2019 was a great year for Communication Community! Two friends and speech-language pathologists decided to create a blog, and from there we bounced names back and forth that encompassed our goal - to create a community that discusses and educates about speech, language and communication. We then went through numerous drafts of logo and website designs, and also wrote some of our very first articles. We are lucky to have great people in our life who supported us as well. In 2020, we hope to bring you even more content that enriches the lives and relationships between you and your loved ones.
To wrap up 2019, we compiled a list of our posts and a brief overview of what we covered in them. Click on the titles to view the whole post!
We broke down some of the most important communication-related milestones for your child from birth to 5 years - it is hard to believe just how fast speech and language changes during that time! Think: 1 to 2 years old, one should have an expressive vocabulary of ~50 words and from 2 to 3 that jumps to ~425 words! It is also important to remember that every child is different, and minor differences here and there should be for “watching,” not worrying.
What to expect for an evaluation - including who will be there, the average duration, how to prepare, and what will happen are discussed in this article. Every speech-language evaluation is different depending on the age and area(s) of concern, but typically all include an interview/case history questionnaire, formal testing, and informal testing.
This is for all of those parents/caregivers out there who have never attended an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting before. We broke down the most important areas to help you feel prepared, like what to bring, who you will be meeting with, and what meeting structure you should anticipate. Oh, and we also covered those tricky acronyms you will be likely to hear too!
A speech-language evaluation report is compiled after a speech-language evaluation. It typically includes the areas that were tested, formal and informal test scores, and overall results and findings. Definitions and examples of areas that were tested, what the test scores mean, and what to do after reading the evaluation report can be found in this post.
More and more research has come out to support the content within this post. Basically, the younger you are, the less time you should be absorbing digital technology. Excessive screen time (e.g. playing/watching videos for hours on end using a tablet) can impact your child’s social development, coping skills, family relationships, and/or sleeping habits. Younger children are the most at risk, because of the neural synapses that are rapidly developing at this time.
Pragmatic language, i.e., social language, is a critical component of an individual’s language skills as a whole. In this article, we noted that pragmatic language is less concrete than other language skills, and that deficits can be harder to spot. Having adequate pragmatic language skills is important when participating in daily life activities and interacting with others. Individuals with autism, brain injuries, development disabilities are more likely to have pragmatic language deficits than others.
Reading with or to your child promotes interactive behaviors that foster a strong sense of communication and social closeness. Even if your child is not developmentally ready to decode text, exposure to books and other print encourages early literacy awareness. Rather than giving our readers an enormous list of must-reads, we broke down our article into book types: pop-up, tactile, sound, wordless, rhyming, and alphabet books. Under each column, we outlined a few of our favorites.
This is when we got to share a little bit more about ourselves with our lovely Community! We learned that Kristi and Becca met in grad school and have maintained a long distance friendship ever since. Fun fact - we used to get confused in school constantly (you can check out our photo gallery to decide for yourself if this should’ve been the case). Kristi resides in the concrete jungle of New York City, while Becca lives the Denver and mountain life.
Participating in at-home speech therapy activities for one child does not mean your other children need to fend for themselves during this time; there are many ways to include everyone! Even if your children’s speech and language abilities may differ, you can still engage them in the same activity by modifying your interactions to be appropriate for each child. You do not need to keep a scoresheet - meaning each child does not need to participate equally in each activity.
We learned that toys can be both educational and fun! Some of our favorite featured toys included those that were very hands-on and could be used within multiple contexts and environments, such as building materials (e.g., Lincoln Logs). These toys can be manipulated and used to teach language skills like prepositions (“Put the log next to the tree”), cause and effect concepts (if you stack them too high - they will tumble down!), and turn-taking skills.
In this post, we introduced augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). AAC is a way to increase (augment) communication or a way to provide an alternative way of communicating. It can be as simple as a thumbs up or waving of the hand, or as complex as a computer that one controls with their eyes. Individuals with severe expressive communication difficulties may benefit from AAC.