During the month of May, the nation’s attention is focused on screenings for children regarding speech and hearing.
New evidence is showing a majority of young children in the United States using personal technology such as smartphones and tablets. It is important that parents ensure technology is not overtaking time for talking, reading, and other verbal communication-which are the primary ways that children learn.
Some speech-language pathologists encourage parents to set meaningful limits on technology use, especially for young children.
While technology offers positive potential in many areas, it is important that young children are spending the majority of their time listening and conversing with others, as well as engaging in imaginative play and outdoor activities-all of which help them learn and develop.
Parents can take steps to manage tech time by setting daily time limits, establishing tech-free settings such as the dinner table, and considering whether a young child really needs his/her own device, as many now have.
The summer months, which may include events such as long vacation drives, provide ample opportunities for communication that parents should try to take advantage of.
Regardless of their child’s level of technology use, parents should familiarize themselves with the early signs of speech and language disorders, which are growing causes of disability among U.S. children, according to a 2014 study in the journal Pediatrics.
Hearing loss is becoming more common in the U.S. as younger people lose hearing due to noise exposure. Better Speech and Hearing Month has become even more important as a means of reaching those children who may be at risk for hearing loss.
Parents/caregivers should not delay seeking an assessment from a certified speech/language pathologist if they have any questions about their child’s communication skills.
For more information visit www.ok.gov/health.