In recognition of Better Speech and Hearing Month, we want to remind you of the important role that verbal communication and personal interaction—free from technology distractions—play in children’s academic and social development
The primary way young children develop their speech and language abilities is through verbal exchange—talking and reading with parents and others. This is a precursor for their own reading abilities and overall academic success. Children also learn from hands-on experiences.
With the increasing use of electronic devices, kids are often using devices for hours every day—time that once was reserved for talking and reading, interactive and imaginative play, outdoor experiences, and other activities. This can negatively impact speech and language development.
As a parent in the digital age, you may be concerned about the amount of time spent on electronic devices, distractions caused by the use of these devices or about the overuse of ear buds and headphones at high volumes.
As we head into the summer months, when children no doubt will have more time to use devices, we offer a few suggestions:
- Carve out some device-free time each day. Set a maximum time limit, a way to track it, and a way to constructively handle things when the mark is missed.
- Adopt a tech-free day each week. If it feels like a big leap, try testing it out for a month or two. You may be surprised by how little they (and you) miss it!
- Create media usage guidelines for your families, around both content and time.
Last fall the American Academy of Pediatrics offered new recommendations for children’s media use, which you can use to determine appropriate media use for your family.
With the rise in the personal use of portable music players, hearing loss in young people is also on the rise. Even mild hearing loss can lead to:
- reduced academic achievement (particularly in reading and math),
- poor self-concept,
- feelings of social isolation, among other consequences.
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) these good habits early.
Do you have questions or concerns about your child’s communication development?
At ACPS, there are 29 speech-language pathologists (SLPs) that provide services at all grade levels in our schools.
SLPs, also known as speech therapists, are licensed health care providers who assess, diagnose, treat and help to prevent disorders related to speech, language, communication, voice, swallowing and fluency.
In schools, our SLPs perform screenings, evaluations, provide therapy in their rooms and in classrooms, consult with teachers, staff and parents, create materials, provide alternative/augmentative communication systems and attend professional development throughout the year.
Students with issues that have a significant impact on their academic performance are eligible for services through their school. For issues that do not significantly impact academic performance, referrals are made for services through Multi-Tiered Support System.
Learn more about SLP services on the ACPS website.