Homes with multiple children and pets can be hectic and loud, requiring extra attention to everyone and stressful for families. Especially being at home at this time, being mindful of your child’s ability to hear will be especially important.
Ear infections are more frequent in babies who have hearing aids because fluid becomes trapped in the middle ear due to the earmold. Consider that it will be helpful to have a prescription for alleviating eat pain and infection.
Preschool – School Aged Children:
With older children, who are remote learning, are the batteries working? Have extra ones on hand. because without working these may be affecting a student’s ability to concentrate and complete their work. A number of different ways of enhancing hearing function are detailed in a scholarly article published in ASHA’s American Journal of Audiology. Consider that there are headsets with a feature to help them. Your child may not necessarily tell you; but in this state of crisis at home and in the community this isn’t something to forget. If you are stressed and your child is not looking at you or responding to you for example auditory function may be compromised. Are they pulling at their ear and fussy? Consider that hearing may be a factor.
ASHA encourages everyone to enjoy these devices safely by taking three basic steps:
lower the volume
limit the time spent listening
wear earphones that go around the ear or fit deeper into the ear to better isolate wanted sound and reduce the need to increase the volume
Referenced in articles published by the American Speech Language Hearing Association, Alexa Skill Blueprints may be helpful for your school aged child who needs to complete homework. https://blueprints.amazon.com/home As an example, the program can create a spelling test
Alexa: Welcome to the Spelling Bee. This story has three blanks in it. To change a blank, say ‘Alexa, undo.’ Let’s get started. Please say a child’s name.
Alexa: You said Aloise. Ok. […] Are you ready to hear your story?
HOW TO CREATE
Get inspired by the sample story
Customize it, or start from scratch
Drop in sound effects, fun expressions, and pauses
Create interactive “blanks” to fill in while you listen
Pick a name for your skill
Give your child access to this skill in FreeTime. Go to Amazon Parent Dashboard, tap on the settings icon next to your child’s name, select Add Content, go to the Alexa Skills tab, and then toggle your Blueprint skill on
HOW TO USE
Gather your audience. When you play the story, Alexa asks listeners to fill in the blanks and then reads the story.
At Home With Young Children? Build Preschoolers’ Speech and Language Skills With Everyday Interactions and Activities
As families around the country shelter in place, parents of preschoolers can help build their child’s speech and language skills during everyday activities at home.
Strong speech and language skills are key to kindergarten readiness and a precursor for reading, writing, and social success. Below are some key communication skills for children ages 3–5, and suggestions for how parents can help their preschoolers:
1. Following Directions
Teach or reinforce ways to follow directions throughout the day. Get your child’s attention, make sure they are looking at you, and go over the steps you take when getting dressed, washing hands, brushing teeth, or cleaning up toys. You can even create a picture or sign with the list of steps for common daily tasks. Some easy at-home practice opportunities include the following:
Cooking and baking. Pick a simple recipe, and have your child help gather the ingredients. Some recipes have pictures of ingredients, making them easier to find. Talk about what you do first, second, and so on. Children can also learn about numbers and measurements while cooking.
Scavenger hunt. Hide 10 of your child’s favorite items throughout your home or yard—and create a simple checklist. Can they find and mark them off the checklist of pictures and/or words? Help them as they hunt to find all 10. You can give clues like “move five steps closer” and “move forward.”
Classic games. Games such as Simon Says or Red Light, Green Light help your child listen, pay attention, and move while following one- and two-step directions.
2. Learning Songs and Rhymes
Young children love music. Singing nursery rhyme songs like Row, Row, Row Your Boat and Wheels on the Bus teaches them about different sounds and words. Singing songs and hearing rhymes will help children learn to read.
3. Building Vocabulary and Describing Objects
The more words a child is exposed to, the more words they’ll know! Keep the conversation going all day long, regardless of your activity. Some great vocabulary-building opportunities include the following:
Puzzle time. Have your child pick out a puzzle. Talk about the pictures on the box. What new words can be found in the puzzle? Find puzzles that have different themes, like holidays, animals, or foods.
Crafting. Set up a station with art materials, and talk as you make a craft. Discuss what they want to make, color choices, and the feel of the materials (like Play-Doh or clay).
Nature walk. There is so much to talk about outside! What do they see and hear? Do they feel a breeze? How do flower petals smell? How many colors do they see? What are the birds and squirrels doing? Ask them to tell you more.
4. Telling Stories
Set the stage for a story by naming a place, character(s), and activity. Encourage your child to create a story from those details and to make up adventures for each character. The funnier or wilder, the better.
You can also pick a familiar book and have them describe how the characters feel. Magazines and newspapers are also great for this purpose. Make up a story about a picture, and describe what happens. Role-play the stories by pretending to be the characters.
5. Describing Emotions
Help children to express their own feelings and to talk about how others might be feeling. Some ideas include the following:
Host an arts-and-crafts show for family members you live with, and display your child’s creations. Use household items (e.g., coffee filters, paper towel rolls, or clothespins) or items from outdoors (e.g., sticks, leaves, rocks) to create the crafts. Ask your child to describe their art, why they chose their subject, and how it makes them feel.
Show your child photos of family gatherings or events, and talk about the people in the pictures—who’s who, what they’re doing, and how everyone may be feeling. Talk about how it feels when you are with friends. What makes a good friend?
Use dolls or make puppets out of household materials, and stage a show. Use funny voices, and talk about the characters—who they are, what they like or want, and how they feel.
6. Sequencing and Predicting
Sequencing is breaking down something (e.g., a task or story) into steps or parts—and then putting them in a logical order. Ask your child to select a favorite book. Read it together, and then talk about it. What came first? Next? Last? Have them draw a picture to show you. As you read, you can also ask them what they think will happen next—or what they think the story is about before you read by looking at the cover (this is called prediction).
Children use many tactics to get their way. Although these tactics may include crying or whining, you can help them learn to persuade with their words. Have them draw a picture of their favorite book and tell you about it—are they able to convince you to read it? Or if they want to watch a TV show or movie, ask them to persuade you—to give you good reasons why they should get to watch the show.
Schedule a call (or video chat, if you can) between your child and their grandparent, other family members, or a friend to talk about their daily activities or a book they’ve read. Can your child talk briefly about the highlights of the day or the main events in a book?
In a challenging time for the ability to educate your child, parents are struggling in the manner in which children have to learn. With this being Better Speech and Hearing Month (BHSM), this second BSHM post relates to how you can better help your child (and yourself) succeed at tele-schooling.
May is Better Speech and Hearing Month. This is a month designed to educate others about these areas and provide resources. Well… during this COVID 19 declared state of emergency, families have inquired about the need to structure time at home. In response to this concern, I am posting ideas and include some links at the bottom of this post that may be of help.
Ten Ways Children With Language Disorders Can Maintain Both Physical Distance and Social Connection During the Coronavirus Pandemic
With social distancing (or more accurately, physical distancing) a new way of life during the COVID-19 pandemic, people of all ages are challenged to find different ways to connect socially. However, for children with language disorders—who have difficulties with social interactions in the best of times—the physical distance mandated to prevent the pandemic’s spread can be especially challenging.
Sheltering-in-place is encouraging people to find resourceful and creative ways to extend and strengthen their social bonds. Children and adults are using video platforms for playdates, happy hours, and meetings; sharing relatable memes and jokes through email, social media, and texting; attending streamed worship services, fitness classes, and art and music lessons; and more.
However, children with language disorders may not be able to adapt as quickly as others. Parents can help their children interact socially during this time in the following ways:
Screen time. Realistically, screen usage will increase while people are sheltering at home. Some research shows that screen time can lead to speech and language delays in children. But TV shows, movies, and social media can be viewed in a way that optimizes social interaction. When possible, use these technologies interactively: Watch shows/movies together, and discuss them (e.g., Who was your favorite character? What do you think will happen next? Why did the show end that way?). Ask kids to introduce you to their favorite video game or TikTok personality.
Conversation opportunities. Although families may be together more than usual, parents may be focused on financial, medical, work, and other significant responsibilities and concerns. But conversation-rich opportunities can occur in everyday tasks that are already occurring, such as cooking/dinner prep (following a sequence of steps) or traditional activities that families are rediscovering as everyone hunkers down (e.g., board games offer a chance to talk about rules and turn-taking).
Reading. This time of relative isolation can lend more time for reading. But this doesn’t have to be a solitary activity. Families can read to each other and find different types of books online. Young children can play rhyming and word games. Parents can ask older children questions to guide their understanding (e.g., What happened at the beginning, middle, and end of the story? What was the main plot? What motivated each character?)
Being with friends and family. The importance of communicating with friends and extended family during this time cannot be understated. Children with language disorders may find the phone and FaceTime/Zoom communication more challenging than others. Parents can practice conversations in advance and can suggest topics and related responses (e.g., making comparisons between the weather in different cities; talking about home school experiences). They can involve siblings and discuss ways that they can help their sibling who has a language disorder.
Understanding changes. The changes in daily routines may be particularly hard for children with language comprehension and production problems. They may hear alarming news reports or sense the tension of their parent(s)—but they may not have the ability to ask their questions, express their feelings, or speak about this confusing time. Parents can define new vocabulary words (e.g., coronavirus, COVID-19, social distancing, quarantine, sheltering at home) and can explain changes in routine. Parents can establish a new routine, as much as possible, and can involve a child in decision making (e.g., When would you like to call grandma and pop-pop? Which friend should we talk to today? What food would you like?).
Creativity. Dance, music, art, and other classes that kids may have been taking in person are now virtual, offering a great opportunity to continue the connection with those teachers and friends. And online drawing, cooking, and other tutorials are plentiful. Low-tech possibilities to use creativity and practice language skills include having a child pick out items around the house and create their own store; planning an indoor camping night (e.g., making a list of what they’ll need, ideas for things they want to do); and planning and planting a garden.
Physical activity. Gyms, personal trainers, and community fitness programs are providing content online. Parents and children can use these activities as a way to bond together and as topics of conversation (e.g., different types of exercises, healthy eating, the connection between physical activity and wellness). Or they can take up a new form of exercise and learn it together via televised on-demand or online programs (e.g., family yoga). Some family-friendly neighborhoods have organized circuit training stops at various houses (posting a different exercise on each front/garage door) so families can get in shape and share a neighborhood-based social activity without actually interacting physically.
Humor. Many people have been sharing or receiving humorous COVID-related memes and videos to ease tension and connect with others. Children with language disorders may miss some of these coping opportunities because they tend to miss the nuances of humor. Parents can help them better understand humorous anecdotes or jokes by talking through them. Jokes are a sophisticated form of communication—what a great learning opportunity!
Organizing. Some households are undertaking to declutter and organizing projects that have been on the back burner for years. These can be language lessons, too. What items go together? Do you remember when you wore that outfit? Will you play with that toy anymore?
Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). Some children with language disorders use AAC to help them communicate (e.g., letter boards, speech-generating devices). Parents should make sure that kids are using their AAC devices at home, at all times. These devices are not just for school.
Although this is no doubt a difficult time for all, parents can help children with language disorders to keep a safe physical distance without losing social nearness that is so critical to their development.
Note: This is a modified version of a post originally published via the ASHA Leader Live blog.