You may have heard someone refer to your child's "speech skills" or their "language skills", when talking about their development. While they may sound similar, these are actually quite different areas of development. This post provides a quick, basic summary on the difference between these two areas.
Speech skills: Speech, which is related to how your child talks, can be split into two different areas, articulation and fluency.
Articulation refers to the way children acquire and produce sounds in words, sentences and conversation. If your child is having difficulty with their articulation development you may see things like:
Fluency is the aspect of speech production that involves smoothness, rate and effort. If your child is having difficulty with their fluency development you may see things like:
Language skills: Language can be broken down most simply into two parts: receptive language and expressive language (Note: Today we are just talking about foundational or basic language skills. We'll cover higher-level language skills in a future post.)
Receptive language is the ability to understand what is being said and can include things like following directions or understanding questions. If your child is having difficulty with their receptive language skills, you may see things like:
Expressive language is the ability to use language and includes things like grammar, vocabulary and answering questions. If your child is having difficulty with their expressive language development, you may see things like:
Some children may have trouble with one of these areas of communication (speech or language) or both. Some children may have difficulty with one area of their language development, but not the other (receptive vs. expressive).
Looking out for potential red-flags with your child's development is the best way to combat any difficulties in these communication areas. Identifying areas of weakness and working on them early gives your child the best chance to make progress and catch up to their peers!
If you have questions or concerns about your child's development, contact us at The Speech Space. We offer free screenings, which take approximately 30 minutes, and can help identify potential problems.
This month for our “Toys Without Batteries” post, we decided to switch things up and post about a few toys we like that do have batteries. Battery powered toys are not always a bad thing, even though we tend to veer more towards no batteries in our therapy sessions. Many children are truly more motivated by toys that move, make noise, or light up and this is totally fine. If it gets your child talking, we’re on board! In that direction, we present toys we love that have batteries.
1. Elefun: We honestly cannot say enough about how much young children love this game. It’s been around forever and if you take care of it, this toy can last a long time (we have one that’s over 10 years old!). We like to start out talking about the parts of this toy (the nets, the elephant, his trunk, the butterflies). If you have multiple children with you, have them ask each other what color net they would like to use, which will encourage social language. Encourage your child to tell you WHERE to put the elephant, HOW to turn it on, WHAT will happen when it’s turned on etc.
**Pro-tip: In order to keep Elefun in tip-top shape, we lay out 2 ‘rules’ when we play: 1.) no punching your hand through the net and 2.) adults are the only ones to touch the trunk.
2 Curious George Hide and Seek Zoo: There is a lot happening in this game, which is why we think kids like it so much. The man in the yellow hat is flying around the zoo and he finds that a bunch of things are wrong! He uses his walkie talkie to tell George (and your child) where there is a problem. This game is great for working on problem-solving skills (e.g., "What’s happening in this picture?", "Why is this a problem?", "How can they fix it?"). Your child will love using the walkie talkie and there is a fun part of the game where the animals escape and your child can put on a mask and hide!
**Pro-tip: this game is available on Amazon, but may be less expensive on ebay
3. Bubble Machine: A machine that shoots out bubbles!? It’s definitely as much fun as it sounds. We like to use this for increasing vocabulary by having children “get” different items or objects around the room/house with the bubble machine. Then, change it up and have them tell you what to “get.” You can even make it harder by giving "clues" or playing "I spy" when playing this game.
4. Playskool Explore N Grow Busy Gears: This is a toy geared more for the little ones (think 9-18 months). We call this a ‘cause and effect’ toy because it teaches children that when they do one thing (in this toy, push a button), something happens (the gears light up and spin around). Obviously, the lights and spinning gears are what helps keep the child’s engagement but you can use this to work on colors, asking them simple ‘wh’ questions so they can point to answer, and following simple directions.
If you missed our other favorite toy blog posts you can read them here, here, and here. Check back on The Speech Space blog for other fun ideas, toys and games you can do with your child to help increase their communication development.
And as always, if you have questions or concerns about your child's development, contact us at The Speech Space! We offer free screenings, which take approximately 30 minutes, and can help identify potential problems.
The use of technology with children is something a lot of parents debate over. We are here to help you figure out this conundrum!
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently updated their recommended guidelines on this very topic. You may be surprised that your child should not have ANY screen time before 18 months of age (with the exception of video chatting with family and friends). While there are times when 100% pure distraction is critical (like visiting grandparents a plane ride away), this should be a rare exception. Before your child turns 3, they are not really registering the content of the shows, just the highly addictive, constantly changing colors, noises, and shapes. Read below for the updated guidelines put out by the American Academy of Pediatrics:
Children younger than 18 months:
The Georgetown Early Learning Project is another amazing source of information. Dr. Rachel Barr and her team have gathered extremely important and significant information about early child development and screen time. Below are some quick take-away points from their information:
We hope you find this quick outline of guidelines and information helpful when making your plan of attack with screen time!
Additional Parent Resources:
American Academy of Pediatrics
Healthy Children (help with scheduling and your child’s needs)
Common Sense Media (what’s educational and what’s not, age ratings, etc)
*Special May Giveaway*
The Speech Space is giving away a free evaluation, in recognition of May being "better speech and hearing" month!
Enter via email at firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday May 15th. The winner will be emailed on Tuesday May 16th. If you are having concerns about your child's development this is a perfect opportunity to get some answers and make a plan.