With new evidence showing a majority of young children in the United States use 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. During May Is Better Hearing & Speech Month (BHSM), speech-language pathologist Dawn Lietz encourages Washington County parents to set meaningful limits on technology use, especially for young children.
On Friday, May 8, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) released new figures that show just how much of a presence personal technology devices are in the lives of children ages 0–8, as well as parental concerns about the impact of this technology on their child’s speech and language development, academic success, behavior, and other areas. The survey also revealed whether parents feel technology impacts the quality and quantity of conversations with kids, as well as where and when kids most often use this technology.
“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,” says Dawn. “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 or her own device, as many now have,” she says.
“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,” she adds.
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. Parents can review these signs at http://IdentifytheSigns.org. With early treatment, many of these disorders can be reversed or even prevented, so parents should not delay seeking an assessment from a certified speech-language pathologist if they have any questions about their child’s communication skills.
Washington County Hospital would like to bring awareness and say thank you to our Speech-Language Pathologists (SLP) who work with and help the people of our community. SLPs provide a vital role in working with people of all ages. They are able to work with young on learning and improving language and communication skills to working with all ages on improved oral motor and oral feeding issues and improve swallowing. SLPs work with adult and elderly patients that are recovering from a major illness or injury such as Stroke to regain the needed skills for proper swallowing. For more information on the Speech-Language Pathology Services offered at Washington County Hospital please contact us at 618-327-2317 or visit our website at www.washingtoncountyhospital.org.