speech therapists

Speech Therapists Encourage Parents to Read to Kids Early & Often

It’s International Read to Me Day! Our speech therapists know that reading to your kids early and often helps them make tremendous speech & language strides.

The Cuyahoga County Library has TONS of great recommendations for amazing children’s books. Repetitive picture books are great for young children. Find one that captures your child’s interest, settle in for a snuggle, and get reading!

Akron speech therapists

Akron Speech Therapists Use Sign Language For Kids With Communication Difficulties

Sign language isn’t just for the hearing impaired. Many children with speech and language disorders who struggle to express themselves can be taught non-verbal forms of communication. As our Akron speech therapists can explain, this can help kickstart the development of verbal language and help ease their frustrations. For some kids, we’ll use sign language alone, but it can also be used in conjunction with tools like picture cards or electronic devices to further encourage engagement.

Recently, a new study published in the journal Developmental Science revealed that babies as young as 5-months0old can be influenced by sign language. Researchers used a gaze-tracking technology on two groups of infants between the ages of 5 and 14 months and children between the ages of 2 and 8 years. All were confirmed to have normal hearing. About half had parents who used American Sign Language at home and the other half had no exposure to it.

Infants who came from homes where ASL was used looked mostly at the adult’s face, barely registering the hand movements. Kids who were newly exposed to sign language still preferred the face, but watched the hand movements as well.

Akron speech therapists

Identifying Speech Delays in Twins, Triplets and Other Multiples

Numerous studies have established that twins, triplets and other sets of multiples have a higher likelihood of speech delays. (It’s also more common in identical twins and multiples than in fraternal.)

Speech and language delays are characterized as a child having speech or language skills that are below their age and gender expectations. Typically, this means they have shorter utterance lengths, fewer words and less overall attempts to talk/communicate. On the whole, language development among twins has been found to be about 1.7 months behind single babies at 20-months-old and 3.1 months behind at 3 years of age. There’s even a name for this phenomenon: The “twinning effect.”

No one knows exactly why it happens, but our Akron speech therapists know numerous theories have been floated and studied, including:

  • Prematurity/birth complications. Both of these can increase the risk of speech delays.
  • Divided caregiver attention. Parents are less able to give attention to each child because it’s divided by two babies/toddlers at once (leading to the children hearing less words, having one-on-one interaction, fewer stories, etc.).
  • Genetics. Higher likelihood of inherited causes of speech delays.
  • “Twin talk.” These are invented words, gestures, simple syntax that twins and multiples use to talk to each other. Sometimes, they are SO effective at communicating with each other without words that their language and speech development may be delayed.
  • Personality differences. If one twin is more outgoing and the other more shy, the shy twin may develop speech and language skills at a slower rate.
  • One twin/multiple is the “spokesperson.” We see this a lot too with children who have older siblings who “speak” for them. But this can be detrimental to the speech and language development of the other/younger children because they aren’t motivated to verbalize their own needs or feelings.
Akron speech therapists

Transition Talk: How Speech Therapists Help Kids With Autism Move From One Thing to the Next

Humans are creatures of habit. Even if you’re a person who welcomes change, the fact is, it takes more effort than continuing on as you were. Our speech therapists understand that for a child, being asked to stop one thing and start another (i.e., “a transition”) is a really common trigger for problematic behaviors. This is especially true for children on the autism spectrum, who rely so heavily on routine to understand and feel comfortable with the world around them.

The anxiety and frustration of a transition can be especially overwhelming if a child is transitioning from a preferred activity (something we like and want to be doing) to a non-preferred activity (something we’d rather not be doing, even if it’s necessary).

As speech therapists, we’ve seen trouble with transitions manifest in a number of ways, including:

  • Avoidance
  • Distraction
  • Resistance
  • Negotiation
  • Full-blown meltdown

Although it can seem like the child is simply overwhelmed by their emotions (and sometimes, they are), the ABA therapists at Therapy & Wellness Connection recognize that these are often the responses the child has learned to have been successful in helping them delay or avoid a transition.