects the left side of the brain, there will be problems with the right side of the body.

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What to Expect: Your Four-Year-Old’s Speech Milestones

What to Expect: Your Four-Year-Old’s Speech Milestones

Language Development Parents' Corner Speech Disorders
Your Four-Year-Old's Speech Milestones

Your Four-Year-Old’s Speech Milestones. Image source: teachtofeed.com

When it comes to speech and language skills, every child develops at a different rate. That being said, there are some generally predictable milestones that each child achieves as they grow and learn. It usually takes about 8 years for a child to master all the speech sounds in the English language.

Although there are only 26 letters in the alphabet, there are 44 distinct sounds!

According to Heidi Hanks, M.S.CCC-SLP, founder of Little Bee Speech, and the terrific website Mommy Speech Therapy, one way to determine if your child’s speech is progressing at a normal rate is using what is called “speech sound norms.” According to Heidi, speech sound norms are tools that speech language pathologists (SLP’s) use to help guide them in determining which errors are developmentally appropriate and which errors are not. There are multiple speech sound norms that are currently being used by SLP’s all around the world.

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Speech Buddies Partners with The Cleft Lip & Palate Foundation of Smiles

Speech Buddies Partners with The Cleft Lip & Palate Foundation of Smiles

Cleft Lip and Palate News Parents' Corner

We are thrilled to announce a new partnership that Speech Buddies has formed with The Cleft Lip & Palate Foundation of Smiles. Cleft lip or palate is one of the most common birth defects in the United States, affecting around 1 in 600 children nationwide. Children who are born with cleft lip or palate are likely to have speech difficulties, as too much air fills the open nasal cavity, making their speech sound “slushy.”

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What Happens In Speech Therapy?

What Happens In Speech Therapy?

Language Development Parents' Corner School Speech Disorders Speech Therapist Speech Therapy Techniques
What to expect during speech therapy

What to Expect During Speech Therapy. Source: thetherapyvillage.com

What happens when your child visits a speech-language pathologist? What exactly will the SLP do? These are questions that many parents ask when their child has been recommended to start a speech therapy program. In order for you to set your expectations (and your child’s), here are the basics of what to expect from a speech therapy program. Of course, each course of therapy is tailored personally to your child’s particular speech disorder, or speech impairment. This should serve as a general guideline about the entire process.

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Tips For Teaching the “th” Sound

At Home Ideas Parents' Corner Speech Disorders Speech Therapy Techniques
The "th" Sound

Tips for Teaching the “th” Sound

Often, we are asked for suggestions on how to teach the sound of “th.” While Speech Buddies offers tools to help overcome many speech difficulties and articulation disorders, we do not have a tool for the sound of “th.”  This is what we offer parents who are looking for help teaching their children to correctly pronounce the “th” sound. Continue reading

6 Songs For Speech Therapy

6 Songs For Speech Therapy

At Home Ideas Parents' Corner Speech Disorders Speech Therapy Ideas Speech Therapy Techniques
Music as speech therapy

Music is an excellent source of speech therapy. Image source: loogguitars.com

Do you have a little Stevie Wonder on your hands? Lady Gaga? Do you hear singing at all hours of the day? If so, you know that singing and songs are a significant part of your child’s life. In fact, many children sing more than they talk! Through singing and song, children can actually achieve improved articulation skills, just from belting it out. Even simple children’s nursery rhymes can help develop pronunciation and articulation skills. For children who need any type of speech and language therapy, music is essential. It is motivating, familiar, rhythmic, stimulates a variety of senses and most of all – FUN!
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