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May is Better Speech and Hearing Month!

I have been a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) for over 30 years, but if you ask my friends and family to describe what I do, I’m not sure they would really know what to say! Being an SLP means you must be knowledgeable about all things communication. We must know how typical children develop speech and language skills, as well as identify when skills are not developing the way they should. We must know how to keep children engaged in treatment, track data, evaluate to determine the best course of action, and use evidence-based practices. SLPs help individuals with speech sound errors, spoken and written language, voice disorders, feeding and swallowing, social skills, fluency (stuttering), Augmentative and alterative communication, and much more.


Because effective communication is so multifaceted, SLPs must also know how to educate others about our profession. It is a heavy load. One key piece of increasing awareness is early intervention. Research tells us that early intervention is key, however many parents, educators, and even pediatricians don’t know the early signs of a speech and language delay or disorder.


Did you know (NIH, 2016):

· 1 in 12 U.S. children have some type of communication disorder.

· By the first grade, approximately 5% of children have a noticeable speech disorder.

· 11% of children will experience a voice, speech, language, or swallowing disorder.

· The first six months are the most crucial to a child’s development of language skills.


May is Better Speech and Hearing Month (BSHM) and gives us the perfect opportunity to spread the word. BSHM was created as a way to increase awareness about communication disorders. It also gives us the opportunity to eradicate the stigma often attached to individuals with communication disorders. This year’s theme is “Building a Strong Foundation.” Do your part to increase awareness about speech and hearing. Here are a few ideas:


1. Host a lunch and learn.

Share real-life stories (abiding to HIPAA laws, of course) of clients you have worked with in the past. Invite a parent to discuss their experiences with having a child with a communication delay/disorder.


2. Create a bulletin board or decorate your speech room door.

Use artwork of some of your clients/student to increase awareness about speech and hearing.


3. Send informational pamphlets and flyers home in student backpacks.

The American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA) has some great printable resources. Find them here: Better Hearing and Speech Month 2023 (asha.org)


4. Contact your local legislators.

Send a letter or make a phone call to your local legislators to remind them of policy changes that are needed in your state.


5. Host a parent support group.

Help increase a sense of empowerment and a feeling of belonging. Encourage parents to network and learn from each other’s experiences.


If you aren’t sure if your child could benefit from speech and language services or have questions, please use the Contact Us form to sign up for a free 15-minute consultation with one of the Interact Therapy LLC clinicians. We are here to help.

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