I was honored to be invited back to present at Davis Regional Medical Center. I had the privilege of speaking to the Senior Circle Group, explaining
how speech therapists identify and treat those with communication and swallowing disorders.
The audience showed great interest in the presentation, as it touched upon many of the communication difficulties that either they or their loved
ones have experienced.
Are you concerned that your kids spend too much time on tablets, smartphones, or other devices? Do you have fewer conversations with your kids than you’d
like because of technology distractions? Do you find yourself constantly asking your kids to lower the volume on devices because you can hear the music
blaring through their earbuds or headphones?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are a typical parent in the digital age. These are struggles for most of us as technology increasingly
becomes central to our lives and our children’s lives.
During May, my professional association—the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)—celebrates Better Hearing & Speech Month.
Given that, I want to take this opportunity to remind you of the important roles that verbal communication and personal interaction—free from
technology distractions—play in children’s academic and social development.
Kids today are using devices for hours every day—time that once was reserved for talking and reading, interactive and imaginative play, outdoor experiences,
and other activities. Yet, the primary way young children develop their speech and language abilities is through verbal exchange—talking and
reading with parents. This is a precursor for their own reading abilities and overall academic success. Children also learn from hands-on experiences.
Educational apps can play a part, but they are in no way a replacement for what is learned through person-to-person communication. As we head into
the summer months, when children no doubt will have more time to use devices, consider carving out some device-free time each day. You may be surprised
by how little they (and you) miss it!
Another pressing issue related to technology use is hearing damage. Unfortunately, there has been a significant spike in hearing loss in young people in
recent years. This coincides with the rise in popularity of mp3 players, tablets, and other devices. Even mild hearing loss can lead to reduced academic
achievement (particularly in reading and math), poor self-concept, and feelings of social isolation, among other consequences—so, encourage your
kids to keep the volume on their devices to half level and to take listening breaks. Hearing loss due to unsafe listening habits can be prevented,
but once it occurs, it is irreversible. Teach (and model yourself) these good habits early.
Finally, this is an opportunity for me to remind you about my availability should you have any concerns about your child’s communication development. Speech,
language, and hearing disorders are among the most common disorders in school-aged children. Communication disorders are also treatable and some can
even be prevented if identified early.
On July 22, 2015, Lake Norman Communication Services participated in a Healthcare Night at Moor Park, home of the college wood bat team, the Mooresville
Spinners. Pam and LeeAnne provided information and answered questions regarding speech, language and swallowing disorders.
Lake Norman Communication Services is currently offering "Let's Talk", a live chat service for potential clients visiting our website. The goal
is to provide timely, on-demand answers to questions regarding our speech, language and swallowing therapy.
Lindsay and I visited with her former intern supervisor, Samantha Jones, SLP. Samantha specializes in diagnosis and treatment of dysphagia in head and neck cancer patients. It was a great opportunity for us to review our treatment practices relative to hers and to establish an open line of communication to better serve the oncology patients that come to our practice for care. Samantha was extremely gracious in sharing her time and expertise.
The average child age 8 and under in the United States uses more than three personal tech devices—such as a tablet, smartphone, or video game console—at
home, according to a new poll of parents conducted by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). With even the youngest kids now “connected”
via such technology, it is important to remember to manage tech time so it doesn’t overtake time for talking with children.
Talking to children in their first years of life sets them up for future academic success. The easiest and most effective way that children learn is simply
by talking. Studies have proven the link between the number and variety of words a child hears and later academic achievement.
May is Better Hearing & Speech Month—a time to prioritize communication. Here are 10 tips for parents on how to manage kids’ technology use to
keep communication at the forefront.
Create tech-free times. Find at least one or two opportunities during the day—at the dinner table, for example—for everyone to disconnect.
Mealtime is a prime opportunity for conversation. Make a commitment and have everyone check their devices at the kitchen door.
Resist overreliance on technology to pacify boredom. Fifty-five percent of parents worry that they rely on technology too much to keep their child
entertained, according to the ASHA poll. Roughly half of parents say that they are using technology as a means to keep kids age 0–3 entertained.
Remember that the best opportunities for conversation and learning are often found in situations that may be viewed as boring, such as while running
errands or on a long car trip—particularly for the youngest children. While it may be tempting, try to resist the urge to immediately turn
to these devices as a source of entertainment.
Don't overestimate the value of educational apps. Children learn best simply through talking, conversing, and reading. Technology is not the best way
to teach, though it can reinforce and allow practice of skills under development.
Make tech use a group activity. While it is most often used on an individual basis, tech use can be turned into a group activity, such as while playing
an online game. Talk about what you’re doing!
Consider whether young kids really need their own devices. It is not uncommon for kids to have their own tablets or mp3 players. Many are designed
and marketed specifically for kids. This may lead to more time spent alone with technology throughout the day. On the other hand, devices designed
for kids often offer additional features that appeal to parents, such as limited (kid-appropriate) content and extra security options, so this
is a balance for parents to consider.
Set daily time limits. Certain devices can be programmed by parents to shut off after a certain amount of time, but you can also make a child aware
of the time limit and keep track yourself.
Be consistent in enforcing the parameters you set for tech use. ASHA’s poll found a majority of parents report setting limitations on their children’s
tech use. However, the reality of their children’s tech use often doesn’t line up with the set restrictions, by parents’ own accounts. Moreover,
adherence often seems to break down at ages 7 or 8 despite the rules parents say they set.
Always practice safe listening, especially when using ear buds or headphones. Misuse of this technology can lead to noise-induced hearing loss. Even
minor hearing loss takes a significant toll academically, socially, vocationally, and in other ways, so prevent the preventable. Teach kids to
keep the volume down (a good guide is half volume) and take listening breaks.
Model the tech habits you want your kids to adopt. Practice what you preach when it comes to tech time and safe-listening habits.
Learn the signs of communication disorders. This is important for all parents, regardless of their children’s technology use. Early treatment can prevent
or reverse many communication disorders. Parents should not wait to see if a child “outgrows” a suspected speech or hearing problem. If you have
any question about your child’s speech or hearing, seek an assessment from a speech-language pathologist or audiologist. Learn more at http://IdentifytheSigns.org.
The first annual Parkinson's Symposium was hosted today in Charlotte by the Parkinson's Association of the Carolinas. Lake Norman Communication's
Pam Manser and Lindsay Sloop were among the attendees.
Dr. Danielle Englert, movement disorders specialist at Carolinas Medical Center, gave the keynote speech on non-movement characteristics of PD, including
problems with cognition (memory, orientation and reasoning). A break-out session on communication highlighted speech and voice problems a person
with PD can have and the challenges they present to family and medical staff. Ensuing discussion raised the importance of the speech-language
pathologist in the team-centered approach to treatment.
Contact us to learn how Lake Norman Communication Services cares for the communication and swallowing needs of the patient with
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