It’s a hot topic right now. How does wearing a mask affect a child’s speech and language development?
Speech and language pathologists Brooke Dwyer M.S. CC-SLP and Bridget Hillsberg CC-SLP, a dynamic-sister duo, and co-founders of Beach Cities Speech Therapy (BCST) have set out to spread the word (literally) about speech and language development.
The duo known as The Speech Sisters joined us today to share their mission to arm parents with the knowledge they need to get their children the support they deserve. Here’s more from them:
It’s important to start off by saying that there are limited studies that suggest that face masks negatively impact a child’s speech and language development, mainly because these studies are all happening in real-time.
What we know as SLPs is that children learn language through auditory and visual cues and when a child, teacher, therapist or caregiver is masked those visual cues are missing. This will likely have a negative impact on language development and growth in children.
Signs of Delay:
If a young child is delayed in their speech and language development this will be apparent because they will not be meeting communication milestones.
They may not understand language as well as other children their age.
They may not say as many words to communicate like other children their age.
After 2 decades the CDC just updated their developmental milestones.
These changes were intended to make it easier for parents and pediatricians to identify delays but at the same time the revisions reduced developmental expectations in the first 3 years of life.
Parents rely on these developmental milestones to gauge where their child stands in their development and if these markers are pushed back then early intervention will start later.
The CDC is now saying that the milestone for 30 months is 50 words (most other sources say 50 words at 24 months) then a child being referred for early intervention will be waiting an extra 6 months for an evaluation and that is precious brain development time that cannot be missed.
Parents can and should make a language-rich home environment for their young children while being at home and mask-free!
1: When talking to your child at home use everyday routines to build language! Repeat the same words over and over during these routines, while also using gestures and showing actions/objects to build understanding!
2: Let your child guide the way when it comes to playing! Children are far more motivated to communicate when they are doing something that interests them. So drop your own agenda and pay attention and communicate about what they are interested in!!
Our Instagram @speechsisters was developed to help teach and empower parents on the ways that they can help their children learn to communicate.
We have two online courses for parents both designed to help teach parents how they can get their children to meet communication milestones.
Talk On Track is for parents of babies 0-14 months.
Time To Talk is for parents of toddlers 14-36 months.
We are also hosting a free 2 day live virtual workshop for parents which will discuss communication milestones in more detail and teach them three super effective ways to get their kids starting to communicate!
Mask wearing and a child’s speech development is a hot topic right now AND recently, the CDC adjusted its developmental guidelines and milestones. Many parents are left wondering what to believe. When it comes to commentary on speech development and the effects of recent mask mandates, parents are looking everywhere for answers. It’s time they meet the Speech Sisters.
In the news: the CDC has quietly updated their milestones – from 24-months-old should be saying a minimum of 50 words to children at 30-months-old should be saying a minimum of 50 words. Being advocates for early intervention, Brooke and Bridget can speak to the issues with updates and how these changes in guidelines will affect the educational trajectory for years to come.
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